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I have some problems with the research, particularly when they say that 33% of visitors to online dating services become paying members. That number is not realistic. Our trackable advertising numbers show that number to be less than half of what JupiterResearch claims.

About the flat/down growth of subscriptions, it is the services who offer less and charge more that are creating this problem. Do I really want to pay over $50 a month knowing that when I send someone an email, it may never get read because the person I sent it to isn't a paying member?

What these sites are doing is creating an opportunity for someone to come in and steal their business. Imagine an online dating service, with proper funding, marketing skills, PR finese, and customer service coming in and offering $14.95 a month with the ability for unpaid subscribers to respond to emails they receive from paid subscribers. It's not impossible for such a service, if done right, to not only challenge the big guys, but to overtake them. Unfortunately, when a service gets a taste of money, it generally becomes greedy and customer service/satisfaction is one of the first things thrown out the door.

Joe Tracy
Online Dating Magazine

The average dater visits 3 dating sites before signing up.

But those stats are totally skewed because comscore which they base it on is often out by a factor of 10 or more.

No paid service has any chance of competing at a lower price point and above free. You need to get to critical pass, and then you need to mass spend to drive customers to your site. Match.com and yahoo have a endless supply of free traffic, so they can outspend you and buy up all the major sources of traffic online.

I find that Jupiter Research often paints a much rosier or less gloomy picture for industies whether they are on the way up or down. I also agree with Joe about how these big dating sites are leaving the door open to the savvy upstarts like Markus Frind.

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