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With all due respect, why would anyone consider starting an online dating service now?

Simply put, you don't stand a chance. This is 2006, not 1999. It's too late. Those of us in the business (who have made it) have honed our skills over the years and are flush with cash and resources; basically, we have this thing down to a fine art.

I'm not saying this as an established company trying to dissuade new competitors; I am just being frank. You'll lose your shirt.

My assumption is that the intent is to make a go of it, as opposed to doing something on the side for fun, e.g. Cathryn of www.allegroconbrio.com (32 members in 2 months? If we don't get that every 1.5 hours or less, we get concerned).

I am not saying that there aren't markets that are un- or under-exploited; sure there are. However, making it work from scratch in 2006 is just not going to happen unless you are already in the busines or have extensive experience - and capital (a lot). Even then, it will be next to impossible to make *profit* (revenue is easy; anyone can make that).

Thinking you are going to get a quick headstart by paying $199 or $299 or $499 for an off-the-shelf dating s/w package is foolhardy. To compete, you need dedicated technical staff (among others) who cost a bundle. We spend more than the purchase price of any of these s/w packages *every day*.

I am not meaning to cause anyone upset. Perhaps I am just too frank and could use a little tact. But, I prefer to call things as I see them.

In summary, the days of making money in online dating for new entrants are long since over - waaaaay over.

Sam,

Read my very first column, "Back to Reality..." Here's the URL you can copy and paste: http://www.onlinedatingmagazine.com/columns/industry/01-onlinedatingindustry.html

Also read my column, "Starting an Online Dating Service" at http://www.onlinedatingmagazine.com/columns/industry/07-startanonlinedatingservice.html

You'll see that, in both, I'm quite frank about the realities.

Joe

Joe,

Your articles are well written. But, the advice contained therein is 5-6 years too late, IMHO.

Sam

How does warning that the market is oversaturated and about the difficulty of success without venture capital financing constitute advice that is "too late"?

From my Back to Reality column:
"If you haven’t won the lottery or don’t own 100,000 shares of Google, then think twice about what you’re doing. The online dating field is highly competitive and the top sites spend millions of dollars a year in advertising alone. If you do own 100,000 shares of Google, then just buy one of the top three online dating services!?"

Sam, you may be arguing about something we agree on. But at the same time that's no reason to shun those who are made aware of the realities, but still are determined to try.

There are more than 900 "Online Dating & Social Networking Sites" at the United States and Canada, but top 10 Online Dating sites have 80%/85% of actual market (estimated). If you add net paid subscribers of all U.S. dating sites, perhaps the total is less than 5 million!!!

Although it is from NOV 2003, there is an interesting PowerPoint presentation about how the U.S. MARKET OPPORTUNITY REMAINS ENORMOUS. (page 6)
http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/11/111999/presentations/IAC_Personals.pdf

What dating sites are doing / will do to court the other U.S. 80 million singles not seriously dating online?

They need to offer GREAT INNOVATIONS, but .... they will definitively come from new discoveries on Theories of Romantic Relationships Development.
- The Online Dating Industry and Dating Sites manage huge databases, they URGENTLY need more power calculation and more precise/reliable matching techniques, like: "here you have a list of 48 persons most compatible in a 10 million prospects database".


Kindest Regards,
Fernando Ardenghi.
Buenos Aires.
Argentina.
ardenghifer@gmail.com

Joe,

Perhaps we do agree:-) And hey, for those still determined to try, it is a free market and people can invest their money however they like!

6 years to late? Plentyoffish only had 500 members in april of 2003.

...and now you are making $10,000/day in P-R-O-F-I-T, right, Marcus?;-)

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