Mobile and Online Dating

October 2, 2011 General, Research

Mobile and Online Dating

By Julia Salem

Updated: January 16, 2012

We have started a new mobile matchmaking service called MiniDates, which is open for signups now at www.minidates.com. Throughout the process of creating this service, we have compiled a large database of industry and competitor research.


The online and mobile dating industry has grown within the last few years, both in users and services. In the US, Internet dating is a $1.3 billion market. This value is expected to rise to $1.7 billion by 2013. Even the mobile dating industry itself has seen explosive growth since 2010, with a 92% increase. Numerous dating services that used to be solely online are now seeing a large percentage of their users taking advantage of mobile offerings, such as apps and mobile pages. An example of this can be seen with Match.com, which now has 2.5 times more mobile vs. web activity. By 2015, mobile dating is expected to be a requirement of online dating sites, not just an addition. There are also numerous service providing social dating and location-based dating services. Check out Online Personals Insider for more information on dating industry news and the upcoming eAmore conference.

The top five dating sites, by unique visitors, are AdultFriendFinder, Match.com, eHarmony, BeNaughty! and Fling.

Here’s our list of key players and other interesting new comers:

Traditional profile-matching sites

  • Match.com—The most popular, largest dating site, owned by IAC. 2010 revenue was $401 million, from over 1 million paying subscribers and over 20 million free users.
  • Chemistry.com—Focused on personality matching, users pay to be matched by a scientifically proven personality test. Also owned by IAC.
  • True.com—Main focus is background checks. True claims to be the only dating site offering background checks for its users. This is a subscription-based paid site.
  • eHarmony—Starts with an extensive survey to find perfect matches for marriage. This is a subscription-based paid site.
  • OkCupid—Caters to a younger crowd than Match.com and many of the others listed above. OkCupid gained viral adoption due to its interesting format of having users create questions that would be used in its matching algorithm. It was purchased by IAC in 2011 for $50 million. OkCupid incorporates interesting dating trends in its blog, which stand out from the normal dating tips blogs that other dating sites use.
  • LavaLife—Large site that started in Canada. Offers dating, relationships and intimate encounters in three different sections of its site. Also has a virtual dating section.
  • PlentyOfFish—The most popular free dating site. Matches users based on searching behavior.
  • DateHookUp—Free site that sells “DH Points” to users. These points and ads bring in DateHookUp’s revenue.
  • SinglesNet—Once was a top dating site, acquired by Match in 2010.

Hookup/Casual Sex Sites

  • AdultFriendFinder—World’s largest sex & swingers site. Owned by FriendFinder Networks.
  • AshleyMadison—For extramarital affairs and hookups. Has over 8 million registered members.
  • Fling.com—Site for sex hookups. Named seventh best mobile dating site at the 2011 iDate awards.
  • BeNaughty—Casual fun dating site, with an emphasis on naughty. Has a lot of features and was named the fourth best online dating site and fourth best dating site design at the 2011 iDate awards.

Segment-Specific Sites

  • JDate—Matching based on religion.
  • IvyDate—Matching based on education.
  • Grindr—Top gay dating app. Has over 2 million users. Named the best mobile dating site at the 2011 iDate awards.
  • Adam4Adam—Site for gay men. Ranked the #1 gay dating/personals site by Hitwise.
  • Shaadi—Indian matchmaking site that matches people for marriage. Used for arranged marriages as well.

Social Dating Sites

  • Nerve—The “liberal” demographic predecessor in NYC that has just launched a revamped site focusing on “social” activity. Nerve hopes to be a Facebook for dating. The site uses a Freemium model—free to join and $20/month to contact other users.
  • Badoo—Currently in talks for a $2 billion IPO, it is considered the world’s fastest-growing and largest social dating site. Has not gained strong popularity in the US yet, but is very popular in many other areas, especially Brazil, Spain, France and Italy.
  • HowAboutWe—Startup from NYC. Users suggest date ideas and then match themselves with those who want to go on the suggested date. HowAboutWe promises more in-person dates, but its impersonal broadcast model leaves users to find and coordinate their own dates rather than doing it for them.
  • AreYouInterested—Uses your social graph on Facebook to find matches. The site has over 49 million users.
  • Clique—Limits matches to user’s social graph. Also incorporates feeds from sites like Twitter, Foursquare, Goodreads and Netflix to keep profiles fresh.
  • Meexo—This is a mobile optimized site that is a based in San Francisco. The startup gamifies dating and allows users to exclude their social graph.
  • Zoosk—A Facebook dating website and app that imports profile information from Facebook to a separate site. The site then uses Zoosk’s patent-pending Scientific Matching service to match members based on their ratings. Zoosk’s annual sales increased 250% in one year to more than 90 million in 2011.

Location-Based

  • Badoo, Grindr—Listed above, these are leading mobile and location-based mobile and web apps finding who’s free “near you” or in your neighborhood.
  • Skout—Considered one of the safest location-based dating apps because of its flagging services that alert users of inappropriate contact. The app has over 1 million users.
  • OkCupid—Has a sophisticated “local” matcher that includes suggested local matches, suggested venues and who’s near me now.
  • SpeedDate—Sets up users on video chat speed dates. Has a patented matching system. Also, SpeedDate recently launched a mobile app that uses GPS to find users matches nearby for real life speed dates.

In-Person Services

  • Grouper—One of the first sites to successfully start group dates in the US. Users can set up blind dates with 2 groups of 3 (3 guys and 3 girls) to go out to dinner.
  • DuoDater—Sets up double dates so that users can have “wingmen.” The site gives users ideas of places to go and deals.
  • Cheek’d, FlipMe and MeSayingHi—3 different services that enable users to give out business cards to people they see in real life, then get to know each other online.

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For more information on the online and mobile dating industry and the current industry players, request the full White Paper on Twitter @OxfordTech. Also, be sure to check out MiniDates and follow us @MiniDates and/or on Facebook.