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4 Distinct Styles of Internet Dating Services

By Brad Morgan

We often hear horror stories of people who have met with misfortune when they thought they were meeting the person of their dreams. Cautionary tales concerning online dating services abound, and yet millions are flocking to the internet to find love and companionship.

Wired magazine recently commented that in twenty years it will seem odd not to prescreen people you want to have a relationship with through a online dating service. Indeed, in 2004, internet dating services were the largest segment of paid web content in the US.

In 2004, there were over 840 online dating services. Here is a quick look at four main categories and what you can expect to find there.

General Sites

The benefit of these sites is that they are free. Here you can create a profile, offering more details about your personality, life, job, etc. You can also view profiles of others on the site. To help you connect with people that you may be compatible with, many of these general dating sites also have forums, message boards, chat rooms, and more.

There are zillions of these sites, so it may be a bit difficult to sort out the ones that you want to participate in. Get recommendations from friends if possible. Find out if your friends have tried some of the sites, and ask what their experiences were like.

A word of caution: people can say anything online. You really have no way of knowing if all the information contained in someone’s profile is accurate. They may exaggerate claims of wealth or looks on the more innocuous side. More sinisterly, they may lie about crucial facts.

Always use caution when you use online dating services. Never give out your address, phone number, or place of work in public forums. Be extremely selective as to whom you entrust with this information. Meet in well-used public places if you decide to have a “real” date, and never stay in situations that feel uncomfortable.

Compatibility Sites

These sites charge for their services because they do more than just provide a meeting place. Compatibility sites usually have you do some kind of personality or compatibility assessment and they try to match you with people who have similar profiles.

Compatibility sites are usually frequented by people who want a serious relationship. Sites like E-Harmony and are often useful in helping people find lasting love and great partnerships.

Niche Sites

If you have ever tried to find someone who shares your interests or understands the values by which you live, you know it can be difficult. This is why niche sites are so beneficial to so many people. These sites are geared towards specific groups of people. For instance, you can find sites that allow you to meet with other armed services members, firefighters, teachers, dog trainers, belly dance enthusiasts, and much more. No matter what you enjoy or place value on in your life, you can find a niche online dating service to suit you. There is a mix of free and for fee sites.

These sites are particularly suitable for those who prefer to date others within their religious faith. It can be hard to find people who share your values and beliefs, and niche sites do a great job of putting people together in that way.

Old Friends, New Friends, and New Love

Networking sites, such as MySpace, are not online dating services, but they are a great way to meet people. And meeting someone is the first step in deciding if you want to date him or her. People often begin dating relationships through a network site.

It’s important to remember, however, that dating is not the primary purpose of networking sites. Many of the people you meet there are not interested in dating.

Online dating solutions are an effective way to locate individuals you may be enthusiastic about. Some sites enable you to screen potential dates, also, to discover the ones that you are most likely to be appropriate for. Your odds of locating an individual you like spending some time with are usually greater with an internet dating program than they are using a blind date… or Dad Joey’s cousin’s sibling… or perhaps the man your mum really wants to have you meet.

Wisconsin Genealogy | Heritage Quest Research Library Sumner

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Morgan, Brad "4 Distinct Styles of Internet Dating Services." 4 Distinct Styles of Internet Dating Services. 7 Oct. 2009. 21 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Morgan, B (2009, October 7). 4 Distinct Styles of Internet Dating Services. Retrieved August 21, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Morgan, Brad "4 Distinct Styles of Internet Dating Services"

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