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They once were hot and now they’re not.
Why are traditional online dating sites experiencing “shrinkage?”

--Carol Robinson

Seven out of the ten leading dating sites watched their business decline during 2006. As of January of 2006, Yahoo! Personals was the most popular online dating site, followed by Match.com. Many internet users now meet potential dates through social networking sites like MySpace, which last year surpassed Yahoo! as the busiest website. Some have questioned the logic of buying a membership to a relatively small dating pond when there’s an entire ocean where they can fish free of charge.

How can traditional online dating sites do to restore their virility?

Attendees at iDate, the annual conference of the internet dating industry, basically asked this question when they met in Miami last month. One suggestion was to enable members to include a link from their member profile to their MySpace page.

Improved customer service may be a better solution. Take membership fees for example. Online Dating Magazine receives many letters of complaint that True.com imposes unauthorized credit card charges after membership is discontinued. Other services like Match.com and eHarmony are no stranger to this practice, either.

It seems that canceling a subscription does not stop the credit card charges. In most cases, users must navigate through a maze of web pages before they find the place where they can “opt out” of automatic credit card charges in the future, usually by un-checking a box. It doesn’t happen to every member, but it happens often enough to leave people with a bad taste in their mouth.

Online dating services frequently offer relationship advice to their members. So here’s some for them… don’t take anyone for granted. If you do, you will wake up one day to find them gone, seduced by someone else’s charms.


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