Since 2003, several free dating sites, operating on ad based-revenue rather than monthly subscriptions, have appeared and become increasingly popular.
Several newer sites such as Ok are beginning to offer more full featured dating services for free, and are starting to compete with staples in the free dating site world such as
In Germany government financed NGOs like "Verbraucherschutzzentrale" sometimes help to sue online dating sites.This problem is referred to as "catfishing" in pop-culture and has been made famous by a popular MTV program called "Catfish the TV show".The highest scoring dating service was Facebook, which uses the personal homepage genre, the message board genre, the weblog and directory genre, as well as utilizing the Circle of Friends.The second highest scoring, Second Life utilizes virtual worlds, message boards, chat groups and profile pages to allow people to contact in a three-dimensional environment.Due to the level of competition between free dating sites, as well as the overall drop in traffic to and revenue for dating sites generally, This represents a break from traditional externally sourced ads and is just one of the ways that the revenue models of free dating sites are evolving.
Especially popular in Eastern Europe, some sites offer full access to messaging and profiles, but provide additional services for pay, such as bumping profiles up to the top of the list, removing advertisements, making paying users' profiles appear several times in different places in the search results, and giving paying users a more advanced search engine to work with (in one example, free users may only search for persons of specified age, gender, orientation, and city, while subscribers may search for any and all parameters listed in profiles, such as height, weight, interests, etc.).Users of an online dating service would usually provide personal information, to enable them to search the service provider's database for other individuals.Members use criteria other members set, such as age range, gender and location.Some sites such as Ok Cupid.com, and are free and offer additional paid services in a freemium revenue model.Some sites are broad-based, with members coming from a variety of backgrounds looking for different types of relationships.At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38% increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc. By 2007, many prominent studies show that Baby Boomer interest in online dating have soared.