A great deal has been said about the pros and cons of Dating Sites on the Internet. There is no doubt that those who use dating sites either due to social constraints in their real life or because of a desire to increase their circle of friends should be aware of not only the positive side of on-line dating but the negative aspects as well. One things remains clear. Internet on-line dating sites are clearly getting more and more members. So what if it really was for free?
A few months ago, after doing an exhaustive study of some internet dating sites as well as trying to map out some of the various general trends beginning to be visible in regard to internet sites in general, I realized that almost all of the on-line dating sites have a few things in common. None of the below is to imply that these sites are not legitimate. Indeed almost all of them are very legitimate and run by major companies.
1. Reliance Upon User-Memberships For Income – Obviously if people don’t frequent their site or refuse to pay membership for it, then they can no longer afford to keep it open. Thus it becomes imperative to convince the “visitor” to take out their credit card and become a member.
2. In order to allow visitors to get acquainted most dating sites will allow a “free search” or allow you to contact a specific number of members for free. Others will allow you to receive email from members (after you have filled in your profile) but to either read or answer those emails (flirts etc.) you must pay. This is “waving the candy in front of the baby” routine. “See, we have people who want to contact you – it is worth the $xx.xx to pay us”.
3. Almost all of the sites have an automatic recurring fee after your first membership expires. If you do not remember to physically go and cancel your membership your credit card will be charged. (This by the way is one of the most lucrative incomes for dating sites.)
4. There are other things they do to convince you of their status and how large their membership is, but we will leave this for the technoligical article on building these sites.
As to the possible member, and those either new or experienced to the dating game on-line there is one big frustration. Once you pay for one site you search around for other sites. Usually and before you know it, you have become a paying member at 3-4 sites, which can easily lead to payments of $100+ every three months. This is not a small amount considering what you really get for your membership.
Having been in the position myself, and coming from high-tech while my expertise was in databases and viral technology, I could not but begin to wonder if there was not a better way to do this. In research I discovered a few trends on the internet today:
1. Services are being offered for free. Just look no farther than ezinearticles.com for proof of that. However, it is obvious that no one does this out of the goodness of their heart. Obviously even when services are offered for free, there is a sound and viable financial plan behind the web site.
2. Internet sites that offer their services for free swiftly garner the LOYALTY of their users. This loyalty in many ways transfers into monetary gain for the site. If a user feels loyal to a site, because the site indeed offers what it says it will to the user, and the user gains from those offers, then the user will be that much more inclined to:
a. tell their friends about the site b. shop on the site (if it is an affiliate site)
c. click on Google adverts etc. if they appeal to them
3. The most popular internet sites on the net, are those which do offer these things for free and do meet their promises to their users.
As in all other service industries, if one wants to offer a specific service for free, and as in our case a dating site, the following guidelines should be in place:
1. Enough financial capital to offer these services for free at startup and to advertise them within the normative internet advertising framework. (Make no mistake – this is a huge investment and not for the weak of pocket or will or heart!)
2. The dating site MUST contain all the bells and whistles of the leaders in the market and then some.
3. It could not be a “canned” solution where you buy the software from a third party and put it up on your url. (This requires a marriage in possibilities between the software publisher and yourself which often does not allow for more “creative” solutions.)
4. EVERYTHING offered which the member wanted to make use of, e.g. profiles, email, photo uploads, etc. etc. had to be for free. Period. NO tricks. NO scam. NO come-ons. Beginning to end – FREE.
Obviously, no on-line dating site can do a background check on their members or in any way refuse membership just based upon their name or inclinations. This is up to the “couple” to discover and to check out. But what it can do is to offer a way for the members to feel secure, implementing security to the highest level possible, and not allowing spam or unsolicited emails to get through.
In conclusion, it is up to you to be an “educated consumer”. You can choose to pay for something which is offered for free elsewhere under the wrong assumption that “you get what you pay for”. Today on the internet, and now especially with internet dating sites this is simply NOT true. You get what the site offers. And if it offers the best and top quality, and to boot it is free to use, there is no longer any reason to go elsewhere. And that is, as the cliché goes, “the bottom line”.