Dating Networks – How Social Media Is Revolutionizing Online Dating

by Alex on February 8, 2010

In the online dating business world, where new sites close as quickly as they open and only a handful have mastered the art of matchmaking, a new generation of services is courting the billion-dollar industry by leveraging personal information provided on social networks.

Online dating is witnessing a strong shift from traditional giant subscription sites like Match.com to more personal, interconnected dating networks.  Dating networks are sites that combine elements of sites like Match.com with those of social networks, like Facebook or Twitter.  In dating networks, singles are interconnected through friends and mutual acquaintances, a concept that is currently being hailed around the web as the next “big thing.”

GelatoDating.com

The hope is that matchmaking based on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to name a few, will provide a more accurate snapshot of users’ lives, which will lead to stronger connections.  “It’s hard to fake a Twitter stream or Flickr photos.  That authenticity is what makes good and safer dates,” explains Steve Odom, founder of GelatoDating.com, an online dating service in Texas that launched in September.

Although traditional dating sites still maintain large numbers, more and more users find that they are dissatisfied with the results, and never more so than on the first date.  As well as being unsatisfied, the issue of safety is also growing.  Many subscribers continue to report unsafe feelings from fake profilers and internet con artists.  In addition, dating sites usually charge an expensive monthly subscription fee, dating networks are either free or offer subscriptions at nearly half the cost.

Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Netflix and other social networks offer great windows into our everyday lives.  Pulling information from these social networks and supplementing that with our own writing leads to a more dynamic, multi-faceted profile that updates automatically.  This makes it harder to create fake profiles and easier to meet like-minded people.  That makes for better dates.

Zoosk co-founder Shayan Zadeh

Zoosk.com is another site in this new ‘Dating Network’ business.  They make your dating profile available to other Zoosk users using the same social networks as Gelato.  These social networks allow your friends to interact with your matches in a testimonial form, thus increasing the interaction amongst parties.  Co-founder Shayan Zadeh explains “The site’s platform is the digital equivalent of going out to a bar with friends and meeting new people.”

These new startups seem to be appealing to internet daters in their 20’s.  The websites are more comfortable with sharing personal information publicly and are interested in casual dating and expanding their networks.  For instance, almost two-thirds of the 30 million users on Zoosk, are under the age of 30.

The web is continually providing singles with ever increasing opportunities to find love online.  There is still a huge abundance of worthwhile dating sites, niche dating sites and dating applications, but it becomes more apparent every day that users are concerned with interaction, better matches, and safety.  Dating networks seem to be the next big thing, providing the best offers and better matchmaking solutions.

What are your thoughts and experiences with this new approach to online dating?  I would love to hear your voice.

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  • http://terrycrosbyblog.com Terry Crosby

    Great post Alex. More meaningful connections will take place by adding a social element and aggregating all the information found in everyone’s social profiles and updates. The days of lieing on a dating …site questionaire are over. This is very similiar to finding a job. The days of the resume are over.

  • Lauren Huston

    Awesome post. I think that this is very relevant and provided valuable information about the “new” online dating. I think that both types of sites (the giants such as Match.com and the new dating networks, such as Zoosk.com) have pros and cons. In my humble opinion, I see more safety with the known commodities, such as Match.com or eharmony.com. Online dating becomes more personal as people start to do it more through their pre-established social networks and I would be concerned about stigmatization. Perhaps my perspective is different from the average user because I am in an older age group. In any case, I am eager to see how online dating networks evolve. Good stuff here, Alex!

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