Those connecting to the Web are often making love connections as well, and free site Friendster is reaping the popularity of its paid counterparts.
While online personals, dating and socializing sites have become among the biggest paid content generators on the Net – ringing up nearly $215 million during the first half of 2003 alone with expectations from Jupiter Research (a unit of this site's corporate parent) that the market will reach $642 million in 2008 – the popularity of such sites has apparently trickled down to it free counterpart, Friendster.
Nielsen//NetRatings identified the online friend and dating community as one of the most popular social networks on the Web, attracting 927,000 visitors from home and work in October 2003 – up from 532,000 in June 2003.
Lauren Taub, Internet analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings, assesses the site's popularity: "Friendster's growth is impressive, but it is too early to tell if its early success is explained by unique functionality or the fact that it is currently a free service."
Even though traffic to Yahoo Personals far exceeded that to Friendster, the time spent at each site was dramatically different. In October 2003, users spent an average of 1 hour, 51 minutes visiting Friendster, while Yahoo Personals users averaged 35 minutes, and second-highest traffic-generator Match.com users averaged 55 minutes per session.
|Traffic to Online Personals Sites, October 2003|
|June 2003||Oct 2003||Oct 2003|
Time Per Person
|MSN Dating & Personals||3,381,000||1,946,000||0:01:46|
|Netscape Love & Personals||1,221,000||1,470,000||0:04:29|
|*Please note that Friendster is categorized as a member community |
and is not in the personals sub category
|Dating Sites by Market Share, |
|Black Planet - Love||4.23%|
|Meet me at... Hot or Not?||2.05%|
Hitwise's measurements of sites related to dating or relationships, including online advice columns and Internet personals services, indicate that the gender ratio was nearly balanced – 48 percent female compared to 52 percent male – with the overwhelming majority containing their surf-dating to home (71.5 percent).
|Age of Visitors to Dating Sites, |
Jupiter Research examined online dating activities by gender, and found men to be more involved in the process.
|Online Dating Activities by Gender|
|Posted a profile||18%||8%|
|Responded to a profile||13%||5%|
|Paid to access site||8%||2%|
|Source: Jupiter Research/Ipsos-Insight Consumer Survey|
Other friendly facts found among Nielsen//NetRatings' analysis of the online dating community:
"Users of online dating services take full advantage of all the resources the Web offers," said Taub. "These individuals are online all the time, using the Web in every way imaginable, especially to organize events through e-vites and read restaurants reviews."
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