The online dating industry has evolved and expanded tremendously since its inception in the late 1990s. One of the consequences of the this prolific growth has been the offshoot of dating sites that cater to the specialty interests and alternative lifestyles of their membership base. Before delving into the reasons why specialty interest and alternative lifestyle dating sites are rapidly growing in popularity, it would be useful to review the factors that lead to generic online dating becoming firmly established as a legitimate venue for finding friendship and romance.
The meteoric rise in the popularity of online dating can be summarized in one word – convenience. We live in increasingly competitive and complex technological society that places great demands of our time in order to become productive citizens. People typically invest well over a decade to achieve an education in order to gain employment or establish a career and then invest even more time to advance within their chosen area of employment. Currently, on average individuals are working harder and longer than in past decades and this leaves little discretionary time for finding love and romance through traditional ways of socializing. With the convince offered by online dating, a person and can literally establish contact with a potential romantic partner within minutes after registering and completing a profile on an online dating site.
The ease, convenience and sheer fun of online dating quickly dispelled the negative stigma that was once associated with it. Years ago a friend of mine proclaimed that something must be wrong anyone who needs to use an online dating service. Today online dating is an integral part of the courtship culture of modern societies that offers opportunities for people to find love and romance that they would not otherwise have had.
Once the idea of online dating became generally accepted, large membership dating sites were established to profit from the trend. Unfortunately the convince of connecting with people offered by these large sites did not necessarily equate to ease in finding a compatible love interest. We are all unique beings with diverse interest tastes and sensibilities. Sites with a large general membership base actually dilute the pool of potential partners that share compatibility characteristics with you. The best way for me to explain this apparent contradiction is with a personal example.
I happen to be a vegetarian and I have used the large membership sites to arrange dates but I was frustrated by the difficulty of finding fellow vegetarians. When I did find vegetarians, they were not locally accessible. I thought about how nice it would be to register at a dating that caters only to vegetarians and on a lark I typed vegetarian dating into a search engine and to my surprise quite a few vegetarian dating sites were listed. I had no idea that such sites existed. I joined one of them and I was able find lots of vegetarians in my local area. Although the membership base of the vegetarian site was very small compared to the other sites I had used, it allowed me to efficiently target my efforts to a specific interest group.
Targeting is a very important concept to understand. In the direct sales and marketing industry targeting is crucial to business success because it focuses advertisement efforts on the particular segment of the population that is most likely to purchase a product or service and thereby eliminates the waste of energy and resources that would reduce or eliminate profit. Dating is essentially a marketing activity in which you are engaged in the business of selling yourself. In order to avoid frustration and disappointment you need to concentrate on connecting with the people who are most likely to buy you and vice versa.
The ease and convenience targeting groups of people that share one or more aspects of specific compatibility criteria coupled with the increasingly tolerant nature of our society that has greatly reduced the stigma associated with certain interests and lifestyles is what makes specialty interest and alternative lifestyle dating sites so popular. Here a small list of specialty interest and lifestyle categories:
- Gay and Lesbian
- Occult / New Age / Extraterrestrial
- Sexual Activity Interest
- Age Group Specific
- Cross Age Group
- Socio-Economic Status
This list is only a minute sample. There is probably a dating site for any specialty interest or lifestyle you can imagine. Simply use your favorite search engine to find out.
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