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Most services offer digital messaging, while others provide additional services such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards.
Members can constrain their interactions to the online space, or they can arrange a date to meet in person.
Some sites are completely free and depend on advertising for revenue.
Others utilize the freemium revenue model, offering free registration and use, with optional, paid, premium services.
However, Sam Yagan describes dating sites as ideal advertising platforms because of the wealth of demographic data made available by users.
There are mixed opinions regarding the safety of online dating.
The 2016 Pew Research Center's survey reveals that the usage of online dating sites by American adults increased from 9% in 2013, to 12% in 2015.
Since advertising revenues are modest compared to membership fees, this model requires a large number of page views to achieve profitability.A great diversity of online dating services currently exists.Some have a broad membership base of diverse users looking for many different types of relationships.Other sites target highly specific demographics based on features like shared interests, location, religion, or relationship type.Online dating services also differ widely in their revenue streams.