Love Doesn't Equal Loyalty: Online Dating in February 2007

The first quarter of the year represents a busy time in the online dating world, and 2007 has been no exception, with traffic to mainstream dating sites growing by 15% from December to February. The real story, however, is told through members.

The chart below ranks online dating services by member activity, which was described in more detail in December. In February, we improved the metric to include direct logins through email, and this had a significant impact on the rankings.

  • True, previously ranked 9th in terms of member logins, moved into the top five sites. Like many dating services, True sends email as a way to encourage paid subscriptions, and in February nearly 60% of member traffic came through this channel.
  • Match took the lead with nearly 20 million member logins in February.
  • PlentyofFish.com, the largest free site in the group, was pushed out of the top 5 but still captured over twice the member activity of 7th place Mate1, despite being 1/5th its size in visitor traffic.

Competition for the attention (and revenue) from potential daters is fierce, but it appears that consumers like to shop around for the optimal match. In February, the average member at the top 15 online dating services visited nearly three other personals sites in addition to the service they belong to. The chart below illustrates the number of dating services that members visited or logged into during the month of February.

  • While the vast majority of dating site members are loyal to one particular service, 22% showed activity at multiple services.
  • 8% showed member activity at more than three sites.
  • The threshold for dating sites is apparently 10. There was no indication that members were actively involved in more than nine sites in February.

While seasons change and Valentines Day is behind us for another year, the real test will be sustained activity, and keeping members from moving to another service. Looking at the overlap between dating sites, these daters may be loyal to their partners but this doesn’t extend to the dating services themselves.

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