Singles Suffer in Online Dating War

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Obscure dating sites often offer more for singles, but they remain unknown because they canÂ?t compete with other sites backed by huge bankrolls.

A war is being waged on the Internet for dominance of the online dating world and surfers are caught in between. It’s being fought by behemoths, wielding grotesque marketing budgets that seem to hold the market captive, and countless other smaller sites that are looking to gain a foothold on the field of battle. Some of these smaller dating sites have come to fight and have prepared very well.

“When you think of dating sites, portals like Lavalife, Match and eHarmony inevitably come to mind, in many cases because they have huge marketing budgets to work with,” said Doug Glazebrook, editor of (, which independently reviews and ranks online dating sites. “Other companies can outshine the heavyweights and provide thriving communities for singles, often at less cost to the consumer. However, finding them isn’t always easy.”

As examples, Glazebrook points to two dating sites that achieved the highest marks under Cupid’s review criteria. Casual Kiss, a five-year-old Toronto-based dating site, and Love Match, which was originally a chat site, both outscored a field of industry giants.

“When I first saw (the) review of my site, I was shocked,” said Jeff Mayhew, owner of “Competing in the online dating market used to be really easy. But in the last two years it has gotten a lot harder. So many dating sites come to the market with huge budgets and little knowledge.”

Mayhew says LoveMatch has been around for five years and he’s seen many dating sites disappear. The return on advertising revenue is slim so he’s been forced to take a cautious approach. LoveMatch spends about $30 a month on advertising, relying heavily on top lists and smaller sources of traffic to populate the site. Jordan Ravka, owner of, said he spends about $50 a month on marketing. Then there are companies like, which recently sent a press release advertising its need for an ad sales company to manage a multi-million dollar advertising budget. This can put pressure on sites that have a lot to offer but are missing the financial firepower to make such a big impression.

“In all honesty, I have no idea how people find out about CasualKiss,” said Ravka. “We charge about five times less than our competitors, therefore we will never be able to spend as much to acquire new customers.”

Charging less and providing more for consumers seems like a decent way for smaller companies to compete, but not all practice this approach. There can be many differences between dating sites, and in this market, like any other, it pays for the buyer to beware.

“We’ve reviewed over 70 dating sites and you’d be surprised how unique each one can be,” said Glazebrook. “Obviously, there are many that don’t stack up, but there’s a lot of value out there that if you know where to look.”

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Doug Glazebrook


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