Starting a Dating Website

57 replies
Does anyone have experience trying to start a dating website? I have an idea for one that's different than all the existing ones but I understand it is a very competitive market.

I guess the main question is, for any site that requires a community (like a dating website), how do you attract an audience when there is no existing audience to interact with? In other words, the reason people join facebook is because everyone else is already on there. How do you attract the first core of people who don't mind joining an empty site?
#dating #starting #website
  • Profile picture of the author KingRoyal
    Well attracting a core of active members is a trick at hand that is not learned easily. You have hundreds of not thousands of dating websites, and most get their core members by tapping onto a shared database of users such as Eharmoney,match.com, and others. I guess you should run some serious ad compaigns promoting whatever you claim makes your dating service different than the others.
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    • Profile picture of the author izzyfoshizzy
      Originally Posted by KingMighty View Post

      Well attracting a core of active members is a trick at hand that is not learned easily. You have hundreds of not thousands of dating websites, and most get their core members by tapping onto a shared database of users such as Eharmoney,match.com, and others. I guess you should run some serious ad compaigns promoting whatever you claim makes your dating service different than the others.
      How do you tap into these shared databases?
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    This is not a profitable market... not unless you're doing something truly unique.
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    • Profile picture of the author izzyfoshizzy
      Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

      This is not a profitable market... not unless you're doing something truly unique.
      Why do you say that Ron? I have heard it is extremely profitable. Just because its competitive doesn't mean its not profitable.
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      • Profile picture of the author ronrule
        Originally Posted by izzyfoshizzy View Post

        Why do you say that Ron? I have heard it is extremely profitable. Just because its competitive doesn't mean its not profitable.
        Sure, it's profitable for the big players, and you might be able to make a few bucks as an affiliate for some of those big players, but most of the dating sites you see don't have a single user. They scrape profiles from the big sites and then run their own ads so it looks like they have a successful dating site. It's all about driving clicks.

        Your question implies that you actually want to RUN one, the right way, but since you aren't sure how to get users to sign up I'd suggest maybe sticking to something less competitive. If you don't have a way to get users signed up, then my guess is you haven't thought of something unique enough to give them a reason to.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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        Originally Posted by izzyfoshizzy View Post

        Just because its competitive doesn't mean its not profitable.
        It doesn't prove that it isn't profitable, no ... but in reality it does significantly reduce the chances of it turning out to be profitable for each specific person venturing into it.

        http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post7755115
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    • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
      Originally Posted by izzyfoshizzy View Post

      Does anyone have experience trying to start a dating website? I have an idea for one that's different than all the existing ones but I understand it is a very competitive market.

      I guess the main question is, for any site that requires a community (like a dating website), how do you attract an audience when there is no existing audience to interact with? In other words, the reason people join facebook is because everyone else is already on there. How do you attract the first core of people who don't mind joining an empty site?
      Are you talking about a dating website like Match.com?

      RoD

      Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

      This is not a profitable market... not unless you're doing something truly unique.
      I've been in this market for a decade, in over a dozen different sub-niches under the dating umbrella, so I'd have to disagree with you. Yes, it's hotly competitive and it's not easy to get started, but it's definitely profitable.

      And you don't have to be a "big player" to do it either.

      RoD
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      • Profile picture of the author izzyfoshizzy
        Originally Posted by Rod Cortez View Post

        Are you talking about a dating website like Match.com?

        RoD

        I've been in this market for a decade, in over 6 different sub-niches under the dating umbrella, so I'd have to disagree with you. Yes, it's hotly competitive and it's not easy to get started, but it's definitely profitable.

        And you don't have to be a "big player" to do it either.

        RoD

        Yes, a dating website like match, eharmony, etc but with a different twist.

        I agree with you that just because its competitive doesn't mean its not profitable. Maybe most people don't profit, but if you execute properly and see success, it appears to be very profitable.

        How did you gather your initial users on your sites?
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        • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
          Originally Posted by izzyfoshizzy View Post

          Yes, a dating website like match, eharmony, etc but with a different twist.

          I agree with you that just because its competitive doesn't mean its not profitable. Maybe most people don't profit, but if you execute properly and see success, it appears to be very profitable.

          How did you gather your initial users on your sites?
          I've never done a membership dating website like Match.com because you need a lot of registered / free members in the beginning to make it work. My dating websites are mostly informational websites.

          A ton of people have thought up of dating websites like Match.com but with a different USP / twist. But they usually fall flat on their face because they miss out on very important fact:

          The website still has to appeal to a large enough audience to give your business model traction.

          If the website has too narrow of a focus, you're not going to get enough members and the site will never reach critical mass.

          You can go free like the Plenty Of Fish model, but you still need to get people to the website and have them register for free (initially). And the ways to do that are numerous.

          RoD
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          • Profile picture of the author izzyfoshizzy
            Originally Posted by Rod Cortez View Post

            I've never done a membership dating website like Match.com because you need a lot of registered / free members in the beginning to make it work. My dating websites are mostly informational websites.

            A ton of people have thought up of dating websites like Match.com but with a different USP / twist. But they usually fall flat on their face because they miss out on very important fact:

            The website still has to appeal to a large enough audience to give you traction.

            If the website has too narrow of a focus, you're not going to get enough members and the site will never reach critical mass.

            You can go free like the Plenty Of Fish model, but you still need to get people to the website and have them register for free (initially).

            RoD

            although my idea is a different twist, it doesn't narrow the focus of a dating website. it still appeals to a large and broad audience, just as match, eharmony POF, etc. i was thinking of putting together a low cost, basic version of what i wanted to try and make it free for everyone like POF. having it be free probably increases the likelihood people may register and give it a try, but i still fear that people will see an empty site and never come back.

            putting together a beta site and testing it out isn't very expensive. spreading the word and marketing it is. i'd appreciate your input since you're experienced in this market
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    • Profile picture of the author datingworld
      Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

      This is not a profitable market... not unless you're doing something truly unique.
      I have to totally disagree with you. Dating is very profitable industry, and you dont need to do something unique to make money out of it.
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  • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
    Originally Posted by izzyfoshizzy View Post

    How do you attract the first core of people who don't mind joining an empty site?
    Dating sites are populated with fake profiles for the most part. I did a lot of research into this, four or five years ago.

    For example, one "white label" site I looked into offered 30,000 profiles to choose from to start your site. They send out fake messages, create fake profile views, etc.

    If I were you, I would look into affiliate opportunities for existing sites. They generally pay pretty well.

    Starting one from scratch would be tough.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheFury
      Originally Posted by RogueOne View Post

      Dating sites are populated with fake profiles for the most part. I did a lot of research into this, four or five years ago.

      For example, one "white label" site I looked into offered 30,000 profiles to choose from to start your site. They send out fake messages, create fake profile views, etc.

      If I were you, I would look into affiliate opportunities for existing sites. They generally pay pretty well.

      Starting one from scratch would be tough.
      Yes, you can start it that way, but the majority of profiles on established sites are not fake. I think the main issue is you probably need considerable capital to do this. I looked into it but decided to go ebook/content route as the capital I am willing to invest which is probably very substantial compared to most of the posts I see on here was still not nearly enough that I would be able to launch anything good.
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  • Profile picture of the author izzyfoshizzy
    I do think I can put together something unique that stands out from the crowd. But the fake profiles and difficulty attracting the early core audience concerns me. It makes you wonder how all these huge social networks and dating websites got started. It's kind of amazing actually
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  • Profile picture of the author DateinaDash
    I would suggest going more into the dating events side of things, much more money to be made as opposed to the online dating model which is highly competitive and unless you truly come up with something original will be hard to break into.
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  • Profile picture of the author trade4861
    Start a site where woman are free to join. Make men pay if they want to send messages to woman. Nothing wrong with creating fake profiles to start with. Once a man signs up (free) use one of the user woman profiles to send the man a message. Men fall for that crap all the time. They then sign up and pay to respond to the woman. Trick is making your woman user profiles believable. Match the looks of the woman to the man. Lean to make believable messages. I think it would work great if you can get just a little traffic.
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    • Profile picture of the author New Comer
      Originally Posted by trade4861 View Post

      Start a site where woman are free to join. Make men pay if they want to send messages to woman. Nothing wrong with creating fake profiles to start with. Once a man signs up (free) use one of the user woman profiles to send the man a message. Men fall for that crap all the time. They then sign up and pay to respond to the woman. Trick is making your woman user profiles believable. Match the looks of the woman to the man. Lean to make believable messages. I think it would work great if you can get just a little traffic.
      LOL....

      go to hell my nikka
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      dope

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    • Profile picture of the author kpmedia
      Originally Posted by trade4861 View Post

      Nothing wrong with creating fake profiles to start with. Once a man signs up (free) use one of the user woman profiles to send the man a message. Men fall for that crap all the time. They then sign up and pay to respond to the woman. Trick is making your woman user profiles believable. Match the looks of the woman to the man. Lean to make believable messages. I think it would work great if you can get just a little traffic.
      Disgusting.

      Not only is it unethical, it can get you sued.
      Worse yet, you screw with the hearts and minds of single men.
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      • Profile picture of the author MarioKing
        I think thats a little strong as a newbie for now I have the rules fresh in my mind haha and if it makes money it makes money , however it not everyone's cup of tea and neither mine - I liek the fact that it piggybacks off the work of eharmany and the other matchmakers
        Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post

        Disgusting.

        Not only is it unethical, it can get you sued.
        Worse yet, you screw with the hearts and minds of single men.
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    That's your advice? Make a fake dating site and scam guys out of their money?

    I've been married for 10 years, glad the online dating craze was still considered "something weirdo's did" when I was dating and wasn't so mainstream like it is now... I would hate to be a single guy with friends like you.
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  • Profile picture of the author DateinaDash
    Whilst the above might work this surely comes down to morals, you are creating a fake website where you are conning your members. Long-term they will not renew their memberships as they will soon realise that these females are not genuine.
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  • Profile picture of the author trade4861
    Lol, ok so not ethical at all. But how many dating sites are ethical... maybe 3
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  • Profile picture of the author izzyfoshizzy
    I never planned to create fake accounts and send fake messages, etc. The whole purpose is to deliver real value to people. Plus creating all that fakeness seems to be a lot of pointless work. However, it does appear to be the norm. I think I read somewhere even Reddit admitted they used a bunch of fake users in the beginning.

    It's the usual dilemma for any social website. How do you attract people into an empty room and get them to stay so their presence attracts more people? Imagine being the owner of an empty club and trying to get people off the street to be the first ones in. Probably would be very difficult. If it was a packed club, there'd be a line out the door of people waiting hours to have the honor of paying to get in.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ertgy
      Here is my take on this as I have often thought of starting a similar site. Start locally. Even if you had 1000 members sign up and they are geographically distant from one another (different country, state or city), the site would be useless. However, if you have 1000 members sign up within the same community or city, if could be very beneficial. Creating a service that is beneficial to its user is what it's all about right?

      What I would do is first set up your website. I would then arrange mixers such as singles night, speed dating etc. Try to be creative and make sure you target a certain age group for each event. Advertise in local papers, bars, clubs, facebook, etc. Each person that you get signed up for one of these mixers will need to create a profile on your website. You will have to work with local bars, clubs and restaurants to allow you to host events there. This should not be a problem as you are bringing them paying customers.. .hopefully.

      Do this until you are well established within your community or city and then expand to the next city. Eventually you will have enough real members signed up in a geographical location in which you can work to expand.

      Keyword is "work". Like any business, online or not, it takes a great effort to succeed.

      Anyway, best of luck and I do believe this is a profitable area but it will take a lot of work to succeed.
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  • Profile picture of the author kencalhn
    hey start a dating site for internet marketers, lol. i can see the "upsells" (first to second date), "continuity" (marriage proposals), "backends" (there's a joke in there somewhere). .. and the rest of it
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  • Profile picture of the author ToniMaltano
    The dating niche is responsible for a big part of my business these days. It is
    definately profitable but depending on what exactly you are planning to do, it
    can be really competitve as the others already mentioned.

    But if you are passionate about something, consistend and disciplined you can
    achieve a lot of things, even becoming a big player like match.com. It might
    take some time though, but this is one of the things were investing a lot of
    effort can be really rewarding, espescially in the dating niche.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sharpay
    The best way would be to go with someplace like whitelabeldating.com. They already have a database of members, and you basically become an affiliate. Each member you refer becomes "yours" and when they get premium or other upgrades you get a commission for it. But you're able to personalize it, so if you their "gaming" niche memberlist, it'd be the same members that every single gaming-niche site from whitelabeldating's affiliate network, but the site would be branded with your particular theme.
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  • Profile picture of the author brentb
    Here is the deal:

    1. You cannot start a dating website without paying for lots of marketing. The rate users leave an almost empty site is very fast, you need to be pushing in new users FASTER! Impossible with SEO, being completely FREE isn't going to help either. You will need to drop bucks on marketing. Once you have users, then you can cool it down, you now have a sustainable site.

    2. See 1 above.

    There isn't much else to say other than that. So I suggest you only go for it if you are going to pay for marketing. If you are, I can get you tons of cheap and active users. See sig to reach out.
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  • Profile picture of the author PaulBaker
    Yep, sharpay and brentb are on the money.

    You either go whitelabel or you spend the bucks on marketing.

    If you have the marketing budget, start in one local area and spread out from there. You can often get a lot more mileage advertising offline than online too.
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  • Profile picture of the author m00d
    Giving away my secrets....Check out these guys: datingfactory.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Sara F
    if you start from scratch right now, I don't think it is a good idea. Because it is a highly competitive niche where people will have to join in your site. Making people join an empty dating site is a tough thing to do. But every big people will have to do this too, so you should find out how they do this. I suggest you to create a fake profile and find a way to increase your traffic, the traffic doesn't have to targeted because dating niche have a very general audience.
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  • Profile picture of the author mshajid
    Definetely you were chose a correct and best niche in online to make money, By the way competition is still tough to rank indeed if you try to rank it perhaps you could earn more than $1000 per day indeed. From Dating "POF" is the best.(Plenty Of Fish)
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  • Profile picture of the author kylenelson24
    Dating sites are a dime a dozen these days.

    Got to find a super specific niche like "LGBT Site for entrepreneurs" or something super specific. Otherwise there simply is to much competition.

    The market is super profitable because the big companies like match, eharmony, cupid, etc do a lot of marketing for you explaining to the public on how well online dating works. Just find the right niche!
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  • Profile picture of the author amir55
    The popularity of online dating has significantly increased, making it a common choice for daters of all ages. However, as more and more people join the world of online dating, the competition for potential dates also increases.For starting and set up a dating website,you need various dating softwares and dating script with hosting plan.By using various dating softwares,you can add profiles in your dating site,audio chat,instant messanger,Upload photos and create albums,online message,Chat online with other users,See each others on webcams,Upload audios and videos etc.You can get all things from single professional placeDating Software, Dating Script, Free Templates, and Profiles for your onlinedating website business solution
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  • Profile picture of the author vishwa
    Starting a Dating Business is Not a Easy task, because there are lots of Established sites and the competition is too much high.
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  • Profile picture of the author ReferralCandy
    This is one of those things where- if you have to ask a forum for advice, you're probably screwed, because you'll have to REALLY know your stuff in order to even have half of a fighting chance.

    You need to know your audience inside out, and you'll need to find a way to get their interest. We can give you generic advice like "start a blog and write about things that are interesting and relevant to your audience", but that isn't likely to be very helpful to you.

    You should really do your research- how did all the existing dating sites start out? What is it about existing dating sites that you're not satisfied with, that you believe you can deliver? What works and what doesn't? YOU'LL have to know this stuff inside out- you can't ask other people about it! And we can't do your research for you, either. Read up about all the sites on Wikipedia. Hang out on their forums and ask people what they're dissatisfied with.

    This is a hell of an uphill battle though. There are bound to be hundreds of people smarter and more talented and better-connected than you who're working on the same problem. I'll bet that we'll see a top engineer from Facebook or Google break away to start his/her own dating site, and they'll naturally get a lot of media attention...

    You're better off focusing on littler problems, until you really, really, REALLY know what you're doing.
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  • Profile picture of the author adamprattler
    probably craigslist marketing would do well to gain new members
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Oh yes, I have some experience. There is still some room. Look at dating simulator games. Most are known as dating sims. I made a lot of money. Took me six months to create the gaming engine. After that it was easy. Basically, these games draw in a certain crowd of men. There are many expenses. For example, creating the graphics and music.

    Still, it is a worthwhile niche to be in. Most of us know that these games pull the audience in. Competition will no doubt increase. Still, there are many niches and sub niches in the dating sim arena.

    I make sure that my games are PG to prevent trouble, but many of these games fall into a gray zone. Better to be safe than sorry. Currently many web hosts frown on games. This is due to high bandwidth use as well as processor power.
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  • Profile picture of the author jeffsolochek
    Originally Posted by izzyfoshizzy View Post

    Does anyone have experience trying to start a dating website? I have an idea for one that's different than all the existing ones but I understand it is a very competitive market.

    I guess the main question is, for any site that requires a community (like a dating website), how do you attract an audience when there is no existing audience to interact with? In other words, the reason people join facebook is because everyone else is already on there. How do you attract the first core of people who don't mind joining an empty site?
    Hey,

    First contact or look at her site, maybe do a search on her and read some of her stuff is Rosalind Gardner. I believe she got her start with dating sites. For a site like this you will need a lot of traffic. Try using Facebook and Youtube and other similar sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomerep
    Sure it is a profitable niche but you should plan how create that site unique from the existing dating sites. You should come up with unique ideas that will stand out from the rest.
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  • Profile picture of the author aurettemag
    i think that niche is saturated
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    • Profile picture of the author Simon Farmer
      In my opinion these days one of the best ways to ensure success with a dating site is to ensure it goes viral.

      I have a (kind of) dating site in development and the way it is set up makes it impossible for it not to grow virally.

      I'm sorry I can't tell you more than that but I don't want to give the whole idea away.

      Just be creative.

      Viral is the key
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  • Profile picture of the author tacitinc
    I would not waste your time on the niche bro - so much more $$ to be made in unsaturated markets why even waste the time or $$ ? I feel like dating sites are so 01'
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  • Profile picture of the author neib
    well if you are searching a dating site builder then this will help you a lot. Most people are really active in dating through online and this dating site helps u build your own site according to your requirements and yes this is affordable too.

    Hope this will you.
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  • Profile picture of the author IggyRay
    I would stay away from generic website builders especially in a vertical niche as you'll end up with a site similar to 100 of other sites in your specific niche.

    if you really want to create a business and not just some fly by night money maker ( at best ) I would go for a custom design and graphics.

    on a different but related note - Dating Portals are a very saturated market - it's very hard to compete with the big players and I think that without having a really distinct USP and a big advertising budget it would be almost impossible to get the impact needed to get this venture off the ground...
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  • Profile picture of the author Cason
    Use fake profiles... really.

    If you're providing value I don't see how using fake profiles to kickstart the website is unethical at all. Like a club owner mass inviting friends to make it look like that the club is popular, it enhances the experience for everyone.

    My biggest advice is to niche down! Focus on a small specific group of people (dont try to be the next match or POF, that can come later AFTER you've conquered a subniche within the dating market)
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  • Profile picture of the author misnad
    Banned
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  • Profile picture of the author MrJonny
    Originally Posted by izzyfoshizzy View Post

    Does anyone have experience trying to start a dating website? I have an idea for one that's different than all the existing ones but I understand it is a very competitive market.

    I guess the main question is, for any site that requires a community (like a dating website), how do you attract an audience when there is no existing audience to interact with? In other words, the reason people join facebook is because everyone else is already on there. How do you attract the first core of people who don't mind joining an empty site?
    I guess you will need to provide an incentive to attract genuine users or find a creative way to reach that audience.
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  • Profile picture of the author royalgalaxy
    best is keep ads on facebook and select each and every country... then in a matter of time you will have millions of people registered on ur site
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  • Profile picture of the author kencalhn
    i thought it might be a good niche for my wife to start a business in, years ago, til I found out:

    a) unless you're super micro-niched it's too hard to compete against big multi-million dollar dating sites, who have a legion of affiliates and Very deep pockets for ad spends

    b) liability concerns, about what if someone gets attacked from someone they met on your site?
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    • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
      Originally Posted by kencalhn View Post

      i thought it might be a good niche for my wife to start a business in, years ago, til I found out:

      a) unless you're super micro-niched it's too hard to compete against big multi-million dollar dating sites, who have a legion of affiliates and Very deep pockets for ad spends

      b) liability concerns, about what if someone gets attacked from someone they met on your site?
      The niche itself is solid. Though I agree with you as far as dating match-making websites go. You need the budget of an eHarmony or the savvy marketing of POF to really make a go at it.

      Which is why most marketers I know creating marketing funnels and send their traffic to CPA offers. It's a lot less of a headache.

      RoD
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  • Profile picture of the author murphyy
    Hi , thank you for asking this question and here you find lot of answers and all are described their own views.In my point of view online dating sites are getting more popular this days with all ages of people.Come to the point of members attracting.I have noticed that yahoo is giving ad of online dating and even i have tried to create account on it .Many online dating site are promoting their site with ad campaign.So it is all about ad and site likes yahoo are giving lots of online dating ads.You can use ad campaign or PPC for getting great number of User.Also you can go for fake account with different ip addresses for attracting the online visitors to show the members number of your site, but i don't know is this trick is 100% risk free or not.
    Thanks
    Murphyy


    start your own dating site
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  • Profile picture of the author xanadux666
    Just reading this thread, I agree it's hard to try and launch the new match.com without a huge advertising budget.

    To make money you have to think niche, even micro niche, launch a few websites (it just cost the price of a domain name) and see which work.

    If anyone is interested, I have a pdf 'course' on how to setup dating websites and generate free, profitable, social media traffic to them.

    PM me
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  • Profile picture of the author Fazal Mayar
    Dating business is very hot and I think it's the second niche I would target after IM or Weight loss.
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    Blogger at RicherOrNot.com (Make Money online blog but also promoting ethical internet marketing)

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  • Profile picture of the author jeffsolochek
    Make the site a free site but then charge for upgrades. By upgrades I mean for chat, or for certain features like to see when a message you send to a lady is read by the lady. Look apof dot com and okcupid dot com
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    Jeff Solochek
    http://www.jeffreysolochek.com/blog
    http://www.networkcelebrity.com

    I also build blogs for companies and individuals

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  • Profile picture of the author brettb
    I built a dating site last year. It makes some cash, but it's a hard industry these days. If you can't build the site yourself then you'll be looking at spending $2-3000 before you make a cent of it back. And there's ongoing maintenance, marketing and keeping off the scammers.
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