Online dating industry growth
“One reason why Seeking has done so well is because we are a ‘lifestyle’ dating business.
And sugar daddies or sugar babies tend to be in the dating pool for long periods of time,” he added.
Most generated revenue through a subscription model – typically members will sign up for free, but be charged if they would like to connect to someone’s profile.
Others are entirely free to join and use, but make money through advertising – though this model’s popularity is waning due to the lack of reliability of cashflow.
Some sites also offer extra services, such as buying real and virtual gifts to send your paramour, more in-depth background checks and real-world networking events to boost the coffers.
It’s also interesting to note that the split of male to female members on most of the sites is around the mark, and the number of older daters (those from 50 years of age and up) has become a real growth market.
Looking at it from a financial perspective, its estimated that globally the industry is worth more than £2bn.
“I've had to be really aware of the recession, both in terms of lowering my acquisition costs and the unwillingness of consumers to spend in the UK,” said Andy Hammonds, managing director of Bright Day, which runs a wide portfolio of niche internet dating sites, including Mums Date uk, Christianand uk and 50Up uk.
“I’ve adapted my focus to accruing profit in more affluent dating markets outside the UK, like Australia for instance.
Recession-proof It appears, judging from the responses to Huffington Post UK’s investigation, that internet dating has not been at all affected by the economic crisis and the pressure it’s put on consumers’ pockets.
On the contrary, some of the brands had even witnessed an increase in members as a result of the recession – it’s cheaper to search for love from your laptop at home than it is spending a night in bars and clubs.