What makes your dating site tick?

It’s very good timing, when you think about it, holding the iDate super conference at this time of the year. While most of us are still trying to figure how we’re going to do this year differently (after a month has passed us by, already) the powers that be in the world of online dating have had their first of three big pow-wows and thoughts are already turning to 2013, with most of this year’s news either in the pipeline or already done and dusted, it seems, even before we hit Valentine’s Day.

The first of many reports, insights, diagnostics and headlines are already in the editing rooms of the glossies, announcing victories for the best dating site for x, the matchmaking site to watch out for this year is y and the quickest way to get laid is on any one of these three dating sites at point z (or should that be G?).

Beneath all of that glamour and glitz lies the very real truth about dating sites and that those at the top of the pile are not all as loved up with each other as perhaps we were led to believe, going on cruises after the event with one another and toasting the dating industry’s success with a bottle of DP ’59 as they sail off into the sunset together.

Now that the industry is getting on for a global nett worth, according to one report, of $4bn, it has attracted bigger investors than ever before. Attitudes have changed in the business world as well as the real world and online dating is a very sound investment if you’re looking for somewhere to shift your oil and gas stocks to improve your pension realisation fund. And it’s starting to tell.

Not that the larger of the dating sites are short of a few bob. Free online dating service OkCupid was sold to Match.com last year for $90M. Folks – that’s a business that doesn’t charge its membership but relies on advertising for its revenue and it commanded $90M – staggering. Howaboutwe, the quick hook-up dating site that you can carry around on your android and be dating in minutes from wherever you are, has found a quick and easy $15M to fund its growth.

No, the real truth is, as the pie gets bigger, those who are elbow-deep in it already want to dive right in and shovel up as much of that filling as they can.

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