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Further, during this period, the usage among 18- to 24-year-olds tripled, while that among 55- to 65-year-olds doubled.

Niche sites cater to people with special interests, such as sports fans, racing and automotive fans, medical or other professionals, people with political or religious preferences (e.g., Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc.), people with medical conditions (e.g., HIV , obese), or those living in rural farm communities.

Under this metaphor, members of a given service can both "shop" for potential relationship partners and "sell" themselves in hopes of finding a successful match.

At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38% increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc.

This model also allows users to switch between free and paying status at will, with sites accepting a variety of online currencies and payment options.

Most free dating websites depend on advertising revenue, using tools such as Google Ad Sense and affiliate marketing.

Online dating services allow users to become "members" by creating a profile and uploading personal information including (but not limited to) age, gender, sexual orientation, location, and appearance.

Most services also encourage members to add photos or videos to their profile.

Since advertising revenues are modest compared to membership fees, this model requires a large number of page views to achieve profitability.

However, Sam Yagan describes dating sites as ideal advertising platforms because of the wealth of demographic data made available by users.

It is possible that the mode of online dating resonates with some participants' conceptual orientation towards the process of finding a romantic partner.

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