With one in five relationships now beginning online (according to the current eHarmony television ad), the world of internet dating has reached unprecedented levels of popularity. Here is a ranking of the largest online dating sites as measured by the number of members.
The match.com dating site can honestly say it is the largest of the sites, and is by quite a wide margin. Match.com currently boasts that it has over 95,000,000 members. One statistical study estimated that 42% of all online dates are initiated through match.com (Chadwick Martin Bailey study).
These figures should come as no surprised, as match.com has been around for quite some time and requires minimal up front time investment from new members. Simply take a quick questionnaire, upload a couple of photos, and you’re ready to start mingling with just a few minutes worth of work.
EHarmony, which is in many ways the antithesis of the match.com approach, comes in at #2 with an estimated 33,000,000 lifetime registrants. Though one third the size of match.com’s figure, the eHarmony total member number is impressive given how much more up front time and effort is required. Potential users must be prepared to complete an exhaustive personality profile then wait for the system to match them with others in their area.
And don’t let the Chadwick Martin Bailey study mislead you in to assuming that match.com is the most successful online dating service. Just because a date is initiated, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great match. Match.com may just be more successful at appealing to recreational and serial daters than eHarmony is.
#3. Mate 1 Intimate Dating
It’s unequivocally certain that match.com leads in market share, followed by eHarmony. Exactly who holds the current bronze medal is difficult to determine simply because nobody can agree on the metric, and even if they did, it’s unlikely that companies would accurately disclose it. Do you judge them by lifetime members? currently active members? numbers of dates initiated? Each measure has some strengths and weaknesses to it.
Nonetheless, it’s likely that the current third place title is held by mate1.com. You might say that Mate 1 is a bit more of a niche market. They advertise themselves as an “intimate dating” site, featuring “open minded” adults. Translation, they trend toward the more sexually promiscuous. Mate1.com’s web site boasts a current membership of roughly 15,000,000.
Of all the services mentioned on this list, plentyoffish.com is the only one that offers some service for free (aside from free trial periods), and probably has the fewest barriers to entry. The site is predicated upon personality testing, but also functions in a profile style similar to what you would see with match.com.
The size of the plentyoffish.com online dating service is difficult to estimate. The site boasts that it has 135 million monthly visitors, but that language could be synonymous with site hits, not membership. It claims that 15 million people have taken their personality test.
Chemistry.com is match’s answer to eHarmony. Less serious and conservative in its overall advertising style, chemistry.com nonetheless relies on “scientifically sound” personality profiling that it then uses to match you up to others who you are likely to be compatible with. While eHarmony has Dr. Neil Clark Warren, chemistry.com has Dr. Helen Fisher.
The site currently boasts that it has over 8 million lifetime members.
Match.com “About us” http://www.match.com/help/aboutus.aspx?lid=4. Accessed 10/31/2010.
“Online Dating: Recent Trends 2009-2010.” Chadwick Martin Bailey. http://cp.match.com/cppp/media/CMB_Study.pdf. Accessed 10/31/2010.
EHarmony. http://www.eharmony.com/. Accessed 10/31/2010.
Mate1.com “About us” http://www.mate1.com/nw/about. Accessed 10/31/2010.
Chemistry.com “About us.” http://www.chemistry.com/help/about.aspx. Accessed 10/31/2010.
Plentyoffish.com http://www.plentyoffish.com/. Personality test: http://www.plentyoffish.com/poftest.aspx. Accessed 10/31/2010.