Date me up: A comparison of online dating portals with regards to typical user groups and the classic phases of online dating

Wera Aretz

Despite the popularity of online dating in practice and academic research, there is lack of empirical studies allowing a comparison of online dating platforms. The aim of this study was to compare users of different online dating offers (online dating agencies, online lonely hearts ads, social dating, adult dating, niche providers) and to establish the existence of differences in the classic phases of online dating. Via an online survey with N=143 online dating users (and N=342 non-users) it could be shown that there are differences in the sociodemographic characteristics of the users of different online dating offers. Furthermore, there are differences user motivation, the forms of self-portrayal in the profiles, the identified criteria for choosing “suitable” partners and the types of relationships and contacts which were generated through these platforms. The importance of the presented results are discussed from theoretical and practical perspectives.

Keywords: Online-Dating, comparison of online dating agencies, online dating platforms, social dating, adult dating, niche providers