A number of years ago I was retained to provide marketing communications services for a San Diego-based dating site. Good concept, decent funding from private sources, number of stories generated across various media genres. Ultimately, however, it wasn’t enough. Competition was too fierce; site just wasn’t attracting enough eyeballs and the venture folded.
Fast forward to 2015. Buddy of mine asked if I knew of any good dating sites as he was, to quote him, ‘back in the game.’ Told him I hadn’t been following the space for awhile but was curious to see how the industry had evolved.
The dating industry has become huge – $2.2 billion in 2014 according to market research firm IBISWorld; $2.7 billion by 2019. And Pew Research says that of Americans in a committed relationship that have used an online dating site, one in three met online.
Decided to have a little fun so did a bit of research/searching for oddball, offbeat and in some cases, truly weird dating sites. All seem to be flourishing; many have attracted advertising. In short, your future significant other may just be a few clicks away, no matter your fetishes.
So here are a few:
Vampersonals – Still searching for that special undead darling? For those with enlarged incisors, this site’s especially for you. Vampersonals boasts “whether you want to meet others like you for simple recreation and a drink, or find that special someone to shine within the dark for you, come check us! We don’t bite…too hard.” Reckon that drink’s probably red-hued.
Women Behind Bars – This started out as a pen pal site but has grown considerably since then. Looking for that special woman doing 5 to 20 but really don’t want to commit to a long-term relationship? This one’s for you then.
Here’s what one satisfied customer posted on the site:
“I purchased an address in January and have been corresponding with a beautiful, warm, funny, loving woman. This past weekend I finally was able to visit her. She is in Texas and I am in Pennsylvania. Well, this woman is the one. I am planning to have her coming home with me when she is released and then both of us want to have our relationship grow (possible marriage). I am just completely amazed that one letter has turned into a great, although long distance, relationship.”
And advertisers apparently like the site’s traffic. According to Todd Muffoletto, who founded the site, Women Behind Bars offers a banner rotation ad program; he says the site has also been the subject of 11 TV and 197 radio interviews and numerous print/web based articles.
Fat Bastard Dating – This site originated in the United Kingdom and boasts ‘thousands of members.’ Tired of working out to impress a date? Forget about it – exhale and let that paunch out and allow those love handles to reign supreme. In fact, the site says “being a fat bastard doesn’t mean you have to be single forever…the fatter you are, the better as far as the members on this site are concerned. Girls like a guy who has got presence and men love a cuddly lass.” The site also says there’s no obligation to pay until “you’ve found a fat bastard worth contacting.”
Kingsnake After Dark – OK, this one admittedly creeps me out a bit. Billed as a ‘herp-centric dating site’ for snake lovers, Kingsnake After Dark is attracting advertisers, albeit most of them, not surprisingly, are reptilian-centric. The home page has an ad running alongside the site’s main logo for Rodentpro.com®, which offers low prices for mice, rats, rabbits, chicks, and quail – everything you need to keep that seven-foot boa constrictor that lives under your bed well-fed and content.
SaladMatch.com – If you’re a steak and potatoes kinda guy or girl, this site’s probably not for you. But there are obviously a lot of arugula-lovers out there. The Facebook page has more than 11,000 Likes; Twitter followers are approaching 4,000. The site was launched by Just Salad, a New York City chain of salad restaurants/cafes. You can find your salad ‘soul mate’ by listing your favorite salad ingredients.
Whatever tickles your fancy, the online data industry’s convinced there’s someone out there waiting for you.