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In addition, income increasingly comes from add-on services such as text messaging (with RSVP.ie, this can be done directly from one's PC, adding a small revenue stream for Esat BT), real-world singles events with paid admission or, in the case of Match.com, letting a subscriber pay extra to receive emails even from people who aren't subscribers.

Nonetheless, though dating has been a solid market for several years - has been around since 1995 - internationally, it's less rosy now than before.

The key revenue stream for dating sites comes from getting site users to become subscribers.

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She believes the industry will now begin to consolidate - and says the company might be interested in acquiring existing Irish sites in future to strengthen its position in this market.On the other hand, there's no denying that a dating service won't have the most stable user base, given that the whole point is to meet somebody and stop using the service, at least for a stretch of time.You can do almost anything online these days: Check a bank balance, buy shoes, choose a mattress, order a cab.So when Roberta Caploe was ready to start dating again after a divorce, she didn’t ask her friends to fix her up or feel the need to frequent bars or health clubs.“It was—unbelievably—not a crazy experience.” Online dating has certainly lost its lonely-hearts stigma.

Just look at how many people seeking dates or mates are flocking to matchmaking sites and apps.

Then, memberships are structured to nudge subscribers towards a longer commitment at a lower cost.

For example, charges €24.95 for a single month's subscription, but half that monthly if you commit to six months.

Local services and content will win out over global services, especially when it comes to something like dating," he says.

In contrast, Ms Bedford states that one of Match.com's strengths is its ability to both tailor sites to local populations, and to offer a global service - meaning a large nearby UK dating market on the Irish doorstep.

Growth has been doubling every year for the two big rivals in this area, - which has just arrived in Ireland as a partner site on Microsoft's portal site - and Yahoo Personals. In fact, online dating has been such good business that even in a small place like Ireland, the discerning single can find a proliferation of local to global sites: from the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaker site ( to ( from Ireland.com's new service ( to Maybe Friends ( and Irish Soulmates (