Online Dating: A Need for Regulation Regardless of Business Model

Online Dating: A Need for Regulation Regardless of Business Model

Margaret Jackson (RMIT University, Australia), Marita Shelly (RMIT University, Australia) and Mohini Singh (RMIT University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9787-4.ch006
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Technology Based Business Models

Based on the economic and social value of the dating service industry, there are two forms of digital dating - online dating and a match making system offered by a provider (Schmitz, 2014). Examples of online dating sites are RSVP.com.au and Match.com and examples of match making systems are eHarmony.com and PerfectMatch.com.

Online dating consists of an individual searching for a potential partner by registering on an online dating site, which is free to use or is subscription based (Schmitz, 2014). As part of this registration, an individual provides detailed personal information, including their location, job, interests and hobbies and salary range as well as the desired characteristics of a potential partner. This profile is then posted online for other users of the site to view (Schmitz, 2014). Online dating allows individuals to browse other profiles and contact other users of the site via a chat service or a short message service. If contact is successful, the individuals exchange messages and may move on to communicating through emails, telephones or face to face meetings (Schmitz, 2014).

Under the match making system, while the registration is similar to the process used by online dating sites, the information provided by the individual is more comprehensive and includes information on the individual’s career, education, lifestyle, personality and religion beliefs (Schmitz, 2014). Then, through an algorithm, this information is used by the provider to find a compatible match based on similar traits (Schmitz, 2014; Blake, 2007).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Self Regulation: In addition to legal regulation, the dating service industry is attempting to self regulate through the establishment of dating associations and the issuing of codes of practice.

Digital Dating: Consists of either online dating or a match making system offered by an online service provider.

Legal Regulation: Digital dating is subject to only limited specific legal regulation, although in most countries general consumer protection laws as well as fraud and theft laws are likely to apply.

Financial Business Models: Two of the most common financial business models used by digital dating sites are the advertising model and the subscription based model. Under the advertising model, the site is free to use as revenue is earned from online advertising and the sale of user’s personal data. Under the subscription based model, sites generally charge users a monthly fee.

Business Models: Consists of financial models and competitive strategy models.

Online Dating: Consists of an individual searching for a potential romantic partner via the internet or a smart phone application.

Online Dating Risks: Types of risk associated with digital or online dating include different types of crimes and scams such as the advance fee scam, deceitful or fake online profiles, fraud by other users, non-consensual behaviour, stalking and unwanted contact.

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