“Finding a soul mate can cost you.” As the data breach of the adultery website, Ashley Madison.com, has shown, online dating doesn’t come cheap — in terms of monthly fees and, in extreme cases, public embarrassment and lawyer’s fees in divorce court.Hackers alleged late Tuesday that they had dumped account details and log-in information of around 32 million users of the website, revealing millions of street addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and credit-card details.
At the two biggest subscription-based sites in the U.
S., ($42 a month) and e Harmony ($60 a month), users can save by signing on for, say, a six-month bundle ($24 per month and $40 per month, respectively).
And some sites, like Plentyof and Ok Cupid, offer basic membership for free.
But most subscription sites automatically renew until the customer cancels, and those fees can add up.
Indeed, for online purveyors of love, business is booming.
While people used to meet mostly through friends, says Reuben J.Thomas, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Mexico, “that’s been sharply on the decline since the advent of the Internet.” The dating industry is now worth about .4 billion, with revenue split between advertising and subscription services, up revenue up around 5% per year, according to a report by research firm IBISWorld.Of that, around .1 billion is from online dating, 6 million is from mobile apps such as Grindr and Tinder, and the rest is made up mainly of matchmakers and singles events.So perhaps it should come as no surprise that as the popularity of online dating has risen, so have prices.A decade ago, many sites were free or had minimal fees of around a month.(charged .95 per month when it launched in 1995.) e Harmony, launched in 2000 and marketed toward people seeking long-term relationships, blazed a trail with its prices, charging some of the highest in the industry, says Mark Brooks, a dating-industry analyst and the editor of Online Personals Watch.