A great diversity of online dating services currently exists.

Some have a broad membership base of diverse users looking for many different types of relationships.

Such sites earn revenue from a mix of advertising and sale of additional options.

This model also allows users to switch between free and paying status at will, with sites accepting a variety of online currencies and payment options.

Over 50% of research participants in a 2011 study did not view online dating as a dangerous activity, whereas 43% thought that online dating involved risk.

Because online dating takes place in virtual space, it is possible for profile information to be misrepresented or falsified.

Profiles created by real humans also have the potential to be problematic.

For example, online dating sites may expose more female members in particular to stalking, fraud, and sexual violence by online predators.

That is, online dating sites use the conceptual framework of a "marketplace metaphor" to help people find potential matches, with layouts and functionalities that make it easy to quickly browse and select profiles in a manner similar to how one might browse an online store.

Under this metaphor, members of a given service can both "shop" for potential relationship partners and "sell" themselves in hopes of finding a successful match.

Online dating (or Internet dating) is a system that enables strangers to find and introduce themselves to new personal connections over the Internet, usually with the goal of developing personal, romantic, or sexual relationships.

An online dating service is a company that provides specific mechanisms (generally websites or applications) for online dating through the use of Internet-connected personal computers or mobile devices.

The 2016 Pew Research Center's survey reveals that the usage of online dating sites by American adults increased from 9% in 2013, to 12% in 2015.