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Some sites are completely free and depend on advertising for revenue.
Others utilize the freemium revenue model, offering free registration and use, with optional, paid, premium services.
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.
Further, during this period, the usage among 18- to 24-year-olds tripled, while that among 55- to 65-year-olds doubled.
Such companies offer a wide variety of unmoderated matchmaking services, most of which are profile-based.
Online dating services allow users to become "members" by creating a profile and uploading personal information including (but not limited to) age, gender, sexual orientation, location, and appearance.
However, Sam Yagan describes dating sites as ideal advertising platforms because of the wealth of demographic data made available by users.
In Eastern Europe, popular sites offer full access to messaging and profiles, but provide additional services for pay, such as prioritizing profile position, removing advertisements, and giving paying users access to a more advanced search engine.
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.
Most services offer digital messaging, while others provide additional services such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards.
Members can constrain their interactions to the online space, or they can arrange a date to meet in person.