How The World Of Internet Dating Has Changed

Internet dating is often the butt of cheap jokes, but there are millions of Australians registered with online dating services. Given that we already do almost everything else online, has online dating finally lost its stigma?

I had a catch-up chat yesterday with the founders of dating service Oasis, which takes the relatively unusual approach of offering a free service rather than charging fees to users. Founders Dave Heysen and Daniel Haigh had previously developed subscription-based dating services, but changed to a model where advertising, rather than member signups, paid the bills. They also placed an emphasis on real-time communication and allowing people to meet as many people as possible, arguing that it was more important to draw from a wide pool than to attempt to match on a highly specific series of profile requirements.

Oasis has around 1.2 million members locally, and one trend Heysen has noticed is that the average user age is younger than with other sites. He also sees it as a much more acceptable activity for most people:

These days it’s part and parcel of what you do. You check your mail, you check your Facebook, you check your dating.

Obviously anyone running an online dating service is hardly going to argue that they’re a refuge for the cheap and desperate, but that seems like a reasonable observation to me. If you’ve exhausted the potential dating pool of people your friends and colleagues know, then looking online seems like a logical next step. What do you think?


  • What do I think; Why not?

    Not so much for the free services, but the paid ones imply a certain level of seriousness when looking for that elusive ‘click’.

    My experience with paid services is that people are generally more picky as they are being really honest with themselves rather than basing their decisions on “She looks hot”, or “He’ll do for now”.

    That is of course not to say that free services don’t hold their own place on the dating scene – 1.2 million users isn’t a small number!

  • A few dating sites now are offering Facebook link ups – and while I don’t think it is as bad these days to be ‘internet’ dating it’s also not something that you want to be advertising to your friendslist thats what your doing ( especially when you start adding people you meet there to your fb as part of the ‘getting to know you process/ stalking their photo albumns for real pics’
    Waiting for FB to add a real dating modual to the site. Eg singles in your local area that share the same interests, then it will be more socially acceptable to tell the world.

  • I joined a free one years ago (OKcupid – I’ve heard it’s gone downhill since) and met my wife. She’s American and I’m Australian. We have now been married for over 4 years, have bought a house together and life could not be better.

  • Maybe I’m a freak of nature, but when I was totally honest on the eHarmony survey (they did a free promotional period recently) their expert system was “unable to find a match for me”.

    So maybe I’m an unmatchable weirdo, or everybody lies on their profile :–P. Tried RSVP – nuttin. Now on OasisActive and I’m having slightly better luck – since the barrier to contacting people is almost non-existent, it seems to work better.

    • I got hit with that also, and I would consider myself to be within a loosely defined realm of “normal”.

      eHarmony seem to purposely withhold matches so it can trickle feed them to you. Maybe you have more waiting for you now it’s been a little while..?

  • I think if you do not try online dating you are really limiting yourself. The whole perfect match idea I do not think that works sometimes it is the imperfect match that is the best.

  • I’m another very happy ex-online dating customer (RSVP)

    In my late 30s as a single Dad, where all my friends were married, I found it really hard. A few years ago I met my fiancee on RSVP and couldn’t be happier (wedding in October) were it not for the online dating we’d have never met, there’s just no overlap in our social circles.

    I hve to agree with @Jess, a small fee improves the signal to noise ratio.

  • I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe the 1.2 million figure quoted. In a country of 21 million people, after taking out children, married people, people in a relationship, elderly people no longer interested in dating, celibate people, priests, nuns, etc, etc I simply can’t accept that so many people would be subscribed to one dating site.
    This leads me to suspect that there must be a lot of people there who are married or in a relationship, or have more than one profile. Either way, I’m not dating them! Also, I am aware that some dating sites have been prosecuted for creating bogus profiles, and using them to generate income for the site.
    My anecdotal history of membership on multiple websites for 4 years seems to support this theory.
    Seriously folks, meeting people in the real world is not that hard. Just join an activity that you have a genuine interest in. If you like to sing, join a community choir. If you ride a motorcycle join a motorcycle club. If you are vegetarian, join Animal Liberation. You get the idea!
    One huge bonus…. the ratio of Axe Murderers to potential life partners is a LOT LOWER!

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