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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.

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.

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.

Online dating (or Internet dating) is a system that enables people 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.

Still others rely solely on paid membership subscriptions.

Opinions and usage of online dating services also differ widely.

Other sites target highly specific demographics based on features like shared interests, location, religion, sexual orientation or relationship type.

Online dating services also differ widely in their revenue streams.

A 2005 study of data collected by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that individuals are more likely to use an online dating service if they use the Internet for a greater number of tasks, and less likely to use such a service if they are trusting of others.

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