The cost of finding
and valentines, boxes of chocolates and sexy lingerie, that warm and fuzzy feeling
you get when you meet that special someone ... ah, love. But how do you find that
It's not easy. And, admitting that we
need help finding love and companionship isn't a snap either. Many of the nation's
singles are taking advantage of dating services to help them in their quest.
are working long hours, some with children, and they don't have the time or the
opportunity to meet people," says Mary Ann Siersdale, co-founder and president
of a personalized dating service, Lunch Couples Company.
these uncertain times, people value sharing their lives with someone," she
But, how do you find that someone special with limited
resources and a busy schedule?
"It's gotten harder and
harder to meet the right person," notes Trish McDermott, vice president for
romance at Match.com.
"Bars and nightclubs don't seem
to be the right environment."
Matchmaking has been around for over 300 years, says
Will Knedlik, executive director of the now-dormant trade industry group, International
Association of Introduction Agencies.
video-dating services were the greatest influence 25 years ago. The Internet now
is filling the primary need," he says.
service industry offers a variety of choices for finding love such as matchmakers,
Internet and video-dating services, radio datelines, newspaper personal ads and
online-dating Web sites.
So, how much do these various dating
services cost and what does each offer?
love on the Web -- for a fee
The Web has brought introduction services
to the masses in a convenient style at extremely affordable prices.
someone online is actually quite similar to the way we used to date, says McDermott
"We'd put on a pretty dress and makeup and
we'd go out to bars or events hoping to meet nice people. Now we put on a pretty
dress and makeup to demonstrate our best self in a picture to post up -- only
the pool of potential life partners is bigger.
not much different, we're just using better technology," she says.
Valentine's Day, the quest to find modern love online is a prevailing trend 365
days a year. Today's singles want more than a date, and they are increasingly
savvy about how to use technology to their advantage," says Neil Clark Warren,
a psychologist and the founder of eHarmony.com, the fastest-growing Internet relationship
is the nation's largest online-dating service and boasts a high success rate.
For $24.95 a month, $44.85 for three months or $65.70 for six months, you can
have access to its nearly 1 million subscribers.
services cost a bit more at $49.95 for a one-month subscription, $99.95 for a
3-month subscription, $149.95 for a six-month subscription and $249.95 for an
entire year of membership.
Newcomers to eHarmony are encouraged
to take a 436-question inventory. From that they get a six-page personality profile.
Each newcomer selects 10 must-haves and 10 can't-stands about potential partners
and selects a geographical area. If a compatible match is found, then they're
asked to become subscribers.
"If you want to communicate
with the people we find for you, then you are asked to pay a fee. But you can
get all this valuable information about yourself for free," notes Warren.
of the online services are branching out beyond basic matchmaking. Match.com rolled
out what it calls its advisers and assistants. For a per-minute fee of $1 or $1.50,
you can talk with an expert to get advice on dating. For $40 you can get help
writing that all-important profile that gets posted on the Web and tells all about
Match.com also offers event and travel services getting
single people together, whether in cooking classes or on trips abroad.
with the matchmaker
Competing with Match.com, eHarmony.com, Matchmaker.com,
Yahoo personals, Love @AOL, Matchnet.com, Udate.com, JDate.com, Kiss.com and many
more are the brick and mortar operations -- those with a physical location and
an on-site staff.
There are an estimated 1,000 independent
full-time matchmakers in America, usually one-person operations.
survived the Internet explosion by serving niche singles such as millionaires,
religious groups, executives, gays and seniors. They don't use the Web, but rely
on word-of-mouth and networking. But fees can be astronomical, sometimes topping
$25,000 and up.