Kathryn's Blog: Yahoo! Personals

Top Dating Sites in US by Usage

Top Dating Sites as measured by ‘Unique visitors”:

In December 2006 --

Total Web users in the U. S. (age 15+) 152,350,000

Personals Total 20,555,000

Yahoo! Personals 4,153,000

Match.com 3,970,000

True.com 3,086,000

Spark Networks 2,504,000

Singlesnet.com 2,173,000


What’s In Store for Internet Dating in 2007?

From my January 1, 2007, *eMAIL to eMATE*:

Internet dating is LOOKING GOOD!

My, how things have changed since I first tried online dating on
Match.com in 1997.  Looking for love on the Net was brandy new
then and quite suspect.  A few brave souls were tip-toeing onto
the sites and trying out the medium, but, land sakes, was it
scary or what?  And no help anywhere.  I know, because I looked.

For you newbies to the Internet dating scene, matters took a
dramatic turn after 9/11.  The tragedy suddenly refocused the
country: Everyone now ached for connection and family.  Singles
started signing up on dating sites by the hundreds of thousands.

Listing on a dating site became okay, even mainstream.  No longer
is it unusual to hear that a couple met online.  Now, your
computer is second only to friends and family as a way to connect
with possible mate candidates.

The influx was heady.  Online dating sites experienced mammoth
growth for several years as folks signed up and plunked down
their credit cards.  Growth has slowed to single digits, but that
does not mean that Internet dating is a fading fad.  Far from it.

Did you know that online dating is one of the top money makers
online? “After nearly a decade of double-digit growth, online
dating revenue rose 7% last year to slightly more than $515
million, per Jupiter Media. (Match’s share is about $250

Remember that there is only a somewhat finite number of singles,
so at some point the growth would have to stop as the percentage
got close to 100.  At present, the estimates are 1/3 of singles
have visited online dating sites.  Also, people come on and off
the sites every day.  Taking your profile down off the dating
site where you and your Sweetie met has become a sign of
increasing commitment with cyber couples.

My buddy Mark Brooks recently posted some interesting info on his
OnlinePersonalsWatch.com blog: Here’s a summary and link to an
article on dating site usage in 2006.
Interestingly, Yahoo! Personals is pulling way ahead of
the crowd in membership and visits.  Since I write for Yahoo!
Personals, I’ll take a little credit for their #1 position.

True.com’s stats are deceptive, as comparing the two charts show.
(I cannot recommend True.com—if you wonder why, look at my
https://find-a-sweetheart.com/blog/C37/ “ title="many blog posts">many blog posts:.

Match.com (my personal favorite, since that’s where I met hubby
Drew) is stumbling on in 3rd and 4th place on the two charts.

Another of Mark’s postings led me to
Distilling the verbiage, it looks like number of visits
to dating sites are down, but revenue is nicely up.  To me, that
says daters are getting serious and paying up, and fewer people
are visiting sites to snoop.  Good.

Interestingly, the article also points to what I have sensed:
Singles get busy after Christmas, and particularly after New
Year’s.  Online dating sites’ business soars then (and so does
mine).  Seems as if the loneliness of the holiday coupled with
New Year’s as a time to start new habits gets folks off the

Tip: That means new people are signing up, right now!  This is a
particularly good time of year to be active and looking on your
favorite site.  Remember, new people come on every day—and
others drop off as they find partners.  Be ready with your spick
and span profile.  Be proactive: Contact others.  Don’t wait,
because you don’t know how much longer this new Cutie might be

A third posting on OnlinePersonalsWatch is an interview with
Match.com’s CEO Jim Safka.  Looks like Match is going stylish and
pursuing a more upscale market: a new look to its site (adding
lots of snazzy black), offering a stylist to help with photos
Lots of
black and white there, too.  And Match is piloting a real
matchmaking program with what looks like real matchmakers:
Platinum.Match.com It’ll probably be
pricey, sounds like perhaps around $1000 per year.  Still less
that a tractional matchmaker, though.

Yahoo! Personals still looks about the same, and I think is a bit
more unwieldy to maneuver than Match.com.  But they are doing
something right at Yahoo!  You can’t argue with #1.

So I will stick with Match.com and Yahoo! Personals.  Why go
elsewhere, except for a special niche site like JDate?  Stay
where the numbers are.

From YOur Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Kathryn’s Best Gift Picks

What to Buy for Your Single Friends Who Wish they Weren’t
Single (And Maybe for Yourself)

Holidays can be tough times for singles. You included. How
about thinking of your single friends (and you!) for some special
treatment this year? P. S. New Year’s is coming too, and what a
perfect time to resolve never to go through this time of year
alone again! Here are my best suggestions to help singles change
their status to coupled:


When I was doing online dating back in 1998, I couldn’t find ANY
books that helped. I was on my own. Now, thank goodness, lots
of writing has come out. My “Top Ten” list is posted on my

Here are three more books that I discovered this year and than I
have been recommending over and over:

“A Fine Romance” by Judith Sills. This is a fine, fine book.
The full title is “ A Fine Romance: The Passage from Meeting to
Marriage,” and Sills beautifully describes just that, the step-
by-step process from singlehood to being paired. Best of all,
Sills identifies “stuck points” along the way, common and
expected hitches in the process that can derail the best of couples.

And she tells you how to manage and move through the morass. A
“must read” for anyone contemplating looking for love.

“The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout. Now, here’s a book
for the other, less optimistic side of love. We’ve all heard the
scary stories about cyberlove gone wrong. I’m skeptical about
the real frequency of fraud and deception, but the stories do
sell papers, so we get them. And I also believe it is just as
easy (if not easier) to meet a fraud, rapist or murderer in
church as it is on the Internet. If we read all the news, we
know that. But some folks are out to get us (Stout says 1 in 25
Americans feel no guilt), and it is in our own best interest to
be able to spot them before they do us in. Martha Stout
describes with chilling clarity the sociopathic personality and
how to recognize it. Be prepared to recognize folks that you
know, particularly politicians. Maybe even family members.

“Did You Spot the Gorilla?” By Richard Wiseman. I’ve been
enjoying Richard Wiseman’s books for a few years now. Wiseman
is a British psychologist and former magician who researches all
kinds of interesting phenomenon like ghosts, the paranormal and
luck. He’s got a new book out that’s a short, easy read, and
that should be mandatory for online daters: “Did You Spot the
Gorilla? How to Recognize Hidden Opportunities.” It’s
essentially a training manual for learning to see what’s under
your nose—and often missed. Unfortunately, “Gorilla” doesn’t
seem to be available in the U. S. A. yet, but you can buy it
through the U. K. division of Amazon.
I didn’t know that it was possible to order books from Britain,
but Wiseman told me how to do so, and it works.

Dating Sites

If you have done any nosing around online, you know that there
are jillions of dating sites, and most come and go. Really,
unless you are part of a small minority and want to go where
others like you go too, then stick with the big sites that
everyone knows and lists on.

I ALWAYS suggest either Match.com or or both. I
met my Sweetie Drew on Match.com, so I hold a special fondness
for Match. But I have come to appreciate Yahoo! Personals
equally. And Yahoo! Personals appreciates me, too: I write for
Yahoo! Personals online magazine.

Yahoo! Personals offers a gift certificate. Go to
and scroll down to the bottom of the
page, third line from the bottom, second hyperlink from the right
will take you to the page to set up the gift. It’s $24.95 for a

Now, if this is a GOOD friend—or yourself—I’d suggest the
real deal of 6 months on Yahoo! Personals for $74.95—that’s a
dirt cheap $12.49 per month. Or what I consider the First Class
Option, Yahoo! Personals Premier at $124.95 for six months (which
works out to $20.85 a month). If you would like to know why I
particularly recommend Yahoo! Premier, check out my blog entry

I’m not sure if you can give those longer subs to another person,
but you could offer to pay for your chum!

Match.com is slightly more expensive than Yahoo!—$24.99 for
one month, $14.99 if you sign up for six months. But I
discovered a deal that Match.com has running: If you sign up
for six months and follow their guidelines (very important that
you understand the rules and follow them), and have not met
someone special in that amount of time, Match.com will GIVE you
another six months. Who can pass on a deal like that? If you
find you need the next six months, then your costs are a measly
$7.49 per month. Find more info here.

Profile Resources

If you have looked around on dating sites, you know what a
profile is: Just about all the sites base their listings around a
personal essay of sorts, photos, and list of likes and dislikes.
Virtually every one of my clients has needed work to shape up
their online presentation. After all, it’s you 24 hour a day
billboard, and you hope that it finds you the very best partner
for life. It should be the best you can make.

I do profile reviews (looking over and critiquing what you
already have posted), rewrites (new essays), and complete work-
ups (starting from scratch). It’s a deal at $99 total. An even
better deal? Sign up for a basic coaching package (Four 1/2 hour
sessions) and get the $99 Profile Work up for free! Email me to
set up a profile review gift:

The most important part by far? A great photo. Just about
everyone needs a better one, and I ALWAYS suggest using
LookBetterOnline.com My clients have had very good results and
just those new photos would get them much more attention. The
cost is a very reasonable $129 for twelve Internet ready colored
photos. A deal. If you use LookBetterOnline.com, let them know
I sent you. They know me and treat my folks well.

Here’s what a Romance Client wrote me recently about her
LookBetterOnline.com photos:

“Here are my new photos taken last Friday. I look spectacular!!.
The photographer took 96 shots and I had to only pick 12 OH MY
The difference between the photo this woman had been
using and the new ones was astounding.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Economics Meets Online Dating

According the the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! is hiring professional economists, hoping to use their knowledge to boost effectiveness of Yahoo!, including Yahoo! Personals.  How would that work, you ask: Figuring out the price of dates?

No, we are talking about more fundamental than that.  I’ll take out the economic mumbo-jumbo terms out for the sake of clarity, but just a couple of the ideas might translate into services for singles that would ration the number of free messages someone could send, and disclosing how many people a single had already approached.  How would that help? 

Well, a certain proportion of online daters never become paying members, and use the “free” contacts very liberally.  Rationing those would encourage dating site freeloaders to pay up, and would discourage mass emailers from sending out hundreds of emails to only the model-cute folks and jamming their mailboxes.

Disclosing the number of approaches to others someone has made would give information to others that might indicate seriousness of intent and what the likelihood would be that the individual was “playing the field” and communicating with several or many others. 

Economic principles (as I feebly understand them) say that the more information that everyone has in a transaction makes the deal fairer and more able to work.  And if something is relative scarce (in this case, the number of emails you can send for free), the more valued it is and the more carefully you will use it.

Interestingly, when I read this article, I was also just finishing , the first economic book I had ever read.  If you are interested in economics and would like to know more about it in a readable and understandable fashion, Hartford’s book is for you.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Deals on Dating Sites

You wouldn’t believe the percentage of people, even on the biggest dating sites, who are not paid members.  I’ve written about this before. On Match.com, I’ve been able to extrapolate that the percentages are anywhere from 7:1 to 11:11, paid to unpaid.  That means that only 1 in 7 or 1 in 11 of the people you contact can email you back without paying the fee—a powerful disincentive to returning your email, unless you are clearly a “10.”

I can’t understand this unwillingness to pay your share for what is clearly a top knotch service.  Particularly when the prices are so good when you sign up for more than a month.

Match.com currently is charging $12.99 per month when you sign up for six months.  Yahoo! Personals is $12.49 per month for the six month contract.  Yahoo! Premier (recommended—here’s why) comes to $20.83 per month for the same period of time. 

Don’t worry about the six month factor: It’ll probably take you at least a month or two to get your feet wet on the dating site and get some experience in weeding out potential candidates.  Chances are very good that you will not meet Mr. or Ms. Right in your first month.  And so what if you do?  For an investment of under $100 that gives you access to scads of people looking for partners, even if you find your Life’s Love on the first DAY, it would still be a great deal.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

PSD According to an article on biz.yahoo, Match has over 600,000 paid members and over 3,000,000 profiles (even those figures give a 5:1 unpaid to paid ratio).  60% of users are men (good news, ladies!), and Match has the highest percentage of over 35 users making $100,000 or more (7%).


My Letter to the Editor of Newsweek

Since I am a Romance Coach specializing in helping singles find partners using Internet dating sites, I read with interest Vanessa Juarez’s articlewww.findlovehere.com” in the February 20th issue.

The first half of the article is essentially correct, but falters in the second half when Juarez starts talking about specific dating sites. First off, folks 50 and over, divorced or not, find the best and most choices on the largest Internet dating sites, Match.com (where I met my husband in 1998) and Yahoo! Personals. Smaller sites have correspondingly smaller numbers.

What Juarez did not mention is that sites like PerfectMatch and eHarmony (which have built-in a more passive role for singles—the web site does the matching—and therefore appeal to women) have very skewed gender ratios that do not favor women. PerfectMatch openly courts men, enticing them with 2:1 male to female ratios. That would include all age ranges, so likely the older women get (when they outnumber men anyway), the worse the ratios.

Most of my clients are women over 40, and I NEVER suggest either eHarmony or PerfectMatch for these because of those bad numbers. All have gone to either Match.com or Yahoo! Personals or both and been pleased and astounded at the large numbers of quality men just waiting to hear from them. Internet dating is in large part a numbers game, and a single is best served by going to the sites where the numbers are in his or her favor— large numbers of singles in gender ratios that favor the individual.

Best, Kathryn Lord


Gender Ratios and Internet Dating and Relationship Sites

Dating and matchmaking sites are having to compete harder and harder for your dollars. More than 850 different sites now crowd the wires, and the fast pace of visitor traffic has slowed from the red hot growth of the past five years. One of the ways some of the larger sites are trying to differentiate themselves from the pack is to define themselves as “Relationship sites” as opposed to “Dating sites.” Serious daters are to become paying subscribers than more casual singles. eHarmony, PerfectMatch.com, and True.com are the top three calling themselves “Relationship sites.” YahooPersonals is trying to straddle the fence with it’s new “Premier” designation (see my blog entry). Match.com, the industry biggie, is moving in that direction as well.

eHarmony, PerfectMatch, and True all use what they call “scientific” means to pair folks with the best matches. That means questionnaires for subscribers to fill out and some sort of matching procedure that takes place behind the scene (read: the computer somehow “reads” the questionnaires and then pulls out “matches” based on some kind of formula). These sites tend to appeal to women, because of the purported seriousness (a relationships-only orientation), the safety (True’s background checks and attempts to keep married people out), and the highly structured, more active role of the dating site in doing the actual matching and communicating (eHarmony). Men tend to find the sites irritating: They don’t like the long questionnaires, they don’t like being matched by the computer, and they don’t like not being able to cruise through the profiles and pick for themselves. Guys particularly don’t like not being able to see photos (eHarmony).

This trend plays out in the gender ratios. Dating sites have tended to mirror the gender ratios of the Internet in general --around 60/40, male to female.

However, in these “Relationship sites,” the ratios tend to be just the opposite, or even more skewed: More like 60/40 female to male, or worse at PerfectMatch. A reader (male) just sent me this from PerfectMatch: “Thanks in part to our new relationship with the Lifetime television; women now outnumber men on PerfectMatch.com two to one! Men, for a limited time, you can receive 3 months for only $59.95 on PerfectMatch.com. That’s right, a full three months, all access premium subscription, for only $59.95, a savings of over $100!” (PerfectMatch got partnered with Dr. Phil. He did a show about online dating around Valentine’s. PerfectMatch gave away 1,000,000 free memberships before 2/28, and 90% of those who signed up are women. )

These gender ratios are probably even worse for older single women. The male to female ratios even out around 40 and 50, then tip towards women outnumbering men as the ages go up. And of course, we have the issue of men looking for younger women, which tilts the tables even more against older women.

So guys: The numbers favor you at those “Relationship sites.” Particularly if you are older. If you are tired of no or low response, you might want to try one of them out. Ladies: Even though “Relationship sites” may feel more appealing, the numbers are not great for you. Particularly if you are older. If you must, use one of these “Relationship sites,” but hedge you bets and also sign up on a big site where the odds favor you more. My current favorite is YahooPersonals. Sign up for the Premier version and get the best of both worlds.


Yahoo’s Personal’s Premier—Anybody doing it?

I mentioned in my last posting that dating sites are now courting the seriously courters—those folks who are looking for a long term relationship. I checked out which is set up to do just that. Here’s how it’s billed: “Ready for deeper connection? A long-term relationship? puts the right people at the top of your list. “

As opposed to the regular Yahoo! Personals that now are described: “Hold the Relationship...Maybe you’re not quite ready for a commitment yet. If so, you’ll love our Yahoo! Personals standard service - it’s the best way to meet great people. “

Looks like you can search and be searched by all Yahoo! Personals posters. But the ”” subscribers will be identified with a special seal (a purple “P"), so you can tell who is who. Extra services include “Relationship Fit Ratings,” you’ll be able to rate your matches to improve your search results, and you will be able to search Premier members only.

Now of course, extra services mean higher fees, and that’s puts the bill at $35 per month. However, there are specials posted now: $19.95 for a month, and $99.95 for a year! That’s less than $8.50 a month!

This seems like an incredible deal, and here’s why I think so: If you join at the level, you’ll be identified by the Premier seal as seriously looking for a long term relationship. And you’ll know that others with that seal have self-identified that way too. That is an incredible advantage! Why would anyone pay extra to be listed as serious when they are not, when they really are just out for a good time? Additionally, and here’s a big one, you’ll know by the seal that the other person has a paid membership. As you know if you’re a regular reader (see my blog posting of February 17th The Single Biggest Reason They Don’t Answer Your Emails), non-paying posters to dating sites can’t email you back unless they pony up the monthly fee. And up until the Premier desgnation, there’s been no way to tell who pays and who doesn’t. So a very high proportion of non-answered initial emails are because the poster is coasting for free.

I can’t see anything but positive news here. Yea, !

Wait a minute, here’s a negative: It’s going to take some time for others to figure this out and get signed up at this higher level. But don’t let that stop you—you’ll still have access to all the other Yahoo! Personals postings too.

Now, this is a big deal for me to promote Yahoo! this way, since I am a Match.com fan from way back. Match.com is where I met my Sweetie Drew in 1998. But Yahoo! Personals have pulled into the lead—they’re now the biggest site, with Match.com close behind. And this step they are taking with Premier is a good one.

So if any of you out there have had experience with this new version, I want to hear about it. Email me, okay?



Contact Kathryn by phone at , by email at

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