Often, “browsing” will be free, but messaging or contacting other users will require a subscription.Alternatively, some websites generate revenue solely through advertising and are free for users.“This is a total virgin science,” Brooks quips with a restrained laugh from his deck in Malta.Brooks runs Courtland Brooks, an agency that provides strategy, marketing, business development, and media relations for companies in the online dating world.To be successful, new entrants must have a differentiated offering. Attracting a large enough user base is the main hurdle – it is challenging for new companies to recruit new users when they do not already have a substantial pool of other users.As a result, marketing costs for new firms are disproportionally high. Just ask Mark Brooks, who has worked in and around the industry for two decades.
Of course, others have worried about these sorts of questions before.
He’s worked with websites like Plentyof and and has seen the industry through multiple eras, from the early days of online personals to companies scrambling for mobile relevance.
Competition has grown along with the size of the industry.
The share of 18- to 24-year-olds who report having used online dating has nearly tripled in the last two years.
Today 27% of these young adults report that they have done so, up from just 10% in early 2013.