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At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38% increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc.
The stigma associated with online dating dropped over the years and people view online dating more positively.
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.
Most free dating websites depend on advertising revenue, using tools such as Google Ad Sense and affiliate marketing.
Because online dating takes place in virtual space, it is possible for profile information to be misrepresented or falsified.
A great diversity of online dating services currently exists (see Comparison of online dating services).