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Such sites earn revenue from a mix of advertising and sale of additional options.This model also allows users to switch between free and paying status at will, with sites accepting a variety of online currencies and payment options.Most free dating websites depend on advertising revenue, using tools such as Google Ad Sense and affiliate marketing.Since advertising revenues are modest compared to membership fees, this model requires a large number of page views to achieve profitability.

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Some have a broad membership base of diverse users looking for many different types of relationships.

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.

While some sites conduct background checks on members, many do not, resulting in some uncertainty around members' identities.

For instance, some profiles may not represent real humans but rather they may be fake "bait profiles" placed online by site owners to attract new paying members, or "spam profiles" created by advertisers to market services and products.

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