To clarify, the fundamental question I addressed in my previous blog was not whether niche dating sites work - niche sites can and do work, though some clearly work better than others. It’s wonderful to hear that Jackie Elton’s religious-based online dating site seems to be serving its clients better than most.
In fact, my claim is not that niche markets don’t work but that they don’t address the fundamental problems currently affecting the online dating industry and its users. Yet people continue to join them looking for the very thing Ms. Elton brings up in her recent response to my blog - comfort.
Certainly there’s comfort to be found in surrounding oneself with like-minded individuals. But I see this “comfort-seeking” behavior as a sign that there is significant discomfort for most people in the online dating experience. If the true source of discomfort is the diversity found on many dating sites, then a niche site can offer a very viable solution. For some people, this is the case, and for them, niche sites do address a real concern.
But I believe that many more online daters face discomfort that springs from another source - the frustration caused by monetizing practices that have become standard in our industry. Though daters join niche markets hoping their experience will be more comfortable there, they find that, while they avoid the occasional misguided user who contacts others without regard for stated preferences and obvious compatibility markers, the online dating experience does not fundamentally change.
Joining multiple online dating sites is common in today’s industry - why do daters feel so compelled to join the latest niche or general use dating site? Because they’re looking for something. What is it? The obvious answer is love, but I think they’re also looking for an online dating experience without the “smoke and mirrors” approach that so many paid dating sites take. For-pay sites offer a valuable service, and there’s nothing wrong with collecting payment for said service. What is wrong is that for-pay sites use the very thing that online daters are looking for - a potentially compatible love match - to strong-arm them into purchasing a longterm subscription. Online dating sites do this by withholding information and erecting communication barriers designed to get users to pay to see who’s behind Door Number Three.
The Neumate Token allows our site to monetize our community without manipulating our members. Information is never withheld in an attempt to extract money, and members can pay for the actual time they spend on the site, not some arbitrary subscription period. Neumate’s current conversion rates suggest that Neumate appeals to a very sizeable niche - people who don’t appreciate manipulation or pressure.
By Shmuel Gordon
Co-founder & CEO,
Read Shmuel’s first piece here, and Jackie Elton’s response here.