A Change in Perception: How Does the Dating Industry Perceive Itself in Contrast to the Media?


We have a guest poll from Traffic Partner, who want to ask people in the industry about the real trends in the online dating and adult industry.

To take the poll please visit this link, and below is an explanation of the poll and online dating trends noticed by the authors of the study:

Recent mainstream articles have addressed the changes in the adult & dating industries. The authors of this brief article and poll are wondering if these findings are actually shared by industry insiders or whether there is a different “truth”.

The basis of this poll is articles from respected news sources like The New York Times, The Economist and The Guardian. Here are some of the main thoughts we recognised in these articles about online dating.

Dating & digital relationships:

  • “The advent of the digital relationship” – a new kind of intimacy — is evolving.
    • Paying for some sort of “friendliness” emerges. Fans tip their online models just for the reward of being acknowledged (in an appreciative, friendly manner).
    • In rational terms it is based on mutual, consensual objectification.
  • Online dating is a seismic shift in the mechanisms of human courting:
    • Nothing to rave about really, the term “meat market” has been used before, it is just that technology has sped up the speed and “globalized” the market.
      • This is also substantiated by the decline of the “disco” – it has really lost its function as the standard meeting place for singles.
      • As the somewhat subtle differences between services provided via the internet definition/differentiation issues are quite apparent, “misunderstandings” regarding proper online behaviour are a current issue.
    • It is just another aspect of life being taken over by a culture of instant gratification.
    • Dating & digital relationships is in line with a cultural shift (at least in the western world) to casual sex.
    • Everything gets “cleaner”, as there is less direct human interaction, but also a digital fingerprint of your very personal activities remains indelible on the net.
  • Support industries start to grow for online dating:
    • Profile improvement, different types of coaching becomes a business
      • Prices range from 50-200 USD for a polished profile, to 8,000 USD for complete “commitment courses”.
      • Question of ickyness of online dating yet unresolved, yet judging by the numbers it is definitely on the decline.
      • Clear seasonal patterns can be identified, concentrating around Christmas and New Year time, as well as Valentine’s Day, and the general observation that cold weather is conducive to online dating.
      • Providing coaching services is hazardous for online dating companies.
    • Online dating will be eclipsed by mobile dating, and customers are getting younger.

Camming & Sex Work (of whatever kind):

  • There is no more money to be made with recorded content (pics/videos), apart from introducing customers to cam sites and such offers.
    • This is also true for the digital environment.
  • Camming is not recorded material. It is an instant and fleeting experience, and thus impervious to online piracy.
  • Camming is the lead segment in the adult industry.
    • The provision and consumption of erotic services gets “cleaner” as there is less direct human interaction but also a digital fingerprint of your activities remains on the net.
    • The internet blurs the distinction between “traditional prostitute/sex worker”, virtual titillation service and even dating.
      • It is no surprise that online/internet disrupts the “oldest businesses”, its capacity for individual interaction means it very well suited to do so.
      • The notion of part timer, freelancers and temps becomes more pronounced, and also the self-perception of being sex worker encompasses a lot more variety than an old word like prostitute.
      • The traditional middleman is in decline, whereas the new middleman is the camsite/technology/nerd.
      • A successful performer today is well versed in online marketing & is social media savvy.
      • One of the real risks today is that camming isolates the performer.
      • Old style prostitution is a fading model, with about 80-90% indoors and since 2010 about 50% of sex clubs in the Netherlands – which is known for its liberal attitude towards adult sexuality – were closed.

Inspired by these observations & insights, we have come up with these questions to industry insiders:

Please specify whether you “do not agree at all” (1) or you “completely agree” (5). If you are indecisive you may specify “neither nor” (3) and if you don’t have the necessary information to answer you may exclude the particular question.

If you wish to take the poll please follow this link.


n.b: The tenants are derived from these articles as they are understood within the context of these. They are not intended to give a complete and accurate description of the opinions held by the authors of the above articles.

The questionnaire was compiled with the friendly support of Dr. Andreas Schmitz, Dept. of Sociology, University of Bonn, Germany.

Simon Edmunds

Simon is the former editor of Global Dating Insights. Born in Newcastle, he has an English degree from Queen Mary, London and after working for the NHS, trained as a journalist with the Press Association. Passionate about music, journalism and Newcastle United.

Global Dating Insights is part of the Industry Insights Group. Registered in the UK. Company No: 14395769