Online dating is a growing widespread industry, dominating as part of our everyday culture and societal norms. However, the privacy and security of informations user’s release on online dating sites and mobile dating apps has become a problematic issue. In the stream of digital technology, user’s data become publicly accessible and exploited through the discourse of deeply personal data. In fact, online dating sites may gather customer’s data for its own beneficial use to determine their client’s interests and needs. Thus, through this extensive information, online dating sites can recognize what tactics and strategies to use in order to maintain customer loyalty (Mitchell, 2009).
Online dating sites compile information that violates user’s privacy for advertising purposes and customer attraction. Online dating sites also utilize user's information as a marketing opportunity to sell other services and products based on collective research on their customer’s interest. Thus, online dating sites use customer’s information to as a sales strategy to endorse materials that match up to their customers personal data.
Online dating sites also use research to collect customer’s information as a beneficial opportunity to uprise sales and service loyalty. According to article “Online dating: Your Profile long, scary shelf”, Robert L. Mitchell (2009) states, “Online dating services have good reasons for wanting to hang onto user data: It's valuable. The sites gather extensive amounts of personal information about their customers that can be extremely valuable for marketing purposes.” Through extensive amount of information, online dating sites will try and sell active users products and services from their own affiliated companies. For instance, eHarmony may attempt to send users advertisements on ads such as “Project Wedding” or “Fertile Thoughts” that users did not intend or give consent for (Mitchell 2009). In addition article, “Exploring online dating and customer relationship management, Alan D. Smith (2004) also states, “Once a company has determined that sufficient interest exists to warrant the establishment of a particular target audience, marketing promotions such as mailed flyers and/or personalized e-mails help to establish credibility”. (23) Therefore supports that gathering customer's personal information aid to provide online dating sites a platform in marketing their products and services to their registered customers.This is also known as hyper- targeting.
Hyper-targeting is a method online marketers use to use extract relevant information users provide online to promotes and sell their products and service. Thus, filled with customer's data, online dating may send ads and offers that may be of best interest to their users. According to Mitchell Roberts, CEO Ross Williams of White Label Dating states, ‘the prospect of offering highly targeted advertising based on detailed demographic, behavioral and psychological data -- and even very detailed profile data such as the color of your hair and that you're balding -- is attractive. We know that information. If I have a hair product for men, I don't think there are any places online other than online dating where you can get that [demographic data].That type of information, gives online dating sites a unique competitive opportunity, if they're willing to exploit it’ (Mitchelle 2009).
Therefore, this issue raises questions as to how is user’s information used as a marketing and advertising opportunity for online dating sites? What types of product and services online dating sites sell to online customers? How has access to user’s data increase the revenue of online dating companies? How is this use to attract more customers? And most importantly, What ethical issues are involved?
Mitchell, L. R. (2009, Feb 13). Online dating: The technology behind the traction.
Computer World. Retrieved from
Smith, A. D. (2005). Exploring online dating and customer relationship management. Online Information Review, 29(1), 18-33.