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In particular, niche marketing is an excellent way to attract advertising dollars since it allows advertisers to distribute ads to their target audience(s) with greater precision, thereby reducing circulation waste .According to a recent article from Vice News, Grindr, a mobile dating app that specifically targets gay men, earns just over 25% of its revenue through advertising, whereas advertising dollars only account for about 10%–20% of revenue for Ok Cupid, a more mainstream site .They also highlight some of the unique aspects of online media that facilitate this practice.Implications for both online daters and site producers are discussed. From Veggie for vegetarians to Date for redheads, online dating companies are setting their sights on increasingly specific segments of the population with niche websites that profess to facilitate romantic connections based on shared user characteristics.According to a recent study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, more than one-third of internet users who are single and seeking romantic partnership have used an online dating website or app .In keeping with this ever-expanding audience size, the online dating industry is now following the trajectory of most other mass media industries before it by moving from a standardized “broadcast” model, in which attempts to differentiate among users are minimal, to the more specialized narrowcasting approach of niche targeting.Describing this transition, Susan Carpenter of the states, “There just wasn’t a market for most niches until online dating as a whole had reached a critical mass of users and acceptability, and that’s only happened within the last few years” .Not only is there now a market for niche dating sites, but it appears that these sites are responsible for the bulk of the industry’s recent growth .
These findings suggest that older-adult dating sites are, in fact, engaging in pseudo-individualization.
This study focuses on niche dating sites for older adults, one of the fastest growing niches in online dating.
Through a qualitative content analysis and close reading of older-adult dating sites, I seek to determine how and to what extent online dating sites that target older adults actually customize their services to benefit this population.
In order to achieve this kind of niche targeting, online dating companies must engage in a process of audience construction, deciding whom they wish to target and how to do so most effectively.
However, as media scholar Ien Ang explains, the construction of audiences is a highly subjective process.
She describes the media audience as “an imaginary entity, an abstraction constructed from the vantage point of institutions, in the interest of institutions” (, p. In other words, media audiences are not naturally occurring collectives.