Online Dating Can Lead To Marriage

I am writing this post as someone firmly entrenched in my generation. I am a member of Generation Y, Generation Next, the Internet Generation, Millennials or whatever other term people choose to apply to people who are roughly twentysomething (full disclosure: I was born in 1982).

I remember my dad bringing home our first household personal computer when I was seven years old. I remember Prodigy. And my generation has been around computers long enough to fondly remember the computer games we played in elementary school--most notably, The Oregon Trail. Chances are good that if you approached a random twentysomething on the street, they could regale you at great length with stories of oxen dying when fording rivers, hunting for food by pressing the space bar, trying to navigate The Dalles and perhaps dying from cholera.

A 2007 study by the Pew Research Center found that people of my generation "use technology and the internet to connect with people in new and distinctive ways."

I have several friends and family members who have dated--and even married--people they met online. "17 percent of online daters--or nearly 3 million American adults--have turned online dates into a long-term relationship or marriage. That's exactly the same number of couples in America who say they met in church," according to Mark Penn's book Microtrends.

What may shock some grandmothers (though certainly not my own) is widely viewed as socially acceptable behavior these days.

What in the world does this have to do with investing? Opportunity. Millions of people want to find their soul mate, or at least their next Mr. or Ms. Right Now.

"Nearly 1 in 4 single Americans who are looking for a romantic partner--or about 16 million people--use the 1,000 or more dating Web sites out there. That includes almost 1 in 5 Americans in their 20s, and 1 in 10 Americans in their 30s or 40s," Penn wrote.

These sites, according to a recent New York Times article, generated nearly $650 million in 2006.

While there are big dating websites already, such as, individual investors could start their own niche dating websites. Starting an online dating service was on NuWire's list of the top 5 romantic investments.

And why not? Surely there are left-handed people or baseball fans or Toyota Prius drivers out there looking to find a date. Why not give them a platform to do so--and maybe make a buck while you're at it?


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