SUNDAY NEWS -- Oct 23 -- Consultation with online dating adviser: $30. Dating profile makeover: $70. Professional profile photos: $130. Criminal background check: $20. Finding the perfect match: Priceless. As the market for online dating continues to grow, so does the array of related businesses helping online daters find their ideal mate. Most online daters are clueless when it comes to attracting, wooing, and catching that elusive fish in the great big sea of online dating. Being more specific in your profile is simple advice that can make a huge difference, said Mark Brooks, editor of major industry blog Online Personals Watch. Posting a flattering - but accurate - picture is also important, but many online dating subscribers have yet to take advantage of the services. "The users still don't quite get it," Brooks said. "They still don't think they need it." Sites such as LookBetterOnline.com and DatingHeadShots.com will set up users with a professional photographer. Background checks are becoming a more popular way to screen dates, Brooks said. One dating site is taking the initiative and screening members before they are allowed to join the pool. True.com screens for convicted felons and married people, and requires all members to state that they are neither. Approximately 5% of the site's applicants fail to pass the felony screening and another 4% fail the marriage screening, CEO Herb Vest said. "If you go to any other site my guess would be probably 10-11% of the people on the site will have felony convictions, and I've heard estimates as high as 30% of the people on some sites are married," Vest said. Other services likely to grow over the next few years include "Web dating" - WebDate.com now allows daters to use webcams for "virtual dates" - and anonymous phone services that allow users to chat without handing over phone numbers. "To be honest, it sounds safer than going into a bar and meeting someone," WebDate founder Abe Smilowitz said. "When you walk into a bar and meet someone, you do that at your own risk." Most of the businesses related to online dating sites have only been operating for a couple of years, but Brooks predicts many of them will continue to profit from the boom of online dating.
The full article was originally published at Union Leader, but is no longer available.