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Some have a broad membership base of diverse users looking for many different types of relationships.Other sites target highly specific demographics based on features like shared interests, location, religion, or relationship type.Because online dating takes place in virtual space, it is possible for profile information to be misrepresented or falsified.While some sites conduct background checks on members, many do not, resulting in some uncertainty around members' identities.
Most services offer digital messaging, while others provide additional services such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards.
There are mixed opinions regarding the safety of online dating.
Over 50% of research participants in a 2011 study did not view online dating as a dangerous activity, whereas 43% thought that online dating involved risk.
Since advertising revenues are modest compared to membership fees, this model requires a large number of page views to achieve profitability.
However, Sam Yagan describes dating sites as ideal advertising platforms because of the wealth of demographic data made available by users.