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Lonely hearts have empty wallets

Online dating... great for the dot-com economy...
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

Online dating... great for the dot-com economy...

The dot-com economy has received a boost from America's legions of lonely hearts, with dating services accounting for a sizeable chunk of growing online revenues. Premium paid-for content is taking off across the Atlantic and it's a trend which will be getting web publishers excited this side of the pond. During the first half of 2003 spending on paid content grew to $748m, representing an increase of 23 per cent over the same period last year. The Online Publishers Association said personals and dating, business and investment, and entertainment and lifestyles accounted for 65 per cent of total spend, up from 61 percent in 2002. US consumers spent $214.3m on personals content in the first half of 2003, a 76 per cent increase for the segment over the first half of 2002, according to the OPA report. Michael Zimbalist, executive director of OPA, said: "This shows us that as the internet matures, more people are becoming familiar and comfortable with paying for content. We know that the more time people spend online, the more open they become to making transactions." Dating services are already popular in the UK and other companies such as news services and business publications, such as the FT, are already running paid-for content and subscription-only areas of their sites.
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