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Even though the country had been shaken by the stock market, the number of subscribers grew by 5 percent.The upward trend continued into 20, with IAC reporting a 30 percent revenue hike in its dating sites in the fourth quarter of 2010 and having its strongest quarter to date. One of the reasons for the spike in the industry’s revenues is that it’s “a relatively inexpensive form of entertainment,” said James Houran, a psychologist and columnist for Online Dating

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“As women marry later and become less economically bound to their spouses, they’re more likely to walk away from bad marriages in order to make good ones,” she said.

This increasing trend of marriage, divorce, and remarriage means women and men are looking for a partner in their 30s and 40s, and once again in their 50s, 60s and 70s, Fisher said.

Another reason is that women have become more economically powerful, Fisher said.

With women increasingly remaining in the job market, the notion of marrying the boy they dated in high school or college is being left in the dust, she said.

“It’s an incredibly efficient way of finding people who are like you,” said Christine Whalen, a sociology professor at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women.

“It expands your social network; it makes you open to people who are not just at the right place at the right time at a particular party, but who are putting themselves out there like you are.” People can also be pickier online than on a blind date.Mail order brides, arranged nuptials, and matchmaker marriages are among the time-honored mating services people have used from the very beginning of the human experience — think Adam and Eve, a match made in ‘heaven.’ Those early unions joined not just the bride and groom, but two families who would often benefit from an infusion of cold hard drachmas, more land or an extra goat or two. Actively seeking a mate on line used to be a no-no for young, hip daters. With 43 percent of the 18-and-over population single, browsing dating sites, checking out thousands of pictures and profiles, and evaluating who has the criteria and winning smile to make the cut is the new form of courtship.“You’ve gotten laid off at work, or are working fewer hours, and the last thing you want to do is sit at home by yourself and feel miserable about your personal life.” Yagan says his business nearly doubled in 2010 to reach 7 million visitors each month. The second largest, with a 12.4 percent share of the market is e with revenue of 0 million last year.According to a spokesperson at Match.com, the fourth quarter of 2008 was one of the strongest ever.To the surprise of Michael Karlan, owner of Pros In The — a professional networking group in six major U. cities — speed dating has evolved into the company’s most popular offering and biggest source of profit over the last ten years.

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