Online Dating Sites Find New Way to Cash in on Love

Here at our offices datingon Market Street in San Francisco, though we eat and breathe recurring revenue, we’re still amazed at the creative ways companies come up with to monetize their services.

We recently stumbled upon a number of new mobile-based dating websites that, rather than asking daters to subscribe based on a monthly fee, charge by the date, or what they call Pay Per Date, or PPD.

Most of these sites target Millennials who don’t seem to be interested in sitting home perusing the profiles of potential partners. This generation wants to be out and about and find a date right now. Usually, PPD participants pay no additional fees, other than the one-off charge for setting up each date.

A Chicago-based website, Project Fixup, uses matchmakers to make the arrangements for a casual get-together that lessens the pressure of that first date. They’ll set you up with a date based on what kind of venue you’re in the mood for, for example Dos Equis and Tacos at the local pub down the street. No need for lengthy profiles and out-of-date profile pictures.

Grouper, based in the Big Apple, will set you and two of your buddies up on a date for $20 each. It’s a new twist on the old “table for six” service that’s been popular for years. The site works deals with various bars and restaurants as an additional source of cash for its revenue stream. One thing to keep in mind is that if someone uses Grouper just once a week, they pay more per month than the cost of premium services at sites like

Yet another New York-based site, Dating Ring, promised to fly single women from New York to meet men here in San Francisco as part of a stunt to raise funds on a well-known crowdsourcing platform. Dating Ring charges $20 per match for a weekly date, or you can get a month’s worth of four matches for $60. The company actually took a contingent of 16 eligible women to Baghdad by the Bay to scout the possibilities. No word on how it went, but it seems like a lot of fun. I suppose this is kind of like a mail-order bride, or more like a mail-order date, all made possible with usage-based recurring revenue models. Like Project Fixup, a live matchmaker actually looks at the profiles, and decides who to pair up. As an added bonus, the Dating Ring offers a free consultation before making the match.

The arrival of PPD is showing the world one more way to monetize the dating game. It puts one person in front of another, without the need to pour over profiles on a traditional website.

Old markets keep finding new ways to monetize things we often don’t imagine. These new offerings go beyond giving the customer what they want, when they want it. They give the customer what they didn’t even know they wanted, but do!