The internet dating paradox

Over 170,000 people sign up to Match.com every month. It’s free to become a member, but to receive emails, see who’s checking you out and take advantage of the service’s nifty algorithms that match you with your perfect partner, you have to subscribe.

It’s hardly a king’s ransom: £22 for a month, £65 for six months, but as business models go, it’s a tricky one: 40 per cent of members who cancel their subscription to the £175m-turnover site do so because they have found love. That equates to a loss of around 500,000 subscribers worldwide per year.

Love don’t cost a thing? Actually, our rudimentary maths says it costs Match around £4m a year! And the better Match gets at making matches, the harder it is to hold on to subscribers.

But it’s not as clear cut as all that, says Stockwood: “When we lose a member to love, we’re gaining a brand advocate. When people are successful on the site, they usually tell everyone. Then all their friends sign up. It’s a snowball effect.”

Example: A bride recently announced at her wedding that she’d met her new husband over Match.com.

The next day, all the bridesmaids signed up.

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