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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.

Because online dating takes place in virtual space, it is possible for profile information to be misrepresented or falsified.

The 2016 Pew Research Center's survey reveals that the usage of online dating sites by American adults increased from 9% in 2013, to 12% in 2015.

A great diversity of online dating services currently exists.

Some have a broad membership base of diverse users looking for many different types of relationships.

Most services offer digital messaging, while others provide additional services such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards.

Members can constrain their interactions to the online space, or they can arrange a date to meet in person.

However, Sam Yagan describes dating sites as ideal advertising platforms because of the wealth of demographic data made available by users.

There are mixed opinions regarding the safety of online dating.

That is, online dating sites use the conceptual framework of a "marketplace metaphor" to help people find potential matches, with layouts and functionalities that make it easy to quickly browse and select profiles in a manner similar to how one might browse an online store.

Under this metaphor, members of a given service can both "shop" for potential relationship partners and "sell" themselves in hopes of finding a successful match.

Other sites target highly specific demographics based on features like shared interests, location, religion, or relationship type.

Online dating services also differ widely in their revenue streams.

Some sites are completely free and depend on advertising for revenue.

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