Tim Ayres met his fiancee Marg in November 2006, the way many modern couples meet – online.
“By date number 3, we knew we’d found something special and didn’t want to see anyone else, a surprise for both of us. We sat down at the computer over a glass of wine and deleted our profiles, together,” he explains. “Ahhh, romance in the digital age.”
They had both used a free website, based in Vancouver, but now the top dating site in the US, UK and Canada, PlentyofFish.com.
“We had both bargained that we could try online dating, but never pay for it. That way we weren’t losers,” jokes Ayres, a real estate agent on Vancouver Island.
Even though online dating is popular and surging, [according to PlentyofFish.com’s data, 10% of the single population in Canada accesses an online dating service every day] not everyone is willing to admit it.
One woman I interviewed, who requested to remain anonymous, met her fiance online 2 years ago, but still has him say they met at a party – even her parents don’t know the true story.
“I’m embarassed that it came to that,” she says. “I was just ashamed I couldnt meet someone a “normal” way.”
PlentyofFish.com, is run by Markus Frind. He says a stigma may have existed a few years ago, but since the boom of Facebook we’re more used to living our lives online and dating has becomes a part of that.
“At the end of the day, people will do whatever it takes to find a date,” he says. “The average dater signs up for 3 sites and ends up using the one they like the best.”
PlentyofFish.com has been so successful, it has forced many of the 1 400 online dating sites to change the way they operate.
And in response, Frind is looking to add a paid site to his business.
“I’m letting hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues slip through my fingers every year by sending people to competitors sites,” he writes on his personal blog. “Given what everyone else in the market is doing now the only real choice we have is to acquire a mass market paid dating site or build one myself.”
And he can do it himself, for the first 5 years Plenty of Fish was run from his apartment and only recently has he had to expand with staff and a proper downtown office.
Vancouver will join more than 175 cities worldwide tomorrow celebrating Twestival. The event at the Opus Hotel is a fundraiser for charity:water, a non-profit organization that works to bring drinking water to developing nations.
When Apple introduced the iPod, it revolutionized the way music was bought, sold and consumed. Amazon is hoping to do the same thing with the Kindle. On Monday they released Kindle 2.0, a pocket sized eBook reader – that’s still not available in Canada.
Google added some fun new features to its arsenal last week. An upgrade to Google Earth will now take you below the surface. Already you could view maps and the sky, but Google Earth 5 adds maps of the ocean floor.
Google Latitude is an addition to the Google Mobile App that will place your face on a map, and track your movements so your friends can find you. Currently it’s works on only a few smart phones, and it’s making some privacy people nervous.
|This article originally appeared in 24hrs Vancouver on February 11, 2009.|