Most services also encourage members to add photos or videos to their profile.

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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.

At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38% increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc.

The stigma associated with online dating dropped over the years and people view online dating more positively.

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.

Still others rely solely on paid membership subscriptions.

Opinions and usage of online dating services also differ widely.

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.

Niche sites cater to people with special interests, such as sports fans, racing and automotive fans, medical or other professionals, people with political or religious preferences (e.g., Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc.), people with medical conditions (e.g., HIV , obese), or those living in rural farm communities.