OnDating: Niche Dating Sites Cater to Unique Passions

By Ellen McCarthy
Friday, November 7, 2008

Let's say you're a man with a mullet. And what you really want is a lady who wants a man with a mullet.

What's a fellow to do?

Well, sign up for MulletPassions.com, of course. And watch the mullet sparks fly!

It seems like a joke. And maybe it is, sort of, but the site is legitimate and free, and who's to say love can't happen over a shared sense of, uh, style?

MulletPassions is just the extreme end of the blossoming world of niche online dating sites. Unlike general sites such as Match.com that cast as wide a net as possible, these forums are self-selecting, based on interests, ethnicities or dating preferences.

"We've seen a major growth in the niche market of online dating," says Joe Tracy, publisher of Online Dating Magazine. "The reason we believe we're seeing that is that when a company wants to break into the online dating market and get a piece of the pie, they have no ability to compete with Match.com and E-Harmony. . . . They're seeing more success by targeting a specific passion."

Hence: Golfmates.com, Deafsinglesconnection.com, SingleParentLove.com and BikerKiss.com.

MulletPassions, in fact, is just one of more than 100 niche sites run by Passions Network, an umbrella company with online social networks for yoga lovers, atheists, truckers and vegans.

The most popular of the lot? LargePassions.com, for full-figured daters and their admirers. NativeAmericanPassions.com is close behind. Passions Network has 800,000 registered users, most of whom pick several sites to post profiles.

"The underlying concept of the whole network is, it should be easier to break the ice if you already have something in common," explains company founder Michael Carter.

They say there's someone for everyone. Now there's a dating site for everyone, too.

Got a D.C. dating tip or rant? We're all ears. Send 'em along to:dating@washpost.com.

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