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On Dating: 'Online Dating Aggregators'

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By Ellen McCarthy
Friday, May 29, 2009

The problem, most likely, is that

you're on Match.com, but your soul mate is swimming over on PlentyOfFish.

Or eHarmony, or Date.com, or American Singles, or one of the other eight gazillion dating sites that have popped up in the last 10 years.

What are you supposed to do, monitor all of them? Build separate profiles for each and pay whatever fees they charge?

At that point, forget it. Soul mate can keep swimming for a bit -- while you take a nap.

The explosion of online dating sites has gotten overwhelming. But some new companies are trying to streamline the process of searching for singles by culling profiles from different sites into one central Web portal.

Industry folks call it "online dating aggregation," but James Nord, founder of one such company, called Rubixx, compares its service to those offered by travel companies CheapFlights.com or Kayak where users log on, search for flights, are fed potential options from various providers and click through to the airline's site to purchase.

Rubixx works similarly by feeding daters' profiles of potential matches who fit their basic requirement (gender, age range, location) from a variety of dating sites, such as Lavalife, Cupid.com and Match.com. If the user finds someone who strikes his or her fancy, the user can then click through to the dating site to pursue the match -- but the user will still have to register and pay the site's fee if there is one.

Dave Evans, an online dating industry consultant, says that despite interest in online dating aggregators, they've been slow to gain traction. He predicts the real aggregation will come in the form of a social networking site such as Facebook.

"There are 200 million people on Facebook right now. As a body of profiles of people and singles, nobody even comes close," Evans says. "If you could bolt a free dating application on top of Facebook that actually worked and had safety and security, it's going to fundamentally change the industry, I think."

Rubixx competitor Copenda says Facebook profiles will be wrapped into the new version of its "social people search engine," which is set for release in June.

Is recessionary dating harder on men than women? A recent poll by online dating company Zoosk found that 92 percent of their male users said they would date a woman who was unemployed. Only 52 percent of women said they'd date a jobless man. Send us your thoughts at dating@washpost.com.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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