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U.S. singles turn to specialty dating sites to find Valentines

Source: Reuters - Thu, 13 Feb 2014 09:40 PM
Author: Reuters
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By Alicia C. Powell

NEW YORK, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Traditional online dating sites attract many people looking for love, but niche sites for book fans, pet lovers and even prisoners are helping Cupid's arrow hit the right target.

For taller-than-average people, there is tallfriends.com, and if pets are important, datemypet.com may help. Foodies who prefer not to eat meat can try VeggieDate, and fans of Apple products can turn to Cupidtino to find their perfect match.

"There are so many niche sites out there now. Back in the day JDate was one of the biggest niche sites, and it still is today," Laurie Davis, the author of "Love @ First Click," said about the dating site aimed at Jewish singles.

"And now there are so many sites specific to different demographics like Womanbehindbars, for women who are in prison, or Alikewise for people who are really into books and literature," she added.

Matt Sherman, the co-founder of Alikewise, said he assumed the site would match people based on interest in specific books. But instead he found users are more interested in meeting people who are simply readers.

"So what we found is that our community of singles on the site are really much more interested in just meeting other sort of intellectual, curious people," he said.

Findyourfacemate.com uses a dater's facial features to match them with a partner. After uploading a photo to the site, the system measures 67 points on the face and compares them to everyone in the database using an algorithm to find the best match.

It's based on the premise that when you see a face similar to your own, it triggers a sense of recognition or chemistry and that similar facial features equal complementary traits.

"If you think about it, we do this on every dating website that we go to: We look at the pictures first," said Chip Sleeper, president of the company.

After finding no success on traditional dating websites, New Yorker Michelle Maffia said she found her last boyfriend on Findyourfacemate.com. "When I met him I was immediately attracted to him," said Maffia, who is back on the site after breaking up with her match.

Marta Tereshchenko, who met her boyfriend six years ago on VeggieDate, said the site gave them the ability to connect on a deeper level. "Health defines many, many aspects of our life, long term goals," she said.

Specialized sites have smaller pools of people, which can make finding a perfect match more challenging, so Davis recommends getting a free trial before paying to join. (Writing by Marina Lopes; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Cynthia Osterman)

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