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4th Annual Million-Dollar Ideas

Niche Dating Service

The quest for love eternal: Technology only kicks it up a notch in the 21st century. "After college, the pool of available people dwindles--time to meet people diminishes," observes Los Angeles psychotherapist Suzanne M. Lopez. "Dating services eliminate a lot of riffraff, and during downtime, you can look for a potential partner." And for those who want a tailored approach, niche dating allows people to get downright persnickety.

Niche dating has surfaced notably with services targeting preferences from religion to hobbies and alternative lifestyles. Although there is no specific data available on niche dating, industry-wide dating service revenues topped $917 million in 2002 and is projected to skyrocket to a whopping $1.1 billion in 2003, according to a November 2002 report, "The U.S. Dating Services Industry," by market research and consulting firm Marketdata Enterprises Inc. Research director John LaRosa has seen the industry boom after 9/11, with singles flooding the market in search of a meaningful relationship.

NEXT STEP

High-priced love meets its maker with services like the Millionaire's Club, where moneyed men seek attractive bachelorettes. Along with unlimited dates, the $10,000 to $20,000 annual membership (depending on whether it's a state or national search) buys the male suitors sessions with a dating coach, a relationship counselor and an image consultant. "The more successful the men, the pickier they are," asserts Patti Stanger, 41, owner and CEO of the Marina Del Rey, California, firm. "And they want the best." With projected 2003 sales of more than $1 million and licensing plans, Stanger and her idea are a match made in heaven.

--April Pennington
Auto AftermarketBed & Breakfast
eBay AftermarketHome Entertainment Installation
Instant MessagingKiosks
Maternity ClothesNiche Dating Service
Online GamingOnline Learning
Pet Products

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This article was originally published in the January 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: 4th Annual Million-Dollar Ideas.

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