Online Dating

The Bizarre Ways Niche Dating Services Are Pairing People Off

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Last week, news broke that the dating site Tastebuds, a London-based service that makes online love matches by analyzing peoples' musical preferences, had acquired Moosify, a San Francisco-based self-proclaimed 'social dating' app that connects users based on the songs they stream on Spotify.

Here it is again: One dating service that matches users based on their taste in music acquired another service that does the same thing. In other words, until recently, there were at least two sites that purportedly formed love matches based solely on users' music playlists.

Related: Forget Love: Your Future Co-Founder Could Be Waiting for You Online

It's not as surprising when you consider that the U.S. dating services industry is booming. According to a report issued last year by IBISWorld, the industry has averaged growth of 3.5 percent a year since 2009 and is expected to grow 5 percent a year through 2018. Businesses in the sector generated about $2.1 billion dollars in 2013, with online services representing 53 percent of the market’s value -- a number that is rapidly growing.

In order to stand out, smaller sites need to aggressively differentiate themselves, Jeremy Edwards, a lead industry analyst at IBISWorld and author of the 2013 Dating Services in the U.S. industry report, told Entrepreneur.com earlier this year.

"Aggressively differentiate" is advice many, many dating sites appear to have taken to heart.

Related: EHarmony Wants to Find You a Job

If you're single and ready to mingle, it's possible to select a mate based on a dazzling array of criteria, many of which have nothing to do with traditional factors – you know, things like personality or good old fashioned looks. Here are a three of our favorites.

Pheromones. There are multiple companies out there that match users based on pheromones, i.e. chemicals that influence the bodies or behavior of other members of the same species. If you want to search for love via this scientific route, start by attending a pheromone party, a singles event in which each guest brings a well slept-in T-shirt, ripe with pheromones. The shirts are anonymously passed around, and sniffed. Attendees are paired off based on how they respond to one another's scents.

Related: New Dating App Startup Aims to Be the 'Thinking Person's Tinder'

Voice. Out of all our senses, sight dictates the vast majority of our dating decisions. But what about the power of sound? Enter Revealr, an app that requires users to record 20-second audio clips and upload them to their dating profiles, along with their name, age, location and a blurry photo. Like on Tinder, if two users swipe 'right' (indicating interest), they're matched. At this point, sadly, sight again takes the reins as the blurry photos are de-pixelated. 

Dietary restrictions. Gluten free? There's a dating site where you can meet singles who also forgo the wheat. "Living a gluten-free life can be challenging, especially in a world where gluten-soaked foods are just about everywhere," the site declares. "At GlutenfreeSingles, you are not alone!" Similar sites exist for vegetarians, vegans, "raw food lovers" and those with food allergies (if you are "dynamic & diary free," for example, there is a site for you).

Related: Site Says, 'Make Me a Match: I'll Pay You.'