The Perfect Date Niche SitesHerpesLifeLine
July 3, 2008
Jill Barrs knew something had to change after one too many dates with a dude calling himself a neo-hippie.
So she created a profile at conservativematch.com (“sweethearts, not bleeding hearts”), hoping to meet a man with similar values.
“I was tired of dating liberals,” Barrs said. “I’m not trying to be insensitive to other political views, but I was tired of dating apathetic people who didn’t hold the same interest in politics.”
An electronic smile from Edward Wildermuth, a dashing accountant, sparked her interest. His passion for domestic policy fueled her fire.
The Web site didn’t make it – conservativematch.com is no more, though conservativedates.com thrives — but Barrs and Wildermuth did. On March 29, nearly three years after meeting online, the Glen Ellyn couple were wed. And now politics is part of the daily discussion in the home of these blissful newlyweds.
Forget eHarmony, Match.com or Yahoo personals. Singles increasingly are turning to niche online dating sites promising to match couples with similar interests, backgrounds or religions.
Mark Brooks, whose blog Online Personals Watch chronicles the Internet dating industry, estimates that niche sites now occupy approximately 43 percent of total market share. Brooks writes that while mainstream sites are stagnating, niche sites continue to grow.
While the most popular niche sites offer the chance to meet people of similar race, religion or sexual orientation, there are sites for every conceivable taste and interest.
People looking to meet Trekkies or truckers can turn to the Passions Network, which offers 110 individual online niches for daters to meet and mingle. The site includes space for those interested in mullets and mustaches, pirates and redheads.
“The marketplace as a whole seems to be moving toward niche community development,” said Michael Carter, president of Passions Network Inc. “The idea is to break the ice with people” over a common interest.
If there’s someone for everyone, there’s a Web site to help. Here’s a look at a few niche sites:
Calling itself a “reason for hope,” Ave Maria Singles offers a service for hard-line Catholics interested in sacramental marriage.
This dating Web site takes the unorthodox approach of featuring a bald, bearded monk’s endorsement on its home page. Ave Maria Singles also offers singles trips, like an upcoming excursion to the Holy Land or a singles cruise where daily mass is included in the cost.
Who you’ll meet: Guys like Bill, 24, from New Jersey, who spent one “grace-filled” year as a seminarian before realizing God didn’t want him to be a priest. He wanted him to be a husband.
“Half of my friends don’t understand why I pray the rosary, read encyclicals or visit the adoration chapel,” he writes. He’s looking for a “chaste” woman and it won’t hurt if you look the part.
“I get weak in the knees anytime I see a woman with a dress,” he writes. “When I see a veil on her head, I faint.”
This is the site for people staying positive though they’ve tested positive — for sexually transmitted diseases.
Registering for positivesingles.com involves identifying your STD (Herpes Type 1, syphilis and thrush are options) and checking a box for the disease you are looking for in your match (no preference is OK, too).
Beyond the personals, the site offers helpful forums, blogs and a live chat with an STD doctor.
Success story: “I just wanted to say that anything is possible, like finding the love of your life on Positive Singles,” wrote Spidersyren and jaxvilman. “We are engaged, I am pregnant and moving to Florida. And to think I thought life was over when I found out I had herpes!”
Billing itself as the “most popular Armenian singles sites on the Web,” Hye Singles is designed to connect singles to their “Armo soul mate.”
Who you’ll meet: Armenians and those who love them. Max_K, a 30-year-old from Buenos Aires, describes himself as “an Armenian guy, full of Armenian blood.” He’s prepared to do some traveling, “looking for Armenian girls all over the world.”
There’s a special “Ask Dr. Nuneh” section where the good doctor answers questions like “Sticking to Armenian?,” “Are Armenian women too materialistic?” and the more generic “Do we need more than love?”