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Off-Balance Sheet: There's Money in Love


Obviously, someone's buying what the Internet dating business is selling.


Relax, it's only money. Here in the 'Ville we like to keep things smart, but we also love to laugh. All work and no know how it goes. With that in mind we give you The "Off-Balance Sheet," a place where Minyans can experience humorous takes on the world of finance, personal stories from our Professors and Minyans and all the other stuff that makes life worth living. So take a break from the flickering ticks and dive in.

In 2006, online dating generated $540 million in revenue, and nearly 20,000,000 of America's 98,000,000 singles gave online dating a try. According to experts, it is expected to generate $717 million in revenue by the end of this year.

Obviously, someone's buying what the Internet dating business is selling. And that someone is slightly more than twenty percent of the U.S. population.

The most popular sites have become nothing less than household names:

  • is owned by Barry Diller's IAC/InterActive Corp. and is doing about $250 million per year in sales.

  • is a private company founded in 2000 by clinical psychologist Dr. Neil Clark Warren with more than ten million registered users and a patented "Compatibility Matching System."

  • Yahoo! Personals is owned, obviously, by Yahoo! (YHOO), and is one of the biggest players in the game.

As a three-quarters-of-a-billion dollar industry, the speed at which a secondary market was created does not come as much of a surprise.

E-Cyrano offers customers a professionally-written profile at three different price levels-the Silver Package, for $49.95, which gets you a light edit and suggestions on how to improve your profile, the Gold Package, at $99.95, buys a thirty-minute phone consultation along with two personalized profiles and, for the true swordsman, there's the Platinum Package, which, at $149.95, promises a one-hour phone interview and an in-depth profile written "from scratch." I do find it somewhat intriguing that E-Cyrano, as what is essentially a term paper-writing service for adults, has chosen the motto, "Make Your Personal Ad More Personal." But, whatever-since when does the truth matter when you're trying to get laid?

To that end, singles can stack the deck in their favor even more by using the services of Despite the name, SingleShots is not a company that provides shots of liquor to people on dates. SingleShots takes high-quality photographs for online daters to use in their profiles. And it seems to work. According to data provided on their website, 80 percent of their clients double their response rates after posting a new profile shot taken by SingleShots.

Common profile photo gaffes, according to SingleShots

Photos that get results, according to SingleShots (note the jaunty-looking fellow in the lower right-hand corner-he's probably beating the ladies off with a mallet.)

There are many people who have benefited from the wonders of professional photography. Take a look at these before-and-after shots:

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett:

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch:

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates:


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