If you watched the CNBC online dating documentary, Love at First Byte, hosted by NBC news and Today Show Correspondent Amy Robach, you learned that there are over 1500 sites in the digital dating world. Amy featured niche sites such as Farmers Only and Equestrian Singles, but there are so many more. Some sites are wacky, others are serious.
The Miami Herald reports, “Dating sites become more mainstream, and focus on more niche markets.” From pet lovers and Gothic fanatics to Harley Davidson enthusiasts and those with pre-existing medical conditions, there’s a site for you. Are you ready to jump on board? Here are 14 sites to consider trying this Valentine’s.
1. Stache Passions – Tagline: Oh Yeah, it’s All About the ‘Stache!
There’s a constant debate as to whether women like men with facial hair. To shave, or not to shave? On this free dating site, men post their bearded look and the women who love them will jump on board.
2. We Waited – Do you dream of waiting staying a virgin until your wedding night? If so, We Waited is your site. Created by a couple, who did just that, this is a niche site with rules.
3. Harley Connect –Tagline: Where Single Harley Riders Meet.
Would you like to share your passion with other single bikers? If you’re looking for a guy with a Road King or a Harley Davidson Heritage Softail, this site is for you. Get ready to ride into the sunset with your helmets a-tow.
4. Geek 2 Geek – Tagline: The best place on the net to meet Geeks.
While online dating was in its infancy, most of the members were technology geeks. Now that it’s become mainstream, you’ll want to easily connect with another Geek, who won’t have problems remembering the url of GK2GK.
5. Date My Pet – Tagline: Date me. Date my Pet.
I say love me, love my pet. For those with severe allergies, I suggest you go elsewhere. For the guys who insist on having their primary online dating photo with their puppy, here’s a place where you’ll be welcome. Added bonus: Terrific pet advice.
6. Gothic Match – Tagline: #1 Online Dating Community for Gothic Singles and Friends.
Are you ready to share that tatoo or commiserate over its removal? Find like-minded singles you can relate to.
7. Sparkology – Tagline: An invite only luxury site for young professionals.
To join, guys will need to have graduated from one of the Top 50 schools, and women need to just have a college degree and well, have a great photo. The site was launched less than four months ago in New York, but they have plans to expand to other metropolitan cites. Would you change your zip code to meet one of these Ivy League guys?
8. Veggie Date – Tagline:– Winner of the 2010 Veg News Veggie Awards for Best Dating Site.
This site lets you sign up for 2 free weeks, so you can dine without beef together with a vegan of your choice. Was there competition? Yes, you can also check out Vegetarian Connections, the site where Vegetarians connect.
9. Dating 4 Disabled – Tagline: Where friendship and romance are only a click away
Online dating gives hope to singles, but many with medical issues and disabilities do feel hopeless. Created to empower the disabled community, this dating and social networking site allows their members to blog about how they are coping with their medical condition.
10. Fitness Singles –Tagline: Where Relationships Workout. You’re active.
You like to hike and bike and would like to share these activities with your date. This is the world’s largest online dating community for sports and fitness enthusiasts. I sat next to a couple at a Super Bowl party who met on this site and have been happily married for 5 years.
11. Women Behind Bars – Tagline: In Search of a Better Life.
Providing an inmate search and pictures for prison women who are looking for penpals while incarcerated. Should those with a criminal record be able to date? You won’t find them accepted on most mainstream sites, but It must get lonely in prison.
12. Pink Sofa – Tagline: Connecting Lesbians.
You can find a date or a friend on the world’s biggest lesbian meeting place. Liz James created this site 12 years ago as an online community and spoke at last year’s Internet Dating Conference in Beverly Hills.
13. Christian Mingle – Tagline: Find God’s Match for You.
From the people that brought you JDate, the largest Jewish online dating site, Christian Mingle now boasts 5 million users with a winning formula that works.
14. Our Time – Tagline: The Place Where Over 50 Meet.
While the site name might be new, Our Time was rebranded last year from People Media’s Senior People Meet to help singles 50+ find love on the Internet. The CNBC documentary showed that the 55+ singles market has increased by 40% since 2008. Some studies show that the over 60 crowd is the fastest growing demographic. This is great news for those who felt their digital shelf-life might have expired. Hint. Kids, sign your parents up if they’re alone.
Honorable mention: Facebook. Facebook isn’t just the world’s largest social network. Singles are chatting with friends-of-friends and glancing at photos resulting in many a Facebook marriage. With over 800 million members, by default even if even a fraction of Facebook’s singles started dating, it would make them the world’s largest dating site.
Most sites do let you sign up for free. Check out some of our Favorite Dating Sites as well. For a comprehensive look at the online dating industry, CNBC’s Love at First Byte will air again on February 14, 2012 at 8pm/eastern time. Set your DVR if you’ll be on an online date with your Valentine.
Julie Spira is an online dating expert and founder of CyberDatingExpert.com. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene and is the bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and her like her at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert for dating advice.