If you have done some research on the existing online dating sites, you may have noticed that they vary greatly in terms of concept and value proposition. All dating sites can be classified into three broad categories or niches: mainstream dating, casual dating, and adult dating. Every niche caters to specific users’ needs from serious dates to one-off encounters. In this blog post we explain what those online dating niches are and how they differ from each other.
Mainstream dating sites
Mainstream dating is the broadest online dating category. The purpose of mainstream sites is to serve people who want to meet somebody for ongoing dating with the intention of having a relationship. When they register on a site, the typical choice in the “Seeking for” field is a “short term relationship”.
User-uploaded content on mainstream dating sites undergo strict moderation. No nudity or sexually explicit material is allowed and in user photos are immediately removed if they violate the site’s policy. Users can be reported for sexually suggestive messages and their membership on the site suspended.
Sub-niches of mainstream dating sites include dating for those who have similar hobbies, such as sports or music, those with the same religion, vegetarian, disabled people or senior dating to name a few.
Casual dating sites
Dating sites labelled as casual are oriented towards those seeking short term relationship and hookups. The concept could be summarised in three words: quick, fun, uncomplicated. More nudity is allowed on those sites and the general rule is that anything above the waist is acceptable. Some dating sites choose to allow more explicit photos, but they are usually locked and displayed only at the user’s request or on purchasing a premium membership.
Cougar and extramarital affairs dating may fall into this category too, even though they are on the borderline with the adult dating niche.
Adult dating sites
There is a fine line between casual and adult dating sites and sometimes it’s pretty hard to distinguish them at first glance. Sites of both types contain nude imagery and cater for people looking for sexual encounters. As far as moderation goes, any type of photos is allowed provided they are authentic.
A common practice on adult dating sites is to offer adult entertainment, such as video chats or live webcam shows, which is an additional way for monetising traffic.
Adult sub-niches are built around sexual preferences and fetishes such as BDSM, swingers, transsexuals, gay or lesbian or big beautiful woman (BBW).