Seeding and Weeding - How Some Online Dating Sites Encourage New Membership
Online dating is more popular than ever, primarily because of the enormous profits that can be attained by owning a popular online dating site. New dating sites pop up every day, but it is extremely difficult for these sites to compete with the likes of Match.com, Yahoo Personals, and eHarmony. The main reason is because new dating or personals sites simply do not have the budget of the 'Big 3' online dating sites and budget is important because it takes a lot of advertising dollars for a site to attract enough members to achieve critical mass.
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, critical mass is when the site has become large enough (i.e. enough members have joined and now exist in the site's database) to attract new members via the already-existing population of singles and the site has become popular enough to continue to grow in spite of member turnover. As you can imagine, new online dating sites face a huge hurdle and the result is usually one of two options. Either the site spend a large amount of advertising dollars, which is fine if the company that operates the site is a big conglomerate like the company that owns Match.com or 'fake it'. That is, make it seem like there are a large number of current members in order to encourage new membership.
How does a new online dating site 'fake it'? It's simple, really. The site just creates fake profiles to 'seed' their database similar to how a gardener cultivates their garden in order to make it grow. A new dating site may create the profiles themselves or they may purchase profiles from an expired site, but in either case the member profiles in the database are very poor and certainly not current - even if they are real. However, if the new online dating site is able to gain new memberships as a result of their 'seeding' process, it can then gradually 'weed' out the fake or expired profile as new members join and the site grows. This process is known as 'seeding and weeding'.
You might wonder why a new site would take such a risk. It's because there is a large amount of money to be made in the online dating niche and new sites don't have much to lose. If the 'seeding and weeding' process works, the site can become successful and if it doesn't the site owners probably didn't have much invested in the site anyway.