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Online dating services also differ widely in their revenue streams.

Some sites are completely free and depend on advertising for revenue.

Others utilize the freemium revenue model, offering free registration and use, with optional, paid, premium services.

Still others rely solely on paid membership subscriptions.

Online dating services allow users to become "members" by creating a profile and uploading personal information including (but not limited to) age, gender, sexual orientation, location, and appearance.

Most services also encourage members to add photos or videos to their profile.

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Other sites target highly specific demographics based on features like shared interests, location, religion, or relationship type.

Once a profile has been created, members can view the profiles of other members of the service, using the visible profile information to decide whether or not to initiate contact.

Most services offer digital messaging, while others provide additional services such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards.

Opinions and usage of online dating services also differ widely.

A 2005 study of data collected by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that individuals are more likely to use an online dating service if they use the Internet for a greater number of tasks, and less likely to use such a service if they are trusting of others.

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