Both components generate income for dating sites because active paying members (that is, presenting self and interacting with others) are crucial to an online dating business’ market survival.However, the overall conversion rate for registered users becoming paid members remains challenging.
With internet firms increasingly investing in new technologies and applications to make their websites attractive, social and interactive with e-store customers, less is known about the success drivers for one type of e-store, namely online dating sites.
Dating sites are characterised by customers’ heavy use of self-presentations and high frequency of peer-to-peer interactions with the goal of finding a partner.
However, their respective contribution to dating sites’ firm performance is unclear.
This article aims to empirically examine the effects of the two customer-focused web functions: customer self-presentation and peer-interactivity on firm-performance using data from a Chinese dating website.
The findings confirm the crucial role of self-presentation for a dating site, where it also significantly influences the level of peer-interactivity, traffic to one's profile page, and firm performance.
Yet, the effect of peer-interactivity is not evident from this sample.
Overall, this study offers measures in a structural model, findings from which would help e-marketers to strategically appropriate web investments in either function for enhancing firm performance.
Online dating in Western societies has formed a mature industry and competition has entered a stage where firms are increasingly targeting even smaller niche markets for customers of specific races, regions and professions for differentiation and profitability.
Modelled on e Harmony and Match.com, dating sites in China have grown rapidly parallel to this global trend yet on its own learning curve.
Social trends, too, also provoke such an industry growth: there are a few extremely popular TV shows adapted from the British ITV's ‘Take Me Out’ into a Chinese context for weekly television dating game shows.
While online dating in Western society is merely a private matter, in China however, due to the Chinese traditional value of family line continuity and filial piety through marriage, using dating sites for seeking potential marriage partners has become a social trend.