The highest scoring dating service was Facebook, which uses the personal homepage genre, the message board genre, the weblog and directory genre, as well as utilizing the Circle of Friends.
The second highest scoring, Second Life utilizes virtual worlds, message boards, chat groups and profile pages to allow people to contact in a three-dimensional environment.
Most sites allow members to upload photos or videos of themselves and browse the photos and videos of others.
Sites may offer additional services, such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards.
Users of an online dating service would usually provide personal information, to enable them to search the service provider's database for other individuals.
Members use criteria other members set, such as age range, gender and location.
Some sites provide free registration, but may offer services which require a monthly fee.
Other sites depend on advertising for their revenue.
This metaphor of the marketplace – a place where people go to "shop" for potential romantic partners and to "sell" themselves in hopes of creating a successful romantic relationship – is highlighted by the layout and functionality of online dating websites.
The marketplace metaphor may also resonate with participants' conceptual orientation towards the process of ﬁnding a romantic partner.
Other sites are more specific, based on the type of members, interests, location, or relationship desired.
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 amount of tasks and less likely to use such a service if they are trusting of others.
As online dating's population becomes larger, sites with specific demographics are becoming more popular as a way to narrow the pool of potential matches.