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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.
Online dating sites use market metaphors to match people.
Match metaphors are conceptual frameworks that allow individuals to make sense of new concepts by drawing upon familiar experiences and frame-works.
Online dating services usually provide unmoderated matchmaking over the Internet, through the use of personal computers or cell phones.
A German documentary analyzed the market and uncovered multiple problems of online dating sites.
Amongst them are "romance-scamming" (persons registering on the sites to get money from people falling in virtual love with them), using controllers or animators registered with multiple fake accounts, using unexpected and sometimes unlawful conditions in the terms and conditions leading to longer contracts a client intended to sign.
Some sites provide free registration, but may offer services which require a monthly fee.
Other sites depend on advertising for their revenue.