The stigma of Internet dating has faded to nearly nothing, with hordes of couples meeting on sites like OkCupid, Match and eHarmony. Finding your perfect mate can prove incredibly difficult, especially if you’re looking for something specific.
Enter the niche dating site, covering every interest under the sun for people looking for someone who meets particular (sometimes very particular) criteria. Some niche dating is huge — JDate and ChristianMingle (both owned by the same company, Spark) have huge pools of online daters. Smaller sites cater to several races and religions, and some more niche subsets: farmers, redheads, microhome-owners, dog lovers, the list goes on, and on, and on.
What kinds of traits are important enough to base an entire romantic relationship on? Are you more likely to see sparks fly on niche dating sites, or can compatible partners come from all walks of life? Would you use niche criteria to find your match, online or off?
Jessica Carbino, PhD. Candidate in Sociology at UCLA, Online Dating Expert, Huffington Post Contributor
Karen North, Ph.D., Director, Annenberg Program on Online Communities, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; psychologist specializing in online communities
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