Some sites provide free registration, but may offer services which require a monthly fee.
Other sites depend on advertising for their revenue.
Since 2003, several free dating sites, operating on ad based-revenue rather than monthly subscriptions, have appeared and become increasingly popular.
Research about social networking reveals that the online dating services driven by subscriptions offer the least amount of social networking opportunities.
The dating services modeled on the free-at-the-point-of-use model scored much higher as many of them utilized the Circle of Friends social networking method and a wider number of online community genres.
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.
Apart from the popular social networks, there are social websites meant just for meeting and talking to someone new.