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Three key findings emerge: (1) the use of mass segmentation, a strategy that combines elements of both mass marketing and market segmentation; (2) a strategic broadening of the boundaries of the older-adult niche; and (3) the use of deceptive advertising to attract users.
In keeping with this ever-expanding audience size, the online dating industry is now following the trajectory of most other mass media industries before it by moving from a standardized “broadcast” model, in which attempts to differentiate among users are minimal, to the more specialized narrowcasting approach of niche targeting.
In order to achieve this kind of niche targeting, online dating companies must engage in a process of audience construction, deciding whom they wish to target and how to do so most effectively.
However, as media scholar Ien Ang explains, the construction of audiences is a highly subjective process.
From a user’s perspective, there are a number of added conveniences associated with the rise of the niche online dating market.
First, previous research shows that people strongly prefer romantic partners who are similar to themselves [14,15] and that online daters are no exception .
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Describing this transition, Susan Carpenter of the states, “There just wasn’t a market for most niches until online dating as a whole had reached a critical mass of users and acceptability, and that’s only happened within the last few years” .