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Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(4), 62; doi:10.3390/socsci5040062

40 Is the New 65? Older Adults and Niche Targeting Strategies in the Online Dating Industry

Department of Languages and Communication, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX 77446, USA
Academic Editor: Martin J. Bull
Received: 23 August 2016 / Revised: 29 September 2016 / Accepted: 8 October 2016 / Published: 13 October 2016
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Abstract

Niche dating sites have become a popular trend in the online dating industry; yet, little is known about the specialization strategies these sites use to cater to their users’ needs. Moreover, previous research alludes to the idea that many of these sites may be engaging in pseudo-individualization—a deceptive technique that creates an illusion of specialization. This study focuses on niche dating sites for older adults, one of the fastest growing niches in online dating. Through a qualitative content analysis and close reading of older-adult dating sites, I seek to determine how and to what extent online dating sites that target older adults actually customize their services to benefit this population. 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. These findings suggest that older-adult dating sites are, in fact, engaging in pseudo-individualization. They also highlight some of the unique aspects of online media that facilitate this practice. Implications for both online daters and site producers are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: online dating; niche targeting; pseudo-individualization; older adults; audience construction online dating; niche targeting; pseudo-individualization; older adults; audience construction
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Blackwell, D. 40 Is the New 65? Older Adults and Niche Targeting Strategies in the Online Dating Industry. Soc. Sci. 2016, 5, 62.

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