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The faster they attracted users, the more useful the sites would be, Brooks says.

And paying fees, he says, can have an upside: People may be more likely to actually use a site if they pay for it.

In a piece on Vice, called "In Defense of Ok Cupid's A-List," the writer says, "I value my A-List subscription at a level in which it has become engrained.

Half the time, I forget that I even pay for it." Well, there you have it.

“Finding a soul mate can cost you.” As the data breach of the adultery website, Ashley Madison.com, has shown, online dating doesn’t come cheap — in terms of monthly fees and, in extreme cases, public embarrassment and lawyer’s fees in divorce court.

Hackers alleged late Tuesday that they had dumped account details and log-in information of around 32 million users of the website, revealing millions of street addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and credit-card details.

A decade ago, many sites were free or had minimal fees of around a month.

Avid Life Media called it “an act of criminality.” Many people are looking for love online, and some — even those who are already married — are looking for hook-ups, but even those who are looking for love should be aware of what lies ahead. Roughly 30 million unique users, or about 10% of the U. population, visit dating sites every month, according to market researcher Nielsen.

And many of them pay a hefty sum for that chance to meet their perfect match.

(charged .95 per month when it launched in 1995.) e Harmony, launched in 2000 and marketed toward people seeking long-term relationships, blazed a trail with its prices, charging some of the highest in the industry, says Mark Brooks, a dating-industry analyst and the editor of Online Personals Watch.

Of course, there was a business reason for charging low rates in the early days, some experts say: Sites needed to stock the sea of love with fish.

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