And, based on the idea that one in five singletons now uses some form of introductory service to help them find a new partner – partly because the internet boom has made dating agencies less of a taboo – the UK dating market is estimated by the Association of British Introduction Agencies (ABIA) to be worth around £1.2bn.Before 1991 the industry was largely unregulated and, while there is still no strict legislation to dictate who can set up in business, the ABIA – whose 35 or so members represent around 70 per cent of all agencies that have been trading for more than a year – has developed a code of practice and guidance for its members at the instigation of the OFT.Impressed by this apparently rigorous approach, Ms Fontaine, 44, rang up to enquire about joining and a consultant invited her to an interview, not at the company’s registered offices in the City of London but at the Charing Cross Hotel on The Strand.‘I thought it was a bit strange but was quite happy because it was on my way home,’ says Ms Fontaine. She was given his email address and sent him a message. They emailed her some more details, for a man with a Persian-sounding name, who was 56 and worked in financial investments.
Dating agency business Asian sex talk and dating
Today, one in five new relationships and one in six marriages are estimated to begin online.
The global online dating market is worth at least a billion dollars. Its users are spread across 40 countries and exchange 415 million emails a year.
Karen Mooney, press officer for the ABIA, founded Sara Eden Introductions in 1988 with £4,000, charging her single friends £50 to find them a match.
The firm now operates from two offices – in Central London and Windsor – and has developed a membership of 2,500 professionals, business people and entrepreneurs.
Some online-only agencies – there are only two that are members of the ABIA – offer a free service and generate profits by selling advertising space on their sites.
Business for dating agencies peaks in the New Year and, to a lesser extent, after Valentines Day.Last weekend we did parachute jumping and this weekend we're doing some helicopter flights. RS: We employ about 15 people, about half of which were there when we took it over.The general manager, who ran the business day to day for the previous owner, volunteered to stay on and has been really helpful. RS: We invested about 20% of our own cash and the rest was debt-funded. It's a technique that I'd seen used mainly in MBOs [management buy-outs] at big companies.At the British HQ of the world’s biggest dating agency, every day is Valentine’s Day.The lift doors ping open to reveal a wall plastered in photographs of happy couples – cliché upon cliché of wedding shots, beach scenes, even a pair strolling through a sunflower field. From the UK's only independent dating body The recommendations and requirements of the Information Commission have been embraced by all member companies of the Dating Agency Association and are included in our own membership requirements, code of conduct and core objectives.