As I mentioned in my last column
, the first few weeks of the new year are peculiar time in terms of our online behavior. Each year resolution searches are always present as we look to improve ourselves; we look to slim down, get in shape, stop smoking and get a job.
One phenomenon that I've noticed over the past several years is an increase in searches surrounding online dating. Based on years of analysis, I'm convinced that there are two key reasons for the January dating frenzy. First, we see relationship building as a way we can improve our lives. Second, is the rush to find a relationship before February 14. In fact, we start to see a decline in online dating in the first days of February, perhaps to avoid the awkwardness of going out on a first date on Valentine's Day?
When I look at the top 1,110 dating sites visited by U.S. Internet users (yes, there are that many), it's clear 2010 brings with it significant change in dating behavior
. First, the economy. Sites that provide premium dating services and matchmaking have dropped in their rankings, while sites such as Plenty of Fish, which bills itself as a "free online dating" site, are more prominent.