While Randy said she was initially embarrassed that she signed up for a dating website, now she and Glenn flaunt the fact.
While their attitude toward their meeting might help with naysayers, Randy said she thinks there is still some stigma attached with the concept of online dating.
After the end of a four-year relationship with a “meater” and witnessing a friend get engaged to a man she met on eHarmony, vegetarian Katie L. decided to give VeggieDate a try.
“I remember thinking, ‘man this is low budget,'” she wrote in an email to Business Insider. “But it was very easy to use and had all the tools I needed.”
And while she initially got some grief for her decision to use VeggieDate, Katie is now OK with her decision.
“You initially feel embarrassed but as a friend who met her husband on eHarmony said, you get over it, then you start to brag about it,” she wrote. “There are people like my brother that said that’s weird and two years later he’s on Match. The famous line on an online dater to your parents when they freak that you met some Internet stalker online is, ‘It’s better than meeting a guy in a bar.'”
Michael Carter, Creator
“As I was building out the directory, a lot of things began to change in the market,” Carter said, citing the fact that Match and other sites were beginning to gain prominence. “But it was still kind of sketchy.”
As the online dating industry began to splinter, Carter created separate pages in his directory for all the niche sites that were already out there.
Eventually he contacted a programmer he knew and the pair decided to build a network of niche dating sites on their own, starting in 2004 with 100 standalone websites. Eventually he expanded his network to include super-specific websites such as Stache Passions and Pirate Passions.
While the specialty sites might get mocked, they pull users into the network. And once they’re hooked, the network uses their answers to the start-up questionnaire to connect them with sites they might actually use, such as Jewish Passions or Christian Passions, Carter explained.
The network, which is completely free, uses targeted ads to make money. Google’s ad system places ads on the sites that are specific to the site’s content. Carter also utilizes direct affiliate relationships with companies to place their products on his sites.
And while he doesn’t release revenue figures, Carter said the network’s profits pay for him to work on the site full-time, as well as covering the cost of hosting the network and the network’s expansion.
“I know there’s nobody else doing what I’m doing, certainly not to the extent that I’m doing it,” he said. “I’m sure we have a good number of the pirates out there that are on that site.”
Meet Passions Network member xxxDovexxx, who wasn’t looking for love when she joined. But she found it.
xxxDovexxx, who asked to be identified only by her username, said she joined Passions Network simply to connect with other vegetarians, not to find a date.
“As much as I fought it, that I did NOT want to get involved in a online relationship, I did,” she wrote in an email to Business Insider.
xxxDovexxx, who lives in Australia, met a man based in Seattle through the site. She said the two spent quite a bit of time becoming friends before advancing into a romantic relationship. The fact that they were forced to get to know each other via the Internet, and had no physical contact actually helped strengthen their eventual relationship, xxxDovexxx said.