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Dating site integrated into social network site September 2, 2009

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Arto, Dating, Social network sites.

As regular followers of this blog will know, my main ‘field site’ has for many years been the Danish social network site Arto.com. For a long time Arto was the most popular SNS in Denmark with a huge group of core users between the age of 12 and 17. Now, the site is threatened by the major popularity of Facebook and according to a recent report from ‘Digital view’ Arto has shrunk to a third of its size during the past year – with an increase in especially 15-19 year old users.

Perhaps this is the reason why Arto has made a lot of changes lately and now seems to be targeting a much more broad (and international) audience.  One of the most recent initiatives is a dating section, where users can show an immediate interest in each other by clicking through a list of profile pictures (based on their own criteria) and state whether they are “Interested” or “Not interested”. The system works like a matchmaking feature; if two users have both shown an interest in each other there is a match:

I am interested in whether this will change the social networking part of the site. Anyway, I find it interesting that my profile (which I keep for research related reasons) was automatically integrated into the dating section. This means that other users, who have set their search criteria with my age and gender, will be able to show a romantic interest in me, even though I am not interested in dating… So far, it doesn’t seem that users can edit their settings to prevent this.

I am wondering if we will see more dating sites and social network sites merging in the years to come? I know that Danish MySpace users can use their user name to sign into Match.com, but in general, are people interested in having their SNS profile merge with their dating profile?