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Hooking up with the latest online dating trends

June 23, 2010 |  5:17 pm

ipad online dating Last week, there was a bit of match-making in Beverly Hills -- and not of the reality TV variety -- as business owners and industry experts descended on our fair community to discuss the latest trends and ideas at the iDate 2010 Internet Dating Conference.

But is there really that much more going on with this industry? People sign up for a site, write a profile and meet strangers for coffee, right? We asked Mark Brooks, an industry expert and the event's spokesperson, to tell us a bit about what's going on.

Upwardly mobile: Over the last few years, mobile dating has skyrocketed, (In February, Whitney Casey,'s relationship expert, told me that her mobile members alone grew 250% from 2008 to 2009). More important, Brooks says users are now willing to pay for it, thus helping the industry have "moderate growth over the year and looking up for 2012."

I date via iPad: Why stop with the dating possibilities of a smart phone? Brooks praises GPS-based dating site Skout, which certainly thought bigger. Called the HotMap, Skout's iPad app gives a real-time rundown of nearby singles.

Third parties, not third wheels: You've secured that pivotal date, but where should you meet? "We're focusing on memberships, however mobile services account for more or more services," Brooks says, explaining that dating sites need to "look at other industries" like movie-theater chain Cinemark, (which participated in the conference) or Starbucks. "They're there anyway, they might as well form an alliance or bond," Brooks says.

Are you an online dater or have you been in the past? What do you think? What would you like to see from online dating sites?

-- Whitney Friedlander

Photo: The iPad. Would you set up a date via one of these? Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press