So when is the last time you were on a dating site?
I don't necessarily mean looking for love. Just a few years ago, dating sites were one of the internet's biggest growth areas. And for some people, they're still a highly focused place to locate eligible people with similar interests.
But -- by and large -- the bloom is off the dating site's rose. What happened?
The same thing that always happens on the web: change. Dating sites, meet social media. You'll have a lot to talk about.
Too much for many dating sites. Destinations such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter -- or even blogs -- provide fertile ground for locating your next great love without the stigma of actually looking for a hook-up. They also don't cost $19.95 a month. Yet.
The same dynamic medium which created dating sites (and helped bury the old fashioned newspaper personal) is now remaking them. Just a few years ago, it was enough to assist users in matching personal profiles -- all simple database management. Now dating services are being forced to add new value to the mix: style consultants, relationship counseling, even identity verification. Anything to distinguish themselves from the social media herd, which has commoditized their former core benefits.
In this is a central lesson for those of us who work and do business on the web: success truly requires continuous innovation. The Facebooks of this world essentially turned every day into Valentine's Day. But one day, they -- in turn -- will be wondering how to corral the next innovation in social media. Because in business, there's always a new sweetheart waiting in the wings.
[image from Arash Behshadpoor, Flickr]