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Still others rely solely on paid membership subscriptions.
It is possible that the mode of online dating resonates with some participants' conceptual orientation towards the process of finding a romantic partner.
Over 50% of research participants in a 2011 study did not view online dating as a dangerous activity, whereas 43% thought that online dating involved risk.
Because online dating takes place in virtual space, it is possible for profile information to be misrepresented or falsified.
Profiles created by real humans also have the potential to be problematic.
For example, online dating sites may expose more female members in particular to stalking, fraud, and sexual violence by online predators.
However, Sam Yagan describes dating sites as ideal advertising platforms because of the wealth of demographic data made available by users.
There are mixed opinions regarding the safety of online dating.
Most services offer digital messaging, while others provide additional services such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards.
Members can constrain their interactions to the online space, or they can arrange a date to meet in person.
While some sites conduct background checks on members, many do not, resulting in some uncertainty around members' identities.
For instance, some profiles may not represent real humans but rather "bait profiles" placed online by site owners to attract new paying members, or "spam profiles" created by advertisers to market services and products.
The 2016 Pew Research Center's survey reveals that the usage of online dating sites by American adults increased from 9% in 2013, to 12% in 2015.