Under this metaphor, members of a given service can both "shop" for potential relationship partners and "sell" themselves in hopes of finding a successful match.
Most free dating websites depend on advertising revenue, using tools such as Google Ad Sense and affiliate marketing.
Others utilize the freemium revenue model, offering free registration and use, with optional, paid, premium services.
Still others rely solely on paid membership subscriptions.
There are mixed opinions regarding the safety of online dating.
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.