Users of an online dating service would usually provide personal information, to enable them to search the service provider's database for other individuals.
Members use criteria other members set, such as age range, gender and location.
This metaphor of the marketplace – a place where people go to "shop" for potential romantic partners and to "sell" themselves in hopes of creating a successful romantic relationship – is highlighted by the layout and functionality of online dating websites.
The marketplace metaphor may also resonate with participants' conceptual orientation towards the process of ﬁnding a romantic partner.
Some sites provide free registration, but may offer services which require a monthly fee.