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Still others rely solely on paid membership subscriptions.Opinions and usage of online dating services also differ widely.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.

This model also allows users to switch between free and paying status at will, with sites accepting a variety of online currencies and payment options.

That is, online dating sites use the conceptual framework of a "marketplace metaphor" to help people find potential matches, with layouts and functionalities that make it easy to quickly browse and select profiles in a manner similar to how one might browse an online store.

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.

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.

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