It’s not often that I get access to someone truly in the know about online dating. Mark Brooks is both an online dating industry expert as well as the chief strategy officer for AnastasiaDate. Yes, he has a vested interest in that business but such words of wisdom are always welcome. I asked 10 questions and Mr. Brooks was gracious enough to respond. My questions are in bold.
1. Define international online dating, and differentiate it from the “mail-order bride” concept. Besides being an industry analyst for online dating in general, I also serve as the chief strategy officer for AnastasiaDate, a premium international dating service that allows for people all over the world to connect with and possibly pursue relationships with others whom they never would have even met otherwise. We think that the term “mail-order bride” is quite derogatory to women and doesn’t reflect our brand intentions properly at all. We are not in the mail-order bride business. Many users of AnastasiaDate want to meet for love and for serious relationships. AnastasiaDate also connects men and women who share common interests and who are looking for companionship. The term mail-order bride infers that since these men and women are from different cultures, they cannot share a mutual interest or a consensual companionship. I am happy to be a part of AnastasiaDate, because we are working to bring cultures together, and I think that this is where the dating world is headed.
2. What are some of the demographics (age, gender, geography) of those who choose to use international online dating? 65 percent of the women on AnastasiaDate, for example, are in their 20s or 30s. The average age of the men who are looking to date these women is 41. All in all, we’re seeing tremendous interest in international online dating from all corners of the globe.
3. Are women in the Anglosphere (U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, New Zealand) also deciding to use international online dating?
The Internet’s presence has forever altered global communications and continues to allow people from all corners of the world to meet and experience other cultures and traditions. With that in mind, yes, even in the Anglosphere, we’re seeing the growth of international online dating.
4. As for international online dating websites, what are the top 10 (based on percentage of adult population), and in which countries do they operate and/or target?
Here are rankings from Experian/Hitwise:
1 AnastasiaDate / 3,112 / 16.00%
2 Chnlove / 2,213 / 11.38%
3 AmoLatina / 1,909 / 9.81%
4 LatinAmericanCupid / 1,749 / 8.99%
5 CharmingDate / 1,566 / 8.05%
6 iDateAsia / 948 / 4.87%
7 Dream-Marriage / 796 / 4.09%
8 ForeignLadies / 737 / 3.79%
9 AForeignAffair / 727 / 3.74%
10 CherryBlossoms / 633 / 3.26%
5. Going back to when statistics are available, what are some of the significant demographic trends in international online dating?
The premium international dating industry on the whole is taking off. AnastasiaDate, for example, has seen traffic rise 220 percent over last year.
6. What motivates men/women to select international online dating over local online dating?
People who date internationally are looking for love and relationships that are different from what they have found in their hometowns. International dating in the way that we see it emerging today wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the technological advances that have been made over the past 20 years. Interestingly enough, we recently released a study that reveals how men who date internationally tend to be more technologically advanced than those who only date locally.
7. Have you seen resistance to international online dating?
It’s been a controversial subject in the past, but I believe by 2020, it will be a more mainstream topic. People are expanding their horizons. Even though a lot of Internet daters prefer to date people within 20 miles—and we start at 2,000 miles—it’s a good idea to expand the traditional dating pool and intermingle over greater distances. Pretty much everything in the world is going global, so for those who are intrigued by other cultures and other parts of the world, international dating is an exciting choice.
8. How has the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) impacted international online dating?
IMBRA set out necessary regulations that do aim to protect women from abuse, and I believe the regulations are keeping people safe. In terms of an impact on international online dating, I believe the regulation raised the awareness that people need to be safe when deciding to meet a person whom they have met online in-person. People should be aware of the possible dangers whether they are dating locally or internationally.
9. Do you envision any further U.S. regulation on international online dating?
To me, IMBRA covers good ground, and self-regulation also makes sense, of course.
10. Where do you see the future of international online dating?
Internet dating was stigmatized up until two years ago. It’s now mainstream, because pretty much everyone has a friend who met via an online dating website at this stage. International online dating will be mainstream by 2020 and will have lost its stigma, as well. And with the rise of even more advanced global communications, people will be able to stay connected to and develop relationships with one another more than ever. International daters realize that finding love in a different country, which was once a very difficult and daunting task, is now right at their fingertips.