Websites catering solely for the over-50 demographic are appearing all over the internet, offering their services to the more mature dater. I talk to Simon Aldous from the popular DatingOver50s site on his reasons for starting a dating site. Established since 2008, they are one of the largest and most respected dating sites for the over 50’s in the UK.
“For a number of reasons really. Firstly, my mum worked for one of the UK’s largest care providers so I had quite a lot of insight into the older market, and how this was growing. With a background in digital marketing I was also aware of the growth in ‘silver surfer’ portals and people over 50 generally using the internet more for everyday things – dating being one of them.
“Over the years we have had time to build and evolve the website and the features we offer. Due to our size and experience, we can continually invest in improving the site infrastructure with the end goal of making life better and easier for our members. We aren’t a ‘fly-by-night’ brand, we have longevity and we believe that is an important factor in our success.
“It is in the general attitude of the people/members. We find that people over 50 have a different approach to dating – it is as much about building friendships, as it is about finding relationships specifically. Our website just makes the process as easy as possible – we tend not to overcomplicate things like a lot of other ‘generic’ websites do.
“Generally, like on a lot of dating sites, the split favours women. When we started back in 2008 the split was probably about 80% women to 20% men. Now it is about 60/40 and the gap is closing.
“Most of our members are looking for something of merit, a life partner, a new friendship or a serious relationship. There is a small percentage who will just look for some fun but if they do, we tend to point them to our sister site casualover50s.co.uk where the attitude to dating is a bit more relaxed.
“It’s a bit of both. We have systems in place to vet new members and algorithms that will flag up suspicious accounts or activity. We also provide features to allow members to report accounts they feel aren’t operating within the code of the website, but the likelihood of this happening is very small. Of course personal vettting is very much up to the individual..
“We have over 100,000, which is a combination of active and inactive members. So no matter where you are, chances are we’ll have a match in or near your area.
“I believe the high point of DatingOver50s is the overall experience – brought about by the investment in our systems to deliver the best possible end user experience. A mix of fantastic site features and integrated systems (such as SPAM filtering etc) to ensure members can use the site hassle free, in the knowledge they will more-than-likely strike up a friendship or relationship with someone who matches their dating profile..
“John was 52 when he joined the site in 2012. He’d never married and had been single for the majority of his life. He was registered on the site for about 6 weeks before he started to talk to another member called Mary.
Mary was relatively new to the site was slightly older, 54, and had two children in their twenties. She had divorced in her late 40s and hadn’t started dating again yet. The whole ‘online dating’ thing seemed a bit strange to her at the time, but she was encouraged by her children to ‘get back out there’.
John had been working in the city but had also travelled the world. He had some great stories and good conversation, but had missed out on a family and settling down. Now that he had semi-retired he was looking to find someone who he could travel with and hopefully build a future with.
Mary, while a little tentative at first, was looking to meet like-minded people and instantly hit it off with John. His sense of humour definitely helped.
In 2013 the pair went travelling together, visiting some of John’s family in Singapore before travelling to Australia and then the US. We haven’t heard any wedding bells yet…but we are hopeful…
“Some do, but not everyone likes to shout it from the rooftops! It’s great to hear some of the stories though and we encourage members to come forward if they are comfortable doing so. We genuinely love to feel like we are making a difference to people’s lives.
I am going to test these tips out and share my dating experience on DatingOver50s in the next article. Who knows? My match may be waiting for me.