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“My daughters said online dating wasn’t good for me anymore, so I started looking for alternatives.” Aileen then came across Searchmate, a bespoke dating service which featured on the first series of Channel 4's The Undateables.It claims to offer a “safer and more credible alternative” to dating websites.They were good-looking women in his local area with similar interests – world travel, theatre and cooking.He didn’t hesitate to pay the £180 for 12 months’ membership as pretty much everyone he’d seen so far he would have gone on a date with, so there seemed to be a lot of potential for meeting someone special.
This was because they were “registered” and not “paying” members.
In the two years between 20 alone, revenue dropped by £9m from £168m to £159m.
This is mainly because cheaper competitor sites and smartphone apps, such as Tinder, have boomed in popularity, explaining why some of the UK’s pricier dating services are suffering – and possibly going to greater lengths to keep singles signed up on their books, Another site at the higher end of the dating market is Elite Singles, which is designed for people with a certain level of education.
When Telegraph Money spoke to one of Searchmate’s agents, we were told matchmakers would go to “great lengths” to find matches for singles, for example putting up posters in local sailing clubs (if the client listed sailing as a hobby), or even posting advertisements in newspapers. She said she sent several emails to Searchmate’s agents since November but did not hear back.
In the meantime, she contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau, which provided some information on her consumer rights.