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We talked to the men and women behind niche dating websites to find out what makes their crazy ideas so successful.From simple revenue models to familiarity with their customers, niche dating site creators believe they have a handle on their specific market. The online dating industry is a .1 billion business, with niche dating sites claiming more and more of that market share.

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With Events & Adventures, I have made new friends," said Nick of Minneapolis in a Consumer Affairs review. I went bowling, I went to both singles mixers, both party buses, movies.

But my favorite was the Halloween haunted house party bus."Like other higher-end services, E&A doesn't list its prices on its website so be sure you understand the pricing and have read the contract carefully before signing anything. The dating services we've looked at so far have all been, to one degree or another, what the MBA types call niche plays -- designed to appeal to a certain slice of society, and generally a higher socio-economic slice at that.

But the same is true of just about any other method of meeting people. What it comes down to is that there are risks in everything so as long as you take the obvious precautions -- don't meet strangers in dark places, don't send money to someone you've never met and don't reveal all your personal information in a single gush -- online dating is probably less dangerous than crossing a busy street or trying to clean out your gutters on a windy day. Many cater to individual tastes -- there are sites for gays, Jews, Christians, equestrians, millionaires, Hispanics and old white people. Well, here's one that specializes in New England, a locale that can be a little forbidding and frosty to the uninitiated.

One thing's for sure -- there's no shortage of dating sites. Fittingly for a site in a region that cherishes its history and traditions, Successful Singles has been around since 1984, which is not quite the Colonial Era but actually predates the Internet as we know it.

They all have a personal "facetime" element as well -- you have to meet, or at least talk to, a human being to be accepted. It's what we might all a "pure Internet play" -- everything's done online, nearly anyone can register and what happens after that is up to you.

It's perhaps the difference between using a personal shopper at Nordstrom and just going online and buying something that looks about right on e Bay.

One negative review we read said the client wanted to meet no one older than 32 and became angry when one date turned out to be 34.

The world is a big place but perhaps not quite big enough to be so inflexible in our choices.

As you would expect, this creates a lot more room for error.

On the other hand, it's a lot cheaper -- nearly free, in fact.

Each month is packed with 30-50 great event choices: foodie, night out, active adventure, casual hangout," the company says.

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