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Beeny site soars as online dating experiences major surge

LONDON - Whatever it is the season for, online dating websites are soaring. Channel 4 property expert Sarah Beeny has been overwhelmed by the success of her new dating site while market leader Dating Direct launches a major Christmas campaign.

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Beeny, who hosts the Channel 4 programme 'Property Ladder', launched her dating website, www.mysinglefriend.com, in October and has already seen more than 11,500 sign up in two months.

Mysinglefriend.com, created by Beeny and her childhood friend Amanda Christie, encourages friends to register their single friends who then get the opportunity to approve what their best-intentioned mates have written.

Media interest has helped the site, with radio publicity helping to encourage sign-ups, but it was an appearance on BBC One Breakfast that sparked a massive 450% hike in completed registrations.

"I really enjoy the TV and radio interviews and they have an incredible impact. They inspire immediate action and if your site can't live up to it, people won't hang around. First impressions count for the site itself as well as our gorgeous singles," Beeny said.

The success of Mysinglefriend has been helped by a widespread surge in the appeal of online dating sites as they start to lose the previous stigma associated with them.

Over the Christmas and New Year period DatingDirect.com, which is the biggest UK online dating website, expects a huge surge in new members and is predicting a 50% increase in membership in early 2006.

To capture that interest, DatingDirect is launching a four-week outdoor ad campaign employing 2,000 bus sides in more than 165 towns up and down the UK, and is thought to be the biggest push by a dating website to date.

The bus ads feature one of DatingDirect.com's key brand messages, 'Find love online with the UK's largest dating service'.

Darren Richards, CEO and co-founder of DatingDirect.com, said: "The tee-side campaign is a great way to highlight the benefits of DatingDirect.com, especially at this key calendar time when people enter the New Year looking for love."

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