The Scoop: When DatingOver50s.co.uk launched in 2008, online dating was still somewhat of a novelty to singles in its target demographic — but creator Simon Aldous suspected that the baby boomer generation would be just as enthusiastic about virtually meeting potential partners as the younger generations. It turns out, he was right. More than a decade later, Dating Over 50s has attracted a broad user base from across the U.K., and the team aims to roll out a mobile app in the next 12 to 18 months to maintain its momentum.
Simon Aldous didn’t set out to create a dating site for singles over 50. In fact, he didn’t plan to create a dating site at all. As with so many successful business ventures, the idea came to him while he was working on something else.
“We were working on a property project to develop a website for assisted living and accessible homes,” Simon told us. “While we researched it, we started thinking about the over-50 demographic as a whole.”
What he discovered was that today’s older adults are living longer and have more money than ever before. They’re also still interested in developing relationships later in life.
Despite those realities, dating sites for older singles didn’t really exist back in 2008, so Simon and his collaborators created DatingOver50s.co.uk.
“We set it up on a whim, and it turned into a success,” Simon said.
The platform had many perceptions to contend with during development. As the internet started to find a broader audience in the early 2000s, many users were wary about sharing personal information online, and the demographic Simon targeted was particularly interested in security, authenticity, and respectability.
In response, the team made meeting those ideals a priority of its platform and began to gain both the trust and respect of users. In time, they had built a site that users were proud to recommend to their friends.
Today, Dating Over 50s is one of the longest-running dating sites for older singles in the U.K., and Simon said he’s grateful for that success. “We consider ourselves very fortunate to have been able to build up Dating Over 50s into such a respected dating site helping thousands of people change their lives,” he wrote on the site.
Since 2008, the Site’s Mission Has Been to Cater to Mature Men and Women Across the United Kingdom
What started as something of a whim found an audience quickly. Singles in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and even 80s — from all across the United Kingdom — flocked to Dating Over 50s.
“We were in a fortunate position where we’d created the site that surpassed what we thought it would be,” Simon said.
The platform’s most significant benefit is that mature daters don’t have to share an online space with younger singles. Though both demographics are looking for love, older daters often have specific concerns and interests that younger daters may not share.
Further, Dating Over 50s assures users that they’re only finding partners who are closer to their own ages and who share their experiences.
As other dating sites have emerged to cater to older daters, Dating Over 50s relies on its longevity and authenticity to attract new users, and Simon said that many of those new sites aren’t exclusively for older daters like Dating Over 50s has always been.
“Other brands have started to identify in this market, but there aren’t that many brands that focus specifically on people in their 50s and 60s as we do,” he explained.
To that end, Dating Over 50s welcomes those who may not be as tech-savvy as younger generations. The site offers tips for creating an eye-catching profile, including how to select the right picture and describe interests. Further, it advises users not to be shy about contacting those who interest them.
“As you get older, it’s easy for life to get in the way of things,” Simon said. “I would like to think of myself as a romantic at heart.”
Helping Users Find Both New Partners and Friends
Between 30% and 40% of the singles who use Dating Over 50s live in London and its surrounding areas. Residents of other big cities, including Liverpool, Bristol, Redding, and Oxford, also make up a considerable percentage of users.
Dating Over 50s doesn’t see many international romances, or even intra-city pairings, as most users are looking to meet new people where they already live. “It tends to be population-based,” Simon said.
Users can choose from two membership types. A basic membership allows them to create a profile with an About You section, photos, and an introductory message. They can also browse profiles and send icebreaker messages.
“It’s more of an introduction in terms of what you can do on the site,” Simon said.
A full membership provides users with even more ways to interact. They can send messages, chat, see which other users have checked out their profiles, and write diary entries to share their thoughts and feelings with the community.
While Dating Over 50s facilitates plenty of romantic pairings, it’s also helped develop new friendships. Some users just want to meet people who share their same hobbies and interests.
“This is an age bracket in which a lot of people are on their own and lonely,” Simon said. “Regardless of whether it’s a relationship or love, Dating Over 50s helps people find new friends, hobbies, or outlets.”
Dating Over 50s Will Continue to Plan the Future of Romance for People in Their Golden Years
Since 2008, the internet landscape has changed considerably, which means that Dating Over 50s has had to adapt, as well. When the platform launched, all of its users were on desktops and laptops, but Simon has seen many users switch to mobile devices.
“It’s only been in the last couple of years that we’ve noticed a shift, and approximately 50% of our traffic is now coming in through mobile,” he told us.
That’s why Simon’s next goal is to ensure that Dating Over 50s is accessible anywhere. While users can currently use the site on their mobile devices, the team plans to develop an app to improve functionality.
“The website itself is pretty responsive, but we’re taking that to the next level,” Simon said. “We’re thinking about that in the next 12 to 18 months.”
This kind of attention to user needs has been what’s made Dating Over 50s so prosperous from its inception, and the team has no intention of slowing down.
“We want to reinforce ourselves as a site that’s been there since the beginning, and we’re going to be there until the end,” Simon said.
Though Dating Over 50s started with modest ambitions, it has grown into a dating site where many older adults feel welcome. After a decade in the business, Simon still finds joy in helping older adults develop friendship and romance in their later years.
“It isn’t just about love; it’s about finding happiness when a lot of people think they can’t find that,” he told us.