Dating services have been online for quite a while - the debate over their efficacy beginning about eight seconds after the first personal appeared - and have grown in popularity since. But the shuttering of Yahoo Personals may owe as much to a change in revenue models as anything else.
To give just two examples, Plenty of Fish is free and doing extremely well. Skout, a free location-based mobile dating app, recently hit 1 million users. It uses a combination of add-on fees and licensing to support its free mobile app.advertising-based site
Of course, any fee-based dating site still has the grocery store, the book store (not the record store as often), a train, a bar, a cafe, school, work and various other nodes in the meatspace to contend with as well.
With online dating to reach $1.4 billion by 2013, according to Juniper Research, it may be that only those companies really willing to make the commitment will survive. (Blech.)