A personals site, also known as an (online) dating system, is a website designed to help people find potential partners. It fulfils the same purpose as a personals page or personals section in a newspaper or magazine.
Personals sites normally have three basic functions:
- a way for people to post ads to descibe themself and what they are looking for
- a way for people to browse through these ads, often with the help of categories and keywords to narrow in the search
- a way for people to contact the ad owners in case of interest
- (an automatic function to purge the database from old or invalid ads)
Depending on the site, any of these functions can be free of charge or require membership, age verification and/or payment.
BDSM personals sites
For people with specific sexual fetishes, paraphilia or preferences, there are often specific personals sites. Examples of BDSM sites with personals sections and dedicated BDSM online dating sites are:
- alt.com — for all BDSM
- Bondage.com — for all BDSM, semi-free
- CollarMe — full-featured, concentrating on D/s and M/s, free
- Informed Consent — (UK)
- London Fetish Scene Personals — (UK)
- PolyMatchMaker — free, concentrating on polyamory, not specifically BDSM nor fetish
- Slavefarm — concentrating on Master/slaves but inevitably also roleplayers, free
- SM Place — personals section, free
- TPE Personals — Yahoo! group, free
The Usenet is used for personals as well. There are specialized personals newsgroups, for example alt.personals.spanking for spankos. By nature, newsgroup are completely free but also prone to spam and other (technical and social) flaws.