Contributed by Tanya S.

Online dating has become the norm. Most everyone else I know has tried it al least once.  But joining the big sites can be a pain. Filling out the profile can take hours, then you have to go through the messages. Here are some smaller sites that are targeting niche markets.

Friendlylook. Links up to your social networks, such as Facebook, and finds the friends of your friends who are single.  The idea is that since your friend knows them, you will have a lot in common.

Loveessence. Loveessence is a romantic networking site for black women who are ready for love and mean of all races who are ready to love them in return.  They also offer online educational seminars.  The site was inspired by the founder’s desire to help underserved black women meet high quality men.

MiniDates. This website is for people who have tight schedules. Besides simply matching you up with people based on your profile, it also helps you connect with people through brief dates.  You type in when you are free and what area of town you will be in and the site will send you matches along with some suggestions on where to meet.

Sparkology. A luxury, quality-driven dating experience for young professionals.  This site caters to professionals who want to meet quality people, have meaningful interactions and experience luxury service.

Shared Tables. It is a by-invitation community for fun and intelligent grown-ups only that works through friends.  Being invite-only helps maintain quality as everyone is vouched for.  You can request an invite though.

Do you have any online dating site recommendations? We invite you to share your ideas in the box below.