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Last year, 7.1 million single Britons looked for a partner online, 800,000 more than in 2011, when, according to uk, there were 6.3 million.

But despite the significant increase in the number of daters, total revenue for the UK dating industry is falling, meaning firms are making less money per head.

Aileen was promised support from Searchmate’s highly experienced team of matchmakers, and a guaranteed minimum of 15 recommendations.

Online dating scams: new tricks that fleece victims of an average '£9,589' But in November last year, Aileen felt a growing sense of disappointment as five months had passed and she had yet to meet any men.

Searchmate offered to upgrade Aileen to its “Platinum” membership, a service via which customers are assigned their very own matchmaker who will proactively look for potential matches outside Searchmate’s client base.

They were good-looking women in his local area with similar interests – world travel, theatre and cooking.

He didn’t hesitate to pay the £180 for 12 months’ membership as pretty much everyone he’d seen so far he would have gone on a date with, so there seemed to be a lot of potential for meeting someone special.

“My daughters said online dating wasn’t good for me anymore, so I started looking for alternatives.” Aileen then came across Searchmate, a bespoke dating service which featured on the first series of Channel 4's The Undateables.

It claims to offer a “safer and more credible alternative” to dating websites.

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