Yahoo Inc. late Tuesday launched Personals Premier, a premium online dating service aimed at attracting serious relationship seekers with deeper pockets.
The move challenges eHarmony, a popular online dating site that picks potential "soul mates" for its subscribers based on results from a lengthy personality test.
Yahoo's new premium service costs $34.95 a month and features searching and matching technology that uses results from new relationship and personality tests. Yahoo's existing personals service costs $19.95 per month.
Online dating is booming, with the U.S. industry projected to generate $558 million in revenue this year, Yahoo, predicts.
Privately held eHarmony recently has gained popularity thanks to a multimillion-dollar television and radio advertising blitz. Its monthly membership fee is $49.95.
According to Internet traffic monitoring company Hitwise, eHarmony visitors are much more likely to be in the age range of 25 to 34 while Yahoo's visitors are older or younger -- with lower incomes.
Yahoo Personals is No. 1 in the online dating category with about 21 percent of the market. while EHarmony came in fourth, with about 6 percent market share, after IAC/InterActiveCorp.'s Match.com and MatchNet's American Singles, Hitwise reported.