The present study is based on a sample of Australian, Indian, and Hong Kong online personal advertisements. By creating a personal profile on dating Web sites, the partner seeker is packaging an offering, a product if you will, as well as specifying to whom this offering should ideally appeal. Hirschman (1987) investigated male – and female – placed personal advertisements in magazines as examples of complex, heterogeneous marketing exchanges and stated “personal advertisements represent the offering of people as products, as a set of marketable resources in search of an appropriate buyer” (p. 101).
Dowd and Pallotta (2000) propose that people approach mate selection by looking at partners who share interests, beliefs, and economic potential and other areas of similarity. According to them, people think of love as an investment in their future well-being that must be approached carefully and rationally, much as consumers do when purchasing products and services.
The current study content analyzedAustralian, Indian, and Hong Kong personal advertisement posted on dating Web sites in each respective country. A terse perusal of personal ads on the Hong Kong Web site revealed that many were from ex-pats who may not share that culture’s dominant values and norms, thus Hong Kong specific hypotheses are guardedly advanced. A priori we anticipate seeing the biggest differences between Australia and India.