The expansion will reach the United Kingdom, France and Germany, adding to offerings in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan. As an introductory promotion, Yahoo will waive its subscription fees for new users in these countries. Yahoo charges $19.95 a month for U.S. users to e-mail or IM potential dates, but it allows people to browse listings for free.
"We want to grow community as quickly as possible," said Katie Mitic, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Personals.
Mitic added that Yahoo will start charging European users by the end of the calendar year.
Yahoo has earmarked its personals business as one testament to its ability to convert free users into paid subscribers. Although the health of the business remains a mystery, Yahoo's personals business--along with its e-mail storage and e-mail forwarding services and its Internet access package involving SBC Communications--comprised 70 percent of its subscription revenues last quarter, Mitic said.
In total,, the company reported last quarter. About 245,000 of its 289,000 net subscriber gains last quarter came from SBC DSL (digital subscriber line) customers switching to the co-branded DSL service with Yahoo.
Yahoo Personals faces its toughest competition from market leader Match.com, a division of USA Interactive.