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And every day, Haines said, he gets e-mail from happy users who have made new connections thanks to his site.“A lot of deaf people around the country are quite lonely.There are not many people they can be friends with that are deaf,” he said, particularly if they live outside big cities.At first glance, it may seem like just another set of niche online dating sites. Two small but growing sites devoted to dating for the deaf, both founded by children of deaf parents, now offer non-hearing singles their own place on the Internet to find love. But the recent explosion of online dating — about 17 million people at least peeked at a dating site last year, according to estimates — has created a cottage industry of smaller sites hoping to draft off the success of market monster Web site developer Christiaan Marais wasn’t considering a new career when he started “He was trying to get back into the dating scene,” Marais said.“We were talking about online dating, and I said, ‘You should try one of these sites.’ ” His father was reluctant, Marais said, because it’s hard to find other deaf users on the larger dating sites.
There's nothing new about the Internet being a connection tool for geographically disconnected niches.
But there’s something a little more important about these new services that are attracting thousands of single deaf people seeking companionship and love, experts say.