Virtual cohabitation in online dating sites: a netnography analysis

Yi-Sheng Wang (Department of Marketing and Distribution Management, Oriental Institute of Technology, Taipei, Taiwan)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Publication date: 12 August 2019



The purpose of this paper is to explore in depth the special context and unique life experience of the online dating site and provide insights regarding an interpretation of virtual cohabitation model.


This study uses netnography, online interviews and the physical travel of researchers to the field for field participation and observations. The combination of netnography and online interviews combines online and offline studies to achieve more consistency in the data collection, analysis and other processes. In-person participation in observations makes the research more realistic. The combination of these qualitative methods is helpful in achieving a more comprehensive and accurate research process.


The findings of the study can be classified into a three-stage situational context approach, which is presented in the form of propositions. Finally, the insight of the virtual cohabitation context model was developed, namely, motivation (including escapism, hedonic gratification and autonomous), showing off and psychological compensation, stimulation and fantasies, emotions (including impulsiveness, emotions and desires), over-control and low self-control, behavioral control, gratification and dependence and love trap (including sex transactions and consumption traps).


The theoretical contribution of this study is to establish an interpretation of virtual cohabitation model and ten related propositions.



Wang, Y. (2019), "Virtual cohabitation in online dating sites: a netnography analysis", Online Information Review, Vol. 43 No. 4, pp. 513-530.

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