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About.com's 2012 Readers' Choice Awards will showcase the best products, features and services in multiple categories, from technology to hobbies to parenting. Nominations were accepted from Jan. 18 to Feb. 15 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The voting phase began Wednesday, February 22, 2012 and continued through Wednesday, March 21, 2012. The winners, as determined by your votes, were announced on Friday, March 30, 2012.

Want to take a peek at last year's awards to get and idea as to the nominees and winners before you start nominating? 2011 Dating Readers' Choice Award Winners

So without further ado, here are this year's categories. Nominations closed on Feb 15th at midnight EST, and voting was open from February 22nd to March 21st, 2012.

Best Overall Dating Site
This category includes any and all dating sites started in any year and still in business today. There are no other criteria for this category, and any dating site can receive a nomination and/or win.

Best Free Dating Site
Nominees for Best Free Dating Site should include both small and big dating sites that offer their members free access to communicate with other members. Some may have a partial pay-per-use system, such as Plenty of Fish, but basic communication between members must be free, beyond just a smile or wink - so free email, voice calls or video for anyone who signs up.

Best New Dating Site
The only criteria for a nominee in the Best New Dating Site category is that the company started business sometime in 2011. The easiest way to tell is to look at the bottom of their website and see the copyright date, but I always ask to ensure the company started up in 2011.

Best Adult or Casual Dating Site
Dating sites that focus on more "adult" interactions, such as alternative lifestyles, casual sex, or hooking up fit into this category.

Best College Dating Site
Dating sites that specifically cater to college and university students are good contenders for this category. Originally this group of sites would have fallen into the niche dating site category, but because there were so many nominees with this specific subset, I created a new grouping all to themselves.

Best Niche Dating Site
If the dating site you want to nominate doesn't fit into another category, but you think it's amazing, please nominate it here.

Most Innovative Dating Site
A new category this year, as requested by readers just like you. Any dating site or company that offers something new, exciting, different or unique to their single and/or dating clients should receive a nomination here.

Best Dating Blog
If the blog focuses primarily about dating-related topics, you can nominate your favorites for this category.

Best Dating Book
Non fiction books published in 2011 that focus on dating-related topics can vye for a win in this category.

Best Dating App
Whether the app gets used with a smart phone or a social networking service, if the program services a dating site/service and requires an installation of sorts to work so you can access dating features on the go, it qualifies for this category. Last year we had quite the competition between several nominees, and I can't wait to see what's new that gets nominated this year.

The Fine Print

Sites that promote illegal activities, buy votes, give gifts in exchange for nominations or votes, or who game the system will be promptly disqualified.

Visit our central awards page to learn about finalists in other categories. Or, subscribe to our RSS feed or free dating newsletter to stay in touch and get the latest information.



2012 Dating Readers' Choice Awards

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