History of Internet Dating Services
During the dot-com boom of the late 90s and early s, there were several other high-profile dating site acquisitions. However, for dating sites, the change came more from the launch of Friendster and Myspace in People could meet potential boyfriends or girlfriends on the Web without going to a site dedicated to the cause. Social networking carried with it a much smaller stigma, since it is also used by those not seeking a partner at all.
But despite this wave of social networking, which included the founding of Facebook in , online dating has continued to thrive. However, the current online dating climate is one of balkanization.
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Currently the market has been segmented out to an ever larger number of sites focused on an ever-smaller niche audiences. Currently, there are sites for virtually every city, every sexual orientation, every desired relationship, every religion, every race and almost every hobby. The end result is that, according to Online Dating Magazine , nearly 20 million people visit at least one online dating site every month and , marriages every year take place, at least in part, due to online dating.
The prediction does not seem to be that far off as it is exactly where we are heading with both online dating and social networking. The stigma of online dating has been slowly lifting, due in large part to the rise of social networking. Though the majority of marriages still meet through more traditional means, nearly everyone on the Web has met someone or made a friend online. This has helped decrease the shame of meeting a potential spouse or partner on the Web by showing the value of the Web as a tool for introducing similar people.
However, in a strange way, online dating has come full circle, back to the personal ads which preceded it. Currently, sites such as Craigslist are among the most popular for posting online personal ads due to their popularity, anonymity and ease of use. Where an online dating site may require one post an extended profile, upload several images and answer a questionairre, one can post an ad to Craigslist in a matter of minutes and receive emails almost instantly. This convenience and anonymity allows individuals to toy with online dating without having to risk co-workers or friends knowing what they are doing.
At the same time, the rapid growth of both Facebook and Myspace, as well as the applications built around them, only serve to centralize most introductions on the Web, including romantic ones. In an era where almost everyone has at least one social networking profile, and many have multiple, searching for a partner via those services is becoming more and more attractive, especially since there is no stigma and no need to set up a new account. In the face of this, it seems that it is the niche sites that are poised to thrive.
They provide a concentration of desirable candidates that Facebook nor Craigslist can provide and may be worth the extra trip and the extra money for those that fit the description. That being said, general interest dating sites such as Match. Alexa lists both sites well within the top on the Web. Still, given the popularity of social networking and online classified sites, it appears that the general dating site, for many, has been replaced by Facebook, Myspace or a different social networking site. Online dating is here to stay. It is going to be a growing part of our lives and our relationships in the future, whether it is something we do deliberately, through sites like Match.
The History of Online Dating From 1695 to Now
Finding a significant other onilne is no longer the unusual nonoccurence it once was, it is becoming increasingly common and seems only destined to grow. In the end, the use of the Web to find love should not surprise anyone.
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Given how technology and communication tools in the past have always been turned to matching people together, there was no reason the Web should be any different. At the start of the 20th century, personal ads became even more of a necessity — as lonely soldiers serving in World War I would use them to find not just wives but also pen pals and friends.
Personal ads for homosexual activity, which was still illegal, were increasing as well — causing authorities to conduct more investigations into the content in newspapers. They used a punch card questionnaire and an IBM mainframe computer to more accurately pair 98 men and women. Their process was never made mainstream, but eHarmony says this is known as the first attempt at creating an automated matchmaking service. Operation Match, created by two Harvard Students in , is said to be the first computer dating service in the U.
According to the PBS infographic, Operation Match was used by more than 1 million daters during the s. From to , in-print personal ads kept up a steady pace until an invention came along that would change all of our lives forever — the internet. With the development of the world wide web, singles could connect via sites like AOL , Craigslist, Prodigy, and other online chat rooms and forums, and there was no turning back. While AOL and Craigslist revolutionized the way people met, they still needed an easier way to get specific about their individual wants and needs for a date or partner.
The site has been paving the way for others to follow suit ever since. Today, Match has 30 million members, sees over We all know the story: On a side note, thinking about this movie also makes me kinda miss the glorious sound of a computer dialing up.
Five years after Match launched, eHarmony, a dating site with its own way of doing things, arrived on the scene. Not only was it meant for singles who only want a long-term commitment, but it also matches them via a one-of-a-kind in-depth survey that takes 29 dimensions of compatibility into consideration. Founded in , eHarmony was among the first dating sites, and it was the only one to include an in-depth matching questionnaire.
The questionnaire, as well as the site, was co-founded by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, a relationship counselor, clinical psychology, Christian theologian, and seminary professor. Another unique aspect to eHarmony was that it found and delivered all of the matches for its members — no searching required on their part.
Years later, eHarmony is going stronger than ever. Launched in , OkCupid was another unique dating site to come onto the scene and give men and women a different process to try.
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Here, users would answer a question, indicate how they wanted a match to answer that question, and determine how important that question was to them. All three steps were given a certain number of points, and that math was used in an algorithm to create the most compatible pairings possible.
OkCupid is still using this method today and is one of the most beloved dating sites. Two wonderful things happened for online dating in