A dating agency is a business which acts as a service for matchmaking between potential couples, with a view toward romance and/or marriage between them.
Though most people meet their dates at social organizations, in their daily life and work, or are introduced through friends or relatives, commercial dating agencies emerged strongly, but discreetly, in the Western world after World War II, mostly catering for the 25–44 age group. Newspaper and magazine personal ads also became common.
Since the emergence of the internet, mate-finding and courtship have seen changes due to online dating services and mobile dating services. Telecommunications and computer technologies have developed rapidly since around 1995, allowing daters the use of home telephones with answering machines – mobile phones – and web-based systems to find prospective partners. "Pre-dates" can take place by telephone or online via instant messaging, e-mail, or even video communication.
One in five singles is said to look for love on the Web, which has led to a dramatic shift in dating patterns. Research in the United Kingdom suggests that as of 2004 there were around 150 agencies in the country, and the market was growing at around 20 percent a year due to the very low entry barriers to setting up a dating site and the rising number of single people. Academic researchers find it impossible to find precise figures about crucial statistics, such as the ratio of active daters to the large number of inactive members (whom an agency will often wrongly claim as potential partners, leaving them 'on the books' long after they have left) and the overall ratio of men to women in an agency's membership. Academic research on traditional pre-Internet agencies suggests that most such agencies had far more men than women in their membership. Due to the ratio of available single women being biased against men in the Western world, many dating and marriage agencies began to offer services over-seas.
Nikki Assavathorn, a professional matchmaker of MeetNLunch (Thailand), found that most successful women tends not to advertise themselves online as they are sceptical of people who could view their profile pictures and gossip if recognised. The ratio of women to men that use her offline-matchmaking service is 2:1, but the online matchmaking has much more men than women (as seen on many websites that are offering free service for women to join). The average age of women who uses the dating agency is around 29 years old. It does not offer service to over-seas, and unemployed.
Traditionally, in many societies (including Western societies), men were expected to fill the role of the pursuer. However, the anonymity of the Internet (as well as other factors) has allowed women to take on that role online. A recent study indicated that "women pay to contact men as often as the reverse, which is quite different from behavior in telephone-based dating system[s]" (from Wired magazine).
The trend of singles making a Web connection continues to increase, as the percentage of North American singles who have tried Internet dating has grown from two percent in 1999 to over ten percent today (from Canadian Business, February 2002). More than half of online consumers (53%) know someone who has started a friendship or relationship online, and three-quarters of 18-to-24-year-old online consumers (74%) say they do. There is also some academic evidence that the 18–25 age group has significantly taken up online dating.
This article is based on "Dating agency" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dating+agency&action=history