Online dating service

A Net dating service, also known as online dating or Internet dating, is an example of a dating system and allows individuals, couples and groups to meet online and possibly develop a romantic or sexual relationship. Net dating services provide un-moderated matchmaking through the use of personal computers, the Internet, or even cell phones.

Such services generally allow people to provide personal information, then search for other individuals using criteria such as age range, gender and location. Most sites allow members to upload photos of themselves and browse the photos of others. Sites may offer additional services, such as webcasts, online chat, and message boards. Sites sometimes allow people to register for free but may offer services which require a monthly fee.

Many sites are broad-based, with members from a variety of backgrounds looking for different types of relationships. Other sites are more specific, based on the type of members, interests, location, or relationship desired.


U.S. residents spent $469.5 million on online dating and personals in 2004, and over $500 million in 2005, the second largest segment of "paid content" on the web, according to a study conducted by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and comScore Networks.

At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38 percent increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc. However, market share was increasingly being dominated by several large commercial services, including Yahoo! Personals,, and eHarmony. Former eHarmony CEO and son-in-law to founder Dr. Neil Clark Warren -the guy in the commercials, Greg Forgatch noted that despite the growing number of sites catering to specific niches, "to become a major player, it still takes a large number of people." By 2007, many prominent studies show that Baby Boomer interest in online dating had soared. No need to whisper. Meeting online is OK

In 2002, a Wired magazine article forecast that, "Twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love without looking for it online will be silly, akin to skipping the card catalog to instead wander the stacks because 'the right books are found only by accident.' Serendipity is the hallmark of inefficient markets, and the marketplace of love, like it or not, is becoming more efficient" Wired 10.11: VIEW.

Of late, it is common to see online dating websites providing webcam chats between members to make dating even more convenient than ever. In addition, as the online dating population becomes larger, sites with specific demographics are becoming more popular as a way to narrow the pool of potential matches.

Virtual Dating

According to Scientific American, Virtual Dating is "the next step in online dating" (Feb/March 2007, p.35) The Truth about Online Dating: Scientific American.

Virtual Dating combines online dating with online gaming. Through the use of avatars, singles interact in a virtual venue that resembles a real life dating environment. For example, individuals can meet and chat in a romantic virtual cafe in Paris or on a Caribbean resort.

A Time Magazine article entitled "Internet Dating 2.0" was published on January 19, 2007 citing current and upcoming technologies and explains how people can now connect in a virtual dating environment. Time describes how websites are allowing people to meet for an avatar based, graphically enabled virtual date without leaving their homes. Internet Dating 2.0 - TIME

According to NBC Virtual Dating Is Catching On - News - Turnto10 and TIMEInternet Dating 2.0 - TIME, OmniDate is one example of virtual dating.

Researchers at MIT and Harvard have found that "people who had had a chance to interact with each other (by computer only) on a virtual tour of a museum subsequently had more successful face-to-face meetings than people who had viewed only profiles." The Truth about Online Dating: Scientific American

Problems with Online Dating Services

There can be a variety of problems when utilizing online dating sites.


Gay rights groups have complained that certain websites that restrict their dating services to heterosexual couples are discriminating against homosexuals. This is most often taking place among Christian dating sites or sites run by Christians that do not support homosexual relationships.

eHarmony was sued in 2007 by a lesbian claiming that, "Such outright discrimination is hurtful and disappointing for a business open to the public in this day and age," Woman sues eHarmony for discrimination -

Many sites require members specify themselves as "male" or "female", complicating matters for intersexed and transgendered individuals.

There have been some sites that have been created due to this discrimination like myPartner to service these type of individuals.

United States government regulation of online dating services

US government regulation of dating services began with the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) which took effect in March 2007 after a federal judge in Georgia upheld a challenge from the dating site European Connections. The law requires internationally oriented dating services to conduct, among other procedures, sex offender checks on US customers before communication can occur with a foreigner.

New Jersey became the first state to enact a law requiring the sites to disclose whether they perform background checks.

Pop culture

Popular Online dating services

See also


External links

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