Online dating has become a hot trend in today’s society with numbers of sites and memberships growing everyday. “First, individuals do no have to leave their homes or workplaces to date… Second, the anonymity feature of the internet allows individuals to participate privately in dating without the oversight of others or the fear of stigma. Third, interactive online dating allows customers to experience new forms of interaction… Fourth, online dating sites serve up ‘perfect matches’ quickly,” (Rege 494). What is online dating? “Online dating sites are Internet tools designed to facilitate ‘connections’ between users who are seeking romantic and/or sexual partners,” (Fullick 546). Dating networks have always existed, even before the Internet, but the Internet has allowed this network to grow rapidly. The struggle with the Internet and online dating is anonymity and depicting an identity online. To further my research, I will look at multiple sources and studies to discuss the complexities of online dating.
“The first major Internet dating Web site is widely held to be the combination of kiss.com and match.com, which were both registered by the same person in 1994 and 1995 respectively,” (Azad et al. 2). During this period, most dating sites focused on international dating and ‘mail order bride’ services. In 1996, Yahoo! had 16 dating websites listed, such as friendfinder.com and OneandOnly.com. In 1998, the movie “You’ve Got Mail” started changing peoples minds about meeting someone on the web and “showcased the Web as a tool for bringing people together,” (Azad et al. 2).
One of the challenges online dating sites faced was in 2002 when Friendster and Myspace were launched. This was a challenge because “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 stigma, since it is also used by those not seeking a partner at all,” (Azad et al. 3). However, in 2007, online dating became the second highest industry for paid content on the web with Americans spending over $500 million on online dating, pornography being the highest industry for paid content.
Online dating has expanded greatly and focuses on niche audiences. “Currently, there are sites for virtually every city, every sexual orientation, every desired relationship, every religion, every race and almost every hobby,” (Azad et al. 3). Statistics pulled from comScore revealed that although there is a wide range of age groups on online dating sites, Internet users between 18 and 29 years of age are more likely to find a romantic partner online, (Stephure et al.). The reason for this is because younger adults are more skilled in the use of the Internet and “they may thus be more comfortable using the Internet as a social and relationship-building tool than individuals whose early lives did not include the Internet and thus more likely to view the process of meeting romantic partners online as a...