Since their emergence in the mid-1990’s, online dating services have become an increasingly popular way for Americans to seek romantic partners and lifelong mates.While people have been finding love online since the earliest days of the internet, through newsgroups, chat rooms, games and other online communities, the meteoric development of the commercial dating industry has brought millions of paying users and mainstream exposure to the activity.
All the while, online dating has also been solidifying its image offline, not only through features in movies, television, and advertising outlets, but also through the influence of daters’ personal success stories, which have percolated through family, friends, and coworkers, and have contributed to the momentum and social acceptance of the practice.“The success of Sascha Segan, mentioned in your article, in meeting his fiancee, Leontine Greenberg, on persuaded a mutual friend of ours to try the service, and she convinced me. Two nights ago at a party, I ran into a friend of a friend and her new Internet-acquired boyfriend, who are the next step in the chain reaction started by Sascha and Leontine.
My thanks to Sascha for being so open about looking for love in cyberspace.
May we all be so lucky.” The appeal of online dating undoubtedly varies from user to user, but convenience has been a key selling point in the marketing of the services.
As some of the most popular online dating services suggest, users enjoy access to a pool of potential mates that is larger and easier to navigate than the offline world, and only costs as much as “the price of a couple drinks.” Online dating has not always had the best reputation.
When online dating activity was observed in the mid-1990s, some attention focused on the ease with which people could deceive others. You might find yourself having an erotic chat with someone named Bambi4You, who is really a man pretending to be a woman. the combinations are numerous.” “While Internet use can expand the number ofrelationships—intimate or not— and reduce the costsof long-distance communication, habitual use can alsoreduce a person’s social contacts with family membersand in-person friends, experts say.
[O]f course, you could be a woman pretending to be a man, or a man who is looking for a cross-dresser . In extreme cases,spouses, children, neighbors are pushed aside.” While the success of online dating services suggests that these extreme cases have been the exception rather than the rule, some of these initial concerns about finding a partner online still resonate today.
In an October 1996 advice column, Ann Landers cited a warning from a writer who advised those considering online dating to verify their date’s identity, and to look out for signs that would-be daters are actually predators.The writer advised users to meet any dates arranged online in public places and to be wary of those who refuse to divulge both their work and home telephone numbers before meeting.Likewise, the current “Safety Tips” page on in 2006 cautions that users would be wise to do some background research on their potential dates before meeting—asking for photos and phone numbers and possibly even paying for a background check.Even more imperative, the site cautions, one should always meet in a public place for the first date.While the site acknowledges that deceptive daters are undeniably part of the mix online (in the same way one might encounter ill-intentioned suitors at a nightclub or party), they recommend that users exercise the same discretion as they would in any offline dating situation.Similarly, the same 2003 “As a member of the online dating world, I canattest that there is a frequent disconnect betweenwho people say they are and the truth.