Online dating service
An online dating system enables people to meet and develop romantic or sexual relationships online. These Web-based systems offer something for everyone: singles, couples and groups looking for long-term relationships or casual sex. These services allow for unmediated online matchmaking.
How online dating services work
Individuals (or couples or groups) provide personal information by answering questions, submitting a profile and providing photos if they wish. They can specify who they are looking for, by gender, age, location, income and interests. Some sites allow for chats online, message boards and more specific searches or profile matching.
Most sites offer these services for a monthly fee. Some sites broadly offer something for everyone; others are geared to specific interests.
The future of online dating services
The popularity of online dating services continues to grow. According to an Online Publishers Association and comScore Networks study, U.S. residents spent 469.5 million on online dating and personals in 2004. This was the largest segment of paid content on the Web.
Risks and benefits of online dating services
Pros of online dating services include the fact that dating sites broaden the scope of the search for a mate; participants meet more people than they would without such sites. Plus, sites often eliminate awkwardness associated with first meetings or blind dates, members can easily browse each others’ profiles before initiating contact, services are affordable and members can decide if there is a spark before arranging a meeting.
On the flip side there are several risks involved in online dating, including the fact that members may misrepresent themselves, site numbers may be skewed in that some members may join solely to browse, men often outnumber women (and it is men who usually the ones who initiate first contact, often initially overwhelming women).
Online dating on the big screen
Check out online dating in films such as “You’ve Got Mail,” “Must Love Dogs” and “Napoleon Dynamite.”