A new era of dating has commenced. No longer do you need to dress up and drive to a club or bar to hook up. Now you can click through web profiles, complete with photographs and biographies, in the comfort of your home to find your ideal mate. Providing more choices and creating less hassle, Internet dating has become extremely popular.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the male-to-female ratio is fairly equal on many popular Internet dating sites: the ratio of males to females is 46:54 on eHarmony and 52:48 on Match.com. A 2009 study in the journal “CyberPsychology and Behavior” has also found that more sociable people--especially those who possess high self-esteem and value romantic relationships---have a greater likelihood of being Internet daters than less sociable people who value romantic relationships.
Internet dating has been shown to have a relatively high success rate. A research group called the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that in 2005, three million Americans had entered into marriages or long-term relationships with people they had met online, though many individual Internet dating sites claim even higher figures. EHarmony asserts in television and online advertisements that 2 percent of Americans who got married in 2008 met through its site.
According to The National Newspaper, very few Internet networking sites run background checks, and anyone can register as a member. In February 2009, MySpace was forced to cancel 90,000 accounts on its site linked to registered sex offenders. The Safer Online Dating Alliance warns women never to post photos of their children or describe them in great detail because they might inadvertently attract pedophiles.
Popular in several countries around the world, the Internet dating industry is expected to experience tremendous growth in upcoming years. According to Forrester Research Inc., the Internet dating industry, with a gross income of $957 million, ranked third place in 2008 for largest revenue producer out of all paid content sites, behind video games and digital music. Revenues are predicted to rise 10 percent by 2013.
Forbes came up with a top-ten list of Internet dating websites based on number of unique visitors tracked during the month of June 2009. EHarmony came in first, with 4.25 million visitors, followed by Yahoo Personals. Match.com was third, followed by True and SinglesNet. Sixth place was Plenty of Fish, a popular free online dating site, followed by Do U Like and Spark Networks. Ninth and tenth place, respectively, were Mate1 and AOL Personals.
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- Cyber Psychology & Behavior; Psychological Characteristics of Internet Dating Service Users; Mikyoung Kim, et al.; August 2009
- "Forbes": The Top Online Meat Markets; Courtney Comstock; August 2009
- "The National"; The Dangerous Side of Online Dating; Gretchen Peters; June 2009
- "The Wall Street Journal"; Marriage-Maker Claims Are Tied in Knots; The Numbers Guy; July 2009
- US B2C: Five-Year Forecast, a 2008 Forrester Research Inc. Survey of Online Adults
- Young pair dating and kissings at town street image by fotosergio from Fotolia.com