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 social, romantic or sexual relationship. Net dating services provide un-moderated matchmaking through the use of personal computers and the Internet.
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 typically 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.
2 Factors in online dating experience
3 Pop culture
U.S. residents spent $469.5 million on online dating and personals in 2004, the 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 services, including Yahoo Personals, Match.com, American Singles, and eHarmony. eHarmony CEO 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."
In 2002, a Wired magazine article forecast that, "Twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love won’t look 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".
Factors in online dating experience
Online dating sites operate by the same paradigms that govern all relationships, though factors specific to the nature of online communications may affect the experience.
Positive factors include:
Dating sites allow members to meet more people than they would without such sites.
People can easily browse other members’ profiles before deciding to communicate.
Members can communicate anonymously and with reduced fear or social awkwardness.
The effect of geography is mitigated and members can meet people of distant locations.
Dating sites that offer free or moderately priced services allow users to socialize with other singles in a convenient, inexpensive way.
Members can determine if there is any chemistry before pursuing the relationship in real life.
Negative factors include:
Members may misrepresent themselves, including their marital/relationship status, age, gender, physical attributes or socio-economic status.
Some members may join the site solely to view content and are not potential matches.
Men often outnumber women. On many sites, any one subscriber can contact another - but in practice, men usually send the first email. Therefore, women are overwhelmed with responses (many from 'bad apples' and 'players') while men are left sending several emails, often never to hear back from women who can be more selective given the wider choice of men.
Some dating sites may not remove 'expired' profiles, or else may be very slow to remove them, thereby falsely inflating the apparent number of potential dates.
Despite modern advances/opportunities in transportation and telecommunication --particularly, of greatest importance, email-- human psychology and behavior still give rise to issues which may pose barriers to relationship success when the two partners are separated by obstacles other than logistic ones, namely, a lack of interpersonal communication and stress, among others.
As Andrea Orr's Meeting, Mating, and Cheating notes, "The guy who was perfect in every way, except that he was 5'8" tall, could find himself out of the running just because his ideal mate had listed 5'9" as her cutoff height."
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