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History of online dating: Where did it come from?

It’s fair to say that online dating has become a global phenomenon, helping millions of people around the world to meet men and women that they might have never found otherwise.

Online dating is now so common and mainstream that it has changed the dating landscape permanently. A dating website will be the first port of call for many singles as they try to find their next relationship or their long-term partner.

But where did it all come from?

online dating
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A short history of online dating

While online dating is seen as a fairly new thing, it’s actually been around longer than most people think. Furthermore, its foundation could potentially be traced back to the 1700s when the first dating services were launched – these were obviously offline.

The first dating website was a combination of two sites, both registered by the same owner, and was launched in the mid 1990s. By 1996, there were actually as many as 16 dating services listed on Yahoo search engine, a number that continued to grow.

A 1998 movie “You’ve Got Mail” had actually enhanced the image of dating in the Internet even further. While “You’ve Got Mail” was not based on online dating, it did feature a couple who communicated through the Internet.

Following the .com crash in 2001/02, social media emerged as the most popular way of communicating online. However, social media also led to an improvement and growth in features available through dating websites. The number of services and websites available online continues to grow to this day. Latest figures suggest that there are now more than 7,500 dating websites online.

online dating
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Online dating: The facts

Online dating is big, but few people appreciate just how popular it has become. Figures show that around 49 million people have tried dating websites at some point, while many relationships that begin online have result in marriages. In fact, one dating website alone is credited as creating 4% of all marriages in the US, so the overall number of marriages that have come as a result of online dating will be significant.

Another fascinating stat is that concerning the daily exchange of messages through dating websites, it’s now estimated that globally as many as 10 million messages may be getting exchanged between couples and potential matches on dating websites.

If you have not yet used a dating website yourself, then there may never be a better time to start than now.