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Online dating: Believe it or not

May 01, 2015

By Paul Brucker

In the mid-1990s, online dating sites emerged and offered an alternative way to meet a romantic partner. At first, there was a stigma attached to using cyberspace as a Cupid. Most people believed that you should rely on the traditional ways of finding a partner – through family, friends, school, work, social and religious groups and bars. Today, online dating remains a good fit for only some people, but it has gone mainstream. In fact, 59% of all Internet users think online dating is a good way to meet people, and only 21% think that people who use these sites are desperate, according to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center.

Online dating has its success stories, including Whitson Gordon, a writer for the Lifehacker blog. He considers himself “a walking commercial for online dating.” Within a week of trying a site, he met a woman, and two and half years later they set their wedding date.

On the other hand, online dating sites have been a keen source of anguish and disappointment for other customers. You have to deal with users who try to game the system by providing false information about themselves. Then once you actually meet your interested party offline (in person) for a date, you may utterly lose interest in that person. Plus, one-third of site users have never gone on a date with someone they met through the online service, according to the Pew study. And 10% of the people who sign up leave within the first three months.

Here some facts about online dating:

  • 41.25 million Americans have tried online dating. The biggest services are Match.com (21.6 million members) and eHarmony (15.5 million members)1
  • 38% of U.S. adults who are single and actively looking for a partner have used online dating sites2
  • About 10% of the U.S. population currently visit dating sites every month3
  • 66% of online daters have gone on a date with someone they met on the site2
  • 23% of users have met a spouse or long-term relationship partners through a site2
  • The average cost per year for online dating sites is $2391
  • 20% of adults aged 25 to 34 have used online dating.2 The fastest-growing segment of users is baby boomers. Today, 16% of online dating users are over 50, and the AARP has introduced its own service, AARP Dating4
  • 54% of online daters report that they’ve experienced people who seriously misrepresented themselves in their profile.2 Men lie most frequently about their age, income and height.1 Women lie most about their age, weight and physical build1
  • By age 26, women have more online pursuers than men. By age 48, men have two times as many pursuers as women1
  • The annual revenue from the online dating industry is $1.25 trillion.1 This makes online dating the third most popular type of paid content sites, followed by digital music and video games5