Online Dating

March 20, 2015 • Volume 25, Issue 12
Can apps and algorithms lead to true love?
By Barbara Mantel

Introduction

Melissa Ellard (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Melissa Ellard, a fashion entrepreneur in Foxborough, Mass., says she would have been dateless for several months last year if not for Hinge, one of a number of new, increasingly popular mobile dating apps. One in 10 American adults has tried online dating through a website or smartphone app. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Since its start 20 years ago, online dating has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry that includes not only giants such as Match.com and eHarmony but also niche sites serving older singles, Christians, Jews, animal lovers, vegans and even would-be vampires. As the business adapts to an increasingly mobile culture, more and more people are accessing dating services through smartphone apps, some of which allow users to appraise potential dates instantly and to accept or reject them with the swipe of a phone screen. One in 10 American adults has tried online dating, and nearly 60 percent of Internet users say it is a good way to meet people. Yet some researchers say dating companies' matchmaking algorithms are no better than chance at providing suitable partners. At the same time, critics worry that the abundance of prospective dates available online is undermining relationships. Scammers, meanwhile, are using dating sites to extract money from vulnerable targets, and some dating-site users advise caution about maintaining personal safety.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Advertising
Mar. 20, 2015  Online Dating
Jan. 23, 2004  Advertising Overload
Mar. 14, 1997  Alcohol Advertising
Sep. 13, 1991  Advertising Under Attack
Nov. 23, 1984  Direct Marketing Boom
Sep. 04, 1981  Trends in Advertising
May 21, 1969  Advertising in a Consumer Society
Aug. 25, 1965  Youth Market
Nov. 21, 1956  Advertising Controls
Sep. 24, 1951  Controls Over Advertising
Mar. 08, 1938  Regulation of Advertising
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Computers and the Internet
Consumer Behavior
Consumer Protection and Product Liability
Marriage and Divorce
Popular Culture