Online dating or Internet dating is a system that enables people to find and introduce themselves to potential connections over the Internet , usually with the goal of developing personal, romantic, or sexual relationships. An online dating service is a company that provides specific mechanisms generally websites or software applications for online dating through the use of Internet-connected personal computers or mobile devices. Such companies offer a wide variety of unmoderated matchmaking services, most of which are profile-based. Online dating services allow users to become "members" by creating a profile and uploading personal information including but not limited to age, gender, sexual orientation, location, and appearance. Most services also encourage members to add photos or videos to their profile. Once a profile has been created, members can view the profiles of other members of the service, using the visible profile information to decide whether or not to initiate contact. Most services offer digital messaging, while others provide additional services such as webcasts , online chat , telephone chat VOIP , and message boards.
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Additionally, majorities of online daters say it was at least somewhat easy for them to find others that they found physically attractive, shared common interests with, or who seemed like someone they would want to meet in person. But users also share some of the downsides to online dating.
Roughly seven-in-ten online daters believe it is very common for those who use these platforms to lie to try to appear more desirable. Other incidents highlight how dating sites or apps can become a venue for bothersome or harassing behavior - especially for women under the age of Online dating has not only disrupted more traditional ways of meeting romantic partners, its rise also comes at a time when norms and behaviors around marriage and cohabitation also are changing as more people delay marriage or choose to remain single.
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These shifting realities have sparked a broader debate about the impact of online dating on romantic relationships in America. Others offer a less flattering narrative about online dating - ranging from concerns about scams or harassment to the belief that these platforms facilitate superficial relationships rather than meaningful ones.
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This survey finds that the public is somewhat ambivalent about the overall impact of online dating. The following are among the major findings.
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Experience with online dating varies substantially by age. Beyond age, there also are striking differences by sexual orientation. There are only modest differences between men and women in their use of dating sites or apps, while white, black or Hispanic adults all are equally likely to say they have ever used these platforms.
At the same time, a small share of U. This too follows a pattern similar to that seen in overall use, with adults under the age of 50, those who are LGB or who have higher levels of educational attainment more likely to report finding a spouse or committed partner through these platforms. Online dating users are more likely to describe their overall experience with using dating sites or apps in positive, rather than negative, terms.
For the most part, different demographic groups tend to view their online dating experiences similarly. But there are some notable exceptions. While majorities across various demographic groups are more likely to describe their searches as easy, rather than difficult, there are some differences by gender.
There are substantial gender differences in the amount of attention online daters say they received on dating sites or apps.
The survey also asked online daters about their experiences with getting messages from people they were interested in. And while gender differences remain, they are far less pronounced. Online daters widely believe that dishonesty is a pervasive issue on these platforms. By contrast, online daters are less likely to think harassment or bullying, and privacy violations, such as data breaches or identify theft, are very common occurrences on these platforms.
Some experts contend that the open nature of online dating - that is, the fact that many users are strangers to one another - has created a less civil dating environment and therefore makes it difficult to hold people accountable for their behavior. At the same time, usage among those between the ages of 55 and 64 doubled. People in their mids to mids all saw noticeable increases in usage, but people aged 25 to 34 saw no change. Nevertheless, only one in three had actually gone out on a date with someone they met online.
Only five out of a hundred said they were married to or in a committed long-term relationship with someone they met online.
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Online daters may have more liberal social attitudes compared to the general population in the United States. In all, there was little difference among the sexes with regards to their opinions on online dating.
It is not clear that social networking websites and online dating services are leading to the formation of long-term intimate relationships more efficiently. Ina majority of U. Inthe percentage of all U. Kenrick demonstrated experimentally that following exposure to photographs or stories about desirable potential mates, human subjects decrease their ratings of commitment to their current partners,  while social psychologist David Buss has estimated that approximately 30 percent of the men on Tinder are married,  and a significant criticism of Facebook has been its effect on its users' marriages.
Online dating services offer goldmines of information for social scientists studying human mating behavior.
Data from the Chinese online dating giant Zhenai. Profession is also quite important. Chinese men favor women working as primary school teachers and nurses while Chinese women prefer men in the IT or finance industry.
Women in IT or finance are the least desired. Zhenai enables users to send each other digital "winks. Men typically prefer women three years younger than they are whereas women look for men who are three years older on average.
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However, this changes if the man becomes exceptionally wealthy; the more money he makes the more likely he is to look for younger women.
In general, people in their 20s employ the "self-service dating service" while women in their late 20s and up tend to use the matchmaking service. This is because of the social pressure in China on "leftover women," meaning those in their late 20s but still not married. Women who prefer not to ask potentially embarrassing questions - such as whether both spouses will handle household finances, whether or not they will live with his parents, or how many children he wants to have, if any - will get a matchmaker to do it for them.
Both sexes prefer matchmakers who are women. In a paper, sociologist George Yancey from the University of North Texas observed that prior research from the late s to the early s revealed that African-Americans were the least desired romantic partners compared to all other racial groups in the United States, a fact that is reflected in their relatively low interracial marriage rates.
They were also less likely to form interracial friendships than other groups. According to data from the U. Census, 5. For his research, Yancey downloaded anonymized data of almost a thousand heterosexual individuals from Yahoo!
He discovered that Internet daters felt lukewarm towards racial exogamy in general.
In particular, Dating members of one's own racial group was the most popular option, at Those who were more willing to out-date than average tended to be younger men. Education was not a predictor of willingness to out-date. This means that the higher interracial marriage rates among the highly educated were due to the fact that higher education provided more opportunities to meet people of different races.
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There is, however, great variation along gender lines. InCynthia Feliciano, Belinda Robnett, and Golnaz Komaie from the University of California, Irvineinvestigated the preferences of online daters long gendered and racial lines by selecting profiles on Yahoo! Personals - then one of the top Internet romance sites in the U.
They found that consistent with prior research, including speed-dating studies, women tended to be pickier than men. In short, after opposite-sex members of their own group, white men were open to dating Asian women, and white women black men than members of other racial or ethnic groups.
At the same time, Latinos were generally favored by both white men and women willing to out-date. Feliciano, Robnett, and Komaie found that white women who described themselves as athletic, average, fit, or slim were more likely to exclude black men than those who considered themselves large, thick, or voluptuous. Body type, however, was not a predictor for white women's avoidance of Asian men, nor was it for the white men's preferences.
On the other hand, white men with a particular body type in mind were considerably more likely to exclude black women while women who preferred a particular height were slightly more likely to exclude Asian men. Women who deemed themselves very liberal or liberal were less likely than apolitical, moderate, or conservative women to exclude black men.
In contrast, left-leaning white women were slightly more likely to exclude Asian men. Being Jewish was the perfect predictor of black exclusion. All white men and women who identified as Jewish and who had a racial preference excluded blacks, and all white Jewish women also avoided Asian men. White men with a religious preference were four times as likely to exclude black women, and white women with the same were twice as likely to exclude black men.
However, religious preferences were not linked to avoiding Asians. Feliciano, Robnett, and Komaie found some support for this. In particular, white men's exclusion of black women was linked to the perception that black women deviate from Western idealized notions of femininity, for example by being bossy, while their favoring Asian women was likely due to the latter's portrayal in the media as "the embodiment of perfect womanhood" and "good wives.
Therefore, all groups except white women were willing to out-date, albeit with great variations. For blacks willing to out-date, Latinos were most preferred.
InElizabeth Bruch and M. Newman from the University of Michigan published in the journal Science Advances a study of approximatelyheterosexual individuals living in New York City, Chicago, Boston and Seattle, who used a certain "popular, free online-dating service. For a man, his desirability increased till the age of 50; for a woman, her desirability declined steeply after the age of 18 till the age of In terms of educational attainment, the more educated a man was, the more desirable he became; for a woman, however, her desirability rose up to the bachelor's degree before declining.
Bruch suggested that besides individual preferences and partner availability, this pattern may be due to the fact that by the late s, women were more likely to attend and graduate from university. Developmental psychologist Michelle Drouin, who was not involved in the study, told The New York Times this finding is in accordance with theories in psychology and sociology based on biological evolution in that youth is a sign of fertility.
She added that women with advanced degrees are often viewed as more focused on their careers than family. In half of these, the man was at least five years older. Aided by the text-analysis program Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, Bruch and Newman discovered that men generally had lower chances of receiving a response after sending more "positively worded" messages.
Therefore, studying women's replies yielded much insight into their preferences. Very few responded to the messages of people less desirable than they were. Keeping messages concise is well-advised. Bruch recommended sending out more greeting messages, noting that people sometimes managed to upgrade their 'league'.
Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist not involved with the study, told The Atlantic"The idea that persistence pays off makes sense to me, as the online-dating world has a wider choice set of potential mates to choose from.
The greater choice set pays dividends to people who are willing to be persistent in trying to find a mate. See derivation of the optimal policy. However, making online contact is only the first step, and indeed, most conversations failed to birth a relationship. As two potential partners interact more and more, the superficial information available from a dating website or smartphone application becomes less important than their characters.
Despite being a platform designed to be less centered on physical appearance,  OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder stated in that the male OkCupid users who were rated most physically attractive by female OkCupid users received 11 times as many messages as the lowest-rated male users did, the medium-rated male users received about four times as many messages, and the one-third of female users who were rated most physically attractive by the male users received about two-thirds of all messages sent by male users.
According to University of Texas at Austin psychologist David Buss"Apps like Tinder and OkCupid give people the impression that there are thousands or millions of potential mates out there. One dimension of this is the impact it has on men's psychology. When there is Beforemost online dating services matched people according to their autobiographical information, such as interests, hobbies, future plans, among other things.
But the advent of Tinder that year meant that first impressions could play a crucial role. For social scientists studying human courtship behaviorTinder offers a much simpler environment than its predecessors. In order to minimize the number of variables, they created profiles of white heterosexual people only.
For each sex, there were three accounts using stock photographs, two with actual photographs of volunteers, one with no photos whatsoever, and one that was apparently deactivated.
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The researchers pointedly only used pictures of people of average physical attractiveness. Tyson and his team wrote an algorithm that collected the biographical information of all the matches, liked them all, then counted the number of returning likes. They found that men and women employed drastically different mating strategies. Men liked a large proportion of the profiles they viewed, but received returning likes only 0.
Men received matches at a much slower rate than women. Tyson and his team found that for the first two-thirds of messages from each sex, women sent them within 18 minutes of receiving a match compared to five minutes for men. Men's first messages had an average of a dozen characters, and were typical simple greetings; by contrast, initial messages by women averaged characters. Tyson and his collaborators found that the male profiles that had three profile pictures received matches while the male profiles with only one profile picture received only 44 matches or approximately a 5 to 1 ratio.
Additionally, male profiles that had a biography received 69 matches while those without received only 16 matches or approximately a 4 to 1 ratio.
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By sending out questionnaires to frequent Tinder users, the researchers discovered that the reason why men tended to like a large proportion of the women they saw was to increase their chances of getting a match. This led to a feedback loop in which men liked more and more of the profiles they saw while women could afford to be even more selective in liking profiles because of a greater probability of a match.
The mathematical limit of the feedback loop occurs when men like all profiles they see while women find a match whenever they like a profile. It was not known whether some evolutionarily stable strategy has emerged, nor has Tinder revealed such information. Tyson and his team found that even though the men-to-women ratio of their data set was approximately one, the male profiles received 8, matches in total while the female profiles received only matches in total because the vast majority of the matches for both the male and female profiles came from male profiles with 86 percent of the matches for the male profiles alone coming from other male profilesleading the researchers to conclude that homosexual men were "far more active in liking than heterosexual women.
The researchers were not sure why this happened. Sites with specific demographics have become popular as a way to narrow the pool of potential matches. Some dating services have been created specifically for those living with HIV and other venereal diseases in an effort to eliminate the need to lie about one's health in order to find a partner.
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Most free dating websites depend on advertising revenue, using tools such as Google AdSense and affiliate marketing. Since advertising revenues are modest compared to membership fees, this model requires numerous page views to achieve profitability.
However, Sam Yagan describes dating sites as ideal advertising platforms because of the wealth of demographic data made available by users.