A prophetic view of dating sites from before Wii knew them

Back in 2005, a certain Sarah Harris posted an article about ‘The whole truth about online dating‘; as chief executive officer of her own dating website, she spoke as an authority on the subject. That UK dating site is still going, as is its sister, dedicated to helping find lesbians find their one true love online. More on those sites later.

Upon reading the article, although it can certainly be termed as dated on the basis of how long ago it was written, the messages therein still hold true, perhaps even more-so now than they did back then. Given the backdrop that online dating was viewed against seven years ago, still very much with a stigma hanging above its head (long since banished, thankfully), the article can be considered, I believe, as quite brave and groundbreaking.

Today’s three articles will take those still-valid points, embellish on them where possible to suit today’s online dating market and, of course, amend any quoted figures to reflect the $2bn industry that online dating is today, compared to the wafer-thin cousin it was before Labour released the reigns of UK government, way before the US had its first black President and even before Nintendo released the Wii console!

Giving it that huge drum-roll, I only hope I can do the original article justice, so, here goes; a dating site CEO’s top 6 guide of getting the very best out of online dating.

One – dating site usage figures

The stigma attached to dating sites only seven years ago is very much in evidence in Sarah’s first point. She alludes to the fact that, although 40% of all singles were, or had, used a dating site at one time or another, most would have rather stated, at the time, that they had met their latest beau in a club or a bar.

How times have changed! Firstly, that demographic almost totally excludes the fastest growing sector of Internet dating online in 2011, the ‘baby boomers’ of yesteryear, categorised as those in the 55+ age bracket. Latest figures report that the current percentage of dating or matchmaking site users in the US is a little over 10% of the entire population, let alone singles.*

And not admit to using a dating site? Now, many singles (and, to be fair, married folk) would rather meet someone online and get to know them in more depth first by having a quiet night in on the pull, rather than traipse around bars, fuelled with alcohol leading to who-knows-where? on a first date.

Thankfully, for Sarah’s business, the interpretation of the term dating site has become a lot more wholesome since she posted that first point; admittedly, the platform still has a way to go before becoming the safest way to date, due to the recurring ‘scamming‘ problem, but that is coming under more scrutiny as the authorities have joined forces with dating site owners to enforce technology that has come on leaps and bounds, even just in this last year.

Please follow us to the next two topics, which address success rates and positive contact figures. I’m sure those figures have changed beyond all recognition, too…

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