From chatrooms to honeymoons via a dial-up connection

Online dating has changed, with record numbers of members and many dating sites struggling to cope with the demand after the chaos of Christmas has turned many disheartened married individuals to look online for love in the face of a tough festive break at home.

Would they have availed themselves thus, back in 1994, when e-mail was nothing more than something else to burden you with at work and mobile phones roughly the size of a house brick needed 12 hours a day to charge for ten minutes worth of calls? Well, for one couple from the US, that’s just what happened. Carrying on from ‘Did AOL pave the way for today’s dating sites?, we conclude Arnie and Tricia’s love story, and why you shouldn’t have a problem findiing your perfect partner online with the advances in dating technology now at your disposal.

The image of dating sites has changed beyond all recognition

In the same article about Arnie and Tricia Belfonti it goes on to list just how the perceptions of your standard dating site has changed. As we entered the new millennium, 2001 saw boasting a membership of 220,000. Back then, when you consider how few people were online at all let alone online dating, that was some achievement. But compare that to the figure the article quotes the mainstream dating site has now, 1.9 million as of 2012, they’ve almost increased tenfold in the decade hence. That’s astonishing.

Startstruck lovers met offline

Compare the attitude now to how it was back then, and you’ll get some idea of just how much our appreciation of dating platforms has changed.

Arnie and Tricia stopped chatting on the forum – there were no profile pictures, then, just a bio of your age, what you did for a living and where you did it – when Arnie found out that Tricia was already seeing someone.

By the time they met at a party for AOL members in New Haven, where Tricia was wearing a name tag to identify herself to someone else she’d been talking to on the social platform, Tricia was single, but Arnie instantly recognised her moniker. The rest is now dating folklore. A month and a half after that fateful meeting they were engaged, one year on they tied the knot and are still together now.

They were, perhaps one of the very first online dating successes, in an industry now reportedly worth $2bn a year, globally.

If a couple could meet under those conditions and still be going strong, what’s stopping you, with all the advances in technology dating sites have adopted since then?

See if you can find your potential Arnie or Tricia, using our hand-picked dating site facility to meet your perfect partner in minutes.

Did AOL pave the way for today’s dating sites?

Oh happy days – I’ve just read a success story about a couple who met on AOL back in 1994 – the American media giant were at the forefront of Internet technology in the early days, when you couldn’t use the Internet because you were expecting an important phone call and the modem and said phone shared the same dial-up connection to your landline.

Of course, dating sites were very much in their infancy, back then, and were looked upon as dark and seedy places to frequent. Your AOL chat-room information was your dating site profile, back then, the forerunner to the large, branded dating sites we know and love today.

Chatrooms paved the way for today’s dating sites

Much as you log on to your dating site now, upon receiving a notification in your private inbox to check out the dating profile of someone who’s winked you, back then, the equivalent seeing the “You’ve got mail” pop-up was worth popping the cap of a beer in itself.

I was a very late devloper, when it came to learning about the Internet and am still, by no means what you’d call expert. However, I still get, on average, 35 e-mails a day (not all from dating sites – I’d be too knackered to write about them if they were!).

Back then, if you got five e-mails a day, you could consider yourself not just popular but at the height of the social ladder. Not everyone had e-mail – or even a computer – and you were part of an exclusive set if someone from The States had responded to one of your posts in the AOL chatroom.

Just compare that with how many times you tweet, post to your wall our send e-mail after e-mail or a flood of PM’s to your online dating prospect. They’ve not reinvented the wheel, the dating sites of today, but they’ve certainly put a shiny, new hub-cap on it. More about Arnie and Tricia, in the next article.