The Evolution of Internet Dating Via

I remember when the Internet was in its’ adolescence and online dating was virtually unheard of. As the Internet began to gain popularity, its use as a matchmaking tool gained some momentum, but was still considered very taboo in most circles. Over the years, online dating has not only gained wide popularity, but also has been accepted as a legitimate and sometime successful alternative to the singles’ bar. According to USA Today, online dating is “the most significant shift in American dating culture since the mid-1960s” (USA Today). I think that online dating owes much of its success to the dating site pioneer, Because of, online dating is not as taboo as once thought only several years ago. I’m especially interested because my husband’s mother met her current husband via the internet. They are very happy and don’t hesitate to let others know where they met.


Surprisingly, roughly 44 percent of Americans believe that singles have a better chance of meeting someone via online dating than in a more traditional setting, such as a singles bar, found an Ipsos-Reid study. (Orr, 18) Once upon a time, online dating was limited to newsgroups. Hard to believe! Then, came about in 1995. At its’ inception, users had a headline, physical statistics, location, a few introductory lines, and sometimes a photograph. These days, profiles are more extensive and individuals can purchase full background checks on potential mates for a nominal fee. (Interestingly enough, as the internet has evolved; background checks can also be purchased for potential mates met in the more traditional methods (i.e. the singles bar)). Video profiles offer people ways to not only “talk” to each other, but also to “see” them. The relatively new phenomenon, blogging, allows these potential mates access to each other’s personal thoughts and ideas. Now, one can find a mate through their cell phone or via their telephone.

Before there were internet dating sites, there was only one way to meet other singles on the internet and that was via newsgroups. One of the first newsgroups was called What is now known as Google News, back then Netnews, was the equivalent of the first online dating site. (Online Singles Party) There were no photographs or profiles. These were forums where people gathered to exchange their ideas on any topic imaginable. A few years later, a new newsgroup came about, alt.romance. I guess it was inevitable that eventually something romantic would evolve. Just as in real life, when you get two single people together who have much (or maybe NOT much) in common, an attraction develops (more often than not). Alt.romance was not the only romantic newsgroup, others could be found on just about any social cultural group, i.e. soc.culture.american.

There used to be only a few sites which served to unite singles. The first and biggest was is a publicly held business of IAC/InterActiveCorp. Before being absorbed by IAC, was a wholly owned subsidiary of Ticketmaster and part of USA Networks Interactive Group. It was launched April 21, 1995. (Online Dating Magazine) As of 2005, there were over 15 million registered users with over one million of those paying subscribers in over 246 countries. has over thirty dating sites in 18 languages. During its’ first year in operation, registered 60,000 members. These days, is visited by 60,000 people EACH DAY. (Online Dating Magazine) works like this; a user registered by creating a handle and password. They supplied their age, location, physical statistics (such as height, weight, hair color, etc.) and a photograph (optional). They then are able to go a step further by answering questionnaires geared towards their likes and dislikes on such subjects as music, movies, and lifestyles. Finally, they express what they like and dislike in potential mates. Users are even able to leave a personal message on their profile about who they were and what they were looking for. Registered users are able to search or browse for members using different parameters such as age, hair color, location, and so on. Eventually, added a function to its’ service which matched singles on different areas of compatibility (based on what that user specified). They refer to this as their Total Attraction Matching. These matches would be delivered to the user’s inbox each day, week, or month.

Interracial dating

Admittedly, the site was a bit bare-bone in the beginning. But at the time, the realm of online dating was limited and largely unknown. It was still socially awkward and viewed by many as taboo. began making upgrades to the site in 2001. In June of that year, it underwent a major site redesign that improved its’ advanced search, Search, Match, and Profile feature areas. (Online Dating Magazine) More specifically, it added a better, more integrated, search which allowed users more parameters to search for potential partners. No longer were users limited to searching by age, sex, location, and “basics”. A user could now search for someone who dislikes the color green and Thai food.

But this was only the beginning! In mid-2002, launched, which provided New York City singles with a network of social parties and events where they could interact. (Orr, Introduction) The year 2002 also saw the introduction of the messenger, which allowed users to interact via instant messenger in real-time while they were on the site. Up until this point, users could only communicate via the site’s e-mail.
2003 was a big year for Until now, users were limited to instant messages or site e-mail to communicate. Also, while innovative in bringing online dating offline (via, it was limited to just one geographical area. Late 2003, introduced This site offered SpeedMatching events for singles across the United States and in London. (Online Dating Magazine) It was at this point that tried to distinguish itself from other dating services by offering a less-romantic “friend”-based connection on the site.

If 2003 was a big year for, 2004 was even bigger! At the beginning of 2004, launched Online SpeedMatching. (Online Dating Magazine) This was a totally new concept in the online dating world. The Online SpeedMatching integrated the telephone and the internet to offer users “mini-dates” that were held via the telephone. It’s the equivalent of offline Speed Dating. Users could decide whether to disconnect and reconnect with a new partner if it was a “bad” date or they could extend the five-minutes they were given to continue a “good” date.
In April of 2004, began offering a video-enabled instant messenger. (Online Dating Magazine) Users could interact via webcam while sending and receiving text messages. This so far was the closest thing to an “offline” date that online dating had seen. Users were able to interact real-time both by audio and video. At this time, partnered with Glamour Shots to offer discounts to users who wished to have makeovers or who wished to have their video profiles professionally done.

Also, in 2004, partnered with Cingular to offer, a wireless dating service. This opened’s services to over 24 million Cingular subscribers. (Online Dating Magazine) Several months later, expanded its operation to allow users to post and view photo and video profiles.
I believe that for the time being, has reached its’ limits when it comes to being able to offer the “next-best innovation” in online dating. Already, it offers a person not only the ability to meet someone via the internet, but also, they can type to them, listen to their voice, speak to them, watch their video, and search for others via their cell phone. With the introduction of Dr. Phil and his MindFindBind advice this past year, I believe that realizes they have offered every avenue to their subscribers to meet someone. Now, they are just working on improving the person. Haha.

Interestingly enough, while I writing this, I received a pop-up in my internet browser. It was an advertisement from (I am not kidding) introducing their new compatibility service, Chemistry. Chemistry is their new exclusive compatibility site that only matches you with other singles that are “highly compatible” with you, according to the answers you supply to their questionnaires. (An example question was given, which asked you to interpret several doodles.) I guess realized that eHarmony was on to something. This leads me to….. doesn’t rely on all the technological “bells-and-whistles” to match their members. Their approach to matching singles is based on total chemistry based on over twenty-seven areas of compatibility. (according to their commercial). Founded in 2000, eHarmony is a privately owned service started by Dr. Neil Clark Warren. has produced over 33,000 marriages as of August 2005, according to a Harris interactive study. eHarmony’s users fill out extensive questionnaires and eHarmony does the matching. In May of 2004, eHarmony was granted U.S. Patent No. 6, 735, 568 for its’ Compatibility Matching System, a method that predicts long-term compatibility between two people based on research from studies of over 5,000 married couples. In a move that showed how online dating was branching beyond its’ online boundaries, eHarmony and Gannett Co., Inc. partnered in late 2004 to offer personals for USA Today and all Gannett daily newspapers. (Online Dating Magazine)

I didn’t realize how many people used the internet to find a mate. I also didn’t realize how many successful partnerships came about because of the internet. It’s been interesting to watch the evolution of and other sites like it. I don’t think many people thought of online dating as being a legitimate means of meeting someone when the idea first came about. I know that I was a skeptic and my mom still thinks it’s ridiculous. I have friends that have met their soul mate via the internet and I have friends that tease these other friends mercilessly because of it.

After seeing all that has accomplished in its 10 year lifespan, I believe that is one of the forces that have helped online dating gain credibility. I think that part of the reason that online dating, via, has become a more accepted way to meet someone is the fact that is so accessible and has partnered itself with many other reputable companies and websites. For instance,,, Cingular, Dr. Phil, MSN, and even the Dallas Mavericks are only a few of’s partners. All of these companies/brands have teamed up with to offer dating services, romance channels, and advice.

I also think that eHarmony has done a lot in the way of giving online dating better repute. I’m not exploring eHarmony further because it would take take several more pages. I only brought it up to show that there are other, totally different dating sites out there. As a matter of fact, there are over 800 dating sites currently on the internet, according to Orr. (Introduction) There are dating sites for men to meet women, men to meet men, men to meet groups of women, Jewish women to meet Jewish men or for women to meet a doctor or a millionaire.

Until now, I didn’t realize that had launched itself outside of the internet. It has transcended the notion of online dating. Now, it certainly seems as though “online” is somewhere people can go on a date, very much like you would go to a coffee house. is available in different mediums. It’s accessible via telephone and cellular phone. There are personals in some newspapers (as are eHarmony personals) and magazines. This assignment made me realize that online dating isn’t just online anymore. When it comes to, at least, online dating is everywhere.


What’s in a Race? Views on Interracial Dating

Often times, especially in the vast complexity of the modern era, it seems as if the clash of cultural norms can be a difficult problem to resolve. The taboos of one culture are often markedly different than those of others, and when questions of morality arise, who is to say what’s right and what’s wrong? Certain issues, though, while sometimes highly contentious, seem as if they have a true moral solution. One such issue is that of interracial dating. While there are many people that argue that the practice of interracial dating or marriage is immoral, unnatural, and generally wrong, the strength of any such argument rests on nothing of substance. The fact of the matter is that, for many reasons, there is simply nothing about interracial dating that makes it an issue suitable for a society to censor in any way.

First of all, and quite importantly, it would be apropos to further discuss the arguments that are made against interracial relationships and the type of individual who tends to make them. Arguments against interracial dating are generally based on ignorance, fear, and racism, with an occasional argument being made that has at least some sort of logical merit. Within such arguments against relationships of mixed racial background one will find terms such as, “be with your own kind,” and racial epithets. One will also find that those who argue against interracial relationships tend to be less educated. Many of their arguments stem from fundamental religious beliefs or plain hatred of that which is different. In fact, one of the greatest proponents of banning interracial marriage was Adolph Hitler and his group of Nazi peers. It hardly seems necessary to state why arguments that were supported by such people are automatically cast in a dubious light today.

The proof, however, of a given position can not be found in the examination of those who oppose it. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, owned slaves, but we do not today take that fact as a proof that because we admire him slavery is therefore a reasonable practice. Instead, the proof that there is nothing patently objectionable or immoral about interracial dating stems from the fact that it seems, as an institution, to be utterly protected. Legally speaking there is absolutely no question that interracial dating is perfectly within the bounds of the law. Nothing in the Constitution even hints at the idea that such a thing could be discriminated against, and the Supreme Court has definitively protected the right of individuals to marry whomever of the opposite sex they so desire.

Apart from legal concerns, though, there remains the more pressing question of morality. Frankly, though, morality is not the key to the issue. There are many practices in America today that are legally protected and yet held in contempt by many as immoral. Things such as gambling, legalized prostitution, alcohol and tobacco, and political contributions all draw great criticism. Obviously, there is no way to really isolate one set code of morality that everyone would agree to.

Instead, the key to the question of interracial dating lies in one simple query, that being namely, who does it hurt? Therein is the issue. The most convincing, logically reasoned arguments against interracial dating/marriage tend to be the ones that contend that such practices hurt any children that result from such relationships. The basic concept is that children that are of a mixed heritage will be discriminated against and will not belong in any one subculture. Upon further examination, though, this argument is utterly ridiculous. It is clearly evident that the vast majority of African Americans already have some amount of mixed heritage in their past, as do the vast majority of whites, Asians, Latinos, and the whole of the world’s population. In fact, mankind originated from one common origin. Different races are not different species. The very idea of race, actually, is highly debated, with many arguing that there really are no differing races due to the fact that there isn’t any scientific way to classify a person from one race to the next. If a child has a black father and a white mother, the resulting child will be a mixture of two races, and what is generally called a mulatto. If that is actually so, however, then the absolute majority of African Americans are mulattos, due to the fact that they have white blood in them. If, on the other hand, having black genetics automatically makes a person black, then a good deal of people that consider themselves to be white are actually black.

In the end, the ridiculous nature of such paradoxes proves the point that interracial dating has nothing intrinsically wrong with it. Any problems that people have with it are not matters of science, or anything even similarly solid, but are instead matters of social convention. If society, though, decides that it is all right to keep people of different races from marrying because their offspring are objectionable to a fringe minority, then what is to stop the prevention of people with genetic disorders from marriage? Wouldn’t the world be better if there weren’t disabled people? If there weren’t people with diabetes? What about people that will be prone to high blood pressure? The whole concept is laughable. What isn’t funny, on the other hand, is the fact that people use such arguments to thinly veil their racism, ignorance, and plain stupidity. The human right to choose whatever person one wants to pair oneself with is one of those pesky fundamental rights like the ones to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which many people like to invoke only when it suits them. The very nature of such liberties, though, is that they apply to all, and that they are not up for debate. Likewise, the concept that interracial dating shouldn’t be allowed hasn’t really been up for debate for a number of decades, and anyone that should want to reopen the question will quickly find that the proof of their idiocy will lie in the flat refusal of any court in America to allow such a demonstrably offensive matter to even be argued in a court of law.