Online dating, also known as internet dating, is a dating system allowing single people to make contact and communicate with others over the internet, usually with the ultimate objective of meeting for one or more dates, and the subsequent development of a romantic or sexual relationship.
Online dating services usually require registration and some personal info before other members' details are disclosed. Would be daters can then search a dating site's database by setting such parameters as age, location and gender, in order to narrow the results down to allow the best possible matches. The savvy internet dater will upload a photo to his or her profile – it's a well-known fact that internet dating profiles with photos get a hugely increased response rate.
These days, it's not uncommon for online dating websites to provide a webcam chat service between members, with some even going as far as handwriting analysis to match members to one another. As the online dating community grows, ‘niche' sites with specific demographics are becoming a popular way to narrow the pool of potential matches.
In 2002, Wired magazine featured an article that forecast "Twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love without looking for it online will be silly, akin to skipping the card catalog to instead wander the stacks because 'the right books are found only by accident.' Serendipity is the hallmark of inefficient markets, and the marketplace of love, like it or not, is becoming more efficient"