It's official. According to a team of five researchers, online dating has lost its stigma. The report was published on Monday in the February issue in the journal, Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
This is good news for singles in the U.S. as the research analysis says that Internet dating is now the second most common method of matchmaking, behind personal introductions from friends.
This should be no surprise to singles and couples alike, as just about everyone knows someone who's met their significant other or spouse online. At a Super Bowl party that I attended, two out of three couples met online; one on JDate, and another on Fitness Singles, both considered niche-dating sites.
Professor Harry Reis, one of the five co-authors of the research study cautioned that comparing large numbers of potential dates might encourage a "shopping mentality." This latest research looks down upon the scientific matching and algorithms that many sites such as eHarmony have successfully woven into their profile sign up and matching process.
Dating algorithms and scientific matching were a subject of a heated panel at the recent Internet Dating Conference in Miami, where Dr. Eli J. Finkel, the study's lead author and an associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, said there was no science behind the algorithms. OkCupid's CEO and co-founder Sam Yagan and Dr. Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle, who created the Personality Profiler for online dating site Perfect Match, vehemently disagreed. The sites stood by their list of questions to help singles meet better matches, whether through math or science.
On February 9, 2011, CNBC aired an in-depth documentary called Love at First Byte: The Secret Science of Online Dating, where executives from several dating sites including Match.com, eHarmony, and OkCupid discussed the business of finding love online. The program will re-air on February 14, 2012 at 9pm/ET. One thing's for sure, online dating is a hot-topic in the news this Valentine's Day.
Julie Spira is an online dating expert and founder of Cyber-Dating Expert. She's the bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online and coaches singles on the dating scene. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com and like her at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert.
This post has been modified since its original publication.