It might be hard to imagine, but dating has truly come a long way. Before the internet took over the social construct, you had to go out to meet people. It’s safe to say, love was for the outgoing.
The internet rose to popularity in the eighties, and the world’s first dating website, Match.com, was launched in 1995.
As tech continues to evolve, so did the magical meet-cutes. You didn’t have to bump into anyone for sparks to fly. Why not find the perfect date by scrolling on a website?
The most notable effects of this feat were increased interracial marriages and same-sex relationships.
The Curve of Internet Courtship
In the early 2000s, there was a booming rise in social media platforms, thanks to Harvard. MySpace was the first, followed by FaceBook, and by the end of the decade, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. So, not only could people find love on the internet, but they could grow their virtual networks too. But there was still a shadow of stigmatization on online dating.
In 2009, Grindr broke out a sexual revolution by being the first niche dating app for gay men. In addition, it became the first dating platform to apply geo-location tech. Taimi was launched in 2017 as an online dating platform for gay men. However, this app has grown to be the biggest and safest online LGBTQ community.
Tinder was launched in 2012, and it catered to a new demographic, single millennials. Over the years, Tinder has garnered over 70 million active users. As more dating apps continued to launch, the number of people on online dating platforms has more than tripled.
How the Sausage is Made
Of course, it’s easier to talk about launching apps and the cool features on offer. But what exactly goes into making the exciting dating apps we’ve all come to love?
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the history of online dating platforms, right from the era of mainframe computers. Strap in and let us take a wild ride into the timeline of virtual dating.
1959 – Stanford Students Launch an Automated Matchmaking Platform
Two students from Stanford, Phil Fialer and Jim Harvey went crazy on a school assignment. Using an IBM 650 mainframe computer and a punch card questionnaire, they accurately matched 98 men and women.
Although this never went mainstream, it is still considered the first attempt at automated matchmaking.
1965 – Match.com was Launched
Vaughan Morrill and Jeff Tarr were Harvard students who ran Operation Match. Using an IBM 1401 computer and a custom questionnaire, they matched individuals based on their likes and dislikes. The service costs $3.
1990 – Personal Ads Go Virtual
For the longest time, print shops ran personal ads. However, the invention of the internet changed the dynamic forever. Thanks to the World Wide Web, individuals could now connect on sites such as Prodigy, AOL, Craigslist, and other chat rooms.
1995 – First Online Dating Site is Launched
Sure, Craigslist and AOL were making it easier to meet people, but there was no strategy to it.
Match.com aimed to solve this problem and make matchmaking more streamlined.
On Match, people could choose dates based on preferences such as hobbies, age, gender, and location.
2000 – eHarmony is Founded
eHarmony was launched as a platform for singles seeking serious partners. The matching algorithm is based on an in-depth compatibility survey. Some of the matching dimensions include adaptability, emotional energy, conflict resolution skills, physical energy, and intellect.
2004 – OkCupid Launches
This dating site offers a unique 3-step matching feature that hasn’t been reciprocated on other dating apps.
A user gets to answer a question, then indicate how they’d expect a match to respond. They also get to determine how important the question is to them.
The math makes a matching algorithm that creates highly compatible pairings.
2007- Introduction of Smartphones
Online dating allowed people to connect internationally from the comfort of their houses. However, the introduction of smartphones led to the launch of dating apps. This made it possible to interact with people regardless of where they were.
Zoosk was the first dating platform to launch a mobile app. initially, it operated similarly to FaceBook. People could upload photos for their friends and family to rate them. It makes it easier to match with people even when they travel.
2012 – Tinder Launches with the Swiping Concept
Tinder’s launch set online dating into a frenzy. The swiping concept allowed users to go through hundreds of profiles within a shorter time frame. Unlike existing dating apps, Tinder allowed its users to react to profiles with a binary yes/no answer. Swiping right means yes while swiping left means no. Majority of the dating apps have adopted this roulette-matching style.
In addition, Tinder upgraded its geo-location services so you could see profiles in your area in real-time.
Hinge was also launched in 2012 and offered a different approach to online dating. The app was designed to match people seeking long-term relationships and lifetime partners.
Tinder matched users based on physical attributes. On the other hand, the matching algorithm on Hinge focused on users’ personalities, behaviors, and interests to suggest matches.
Currently – The increasing Use of Dating Sites Worldwide
People no longer have to print personal ads or hire match-makers to find a date or a lifetime partner.
Dating websites have become highly popular, and there are over 49 million active profiles. According to Forbes, there are over 8000 active dating sites and apps.
Thankfully, dating apps and websites have been able to adapt alongside technology. The number of niche sites is steadily increasing, making it easier to link with other like-minded people.
The popularity of these sites also helps to reduce the stigma around online dating. If anything, dating apps are the future, don’t you think?