Love is Online
What do love, research and profit have in common?
Two words... Internet Dating!
Let us examine the role marketing and research play in online dating. The internet has changed the way people socialize, and online dating is replacing traditional dating practices. These new practices are being analyzed carefully by both social scientists and marketing specialists.
Gerald A. Mendelsohn, professor in the psychology department at UC of California, Berkeley, says, “Most of what was out there in the literature about mate selection and relationship formation was based on U.S. Census data.” According to a new analysis of research "Science Daily" 2012, online dating has not only shed its stigma, it exceeds all types of matchmaking in the United States other than meeting through friends.
H.G. Pocks, a history lecturer at the University Of Nottingham, UK. agrees that "Internet dating is just the modern version of the first "matrimonial" agencies of the 1700s, which helped lonely bachelors search for wives through print ads."
So, how many people are really using this platform? Research by Michael Rosenfeld from Stanford University and Reuben Thomas from City College of New York, "in the early 1990s, less than 1 percent of the population met partners through printed personal advertisements.
Science daily reported in 2005, of single Americans who were Internet users and currently seeking a romantic partner, 37% had dated online. 2009, 22% of heterosexual couples and 61% of same-sex couples had FOUND their partners through the Web."
Estimates vary, but according to a 2012 article in Businessweek, "tens of millions of Americans use sites like Match, PoF, EHarmony, OKCupid, and Chemistry.com, niche sites JDate (for Jewish singles), Gay.com, and SugarDaddie...don't ask.
The love business online is a growing billion-dollar industry, with twenty five million new users world April 2011, which was one of the few growth industries in a worldwide recession. (Visualeconomics.com, 2011). Advertisers spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on dating websites (Nielsenwire.com, 2009). Millions of us as users are spending our precious time online and our money to find that perfect profile.
Most people looking for love online are highly educated, competent internet users, busy, and have multiple real life connections. Even college students use online dating to reduce anxiety and increase their social interaction. Research shows, that the same qualities are sought online that are important to people offline such as wealth and status, family commitment, attractiveness, and relationship faithfulness.
Some of the benefits of making your online dating profile are:
You get to show yourself in your best light.
You can overcome shyness.
Rejection is easier to deal with and forget.
There is freedom from gender stereotyping, as women can become more assertive and men who have trouble opening up in person, may find it easier online.
There are many choices in dating online and opportunities to extend your geographical dating circle.
You get to be social and practice your interpersonal skills on a level playing field.
You can experiment in dating people you might not usually consider.
You may make some good friends.
You get to know yourself and dating preferences a whole lot better.
You just may find the love of your life!
There can of course be some disadvantages to be aware of in online dating:
Safety is a consideration, so remember that everyone is a stranger until you really know him or her.
There can actually be too much choice in online dating. Harry Reis, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester did four hundred psychology studies and surveys for the Association for Psychological Science on the subject. Research concluded, "Comparing dozens and hundreds of possible dates encourages a "shopping" mentality in which people become critical and hard to please.
Corresponding via computer months before meeting can create unrealistic expectations, so meet as soon as you are comfortable and in a public place for at least the first several dates.
Beware of imposters, photoshop, players, fakes, con artists and even prostitutes
Watch how much time you are devoting online. Many people spend twelve hours a week searching and less than 2 hours meeting. Search less and meet more often.
Dr Jeff Gavin, a psychology lecturer at the University of Bath, asserts that computer-mediated communication (CMC) – how we talk and relate on computers and the internet lacks the social presence of face to face, but despite those cues, most people ask more questions online, and give more intimate answers, than they would in communicating face to face.
So are the advantages enough for you to try internet dating? The research, and information from social science and specialists in human behavior, evidence that online dating is the future for love seekers. There are technological media advances that will continue to streamline our online experience, and web-designers, e-communication experts, market researchers, and dating profile designers are working hard to earn your trust, your money and your love for online dating.