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The stigma of online dating has been slowly lifting, due in large part to the rise of social networking.
Though the majority of marriages still meet through more traditional means, nearly everyone on the Web has met someone or made a friend online.
This legitimacy caused the major Internet players, including both Yahoo! During the dot-com boom of the late 90s and early 2000s, there were several other high-profile dating site acquisitions However, as with most budding Web businesses, the dot com crash in 2001/2002 brought much of the frenzy to an end and changed the online world.
In addition to newsgroups and forums created for posting of personal ads, similar to what was going on in newspapers at the time, locals were meeting in city-oriented rooms and people with similar interests were meeting and becoming attached in forums of similar interest.The end result is that, according to Online Dating Magazine, nearly 20 million people visit at least one online dating site every month and 120,000 marriages every year take place, at least in part, due to online dating.In 2002, Wired Magazine predicted that, “Twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love won’t look 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.'” The prediction does not seem to be that far off as it is exactly where we are heading with both online dating and social networking.This doesn’t mean that online dating has lost all of its stigma.In some circles meeting a boyfriend/girlfriend or even a spouse online is viewed as a sign of desperation. As more and more people meet their significant others online, the stigma against it is deteriorating.
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In 2007, Americans spent over $500 million on online dating, making it the second highest industry for “paid content” on the Web, behind pornography.