History of online dating services

It uses gamification and popularity rankings to encourage participation.

Creating online dating profiles helps consumers carefully consider potential matches.

It launched in 1995 and is now available in 24 different countries.

Under this metaphor, members of a given service can both "shop" for potential relationship partners and "sell" themselves in hopes of finding a successful match.

At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38% increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc.

Some have a broad membership base of diverse users looking for many different types of relationships.

Other sites target highly specific demographics based on features like shared interests, location, religion, or relationship type.

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