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Is Online Dating Good for Society?
Social trends Since the s, Internet dating has become more popular with smartphones. The stigma associated with online dating dropped over the years and people view online dating more positively. Further, during this period, the usage among to year-olds tripled, while that among to year-olds doubled. Online introduction services In , a variation of the online dating model emerged in the form of introduction sites, where members have to search and contact other members, who introduce them to other members whom they deem compatible. Introduction sites differ from the traditional online dating model, and attracted a large number of users and significant investor interest. Such sites earn revenue from a mix of advertising and sale of additional options. This model also allows users to switch between free and paying status at will, with sites accepting a variety of online currencies and payment options. Since advertising revenues are modest compared to membership fees, this model requires a large number of page views to achieve profitability. However, Sam Yagan describes dating sites as ideal advertising platforms because of the wealth of demographic data made available by users. While some sites conduct background checks on members, many do not, resulting in some uncertainty around members' identities. For instance, some profiles may not represent real humans but rather "bait profiles" placed online by site owners to attract new paying members, or "spam profiles" created by advertisers to market services and products. Profiles created by real humans also have the potential to be problematic. For example, online dating sites may expose more female members in particular to stalking , fraud , and sexual violence by online predators. Some online dating service providers may have fraudulent membership fees or credit card charges. Furthermore, different functionalities may be offered to members who have paid or not paid for subscriptions, resulting in some confusion around who can view or contact whom. Consolidation within the online dating industry has led to different newspapers and magazines now advertising the same website database under different names. In the UK, for example, Time Out "London Dating" , The Times "Encounters" , and The Daily Telegraph "Kindred Spirits" , all offer differently named portals to the same service—meaning that a person who subscribes through more than one publication has unwittingly paid more than once for access to the same service. Imbalanced gender ratios On any given dating site, the sex ratio is commonly unbalanced. When one gets into the specialty niche websites where the primary demographic is male, one typically gets a very unbalanced ratio of male to female or female to male. There is some evidence that there may be differences in how women online rate male attractiveness as opposed to how men rate female attractiveness. Discrimination Gay rights groups have complained that certain websites that restrict their dating services to heterosexual couples are discriminating against homosexuals. Homosexual customers of the popular eHarmony dating website have made many attempts to litigate discriminatory practices. Less than half of Internet daters are open to dating people of all races. As soon as a new user set up a free profile, he or she began to receive messages that appeared to be from other members living nearby, expressing romantic interest or a desire to meet. However, users were unable to respond to these messages without upgrading to a paid membership Neither talked about the case, citing a non-disclosure agreement, but Daggett's lawsuit gives plenty of detail about her grievances with the California-based company. But Daggett says she did not get what she paid for. Instead, she suffered brief romantic entanglements with increasingly disastrous men. The law requires dating services meeting specific criteria—including having as their primary business to connect U. In , the state of New Jersey passed a law which requires the sites to disclose whether they perform background checks. Jewtopia , a comedic play about Jewish stereotypes and dating, premiered in Napoleon Dynamite , a film in a which one subplot involves a central character's online and later in-person relationship. Euro Trip , a film in which the central character has a relationship wholly via email with a girl from Berlin. Must Love Dogs , a film about two people trying to find love through online dating. Because I Said So , a film in which a mother creates an online dating profile for her daughter. Sex Drive , a film about a young man who goes on a cross-country roadtrip with friends to meet his internet crush, and woo her with his brother's stolen GTO. Love Translated , a documentary film in which a group of men travel to Ukraine on a romantic tour arranged by an online dating company Catfish:
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