As the business adapts to an increasingly mobile culture, more and more people are accessing dating services through smartphone apps, some of which allow users to appraise potential dates instantly and to accept or reject them with the swipe of a phone screen.
One in 10 American adults has tried online dating through a website or smartphone app.
Since its start 20 years ago, online dating has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry that includes not only giants such as and e Harmony but also niche sites serving older singles, Christians, Jews, animal lovers, vegans and even would-be vampires.
' " Along with Reis, other co-authors include Eli Finkel, associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University and lead author on the paper; Paul Eastwick, assistant professor of psychology at Texas A&M University; Benjamin Karney, professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles; and Susan Sprecher, professor of sociology and psychology at Illinois State University.
Once a profile has been created, members can view the profiles of other members of the service, using the visible profile information to decide whether or not to initiate contact.
Most services offer digital messaging, while others provide additional services such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards.
Online dating services allow users to become "members" by creating a profile and uploading personal information including (but not limited to) age, gender, sexual orientation, location, and appearance.
Most services also encourage members to add photos or videos to their profile.
Some have a broad membership base of diverse users looking for many different types of relationships.