Timeline of online dating services
This is a timeline of online dating services that also includes broader events related to technology-assisted dating (not just online dating). Where there are similar services, only major ones or "the first of its kind" are listed.
|Time period||Development summary||More details|
|Date||Medium||User goal||Geographical range||User base size||Longevity||Success|
|1695||Personal advertisements first appear in British newspapers.||Newspaper||mariage||UK|
|1959||Happy Families Planning Services launches. Started by Jim Harvey and Phil Fialer as a class project at Stanford. Used a questionnaire and an IBM 650 to match 49 men and 49 women.||Paper + Computer||marriage||US||49|
|1963||Ed Lewis at Iowa State University uses a questionnaire and an IBM computer "to optimize the meeting potential at dances".||Paper + Computer||relationship||US|
|1964||St. James Computer Dating Service (later to become Com-Pat) launches. Joan Ball starts the first commercially run computer generated matchmaking company. The first set of matchups is run.||Computer||1964|
|1965|| 'The New York Review of Books personals column makes a comeback. Slater writes:
Classifieds made a comeback in America in the 1960s and 1970s, encouraged by the era's inclination toward individualism and social exhibitionism. "Everybody was letting it all hang out in other ways," said Raymond Shapiro, a business manager for the New York Review of Books, "so suddenly it was okay to display oneself in print. It was very important to be 'self-aware.' So you'd get ads like: 'Astrologer, 27, psychology student, desires to establish non-superficial friendship with sensitive, choicelessly aware persons who are non-self-oriented, deep, and wish to unearth real, personness relationships.' "
|Magazine||relationship||US||1960 - 1970|
|1965||Operation Match (part of Compatibility Research Inc.) launches. It's started by Jeff Tarr and Vaughan Morrill at Harvard. It uses a questionnaire and an IBM 1401 to match students. There is a $3 fee for submitting a questionnaire. "By the fall of sixty-five, six months after the launch, some ninety thousand Operation Match questionnaires had been received, amounting to $270,000 in gross profits, about $1.8 million in today's dollars." In the 1960s there still is no stigma about computer-assisted matching.||Computer||relationship||US||1960|
|1965||Eros (Contact Inc.) launches. It's started by David Dewan at MIT. It uses a dating questinnaire and Honeywell 200. "In one distribution of questionnaires, he drew eleven thousand responses at $4 each, or $44,000 in gross profits, about $250,000 in today's dollars."||Computer||relationship||1965|
|1968||Data-Mate is launched at the MIT. It's a questionnaire-based matching service.||Computer||relationship||US||1968 - 1970|
|1970s, early||Phase II is founded by James Schur. It's a "computer-dating company".||Computer||relationship||1970|
|1974||Cherry Blossoms' mail-order bride catalog launches. It's started by John Broussard. It would become "one of the oldest mail-order bride agencies".||Magazine||marriage||1974|
|1976||Great Expectations is founded by Jeffrey Ullman. It's a video dating service. The service would achieve some notability, but it would never overcome stigma. There is also apparently other video dating services like Teledate and Introvision[note 1].||Video dating||relationship||1976|
|1980s||'messageries roses (pink chat rooms) are launched by Marc Simoncini. They are chat rooms for dating (using the Minitel network).||Computer||relationship||France||1980|
|1984||Matchmaker Electronic Pen-Pal Network is launched by Jon Boede and Scott Smith. It's a bulletin board system for romance. Matchmaker would grow to 14 local BBSs throughout the US. Eventually people would lose interest as BBSs would lose out to the World Wide Web, and Matchmaker would be superseded by Matchmaker.com.||Computer, internet||relationship||US||1984-1986|
|1989||Scanna International launches. It's a mail-order bride service.||Telephone, later Web||Marriage||Russia and Eastern Europe||1989|
|1990s, early||Patricia Moore Group is launched by Trish McDermott. It's an "offline matchmaking service in San Francisco".||relationship||San Francisco||1990|
|1995||Match.com is launched by Gary Kremen.||Computer, internet||relationship||US, Japan, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing||one of the most-visited dating sites|
|1997||Lavalife||Computer, internet||relationship||US||1997||online dating success stories for over 25 years|
|1997||JDate||Computer, internet||relationship||Jewish||1997||site won a 2006 Webby award for social networking|
|2000||eHarmony launches. They offer online dating service for long-term relationships.||Computer, internet||long-term relationship||US, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom||millions of people of all ages||2000- ...|
|2002||Ashley Madison is founded.||Computer, internet||relationship||Canada|
|2003||Proxidating launches. It's a dating service that uses Bluetooth to "alert users when a person with a matching profile was within fifty feet".||Bluetooth-enabled proximity, Computer||relationship|
|2003||PlentyofFish launched by Markus Frind. It's an online dating site significant for being (one of the first?) free dating sites.||Computer, internet||relationship||Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and the United States|
|2004||OkCupid launches.||Computer, internet||long term romantic relationship, short term romantic relationship, friendship, sex||International||millions of potential mates out there||2004-2019|
|2006||SeekingArrangement launches. It's a sugar daddy/sugar baby site in the US.||Computer, internet||romantic||US|
|2006||Badoo launches. It's a "dating-focused social networking service".||App||social||International||2006-...||most-downloaded dating app in 21 countries., world's most widely-used dating network|
|2007||Skout launches. It's a "location-based social networking and dating application and website".||App||relationship||International||Millions of people||2007-...|
|2007||Crazy Blind Date is launched by Sam Yagan. It's a blind dating service.||App||relationship||90000||2007|
|2008||GenePartner launches. It's a matching service based on "DNA compatibility".||App||relationship|
|2009||Grindr (initial launch)||App||relationship||International||4 million users||2009- ...|
|2011||LikeBright is launched by Nick Soman. It's an online dating site. By 2014 the site would shut down.||Web||relationship||2014|
|2012||Tinder launches.||App||relationship||International||one billion||2012- ...|
|2012||MissTravel.com is launched by Brandon Wade. It's a dating service for people seeking companionship when traveling.||Web||companion during travel||International||one million||2010-...||leading online dating site for wanderlust singles|
|2012||Highlight launches. Slater calls it a "location-based dating app", though this doesn't seem to be its main function (it seems more social than romantic).||App||relationship|
|2013||EliteSingles launches. Bespoke dating website for professional singles is first launched in UK market.||Web||relationship||UK|
|2014 (December)||Bumble, a location-based mobile app that permits only women to start a chat with their matches, launches.||App||relationship||2014-...|
|2015||OpenMinded is launched by Brandon Wade. It's a dating site for "monogamish" people.||Web||relationship||2015-...|
|2015 (November 19)||Match Group, which owns and operates several online dating web sites including OkCupid, Tinder, PlentyOfFish, and Match.com, goes public.||Web||relationship||International||2015-...|
|2015||Ashley Madison hacks Ashley Madison; users' personal information is stolen and released; see Ashley Madison data breach for more.||Web||relationship||US|
Meta information on the timeline
The initial version of the timeline was imported from Wikipedia by Issa Rice.
User:Mati Roy outsourced find a couple other sources and creating new columnns: Medium, User goal, Geographical range, User base size, Longevity, Success; see outsourced work on Trello. User:Mati Roy reviewed the outsourced work and the timeline as a whole, formatted the sources, and change the tense of the verbs to present. Article I read to look for potentially missing information: The History of Online Dating From 1695 to Now. Live stream of the work is available here: , , , .
Funding information for this timeline is available.
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- "The First Computer Computer Matching Dating Service : History of Information". www.historyofinformation.com. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
- Slater, Dan. A Million First Dates.
- Hicks, Marie (2016). "Computer Love: Replicating Social Order Through Early Computer Dating Systems". Ada: A Jornal of Gender, New Media and Technology. ISSN 2325-0496.
- Lawrence Krakauer writes about his experiences here.
- Ullman, Jeff. "Jeff Ullman". LinkedIn. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
Great Expectations (video dating) December 1975 – January 1997 (21 years 2 months) Created, served as CEO, and primary international media spokesperson for 'Great Expectations', which we built into the world's largest introduction service for singles (aka, 'video dating').
- Wallace, Amy (January 16, 1994). "Love God From Hell : The Man Who Brought You Videodating Hates to Date, Loves to Taunt and Has Himself Been Unlucky in Love. Would You Buy a Relationship From Jeffrey Ullman?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 4, 2016. Dan Slater references this article.
- Slater, Dan. Wikipedia seems to give a slightly different year.
- LLC, Revolvy. ""Timeline of online dating services" on Revolvy.com". www.revolvy.com. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
- S.Y. Chun, Christine (2014). The Mail-order Bride Industry: The Perpetuation Of Transnational Economic Inequalities And Stereotypes. Penn Law: Legal Scholarship Repository.
- Contributor, Jeff Kauflin. "How Match.com's founder revolutionized the dating world — and walked away with just $50,000". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
- Slater calls Lavalife a copycat of Match.com, so it ought to have started after 1995. This page gives 1997, but Wikipedia gives 1987 (while still including it in the category :Category:Internet properties established in 1997). Lavalife's website says they started in 1987.
- "About eHarmony | Learn About Our Online Dating Site & Services!". www.eharmony.com. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
- Taylor Soper (December 20, 2013). "Matchmaking platform LikeBright raising $1M to help singles land a 2nd date". GeekWire. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
- Taylor Soper (September 18, 2014). "Matchmaking platform LikeBright morphs into Reveal, a new anonymous chat app". GeekWire. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
- "Bumble is a dating app where women take lead". Thestar. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- Kristine Fellizar (May 13, 2015). "OpenMinded Dating Site For People Looking For Open Relationships, Because Monogamy Isn't For Everyone". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
- "OpenMinded.com - For Open Relationships". OpenMinded. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
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