What is Online Dating and How Does it Work?

Nearing the three-decade mark since its inception, online dating has certainly left its mark on the world. To date, it has helped millions find love, find a date, and just find new friends. And as it continues to grow into what many experts predict will be a nearly $10 billion industry in just a few years, many more are sure to find success in love through these digital means.

In this guide, we want to share anything and everything you’d want to know about online dating. Whether you’re a researcher looking for information or you’re a single looking to try something new, this guide is jam-packed with potentially life-changing information for you and your love life.

What is Online Dating?

Online dating is a web-based system designed to help single adults connect with other singles through the user of digital means. Started in the mid-1990s, online dating has grown in popularity over the past three decades with literally thousands of dating sites and dating apps entering the market to serve singles all across the world.

How Does Online Dating Work?

While there are plenty of different systems and formats, most online dating falls into one of two categories—profile-based dating or swipe-based dating. Profile-based dating applications have each user create a profile that shows pictures of them and basic information about their lifestyle and what they are looking for. Other singles can search through profiles to try and find someone they are interested in. If they find someone, they can send them a message and begin building a potential connection.

Swipe-based dating apps, on the other hand, only show users one other user’s profile at a time. If you like that user, you indicate interest. If you are not interested in that user, you indicate disinterest. While you are doing this, your profile is also being shown to the other users who can indicate their like or dislike. If there is a mutual match (you both privately indicate that you like each other), you are notified and an opportunity to start a conversation opens us.

The major difference between the two is that profile-based dating apps let you message anyone you want. Swipe dating apps require there to be a mutual match before a conversation can take place.

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