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Thursday, 28 March 2019

A brief history of online dating

Think online dating is a recent invention, a scourge of the youth of today? Think again. The multi-bn USD online dating industry (which is now the source of one in five dating relationships) has its roots in a 1959 Stanford project called the Happy Families Planning Service. Two electrical engineering students fed a survey through a massive IBM to match up 49 male and female students. No long term-relationships resulted, but thus was born the kernel of online dating. While data-driven matchmaking in the 60s saw users waiting weeks to be linked up through home telephone numbers, the advent of the internet has opened up the field for a spectrum of approaches to online dating, from the visual (Tinder) to the verbose (Eharmony).

Little known fact: YouTube got its start as an online dating site of sorts. Users uploaded videos of themselves with the tagline ‘Tune in, hook up.’ In case you were unsure, it didn’t catch on (watch, runtime 03:59).

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