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Does online dating really work?

Does Online Dating Really Work?
Current State of Scientific Knowledge

One of our interviewees once said with regards to whether online dating really works: “No idea, but there's just no reporting obligation for love, is there?”

Nevertheless, several dating sites have conducted useful analyses on the success rate of online dating which we will present you in the following.

Compared to the fusty marriage agencies and the traditional adverts in the lonely hearts column of the newspaper, online dating, that is, looking for love on the WWW is extremely practical and flexible – this is common sense.

In addition to that, a number of facts indicate that online dating has developed from being a dubious activity for daylight shunning computer freaks to an outright national sport:

  • Many singles are trying to find love via online dating
    According to our research findings the monthly number of singles participating in online dating in the UK has risen from less than 150,000 in 2000 to about 5 million in December 2009! An additional 2 million singles are using erotic dating sites.
  • Factor of success for online dating: the media hype
    “Online Dating” has been described as hip on all major media channels (radio, newspaper, internet) since 2002 and has been promoted during TV prime time. This has had major effects on the acceptance of the single population and has persuaded many a skeptic.
  • Network Effect
    You probably already know one or two couples who have met over the Internet. That’s a great recommendation for online dating, isn’t it? Now one could say with respect to the success of online dating: if millions of singles are put together into the database of a dating website, it is natural that something happens: There have to be blind dates, flirts, acquaintances, relationships, affairs and eternal love, everything else would be a real miracle...

We (and probably you as well) would like to know more details: what are the odds that one finds a partner via online dateing?

Publications on the chances of success in dating mainly come from two more or less reliable sources:

    1. Online dating studies conducted directly or indirectly by the dating websites themselves. Press releases like “a dating survey among our members has shown that already 98% have fallen in love through our site” are piling up in our office. It is also quite common that dating websites engage “independent” market researchers that go public with numbers that make one’s hair stand on edge. Not even Erich Honnecker chiseled that much during elections in the former GDR...
    2. Online dating studies conducted by universities and well-known institutions. Numbers of such sources are certainly more reliable since the urge to report something “terrific” is less marked. “Independence” is an important keyword in this context! Science has provided us with three particularly informative studies on the chances of success with online dating:
      • In 2003, the University of Zurich interviewed about 4000 members of partnerwinner.ch within their research project “The Development of Relationships Online” and found out that 26% have started a serious relationship through this dating site! And: no difference could be detected between relationships that had developed over the internet and those that had developed conventionally.
      • National studies regularly ask 100,000 of the more or less 35 million internet users in the UK about their online behaviour, annoying them with more than 100 questions (from “Do you use email?” to “Have you ever booked singles holidays?” to “Have you ever downloaded music illegally?”). In June 2009 they found out that about 4 million people in the UK are in a serious relationship with someone they found over the Internet. In 2005 it was only 1.5 million...
      • According to TNS/Emnid (one of Germany's biggest polling institutes) the Internet has become the third most important meeting place in 2003 (with the workplace and the circle of friends as the two most important ones). That means that already in 2003 more relationships were established on the Internet than in bars and nightclubs!

By now, every ninth couple has gotten to know each other on the WWW – having taken into account all grandmothers and grandfathers that have committed themselves to a relationship from 1949 onwards.

The conclusion is obvious: online dating really works, the chances and the success are remarkable! Online meeting points are not just “quite neat” but accomplish their purpose on a grand scale: they are helping people to find their match – and not just SOME people but quite a number of people.

The conclusion with respect to online dating is…
…that online dating can be very effective but should not lead to the isolation from the outer world and the complete immersion into the virtual world. Online dating is no magic cure but along with the classic ways of dating just another possibility that is being more and more accepted by society.


infographic online dating UK

The most important facts on online matchmaking in a diagram

Love or sex – what are the English searching for on the Internet? How successful are they at it? And how many GBP are being spent?

We have summarized all of these facts on online match making in the UK in an info-diagram for you (simply click the image to the left):



This new dating possibility is fun and can be practiced with little effort. Is there any other place where you have access to millions of singles that you can examine according to your own needs?

You shouldn´t miss that chance!
Good luck with your online dating!

Henning Wiechers
has been observing the UK dating market since 2007. He is among the top opinion leaders in the industry.

Any questions...?
Contact him!