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A whopping 44 percent of respondents who tried online dating said the experience led to a serious long-term relationship or marriage.That kind of connection rate would shatter Hall of Fame records, at least in baseball.“It was—unbelievably—not a crazy experience.” Online dating has certainly lost its lonely-hearts stigma.Just look at how many people seeking dates or mates are flocking to matchmaking sites and apps.If you find your life partner on your first date, the site doesn’t make much money off you.Our survey found that among respondents who stopped online dating, 20 percent of men and 40 percent of women said they did so because they didn’t like the quality of their matches.“Our real-life and online identities are more and more interwoven.” Because of this cultural shift, online dating sites now have unprecedented reach into our lives. Reams have been written about online dating, but as far as we know, no one has put the sites to the test.They are gatekeepers to a massive population of potential partners; they control who we meet and how. So Consumer Reports decided to survey almost 115,000 subscribers about online dating and their experiences with it.
The more recently active group rated specific sites. On the one hand, the numbers indicate that these sites are helping people find mates.Perhaps that’s why, among those who said they had used multiple dating sites, 28 percent had tried four or more.But our research also found that online dating, however painful and time-consuming, often does produce the intended result if you use it well—and persevere.Collectively, we spend huge sums of money on matchmaking, not to mention all the time and substantial emotional investment. Given that we usually rate products (like refrigerators) and services (like banking), this is new and fairly unusual territory for us.But as we explored the possibility of taking on this investigation, we discovered that 20 percent of our subscribers are either divorced or have never married, and might benefit from what we found.