Caught in the Web

Meet Your Match on the World Wide Web

by Laura Emery, Field Editor


Looking for love … in all the wrong places? In this day and age of quick fixes, people are turning to an unusual matchmaking source: the World Wide Web.

This isn’t a new concept; people have been making online connections for many years now. But the relationship matching of today looks a lot different than the online dating services of the 1990s. Online dating has become more mainstream and may even one day become the norm for singles to find compatible matches.

With online dating Web sites, you might be able to find that unique person who understands what you’re about, quirks and all … that person who finishes your sentences, who isn’t mortified when you make a social blunder, and whose smile you’d like to wake up to every day.

And the Internet dating concept doesn’t belong to the young. There are more and more seniors seeking love online in matchmaking environments created with them in mind.

As with anything, there are also potential dangers in Internet dating. It’s a good idea to always be alert to suspicious activity, and do some research on how to stay safe while online dating.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people find love on is a pioneer in the Internet dating industry, launching in 1995 what is now the most recognized dating service worldwide. Today it serves more than 15 million singles in 37 countries. can help you find the date or relationship that fits you best. Search free through millions of online personals.’s best feature is undoubtedly its easy-to-use Web site, which allows you to simply type what you’re looking for and get an instant list of matches by profile details or just by photos. also gives you side-by-side comparisons of your own requirements and the requirements of potential dates. This allows you to consider (or quickly discard) profiles.

eHarmony is very different from other online dating sites. For starters, you can’t browse other peoples’ profiles. Instead, after filling out a lengthy questionnaire (more than 250 questions, though they’re almost entirely multiple choice and quick), the service looks at your answers, looks at certain preferences you can set (for example, how far away your matches can live), and gives you a list of people you should be compatible with.

eHarmony is an explicitly marriage-minded service that was designed to reduce the divorce rate by creating stronger marriages, and its founder, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, is an evangelical Christian and former seminary dean.

Forbes recently named MatchMaker one of the “Best Online Dating Services.” MatchMaker’s two best features are its user-friendly site and the fact that it offers one of the most in-depth profiles on the Web. The profiles start with an extensive questionnaire followed by an essay. Although the essay is optional, it is the best way to share your core interests and values, and facilitates your match to singles who share them.

Once you enter the first page of information, you’ll move on to a series of forms where you are asked to give typical online dating information, such as your age and location. They also have a few more in-depth questions that are worth your time to answer if you want potential matches to view more than a bare-bones description of you.

The popular dating site has thousands of new profiles added every week, so most anyone should have no problem finding local people to check out. Free members can let others know they are interested, but they must upgrade to a paid membership in order to communicate beyond that.

MatchMaker also supports voice greetings, automatic little messages you can use to spice up your profile. Another feature allows you to check how many times your profile has been viewed.

Yahoo! Personals

Yahoo! Personals gives you an audience filled with local singles, the tools to find and meet single women and single men, and various features that help you find your love match. It is one of the leading online dating sites, particularly due to its refined search engine, which allows you to view and organize your search through a variety of options, such as age, living area, interests, and other categories.

For those looking for more than casual dating, Yahoo! Personals Premier offers a more extensive character profile, a highly developed matching system (personality and shared values are two of the bases for matches), and a large database of singles who are looking for a serious relationship.

Is there only one match out there for each of us? Dr. Helen Fisher,’s chief scientific advisor, doesn’t think so. Dr. Fisher believes there are multiple people in the world who are compatible for each of us, but she thinks there is more to finding a person like that than searching for someone who has a big list of things in common with you. You’ve got to have chemistry — hence the name.

This site’s registration process is one of the most in-depth of any such matchmaking service, but you’ll probably find it fun and enlightening if your goal is to be matched with people on more than the simplest of criteria. You’ll be asked some unusual questions like these: Is your index finger shorter or longer than your ring finger? Which of these smiles are fake? How do you feel when you see a public display of affection?

To enhance your privacy, only your fellow paying Chemistry members are able to initiate contact with you. Plus, your photo is revealed only when you’re comfortable doing so.  


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