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Online Dating Gaining in Popularity for Meeting a Potential Partner

(Online Dating Magazine - February 11, 2010) When it comes to looking for love, online dating is the place to look. Research by Stanford University shows that online dating is quickly displacing offline venues as the preferred medium for meeting people to date. According to  Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld, the biggest groups likely to go online for love are gays, lesbians, and middle-aged heterosexuals. Those groups, particularly, have abandoned traditional means of meeting people to date like through friends, family, or local outlets.

"People still meet romantic partners in those places, but it seems to be less common," said Rosenfeld. "The Internet is displacing those classic venues."

Rosenfeld oversaw an online survey of 3,000 adults and the results of the survey showed that 61 percent of gay participants met their partners online during the past two years. However, for heterosexual couples only 23% met their partner online, many still saying they were connected through a friend offline.

"I didn't expect the difference to be as dramatic as that," claimed Rosenfeld. "But after doing follow-up interviews with survey subjects, the statistics made sense."

According to Rosenfeld, online dating sites offer a degree of anonymity that is generally more important to gay men and lesbians who don't want to risk outing themselves to unsupportive relatives, co-workers or neighbors. The sites also deepen a seemingly shallow dating pool.

"The Internet gives a spectacular advantage for everyone looking for something unusual," Rosenfeld said. "That includes everyone looking for special batteries for a 1972 camera or spare parts for a printer that's been out of production for 20 years. And it also includes people who are looking for a partner who is in a needle-in-a-haystack population."

Online Dating Magazine estimates that there are more than 120,000 marriages a year as a direct result of people who met online.

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