The first dating site, Match.com, was launched in 1995. Since then, Match.com has grown to be one of the biggest dating sites, and today it operates in 25 countries. A plethora of dating sites and mobile apps have since been created - now totaling about 2,500 services - catering to millions of love-seeking users.
Australian gay singles have the opportunity to choose between mainstream dating sites and niche-specific dating sites that cater to a certain demographic group, age or sexual orientation. Finding local singles is a matter of a few clicks with millions of Australians looking for a match online.
The motivations for using dating sites are varied: some people are on the lookout for shared interests or backgrounds, while others take a special interest in professionals, army veterans or, simply, good looks. The goals for scouring love online also vary - from casual hookups to long-term dating through to an all-white wedding.
Dating sites and apps use a variety of methods to match users. Some sites are geared with a filtering feature, allowing users to specify preferences - age, location, hobbies, political views, marital status, religious affiliation and physical appearance, to name a few. The users are then presented with a pool of potential candidates that meet those preferences.
Other gay dating sites apply personality-defining algorithms: Members are encouraged to fill out questionnaires regarding their character, hobbies, opinions and behaviour. The answers are compiled, processed and used for matching with other like-minded users. Personality-based sites use emotional and psychological information to determine compatibility, so they are better suited for those seeking long-term relationships.
Online dating offers a quick and convenient way to screen more connections from an increasingly growing pool of potential matches, in a limited time, with the ease and accessibility enabled by the screen. The good news is that the numbers game of the dating scene brings together countless couples, creating true love in the digital age.