KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS -- July 25 -- George, 35, and Erika, 29, provide a pleasant contrast to the ABC show "Hooking Up" (9 p.m. Thursdays) where singles juggle, mislead, evade and dump potential mates they meet online. A few years ago, George and Erika's relationship might never have happened but internet dating has gone mainstream. eHarmony knows of at least 12,000 couples married after meeting on its site. Match.com estimates it has helped hundreds of thousands of singles meet. It receives 200 e-mails or letters each month from couples telling about their engagements or marriages. Both eharmony and Match.com say the prime audience tends to be people in their 30s who have moved beyond their college social network and are still looking for a mate. More than 26 million people, or 16% of U.S. Internet users, visited an online dating site in June, according to comScore. U.S. consumers spent $470 million last year on Internet personals, making it the largest category of paid online content.
Mark Brooks: In the 90's people said, 'ugh, you're using internet dating. People are now saying, 'I use internet dating and it's OK.' In the future people will say, 'you're not using internet dating...are you insane!' Everyone will be using internet dating...but it still has a long way to go. Personality profiling, mobile phone based dating, referral/social networking based services, services that bridge the communications gap between email/IM and that first coffee date. This is the future.