Many people have been taking advantage of a new way to meet people over the last couple years. Instead of going out to a bar or club and sorting through anything and everything that tries to flirt with them, people have started going online. There is a dating service for almost any race, religion, occupation, or even fetish. Some critics feel that online dating is unsafe, "a sea of married men pretending to be single, unusually kinky or unsavory characters and pasty-faced internet addicts who haven't left their homes in months (Online Dating: Myth)." I feel, however, that internet dating services are a new, innovative way for people to meet other individuals they may not have met otherwise, as long as proper safety measures are taken. .
Two men, Glenn Hutchison and Mark Thompson, started the online dating phenomenon around 1995. The men were in graduate school at the time, and in an attempt to make some money and possibly even find a date or two for themselves, they set up the website weattract.com. The site received an overwhelming response, 10,000 hits in the first 18 hours. Hutchison and Thompson knew they hit onto something good, but they soon found that the matches made at weattract.com were not ideal. They contacted a computer programmer, Michael Georgeff, who once designed a program to help predict problems for NASA. Georgeff used the basis of his NASA program to create dating software. The software uses answers to a battery of questions to match possibly compatible people. Once the software was incorporated with the website, Match.com was born (Mulrine). To this day, Match.com remains one of the most popular dating sites on the internet. .
Many different criteria are used by dating services to match potential mates, and the criteria vary from service to service. For example, eHarmony.com uses a 480-item questionnaire about anything and everything, including what a person cannot stand in a mate (Mulrine).