SOURCE: Consumer Reports "It's clear that online dating websites play a major role in the lives of many consumers — we invest a tremendous amount of time, money and emotional energy.It really is a consumer issue worthy of our attention." said Margot Gilman, money editor for Consumer Reports.(A score of 100 indicates respondents were completely satisfied; 80 was very satisfied and 60 was fairly well-satisfied.) Still, many users found the sites frustrating.In fact, when compared to other consumer products, like cars, computers and credit cards, online dating services received the lowest satisfaction scores Consumer Reports had ever seen, Gilman said.Some sites are completely free and depend on advertising for revenue.
Today, 40 percent of singles have dated someone they met online, while only 25 percent met a first date through a friend.Such companies offer a wide variety of unmoderated matchmaking services, most of which are profile-based.Online dating services allow users to become "members" by creating a profile and uploading personal information including (but not limited to) age, gender, sexual orientation, location, and appearance."Unlike shopping for a bank or a refrigerator, in the case of online dating, the refrigerator has to like you back," Gilman said."There is a different level of exposure to disappointment and that's captured in the poor overall scores." Once considered taboo, online dating is now a socially accepted and booming multibillion dollar business that continues to grow.