Timeline of online dating services
This is a timeline of online dating services that also includes broader events related to technology-assisted dating (not just online dating). Where there are similar services, only major ones or "the first of its kind" are listed.
|Year (month and date)||Event||Venue|
|1959||Happy Families Planning Services launches. Started by Jim Harvey and Phil Fialer as a class project at Stanford. Used a questionnaire and an IBM 650 to match 49 men and 49 women.|
|1963||Ed Lewis at Iowa State University uses a questionnaire and an IBM computer "to optimize the meeting potential at dances".|
|1964||St. James Computer Dating Service (later to become Com-Pat) launches. Joan Ball started the first commercially run computer generated matchmaking company. The first set of matchups was run in 1964.|
|1965||Operation Match (part of Compatibility Research Inc.) launches. Started by Jeff Tarr and Vaughan Morrill at Harvard. Used a questionnaire and an IBM 1401 to match students. There was a $3 fee for submitting a questionnaire. "By the fall of sixty-five, six months after the launch, some ninety thousand Operation Match questionnaires had been received, amounting to $270,000 in gross profits, about $1.8 million in today's dollars." In the 1960s there still was no stigma about computer-assisted matching.|
|1965||Eros (Contact Inc.) launches. Started by David Dewan at MIT. Used a dating questinnaire and Honeywell 200. "In one distribution of questionnaires, he drew eleven thousand responses at $4 each, or $44,000 in gross profits, about $250,000 in today's dollars."|
|1965||The New York Review of Books personals column makes a comeback. Slater writes:
|1968||Data-Mate launches. Questionnaire-based matching service started at MIT.|
|1970s, early||Phase II is founded. A "computer-dating company" started by James Schur.|
|1974||Cherry Blossoms' mail-order bride catalog launches. Slater calls Cherry Blossoms "one of the oldest mail-order bride agencies". Started by John Broussard.|
|1976||Great Expectations is founded. Video dating service started by Jeffrey Ullman. The service achieved some notability, but it never overcame stigma. There were also apparently other video dating services like Teledate and Introvision, but it's nearly impossible to find anything about them online.|
|1980s||messageries roses (pink chat rooms) are launches. Chat rooms for dating (using the Minitel network) started by Marc Simoncini. France.
Rumours of Kingston upon Thames used a Fox pro database Computer Matching System developed in house by Elwyn Jones to generate lists for mailing based on client preferences. Today some 33 years later Elwyn Jones has produced his own online contact service which also uses a similar but much more comprehensive system. This is found at https://www.friends2lovers.co.uk
|1984||Matchmaker Electronic Pen-Pal Network launches. A bulletin board system for romance started by Jon Boede and Scott Smith. Matchmaker grew to 14 local BBSs throughout the US. Eventually people lost interest as BBSs lost out to the World Wide Web, and Matchmaker was superseded by Matchmaker.com.|
|1987||TelePersonals is created as a separate telephone dating system in Toronto, Canada from a earlier "Personals" dating section of a telephone classified business. As part of a advertising program a selection of ads appear on the back pages of Now Magazine, the Canadian equivalent of the Village Voice. Services in different cities around the Toronto area are launched. A gay option is quickly added. The gay section becomes its own branded service. At the very beginning of the 2000's TelePersonals launches online and is rebranded as Lava Life with sections for cities across the United States and Canada.||Telephone, later Web|
|1989||Scanna International launches. Mail-order bride service focusing on Russia and Eastern Europe.|
|1995||Match.com launches. Started by Gary Kremen.|
|2000||eHarmony launches. Online dating service for long-term relationships.|
|2002||Friendster is launched. A friendship, dating and early general Social networking website all rolled into one. In 2005 Facebook copies and expands the idea into a general social interconnected website.||Web|
|2002||Ashley Madison is founded.|
|2003||Proxidating launches. Dating service that used Bluetooth to "alert users when a person with a matching profile was within fifty feet".|
|2006||Badoo launches dating-focused social networking service|
|2006||SeekingArrangement launches. A sugar daddy/sugar baby site in the US.|
|2007||Skout launches. A "location-based social networking and dating application and website".|
|2007||Crazy Blind Date launches. Blind dating service started by Sam Yagan.|
|2008||GenePartner launches matching service based on "DNA compatibility".|
|2009||Grindr (initial launch)||App|
|2011||LikeBright launches. Online dating site by Nick Soman. By 2014 the site shut down.||Web|
|2012(?)||Highlight launches. Slater calls it a "location-based dating app".||App|
|2014 (December)||Bumble, a location-based mobile app that permits only women to start a chat with their matches, launches.|
|2015||Ashley Madison hack Personal information of Ashley Madison users stolen and released; see Ashley Madison data breach for more.|
|2015 (November 19)||Match Group, which owns and operates several online dating web sites including OkCupid, Tinder, PlentyOfFish, and Match.com, goes public.|
- Slater, Dan. A Million First Dates.
- Hicks, Marie (2016). "Computer Love: Replicating Social Order Through Early Computer Dating Systems". Ada: A Jornal of Gender, New Media and Technology. ISSN 2325-0496.
- Lawrence Krakauer writes about his experiences here.
- Ullman, Jeff. "Jeff Ullman". LinkedIn. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
Great Expectations (video dating) December 1975 – January 1997 (21 years 2 months) Created, served as CEO, and primary international media spokesperson for 'Great Expectations', which we built into the world's largest introduction service for singles (aka, 'video dating').
- Wallace, Amy (January 16, 1994). "Love God From Hell : The Man Who Brought You Videodating Hates to Date, Loves to Taunt and Has Himself Been Unlucky in Love. Would You Buy a Relationship From Jeffrey Ullman?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 4, 2016. Dan Slater references this article.
- Slater, Dan.
- Michael Arrington (July 22, 2008). "Ok, We Have Our First DNA-Based Dating Service: GenePartner". TechCrunch. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
- Taylor Soper (December 20, 2013). "Matchmaking platform LikeBright raising $1M to help singles land a 2nd date". GeekWire. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
- Taylor Soper (September 18, 2014). "Matchmaking platform LikeBright morphs into Reveal, a new anonymous chat app". GeekWire. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
- "Bumble is a dating app where women take lead". Thestar. Retrieved 3 June 2015.