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    When did online dating first began

    Personal ads have a history going back at least 300 years, according to a new book on the subject entitled "Classified: The Secret History of the Personal Column" (Random House Books, 2009).Internet dating is just the modern version of the first "matrimonial" agencies of the 1700s, which helped lonely bachelors search for wives through printed ads, said author H. Cocks, a history lecturer at the University of Nottingham, UK.Since its founding in 1989, the World Wide Web has touched the lives of billions of people around the world and fundamentally changed how we connect with others, the nature of our work, how we discover and share news and new ideas, how we entertain ourselves and how communities form and function.The timeline below is the beginning of an effort to capture both the major milestones and small moments that have shaped the Web since 1989.Almost everyone these days can name a couple they know that met on the Internet, though it wasn't so long ago that skimming the online personals for love was considered strange, even a bit desperate.Taboo or not, the practice certainly isn't new.Online dating has jumped among adults under age 25 as well as those in their late 50s and early 60s.

    To be sure, many people remain puzzled that someone would want to find a romantic partner online – 23% of Americans agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate” – but in general it is much more culturally acceptable than it was a decade ago.In between, the social acceptance of personals has waxed and waned with the times."Advertising for a husband or wife has always attracted criticism and the people who did it were always thought of as failures in some way.Lead author John Cacioppo, a psychologist and director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, says dating sites may "attract people who are serious about getting married."While Cacioppo is a noted researcher and the study is in a prestigious scientific journal, it is not without controversy.It was commissioned by the dating website e Harmony, according to the study's conflict of interest statement.

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