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30-Oct-2017 01:00

Yet while looking for love online is no longer seen as an act of desperation, the digital-dating industry still generates plenty of controversy.

Academics who have studied the industry believe that it and other forms of electronic communication such as e-mail and social networks are starting to have a significant effect on the ways in which people find love.Deepak Kamra of Canaan Partners, an American venture-capital firm that has backed several dating services, including Zoosk and Bharat Matrimony, estimates that the industry's revenues from membership fees and advertising now amount to billion-4 billion a year.Searching for that special someone In addition to broad-based matchmaking sites such as Match and Zoosk, the online-dating world has also spawned thousands of niche ones.Although they are still popular with tech types—Julian Assange, the mercurial co-founder of Wiki Leaks, reportedly once maintained profiles on dating sites under the name “Harry Harrison”—they now attract millions of people from many walks of life.

Com Score, a research firm, says Match and Zoosk, two large dating services based in the United States, saw 4.6m and 4.8m unique visitors respectively come to their American sites in November 2010.Mark Thompson, a former executive in the online-dating trade, now an author, believes that television ads showing starry-eyed couples boasting about how they found their perfect match online should carry warnings that such outcomes are hardly typical.