Believe it or not the concept of online dating has been around longer than you think.It dates back to the 18th century, where matchmaking through personal advertisement on newspapers would take place.Matrimonial agencies were big business there by the early 18th century, printing ads on behalf of men who paid the agency to recruit them a good wife.Being single passed the age of 21 was considered almost shameful in that era, and the ads were often a last resort for the men who advertised and the women who read them.If a match resulted, it is unlikely that you boasted the fact to your friends, Cocks said.Before e Harmony and Plenty of Fish, there were other methods of digital dating being practiced by hopeful singles.Check out this interactive timeline to find out how folks dated before the emergence of today's modern online dating services.
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.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.
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.