While the Internet has arguably increased the chances of meeting potential mates, it carries its own share of heartbreak and growing complaints about false profiles, bad behavior and ill-suited matches.
A number of online daters and Internet sites are taking matters into their own hands, critiquing these services and warning their peers of the pitfalls of Web hook-ups.
Some review sites, like Date Seeker, compare the attributes of dating services, give tips for online dating safety and recommend ways to tweak a profile for better results. They distinguish between sites like Match.com or eHarmony, which purport to seek meaningful matches for the single gal and guy, versus more casual encounters at Lavalife or ethnically targeted sites like JDate for Jewish singles.
Online daters can find reader polls on favorite dating sites, a breakdown of broad and specialty sites and personal testimonies. At least 29 million Americans, or two out of five singles, used online dating services last year, and that market is expected to keep growing over the next five years.
But amid the triumphant tales of e-mails that end in wedding bells, a growing number of online daters are voicing complaints. At eDateReview, some of the most popular match-up sites garner lukewarm ratings.
The most frequent complaints are that far more men are online than women and a lack of protection against sexual predators or cheating lovers, said Michael Kantor, an information technology project manager in Arlington, Virginia, who runs the site.