An online dating service is a company that provides specific mechanisms (generally websites or applications) for online dating through the use of Internet-connected personal computers or mobile devices.Such companies offer a wide variety of unmoderated matchmaking services, most of which are profile-based.Under this metaphor, members of a given service can both "shop" for potential relationship partners and "sell" themselves in hopes of finding a successful match.At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38% increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc.It is possible that the mode of online dating resonates with some participants' conceptual orientation towards the process of finding a romantic partner.
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Because online dating takes place in virtual space, it is possible for profile information to be misrepresented or falsified.
While some sites conduct background checks on members, many do not, resulting in some uncertainty around members' identities.
Opinions and usage of online dating services also differ widely.
A 2005 study of data collected by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that individuals are more likely to use an online dating service if they use the Internet for a greater number of tasks, and less likely to use such a service if they are trusting of others.