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Between 20, the number of people using online dating sites doubled, from 20 million to 40 million, and about one third of America’s single people participated in some sort of online dating last year.But despite these numbers, it’s unclear if online dating is any more effective than, or really any different from, meeting someone offline.In many ways, online dating resembles offline dating — the resulting relationships are no different. So why do so many millions turn to the Web to find love?While many dating sites claim the ability to find your perfect match, social scientists aren’t buying it.Research suggests that, while it is possible to predict whether two people could enjoy spending time together in the short term, it’s (nearly) impossible to scientifically match two people for long-term compatibility.
The strongest predictors of a good, functional relationship are how a couple interacts, and their ability to handle stress — two things that science says current dating website algorithms can't predict and online profiles can't demonstrate.It doesn’t help that these algorithms are closely guarded trade secrets.With some goading from a friend — who somehow convinced me that the stigma against online dating was no more — I joined Ok Cupid and started scanning the thousands of matches that popped up on my screen.Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my Valentine’s Day depression-induced hunt for Prince Charming.Experts say online dating sites see a huge traffic increase between Christmas and Valentine’s Day.With the number of visitors these sites get each month, that increase is pretty significant: Some current estimates report between 10.5 and 23.8 million unique visitors per month for two major dating sites.