No doubt about it, Internet dating has become a unique part of modern love. In fact, in New York, Internet dating has become so popular that it is now simply called 'partner shopping' or 'hyper dating'.
Online personal ads were one of the first niche markets on the web at the beginning of the net revolution and statistics now predict that 50% of single people will hook up with a partner online. However, with thousands of dating websites to choose from around the world, finding the right one can be difficult.
If you've ever joined a general dating site you'll know that trawling through a stream of profiles, with reams of personal information about housekeeping habits and suchlike, doesn't mean that you will actually get along with someone. But the good news is that online dating is evolving, with recent trends showing a move towards specialist dating sites that aim to bring people with similar interests together.
Sometimes linked to lifestyles, such as dating sites for bikers, interest-based dating sites are leading the way for a new generation of people looking for love on the worldwide web. With literally millions of people using the internet as a new social arena in which to make new friends and find a partner, people are discovering that there is a much better chance of making that all important connection through a specialist site where the members have shared interests.
A recent survey by music-mate.com revealed that 80% of its members preferred interest-based dating sites, stating that they found it easier to make the first contact.
Music-mate.com creator Diane Ainslie understands this new trend: 'I've used the internet in the past to find a date and I really liked the idea of being able to meet up with people without all the usual fuss. But I often found I didn't have a lot in common with the people I met. As a huge music fan, I realised that meeting people who shared a passion for the same music as me was a great basis to develop new relationships. You have something to talk about straight away!'
And there's the key. Joining a general dating site can be like visiting a strange city without a map. How do you even begin to find your way around? In choosing an interest-based site you're starting on familiar ground. It's easier to get talking and you're more likely to meet someone you have something in common with. If half of all single people are using the Internet to find a partner, finding that special someone is like finding a needle in a haystack. It might just be time to jump on the latest bandwagon and find a dating site that interests you!
Author: Claire Gaskin is a social researcher and co-founder of music-mate.com