Online dating (or Internet dating) is a system that enables people to find and introduce themselves to new personal connections over the Internet, usually with the goal of developing personal, romantic, or sexual relationships.
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.
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.
Attitudes towards online dating improved visibly between 20, the Pew Research Center found.
It is possible that the mode of online dating resonates with some participants' conceptual orientation towards the process of finding a romantic partner.
That is, online dating sites use the conceptual framework of a "marketplace metaphor" to help people find potential matches, with layouts and functionalities that make it easy to quickly browse and select profiles in a manner similar to how one might browse an online store.
Most services also encourage members to add photos or videos to their profile.
Members can constrain their interactions to the online space, or they can arrange a date to meet in person.
A great diversity of online dating services currently exists (see Comparison of online dating services).
Some have a broad membership base of diverse users looking for many different types of relationships.
In particular, the number of American adults who had used an online dating site went from 9% in 2013 to 12% in 2015 while those who used an online dating software application on their mobile phones jumped from 3% to 9% during the same period.
This increase was driven mainly by people aged 18 to 24, for whom usage almost tripled.