Theirs was the stuff of romantic comedy plot devices.
In July, Piper Jaffray Investment Research predicted that U. spending on online dating would reach $1.7 billion annually by 2013 — not hard to fathom, as the study says we spent $1.2 billion on the industry in 2008. " has become almost as immediate a response to a friend's announcement of a new paramour as "What does she do? " (For Baker and Jacob, the answers would be an emergency room physician's assistant from Italy and Hampton, Va., for her, a business banker/personal trainer from Newport, R. The Internet is essentially the world's largest bar, explains Mark Brooks, the editor of the industry news site Online Personals There will always be the lucky folk who find kinship in the unofficial dating pools of social networking sites. "[On Twitter], you're having a conversation with people without any external factors like physical looks," she says. Brooks says to look to something like the social dating site Zoosk.It syncs with a users' Facebook, My Space or other network's profile page to create a giant cross-network of available matches.As in the days of Friendster, your posse can write testimonials on why you're a good catch on your Zoosk wall. Still, Brooks says it's unlikely that social networking sites will kill the online dating market.The first step could just be figuring out which nightspot is right for you: There are those with no cover charges, such as Plentyof and OKCupid.com, and hookup spots a la and Online Booty There are "theme nights" that are geared toward particular interests, such as Biker Planet.com, and "neighborhood watering holes" that are based on religion or culture, such as (for those seeking a Jewish mate) or Asia Friend
Behind the velvet rope, there's the comfort in name recognition from the likes of and
Or just get a VIP pass and rely on a friendly yenta through and Bharat
"One of our more popular sites as of late is Datea Cougar.com," says Stephen Ventura, vice president of First Beat Media, which owns niche sites including Goth Scene.com, Biker Planet.com, Fitness and others that are essentially Facebook fan pages for interest groups, with the added element for potential romance.
Meanwhile, there are even more chances to let the software do the guesswork for you, as the personality-test method popularized by the likes of and isn't going away — even Spark Networks, which is famous for JDate.com, now has one on several of their sites, and uses one on the recently launched Match
Although there's some debate as to the usefulness of these tests, you can be sure of one thing: It's unlikely the majority of the users are commitment-phobes.
"EHarmony has [about 250] questions in their questionnaire," says Julie Spira of Cyber Dating and author of "The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online." "Anyone who signs up with e Harmony is truly serious about having a relationship with someone." Online dating sites aren't the only way to find that special someone. Flox, who edits Sexandthe405and has vowed to date only guys she's met on Twitter. You edit what you say on your blog [or e-mail], but on Twitter you will tweet 'Ow, I stubbed my toe.' It's really great stuff and indicative of personality." Flox tweets at @avflox and @sexandthe405, but eager followers should note that she's been in a monogamous relationship for three months. Want a dash of romance with your social networking?