Internet dating love at first sight
FOR the lovelorn, the new year can be an unhappy time, as they cast envious glances in the direction of lovey-dovey couples at the season's parties.
For online-dating agencies, it is a golden opportunity, as people who have spent the holidays ruminating over unsatisfactory or non-existent love lives log on in their thousands, hoping to find romance—ideally before February 14th.
In America Ashley Madison, which claims to have 8.3m registered members in nine countries, has been decried as “a business built on the back of broken hearts, ruined marriages and damaged families”.
In Britain the , a tabloid daily, labelled it a “vile website” when it set up shop in the country last year.
But some sociologists, such as Millsom Henry-Waring of the University of Melbourne, have given warning that electronic forms of communication in general—and digital-dating services in particular—are gradually changing society's conception of relationships and marriage for the worse by encouraging people to view partners as commodities that can simply be traded in for better versions at the click of a computer mouse.
Dating sites have also been accused of failing to take robust enough action to protect vulnerable users from fraudsters and sexual predators.Several critics have also accused it of exaggerating its ability to match cheats with one another, chronicling its alleged failings on websites such as Few other dating sites have provoked such a public backlash.In countries and cultures in which arranged marriages are common, sites such as India's Shaadi and Bharat Matrimony, which boast many millions of clients, are a big hit with young people who want to influence how their marriage partners are chosen.