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The prospect of suddenly having to compete against Facebook is a scary thought for online dating sites, albeit a shortsighted view as to the impact of graph search.

The concern is that singles will gravitate more and more towards Facebook for their online dating needs since Facebook already has superior data and profiles and now is offering enhanced friend and interest-based search and matching functionality for singles. Although there are likely to be clear winners and losers with Facebook's graph search, I believe this is the most exciting development in the online dating industry in many years.

Online dating CEO's, investors and entrepreneurs have become concerned that graph search would do what dating sites traditionally could not -- meaningfully connect singles through friends and common interests -- and therefore drive traffic away from dating sites.

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General public attitudes towards online dating have become much more positive in recent years, and social networking sites are now playing a prominent role when it comes to navigating and documenting romantic relationships.

These are among the key findings of a national survey of dating and relationships in the digital era, the first dedicated study of this subject by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project since 2005.

One in every ten American adults has used an online dating site or a mobile dating app.

We refer to these individuals throughout this report as “online daters,” and we define them in the following way: Taken together, 11% of all American adults have done one or both of these activities and are classified as “online daters.” In terms of demographics, online dating is most common among Americans in their mid-20’s through mid-40’s.

Below is a chart illustrating recent research into online dating trends, conducted by some website called

Not exactly sure how this research was compiled, but a few of the startling highlights that the data shows include: So what does this all mean?

Some 22% of 25-34 year olds and 17% of 35-44 year olds are online daters.

Online dating is also relatively popular among the college-educated, as well as among urban and suburban residents.

Given that only 1 in 5 singles visit a dating site each month, the biggest opportunity for growth for dating sites is to remove the stigma associated with using online dating sites, and thus expose the other 80% of singles to online dating, as the stigma associated with online dating sites is largely responsible for keeping 4 out of 5 singles away from dating sites.

Graph search seamlessly blends online dating functionality into the core Facebook experience.

However, if you are marriage minded and you do somehow weed through all the scammers, sex offenders and sex addicts, and actually do meet somebody you are compatible with, you stand a reasonably good chance of getting married before your friends who met their partners offline.

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