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Online dating services allow users to become "members" by creating a profile and uploading personal information including (but not limited to) age, gender, sexual orientation, location, and appearance.

Most services also encourage members to add photos or videos to their profile.

"People have elaborate laundry lists of qualities they think they want in a partner, and they like online dating profiles that fit this laundry list," Eastwick said.

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"The algorithms are not scientifically valid and are extremely unlikely to generate compatible matches." In other words, matchmaking sites simply can't account for how two people will get along in person — chemistry, if you will.

And, as it turns out, what we find attractive in a profile doesn't sync up with what we go for in the real world.

I've decided to organize the statistics and facts into two main areas.

The first will deal with the general online dating industry as a whole.

While statistics can be spun to make almost anything look good, I've tried to report just the basic facts.

The data has been gathered from such sources as blogs, online newspaper and magazine articles, company financial statements, company advertising information packages, the actual dating service website, and multiple website measurement services.

To be sure, many people remain puzzled that someone would want to find a romantic partner online – 23% of Americans agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate” – but in general it is much more culturally acceptable than it was a decade ago.

Online dating has jumped among adults under age 25 as well as those in their late 50s and early 60s.

The following facts and figures establish youth as a high-risk population for becoming victims of sexual assault and dating abuse.

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