The Growth of Online Matchmaking
The Western society is built on marriages where men and women can choose their own mates. With the advent of the internet, it has become easier for unattached singles to look for love even from a distance, from one corner of the country to another, and even from across the world. Memberships with popular online dating sites like eHarmony, Match.com and Yahoo! Personals can often be the gateways to an abundance of eligible singles for dating or for marriage.
On these matchmaking websites, singles meet online, interacting in relative anonymity and freedom till they feel a meeting is justified and desirable. Instead of having to find time to meet other singles with comparatively less chances of success, most single people choose the partner of their dreams from the comfort and privacy of their homes.
Eastern cultures, on the other hand, tend towards arranged marriages where the relatives of prospective spouses are the matchmakers, making the final decisions based on perceived compatibility of social status, religion and caste, factors which are irrelevant and almost unknown in the West. Despite increasing Westernization in the Orient, which has led to a lot of young men and women making their own choices as to their life partners, the cultural differences with the West when it comes to marriage is still significant.
As a recent article points out, 30% of the 1.3 million members of one of the most established internet personals services, Match.com, live outside the U.S. This is mostly in Europe and Scandinavian countries, which have a culture similar to the U.S. But when it comes to Asian countries like Japan, India and China, Western matchmaking services are stepping into the market gingerly despite immense growth potential. This is mainly because they need to better understand the dynamics of Eastern culture and the place marriage holds in it, as well as the fees a Chinese or an Indian single is likely to pay versus his or her counterpart in the West.
But one of the main factors that holds out hope for the success of Western dating or matchmaking websites in the Orient is that love is a universal phenomenon that transcends all boundaries, be it that of culture, race or religion. The scientific approach adopted by relationship websites like eHarmony.com which depend on well-researched questionnaires to detect couple compatibility could also prove to be a winner in Asia.
Online dating and matchmaking are here to stay. The question is not whether they would become a global industry, but how fast they would reach people across all the countries.
Posted by eDatingCentral.com Feb 8, 2008 6:03 pm
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