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Dating executives retort that although the industry is not perfect, many of the criticisms levelled at it are unfair.They acknowledge that some clients, who typically spend anything from a few months to a year before finding a soulmate or throwing in the towel, have frustrating experiences on their sites.En español | In the old days, you most likely would meet Mr. Right in college, on the job, maybe in a bar or though family and friends.Today, people are increasingly getting together through online dating — especially if they're over 50.And a number of sizeable digital matchmakers, including Jiayuan and Zhenai, have risen to prominence in China.Deepak Kamra of Canaan Partners, an American venture-capital firm that has backed several dating services, including Zoosk and Bharat Matrimony, estimates that the industry's revenues from membership fees and advertising now amount to billion-4 billion a year.And there have been instances of rapists using dating sites to prey on women.A megabit on the side Then there is the fuss over sites such as Illicit Encounters and Ashley Madison, which have sparked an outcry by matching people seeking partners for extramarital affairs.

In a study presented at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in August, Michael Rosenfeld of Stanford University and Reuben Thomas of the City College of New York reviewed data from a survey of more than 3,000 Americans with romantic partners.Dating sites have also been accused of failing to take robust enough action to protect vulnerable users from fraudsters and sexual predators.Last year several elderly British women sent money to American soldiers whose profiles they had come across on dating sites, only to discover subsequently that the profiles were bogus.Searching for that special someone In addition to broad-based matchmaking sites such as Match and Zoosk, the online-dating world has also spawned thousands of niche ones.Some, such as JDate, which is designed for Jewish lonely hearts, and Ave Maria Singles, which focuses on Catholics, serve specific religious or ethnic niches.