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With some goading from a friend — who somehow convinced me that the stigma against online dating was no more — I joined Ok Cupid and started scanning the thousands of matches that popped up on my screen.Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my Valentine’s Day depression-induced hunt for Prince Charming.

But even if algorithms aren’t the answer, there’s no doubt that online dating has led to successful relationships — my own included.

The question is: Are those first dates and relationships really any different from connections made in more traditional ways? Even though the number of budding Internet relationships is increasing, the overall rate of partnership is not increasing at all.

Of the 13 online daters I talked to for this article, only one believes algorithms can make successful matches. “I don’t believe that an algorithm can match me up, and I don’t want to match me up,” said Jason Feifer.

A senior editor at Fast Company, Feifer met his wife Jennifer Miller, a freelance journalist and author, through Ok Cupid after narrowing his search criteria to two requirements: "Jewish" and "journalist."Feifer and Miller told me they didn’t start using Ok Cupid with the hopes of finding their soulmates.

This suggests that online dating is proving to be no more effective at creating lasting relationships than the old standards.“I really didn’t see it as any different from the way that people met each other for decades past," said Feifer. creates a relationship, is not the Other daters agreed, and so does Alex Mehr, a co-founder of the dating site Zoosk.

"Online dating doesn't change my taste, or how I behave on a first date, or if I will be a good partner.

The good news is that it’s probably only going to get better with time.

Slater believes that, as the popularity of mobile dating apps increases, sites will learn how to gather more valuable information.

Experts say online dating sites see a huge traffic increase between Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

With the number of visitors these sites get each month, that increase is pretty significant: Some current estimates report between 10.5 and 23.8 million unique visitors per month for two major dating sites.

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