An early form of the gay dating website that we know and love today dates all the way back to the 1700s, surprisingly enough. Dating as a whole has certainly evolved over the years, especially with the rise of the Internet and smartphone in recent years, and online gay dating is no exception.
- 1700s: Personal Ads
A prelude to or early form of online dating was the use of personal ads that gay people would place in newspapers in the 1700s. They would use coded words so as to meet discreetly. At the time, homosexuality was publishable by death and personal ads offered the only method for gay people to meet safely.
- 1965: The First Online Dating Site
The first computer dating service was not necessarily designed with gay people in mind — that is, it wasn’t a gay dating site, but it is still part of the natural evolution and deserves a discussion. The first computer-based dating service Operation Match, was developed by some undergraduates at Harvard University as part of a class project.
- 1995: People Search for “Online Dating” on the Internet
Shortly after the rise of the Internet, the terms “online dating” began to be typed into search engines everywhere. In 1998, the film You’ve Got Mail began to normalize the idea of online dating.
- 2000: The First Online Dating Service
Dr. Neil Clark Warren started the first online dating service, E-Harmony, which matched compatible people together. By 2003, the idea of dating had become even easier with the introduction of Skype. In 2004, Facebook also changed the process of how we date online, such as the infamous poking tool. By 2007, smartphones made it possible to date while out and about. The era of the gay dating site was about to emerge.
- 2009: Gay Dating Sites Becomes Popular
By 2009, gay dating sites finally started to get popular. By 2012, location-based dating websites such as Tinder emerged and also gained popularity.
- Present: Gay-Friendly Matchmaking Services
The idea of a gay or lesbian dating service is finally here, an extension of the gay dating website. These matchmaking services, such as the ones offered at Bespoke Matchmaking, represent the most recent evolution of online gay dating. They match likeminded individuals on a given set of criteria.
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