Many people ask us at ‘What are the advantages of using a Personal Matchmaker, as opposed to Online Dating or a Dating App?’ So I started to think and list them, and to be fair and even handed, we wanted to highlight the advantages that meeting online or via an app has too.
How it all began – before Online Dating
In the beginning and before the online dating boom of the new millennium, there was only Personal Matchmaking and that had been around I’d guess since time began. In Great Britain and in most countries around the world, it fell to an elder, senior person within a family, a village or a community or clergyman to take on the mantle of ‘Matchmaker’. Their task was to bring young people together down the centuries and usually by the ‘coming of age’ at 21, when there was often a pressure to get sons and daughters married by, with the term ‘being left on the shelf’ being levied at those who failed to make the marriage cut by that point.
In some countries, very little has changed and senior family members or elders within a community or location are still charged today with the task of finding marriage partners for younger members of the community approaching early adulthood. In many western cultures that has changed considerably however and help of this type would be far from welcome by many.
The First Dating Agency Opens its doors
In the UK the first real ‘Dating Agency’ activity can be traced back to the early 18th Century as in 1702, the Daily Courant – the worlds first daily newspaper was launched in London and very quickly a matrimonial column was added on the back page, where wealthy gentlemen could place an advertisement for a wife and such was the success of this that the first real Dating Agency was launched in London in 1705 – known as a ‘Matrimonial Bureau’ in those days.
A further agency was launched in Bishopsgate, London in 1825, when members of the public could join a list or register according to their class and 5 categories emerged from which the client had to select the one appropriate to themselves and their circumstances. But meeting through family, the elders of a community or the church continued to flourish for many more years.
Marriages Are Made In Bond Street
The loss of male lives in the Great War perhaps was another significant contributory factor in the development of dating, as when troops returned home, Dating Agencies began to emerge in several cities in the USA as the reduction in male numbers made marriage harder and in the 1930’s in London Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver established their own ‘Marriage Bureau’ in Bond Street, Mayfair and that boomed over the years being sold to Penrose Halson in 1960, remaining as a business until 1990. Penrose Halson’s book ‘Marriages are made in Bond Street’ is a great read incidentally.
In 1965 British entrepreneur John Patterson, visited Harvard University in the USA and saw a computerised dating algorithm built by 2 students: Jeff Tarr and Vaughan Morrill, for the first time. He was impressed and brought the system back to London, he launched Dateline, as the worlds first computerised dating company in swinging London in 1966 and enjoyed may years of success. In the 70’s you could rarely pick up a daily newspaper without a full-page advert for Dateline being in there and extensive TV advertising also helped project Dateline to become the UK’s leading dating brand – maybe to some extent the forerunner of online dating.
Long Standing Dating Agencies
In the 1980’s brands such as Country Partners, originally launched in Shropshire and Herefordshire in 1983 by 2 young mums who had met at the school gates in Ludlow, Heather Heber Percy and Geraldine Turner. Country Partners later became The County Register when it was relocated to London and then Mary Balfour launched Drawing Down the Moon in 1986 and later Karen Mooney launched Sarah Eden – all of those companies remain as strong entities today, amongst many others. Our own brand Attractive Partners was launched in 2003 and quickly became very successful, developing 4 membership levels Vogue, Principal, Elite and Debut and spreading right across mainland Great Britain as one of very few truly national players.
A Shift In Dating Behaviour
In 1994 as the internet gathered momentum Kiss.com was launched as the first modern dating website and Match.com followed being launched in the USA in 1995 and they brought it into the UK in 1998. eHarmony followed in 2000 and Tinder, the worlds first dating app was launched in 2012.
The year 2012 though was a turning point for online dating and saw criticism of some companies and apps begin to emerge for the first time. The Financial Times Blog led the way with criticism of Cupid Plc, the UK’s largest dating company based in Edinburgh, who had floated on the AIM market 2 years previously raising £10 million. The market capitalisation of Cupid rose to a peak of c £160,000 but an investigation by the FT Blog and an edition of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Panorama entitled ‘Tainted Love’ began to piece together widespread mis-selling by Cupid’s staff (secretly filmed by Panorama) and also the huge number of fake profiles that were live on the internet – more than 1 million in the UK alone.
Concerns With Online Dating
To make matters worse the Information Commission were also concerned and issued warning letters to some of the the UK’s biggest players – including Cupid Plc, Match.com and eHarmony.com about potential mis-use of data, unfair terms and conditions and the fact that in some instances terms and conditions were not made available to clients until after they had paid their initial subscription.
Scamming had also become a thorny and difficult issue by this point, with £30,000,000 plus per annum being misappropriated, by 2016 this increased to £100,000,000 if social media sites were also included and all of a sudden alarm bells were sounding with the general public that this was something that needed caution and great care to take part in and the numbers involved in online dating began to dwindle significantly and the internet dating revolution was all of a sudden cut short and it’s crown began to slip.
Two Very Different Services
So please draw your own conclusion as to the type of dating experience that you prefer? Should it be an online one, that can provide quick results and, on many occasions, provides great value for money or can even be free of charge, funded just by advertisements. Often these are simple (you just swipe left to discard or right to like), are fast and can be fun. They are also very easy to sign up to – you pay your money and can begin building your profile the same day if you wish.
If you want to be safer and to know that every potential date has been personally interviewed and carefully vetted. If taking your time is a preference and evaluating each dating opportunity carefully is for you and you very much value, confidentiality, discretion and your privacy then maybe utilising the professional services and support of a Personal Matchmaker could be your thing.
At Attractive Partners, our Membership Adviser team would be very happy to talk you through the pros and cons of both and without any obligation too. So please feel free to phone us at our expense on 0800 644 4140 or complete our contact form on the site and we will ring you, usually within 24 working hours. We’d love to talk you through the membership options that we have and how to go about becoming a member.