Blog Post

Why Are Online Personals So Hot?

A pithy yet incisive analysis of the popularity of online dating, from Rufus Griscom, founder of Nerve and chair of Spring Street Networks. The company provides syndicated personals to sites such as,, among others. According to Griscom, the service now doubles in size every five months and a million people have signed on in the past year and a half alone.

“Most of us who have found our soul mates relied on the randomness of the bar scene or the party circuit or life in general. This serendipity is culturally important–we have a collective investment in the idea that love is a chance event, and often it is. But serendipity is the hallmark of inefficient markets, and the marketplace of love, like it or not, is becoming more efficient.”

On a tangential note, mark my words: there will be a backlash against online dating, maybe a year from now, maybe later. I call it the “online dating fatigue.” Evidence? Ask the number of people who have actually taken down their personal ads from sites such as, especially in a place like New York City. And I am not sure if the rather literary, edgy New York attitude of Nerve personals is transferable to the hinterlands. But then, I am beginning to sound like one of those BBS academics that cried foul on the “commercialization of the Internet”, or the readers who protested the site turning subscription.

And I may be completely wrong on this, ’cause from what I know, they used to say that about “Seinfeld” as well. That my friends here in India absolutely devour syndicated re-runs of Seinfeld is a phenomenon that seems so much like a pop-culture’s no-man’s-land.