5 Ways Online Dating Changed In A Decade

computer mouse with lipstick online dating

Here are five ways online dating has changed in the past 10 years.

Happy belated birthday, eHarmony! On Monday, Aug 16, the dating site turned 10 and, to mark its anniversary, launched a new ad campaign entitled "Love Begins Here."

The New York Times reports that the campaign includes "roving pedicabs, television commercials, and a giant billboard in Times Square that features couples who met on the site and a message that singles can still find meaningful relationships."

This new approach is neither the first or the last dating sites have launched in order to keep up with their success. From inception to today, here are the five major changes that occurred over the last decade of online dating. 365 Days of Online Dating

1. So long stigma!
"So, where did you guys meet?" If you're like me and were asked this question, you'd murmur something inaudible or say "MySpace" because MySpace was easier to admit to than an AOL chat room or a dating site. But, thankfully, we're now in an era where you can proudly reply "eHarmony" or "Match.com" because dating sites have become go-to for singles. With the recession what it is, who can afford to be at a bar, sip on $10 mixed drinks and simultaneously look for Mr. Right? Dating sites are affordable (some are free), easily accessible and cater to you and the person you want to meet, while often playing matchmaker for you—all from the comfort of your own home. It's no longer shameful, but sensible.

2. Users are more confident.
Now that the stigma has been decimated, the singles whose interest is peaked by e-dating are more confident in finding out more, delving deeper into the site. There's no backlash from friends or family to suffer from when they share the contents of their online profile or that they "winked" at the vegan accountant from the next town over. Instead, it's met with enthusiasm, as it should be, because putting yourself out there—virtually—can be scary. These days, there's more support than ever. Making The Most Of The Dating Game

3. Profile pictures.
Make sure your face is showing; the "MySpace angle" is out; cover up your cleavage and abs; and it's better to smile, right? Wrong. All of the previous are profile picture myths (!) according to OKTrends, the official blog for dating site OKCupid. A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to online dating, it's also worth a thousand clicks. It's just as important to choose a good, properly "angled" picture as it is to write a good profile—and there are plenty of opinions and tips on how to get your best shot.

4. Resources.
Who would have thought 10 years ago that there'd be an overflow of books about meeting someone online? But today there are scores of books, not to mention experts and blogs, devoted to singles on the internet. eHarmony released four "new rules of dating" and number four recognizes that "dating is an industry" and "you need to implement the right tools, strategies, and support staff" to find success. Community Blog: Online Dating Dictionary

5. It's more than just meeting someone.
Dating sites don't just offer you connections anymore, but tools like dating and wedding planners, discussion forums for users and advice columns. They've become multi-faceted and scientific, taking in user feedback to increase their couple success rates. Most of the sites offer you the chance to talk to a dating expert directly and blogs to keep you up to date on dos and don'ts. Add to this the number of niche dating sites that exist, and you can see how the industry's changed to accomodate all types of daters, not just the internet-loving, possibly geeky early adopters from a decade ago.

How else has online dating changed in a decade?