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They messaged for a few days by fax and email before speaking on the phone, and then went on their first date to a Chinese restaurant in 1996.Freddie wasn’t technical enough to upload a picture, so Bill had no idea what she looked like - which was relatively common in the early days.
Though early users were taking a gamble by signing up to the site, the real leap of faith in Match.com’s history took place on December 27, 1992.It has a Google-like track record of gobbling up its competition: it purchased Ok Cupid in 2011, and also owns Tinder, a wildly popular mobile app founded in 2012.“Try this experiment next time you’re out for dinner with a group of friends,” suggests Gregory, who is Match.com’s UK manager and European director.Eric Klien, a Las Vegas-based entrepreneur, had spent six months pondering the dilemma of dating.“Traditional methods of courting and flirting are risky generally,” he wrote at the time.Match.com’s buyer was Gary Kremen, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur frustrated by the amount of money he was spending on 1-900 dating hotlines.
He purchased for $2,500 (£1,650) and launched it as a dating service on the open internet in 1995.
“Mention Match.com, and see how many say they met their partner on there, or encouraged a relative to go on it, or know someone who has.” When launched in April 1995, there were only 25 million internet users worldwide, compared to 2.92 billion in 2015.
Having web access at home – like owning a mobile phone - was considered quite exotic. It promised a clever algorithm, which used character traits and interests to pair users with their perfect partner. At first, online dating occupied a seedy corner of the internet, ranking in people’s minds just above red light services.
It was free to fill in and provided users with a report informing them how many of the men/women on his system matched their responses. Klien, a somewhat eccentric philanthropist whose interests include cryogenics and the Lifeboat Foundation (an NGO dedicated to the preservation of human life in the event of global disaster), now lives in Reno, Nevada.
He has never spoken about the “Matchmaker”, and when I track him down he is brusque and to-the-point.
“And a person only has to answer the questions once and then they will be applied to all future matches.” In 1993, Klien sold his questionnaire and the domain name so he could focus on a new mission.