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See Inside February/March 2007

The Truth about Online Dating

The hype is huge, and the findings are somewhat disturbing—but the future of online dating looks good
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About two years ago I arranged to meet for coffee with a woman I had corresponded with online. I arrived early and sat at a table in a conspicuous spot. After a few minutes, a woman came to my table, sat down and said with big smile, "Hi, I'm Chris!"

But Chris was not the woman in the online photos. This wasn't a question of an age discrepancy or a new hairdo. She was a completely different woman. Chris was in marketing, you see, and to her it was simply a good strategy to post photographs that would draw in as many "customers" as possible. I never said a word about the photos. I just enjoyed our conversation and the refreshments. A few weeks later I noticed that Chris had replaced the photos with those of yet another woman.

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