These algorithms can probably pick up some key things – for example, it’s true we’re more likely to be friends with people with the same values as us, who share our cultural milieu.
“But you can’t predict what googlies life’s going to throw at a relationship, for example one of the biggest predictors of being divorced is being made redundant and no one knows if that is going to happen to them or not.” “Overall,” he adds.
Moreover, couples who’d first met face-to-face reported slightly less satisfaction with their relationships than their online counterparts.
Professor John Cacioppo, who led the study, said the sheer number of available potential partners online could be among the reasons for the results.
But other sites, which can cost up to £3,000 a year to join, offer their clients a bespoke selection of potential partners to share your love of sushi, dachshunds or The Apprentice.
There are dedicated websites for every religion, for the unhappily married, for the beautiful – where existing members decide if you merit joining their ranks – the overweight, Oxbridge graduates, country lovers – not to mention Telegraph readers (dating.uk). Using slogans such as “love is no coincidence” they test samples of your saliva in order to make the best DNA match for you – claiming that these couples are more likely to have enduring relationships, satisfying sex lives and higher fertility rates.
Anna Wilkinson has been married for seven years, has two young children, and – although exhausted – is delighted with her lot.
Matchmakers were viewed as hook-nosed crones from Fiddler on the Roof or pushy Mrs Bennet at the Pemberley ball.“I’d hazard that your chances of finding love through one of these sites is probably about 10 to 15 percentage points greater than through traditional means.” For all the claims of success, some experts warn that the online dating is making monogamy more, rather than less, elusive.“I’ve found a tendency for the 'grass is greener mentality’ to set in, where the person they’ve set their sights on seems great until they decide to check out 'just a few more profiles’ and spot an 'even better’ singleton,” warns relationship expert Dr Pam Spurr, author of Love Academy.“A secondary problem to this is feeling you don’t match up to your competition because the longer you spend on sites, the more you realise you’re up against vast numbers of singles.Many singles I’ve met report starting out fairly confidently on online dating sites but then begin to feel they’re simply not good enough.” Lucy Wilkinson, has only one regret about her online dating adventures.“I only wish I’d signed up years earlier, then Mark and I might have met sooner.Nobody’s perfect, but for me, he’s as close as it comes.” Follow Telegraph World News on Twitter As the internet plays an ever greater part in our social lives, with sites such as Facebook helping us to keep in touch with our friends, it's inevitable that we also use it to help us run our love lives as well. “I’ve known of people who end up spending countless hours on internet dating sites convinced they’ll find the perfect person.My message is no one is perfect so this is a futile endeavour.Cash-rich, time-poor professionals who already do everything from shop to socialise online, now see a search engine as the obvious gateway to love.Scarred by their parents’ (or their own) divorces, this generation approaches affairs of the heart with the same pragmatism as it might buying a car or booking a holiday.Others employ dozens of scientists to create sophisticated, top-secret algorithms to match customers with similar personality traits (as opposed to shared interests, which are a far less significant predictor of compatibility), ignoring the adage “opposites attract”. “One suspects a lot of their claims are hype,” says Professor Dunbar.“Do they really know what the criteria are that make a successful long-term relationship, when it’s not something that the scientists still know that much about?“We’d love to get hold of more of it, but they’re not keen to share though we’re in discussion with a few of them,” says Robin Dunbar, professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University and author of The Science of Love and Betrayal.