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And although online men are more likely than online women to view dating services as a good way to meet people, they are also more likely to categorize online daters as a desperate group.

One in ten internet users say they have personally gone to dating websites.

Another 6% say they do not know whether or not online dating facilitates better connections.The general online public is less certain, but generally supportive of the notion that online dating facilitates better pairing.Most online daters think that using internet dating services helps to open up the playing field.Fully 64% agree that online dating helps people find a better match because they have access to a larger pool of potential dates, while just 31% disagree with this assessment.Few offer a mixed response: just 7% say they had both positive and negative experiences.

The remaining 12% say they do not know or decline a response.

Second, there is relatively broad public contact with the online dating world because significant numbers of Americans personally know others who have tried and succeeded at online dating.

Some 15% of those in this survey of the general public – representing about 30 million Americans – say they know someone who has been in a long-term relationship or married someone they met online.

In a separate question, 6% of online daters say that dating websites do an “excellent” job of protecting people’s personal information, while 32% say they do a “good” job.

Another 33% rate the services as “fair” and 12% say the websites do a “poor” job of protecting their information.

Still, the general online public is evenly divided over the merits of online dating.