Today, online dating sites peddle a radical vision: a new future for love as we know it; a more efficient, more targeted way to meet a compatible mate. Forget about hanging out in bars, or volunteering at community functions, or awkwardly asking friends if their friends are single.

Many of the biggest online sites are marketing themselves not just as places to get a date, but as a place to find a lifelong mate.

The dating site e Harmony claims an average of 542 members marry every day in America.

As online dating becomes the dominant path to relationships, it shifts the way these unions are built.

The problem is that the scientific jury is still out on whether similarity is, in fact, good for long-term commitment.

And there’s no strong evidence that computers can predict compatibility through measurable psychological variables.

The 1,500 sites comprise an industry worth over $1.5 billion.

A quarter of all Canadians have tried Internet dating, and 16 per cent have had sex with someone they met online.

“We will reach a point when people don’t distinguish between meeting online and off-line,” he says.

“We won’t refer to online dating; it will just be dating.” And we aren’t far away.

On the day of the announcement, the stock price of Inter Active Corp—the parent site of online dating behemoths —dropped by more than two per cent. Over the past two decades, the Internet has become a fixture of the modern-day romance plot.