Historically, marriages in most societies were arranged by parents and older relatives with the goal not being love but legacy and "economic stability and political alliances", according to anthropologists.
Accordingly, there was little need for a temporary trial period such as dating before a permanent community-recognized union was formed between a man and a woman.
These species-particular behavior patterns provide a context for aspects of human reproduction, including dating.
Other sites are more specific, based on the type of members, interests, location, or relationship desired.
Online dating services usually provide unmoderated matchmaking over the Internet, through the use of personal computers or cell phones.
Online dating services generally require a prospective member to provide personal information, before they can search the service provider's database for other individuals using criteria they set, such as age range, gender and location.
It is a form of courtship, consisting of social activities done by the couple, either alone or with others.
The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time.