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“Try this experiment next time you’re out for dinner with a group of friends,” suggests Gregory, who is Match.com’s UK manager and European director.
“Mention Match.com, and see how many say they met their partner on there, or encouraged a relative to go on it, or know someone who has.” When launched in April 1995, there were only 25 million internet users worldwide, compared to 2.92 billion in 2015.
“Back then, there was a sense of 'Oh, you must be really desperate,’” she says.
“I was worried that people would think I couldn’t get a boyfriend normally. Things were different, too – I didn’t have a laptop and certainly didn’t have internet on my phone, so I was logging on in my lunch break at work.” Then, Jane, a 28-year-old travel saleswoman from Twickenham, west London, came across Andreas Palikiras, an olive-skinned marketing manager from Corfu.
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In one corner is a cluster of Hallmark-red sofas; romantic slogans adorn a board above the photocopier.
Freddie wasn’t technical enough to upload a picture, so Bill had no idea what she looked like - which was relatively common in the early days.
“It started off as sheer geek territory,” says Gregory. Stigma was high.” Jane Stuart barely told anyone when she set up a profile on the site in 2001.
Though early users were taking a gamble by signing up to the site, the real leap of faith in Match.com’s history took place on December 27, 1992.
Eric Klien, a Las Vegas-based entrepreneur, had spent six months pondering the dilemma of dating.