However, by then both ladies and gentlemen had to classify themselves in 5 different classes.Though most people meet their dates at social organizations, in their daily life and work, or are introduced through friends or relatives, commercial dating agencies emerged strongly, but discreetly, in the Western world after World War II, mostly catering for the 25–44 age group.
Telecommunications and computer technologies have developed rapidly since around 1995, allowing daters the use of home telephones with answering machines – mobile phones – and web-based systems to find prospective partners.
"Pre-dates" can take place by telephone or online via instant messaging, e-mail, or even video communication.
Many singles look for love on the Web, and research in the United Kingdom suggests that as of 2004 there were around 150 agencies in that country, where the market was apparently growing at around 20 percent a year.
The internet and speed dating agencies are the biggest of the group.
There is a rise of businesses who teach men how they can meet women themselves without the use of a dating agency, some of which use the label pickup artist.
Marriage agencies run by clergymen were introduced to England and Wales in the late 18th century, prompting considerable amusement from the social commentators of the day.
In 1799 a "provincial publication says that a MATRIMONIAL PLAN is proposed to be established throughout every county, city, or town, in England or Wales.
(...) The system of this curious, and it should seem actually serious, plan — as far as we can learn — is as follows: — Every person, of either sex, who desires to enter into a treaty of marriage, is first to subscribe a certain sum.
All ladies and gentlemen to describe themselves, by real or fictitious names, as they may choose". — A gentleman, 40 years of age, a little corpulent, rather of a dark brown complexion, wears a wig, has a place in the Customs, and a small estate in Suffolk, with 750l.