Yet, according to the Pew study, 21 percent of Internet users agree with the statement: "People who use online dating sites are desperate." Pew notes that's an 8 percentage-point decline from 2005.Still, there seems to be lingering judgment about using a smartphone to find someone to love."I think people don't like to admit that they are having trouble in their romantic life," said Eli Finkel, a social psychology professor at Northwestern University. It is totally normal to figure out who is compatible for you."Finkel, who with several colleagues published a critical analysis of online dating last year, has become a cheerleader of sorts for the practice."In general, it is a great thing that exists."Reggie, a 20-something operations manager for a nonprofit organization - who, like all the dating app users we talked to, preferred to give only his first name and occupation as biographical details when talking about the subject - said he tends to keep online dating out of most in-person conversations.Most of his friends do the same."We don't want to put something that is supposed to be like a dating, personal ad into our real world," he says.* To streamline your quest, we looked at some popular apps and rated them on these categories: whether its users are typically looking for a serious commitment, the time required to set up a profile, how long the "courtship" period lasts before users meet and the number of daily matches that are delivered. COFFEE MEETS BAGELThe ratings Users are looking for a rather committed relationship but don't want to fill out extensive questionnaires to find their perfect match.They want to meet potential dates face to face rather quickly, and they'd like one potential match a day.The stats This is one of the largest free online dating sites, boasting more than 4 million active users.GRINDRHow it works The app for gay men locates matches based on geographic proximity.
How it works The app searches for singles based on the user's location."I think that delineation, that separation from online-date persona and in-person social situations, is a real thing."He also separates his online dating from his social-media activity.It's a form of image management, like his adherence to the "mom rule": keeping an online presence that he wouldn't be embarrassed for his mother to see.Tinder is linked to Facebook, so users can easily upload head shots from their account and are able to see shared friends and interests.After you've signed up The premise is pretty superficial: Users make snap judgments based on photos, swiping right to approve a potential match and left to bypass one.The biggest audience is 18- to 24CUPIDThe ratings Users are looking for long-term commitments and are willing to complete a somewhat lengthy profile to find them.They want face-to-face meetings to come soon, but not too quickly, and they want three potential matches a day.ONLINE DATING: More and more people are doing it, but no one wants to talk about it. A recent Pew study found that 11 percent of American adults have used online dating sites or mobile apps - a figure that was just 3 percent five years ago.Among Internet users who were currently single and looking for a partner, 38 percent had tried online dating.After you've signed up Users judge each other based primarily on individual head shots.The stats The niche app tops 1.2 million active users, who exchange more than 30 million messages daily.