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Reclining on a purple velvet throne, inside his castle – a sixth-floor office in a grey tower block in central London – Karl Gregory is reeling off some of his favourite statistics. ” He whisks a print-out from a pile of papers on his desk and prods a blurry image in the middle.“517,000 relationships, 92,000 marriages and around a million babies,” he grins. It’s a picture of a customer’s baby scan under the words: “all thanks to Match.com”.is not only the most popular dating website on the planet; it’s the granddaddy of them all.This year, it celebrates its 20th anniversary – marking two decades since a little start-up suggested that Cupid’s arrow might strike through a screen. Its users are spread across 40 countries and exchange 415 million emails a year.It was free to fill in and provided users with a report informing them how many of the men/women on his system matched their responses. Klien, a somewhat eccentric philanthropist whose interests include cryogenics and the Lifeboat Foundation (an NGO dedicated to the preservation of human life in the event of global disaster), now lives in Reno, Nevada.He has never spoken about the “Matchmaker”, and when I track him down he is brusque and to-the-point.They messaged for a few days by fax and email before speaking on the phone, and then went on their first date to a Chinese restaurant in 1996.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.
He purchased for ,500 (£1,650) and launched it as a dating service on the open internet in 1995.
“It was very limited back then – most of the men on it were so old, they could have been my father.
I was about ready to give up, and then Bill came along.” Bill had been on seven dates by the time he got an email from Freddie.
“Not only are they risky, but they are ineffective.” So he created a 170-point questionnaire, covering users’ horoscopes, their preferred mode of transport, taste in music, cleanliness, condition of their hair and how often they participated in dangerous sports.
He called it the “Electronic Matchmaker” and uploaded to his private internet database (called a “usenet”) just after Christmas 1992.