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1800s: Aristocrats Catch On Always on the lookout for ways to exploit media for their own ends, aristocrats in the 1800s used personal ads to broadcast their interest in romantic engagements that seem scandalous by today's standards.

) Mid 1800s: The General Public Follows In the mid-19th century, the need to advertise for a husband or wife was still considered a "failure" and associated with deviant behavior for many judgmental straight, white, middle-to-upper class people.

For , users could answer questionnaires and receive a list of potential matches, a process that is still used by many dating sites.

1990s-2000s: Second Wave of Mainstream The explosion of the Internet in the mid-to-late 1990s created a new context for personals, and by the end of the decade, they had become relatively acceptable.

Even before the Web itself, bulletin boards and newsgroups hosted a variety of ways people could use technology to meet others with similar interests, including dating.

Services such as America Online, Prodigy and eventually Craigslist offered chat rooms, forums and online classifieds of use to singles.