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The popularity of personals paved the way for grifters who soon realized that they could prey on the vulnerability of people seeking love.

Hardly a week goes by without another new think piece about online dating either revolutionizing society or completely ruining our ability to have real relationships.

But these hyperbolic pronouncements miss a deeper fact: At its core, "online dating" isn't something we just started doing 5, 10 or even 20 years ago.

() 2010 - Today By 2010, different dating sites existed for virtually every city, sexual orientation, religion, race and almost every hobby, making it easier to find exactly what we're looking for and harder to stumble on someone who exists outside our pre-defined bubbles of identity.

In 2002, Wired Magazine predicted, "Twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love won't look for it online will be silly, akin to skipping the card catalog to instead wander the stacks because 'the right books are found only by accident.'" Online dating is the new norm for introductions, replacing the role of traditional personals and in many cases, merging with the functions of social media.

Less-Than-Fun fact: homosexuality was outlawed and punishable by death in the UK by wife-murderer Henry VIII and continued to be illegal until 1967. A., anyone accused of being a "sodomite" doing "buggery" was also legally sentenced to death as of 1776.) Coded words, female names and other signals in personals were channels to privately expressing vulnerability and find companionship that society forbade.

During this time, gathering sites for gay men known as Molly Houses were subject to regular raids by law enforcement. 1727: Women Get Smacked Down for Expressing Personal Desire In 1727, Englishwoman Helen Morrison became the first woman to place an ad in a Lonely Hearts column.

By the time Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan AOL'd each other in You've Got Mail, it had become clear that the Internet was going to change every aspect of our lives forever -- including love and romance.

was founded in 1995, and by 2007, online dating had become the second highest online industry for paid content.

maybe not that much has changed for the one percent?

) 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 $3, users could answer questionnaires and receive a list of potential matches, a process that is still used by many dating sites.