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“I was worried that people would think I couldn’t get a boyfriend normally. Things were different, too – I didn’t have a laptop and certainly didn’t have internet on my phone, so I was logging on in my lunch break at work.” Then, Jane, a 28-year-old travel saleswoman from Twickenham, west London, came across Andreas Palikiras, an olive-skinned marketing manager from Corfu.Fourteen years later, the pair are married, with twin four-year-old daughters, and, rather aptly, their own Greek wedding business.
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.
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”.“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.