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.
Late 1800s: The Scam Emerges You know, someone's always got to ruin the party.
The popularity of personals paved the way for grifters who soon realized that they could prey on the vulnerability of people seeking love.
Because they were often used by homosexuals and sex workers, British police continued to prosecute those who placed personals until the late 1960s, when ads became part of the burgeoning youth counterculture. In 1965, a team of Harvard undergrads created Operation Match, the world's first computer dating service.
For , users could answer questionnaires and receive a list of potential matches, a process that is still used by many dating sites.
Scam artists caused a scandal that many newspapers ran with, and personals disappeared practically overnight as public attitudes became more cautious.
Phishing, fake profiles, and ads for escorts continue this tradition today.
We were 21 and 22 years old, graduate students living on little sleep, not a penny to our names.
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.
#Shamelessly Seeking Sugar Momma...) 1700s: Personal Ads for Homosexual Safety Personal ads were one of the only ways for the gay and lesbian communities to meet discreetly and safely at this time.
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.
Since the earliest days of mass media and technology, people have been finding ways to broadcast their desires and find connections that might have otherwise eluded them.