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Match metaphors are conceptual frameworks that allow individuals to make sense of new concepts by drawing upon familiar experiences and frame-works.This metaphor of the marketplace – a place where people go to "shop" for potential romantic partners and to "sell" themselves in hopes of creating a successful romantic relationship – is highlighted by the layout and functionality of online dating websites.Online dating services usually provide unmoderated matchmaking over the Internet, through the use of personal computers or cell phones.

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The dating services modeled on the free-at-the-point-of-use model scored much higher as many of them utilized the Circle of Friends social networking method and a wider number of online community genres.

The highest scoring dating service was Facebook, which uses the personal homepage genre, the message board genre, the weblog and directory genre, as well as utilizing the Circle of Friends.

Sites may offer additional services, such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards.

Some sites provide free registration, but may offer services which require a monthly fee.

Online daters may have more liberal social attitudes compared to the general population in the United States.