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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.

Scam artists caused a scandal that many newspapers ran with, and personals disappeared practically overnight as public attitudes became more cautious.

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.

One of the earliest personals ever placed was by a 30-year-old man, with "a very good estate', announcing he was in search of 'some good young gentlewoman that has a fortune of £3,000 or thereabouts." (£3,000 is equivalent to roughly £300,000 today.

#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.

Before the Internet, there were personal ads, and before that, lonely shepherds carved detailed works of art into tree bark to communicate their longing for human contact.

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.Like the Internet today, lonely hearts ads were suspected of harboring all sort of scams and perversities.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.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.(Farmers Only continues the legacy to find "where all the country girls are" today.) Some very pragmatic examples of early 20th century personals: HOUSEKEEPER: 18 to 30 years of age, wanted by widower, 40.

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