It wasn’t too long ago that we attached a stigma to online dating. People on such sites were seen as losers or desperate people. Slowly, this began to change, and today, online dating has become quite mainstream. And according to a new study done at the University of Rochester, online dating is now the second most popular way to find a date. What’s #1? It’s meeting people through family and friends.

I’m glad to see that online dating has lost its stigma (which was never deserved in my opinion), and that it has replaced other, less reliable ways to meet someone, such as hanging out at bars. But is online dating perfect? Far from it. Roughly half the people surveyed said they had at least one bad experience using online dating sites. Typically, it has to do with other members misrepresenting themselves. This could be done by posting old photos, or making exaggerated claims about oneself. I suppose it’s only natural for people to try to put their best foot forward. The only advice I’d have for online daters is this: Take everything with a grain of salt, until you actually meet someone in person.

Where should you start if you want to get involved with online dating? I suggest starting with the most popular sites. As of this writing, for paid dating sites, Match.com is #1 in terms of visitors, followed by Zoosk and eHarmony. For free dating sites, Plenty of Fish and Okcupid are the largest. Other major dating sites include badoo (more popular in Europe than the US), Christian Mingle, and OurTime (for mature daters).

Match.com seems to have something for everyone, so I would start there. You can get a 3-day Match.com free trial if you go to Onlinedatingtrials.com