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The first speed-dating event took place at Peet’s Café in Beverly Hills in late 1998.
Usually advance registration is required for speed dating events.
In the UK, there are two companies that run events in more than twenty cities: Speed Dater and Slow Dating.
The largest speed dating company in Australia is Fastlife. Several online dating services offer online speed dating where users meet online for video, audio or text chats.
While over 100 companies in the US offered speed dating through online registration during the growing of the Internet, between 20 three large speed dating companies emerged with a national footprint in the US, with events in over 50 US cities: Hurrydate, 8Minute Dating and Pre-Dating.Hurrydate was acquired by Spark Networks (Jdate/Christian Mingle). The advantage of online speed dating is that users can go on dates from home as it can be done from any internet enabled computer.Pre-Dating was acquired by Cupid.com, but eventually became independent again. The disadvantage is people do not actually meet one another.Because the matching itself happens after the event, people do not feel pressured to select or reject each other in person.
On the other hand, feedback and gratification are delayed as participants must wait a day or two for their results to come in.Most speed dating events match people at random, and participants will meet different "types" that they might not normally talk to in a club.