There are dating sites devoted to particular religious groups, like Christian Mingle or JDate, for example, as well as sites that cater to gay and lesbian daters. This removes a lot of the ambiguity that you face when you meet an interesting person at a work event or a party. Because of the ease and relative anonymity of online dating sites, we may take more risk reaching out to people we would not approach in person.
And even though men generally contact women more than vice versa on these sites, research has shown that a sizable minority of women do reach out to men they find desirable online, suggesting that these sites allow some women to overcome traditional gender norms that cast them in a passive role of waiting to be approached (Scharlott & Christ, 1995). Shy or socially anxious individuals often have difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships (Alden & Taylor, 2004; Davila & Beck, 2002).
But in real life, after we get to know someone and like their personality, we begin to find them more physically appealing as well (Kniffin & Wilson, 2004).
For more on misconceptions about online dating, read my post on 4 Myths about Online Dating. More importantly, that they don't see the problem inherent in the dishonest representation is a huge red flag.
In addition, when we read vague information about someone, we mentally fill in the blanks with specific details that may be incorrect (Norton & Frost, 2007).
For example, when you read in a man’s profile that he’s a movie buff, you might think that's something you have in common, but when you get to talking about movies on your date you realize that you’re a foreign film aficionado, while he’s obsessed with horror flicks.
Pros: Access to more people and more types of people.
The most obvious benefit of these websites is that they provide easy access to thousands of potential dates.