Cyber Courtships Catching On

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Monica Godfrey and Andrew Lehrer, who recently moved into a new apartment in New York, make an unlikely couple.

"I grew up on a farm, he grew up in the city. He's Jewish. I'm Catholic," says Godfrey.

But, as CBS News Correspondent Anthony Mason reports, they married in June and friends are still stunned at how they met: on the Internet.

Online dating isn't just for geeks or losers anymore. Tens of millions of singles are now embracing the Internet. Godfrey and Lehrer's courtship began on Match.com. He called himself "smouldering:"

Monica's profile read, "Monica44: accomplished small town girl seeks intelligent muscular man."

Lehrer e-mailed Godfrey his picture.

"I would only date muscular men, so I looked at his legs, and I could tell he was muscular from his legs," says Godfrey. "So I said, 'OK, I can go out with him.'"

She studied the picture very carefully.

"Oh, she's very particular," says Lehrer.

Here's how Match.com works: You post your picture and details in a personal profile. You can even include a video and for $19.95 a month you can contact as many as 9 million daters - try getting that kind of choice in a crowded bar.

"This business is just beginning," says Rufus Griscom, chairman of a network which powers dating sites for 200 clients. "We have a total of about 1 million registered users."

He says eBay.com and HotJobs.com have become hugely popular.

"And this is fundamentally the same thing," says Griscom. "It's selling people access to each other. And I think it's taken a longer time to explode, to grow as a business because of this negative stigma. It used to be a desperate thing to do."

Joanne Kaplan doesn't feel desperate.

"I didn't want to go to bars, so I decided to try it," she says.

A 37-year-old computer programmer, she's fishing for a "normal" guy.

"Oh, he's currently separated, that's not good," she says as she surfs for potential mates.

But so far, Kaplan has found mostly mismatches, like the guy she left a phone message for at his home.

"The next day I got a call from his girlfriend who wanted to know who I was and why I was calling her boyfriend," Kaplan recalls.

For better or worse, some 40 million Americans are now visiting dating sites every month.

"It's just an easier medium to meet people," says Godfrey.

And like her and Lehrer, many of them are very happy customers.
  • Jaime Holguin

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