D., a junior fellow in economics at Harvard University.

In other words, there’s no incentive for them to make the experience speedy.

She signed up for JDate, an online dating site for Jewish singles.

Many dating sites rely on matchmaking algorithms the same way that Netflix uses them to recommend movies.

So if you live in the Denver area, you’re a single heterosexual man in his 50s who loves to travel, and you don’t believe in astrology, your matches may reflect women who have similar interests.

Collectively, we spend huge sums of money on matchmaking, not to mention all the time and substantial emotional investment. Given that we usually rate products (like refrigerators) and services (like banking), this is new and fairly unusual territory for us.

But as we explored the possibility of taking on this investigation, we discovered that 20 percent of our subscribers are either divorced or have never married, and might benefit from what we found.

And we found that the free sites generally did marginally better than the paid ones, presumably because they offer a better value.

“You’re generally going to be best off starting your search on the ‘Big 3’: Match.com, Ok Cupid, and Plenty of Fish,” says Scott Valdez, founder of Virtual Dating Assistants, which helps people write their profiles and then manages their accounts.

You can do almost anything online these days: Check a bank balance, buy shoes, choose a mattress, order a cab.

So when Roberta Caploe was ready to start dating again after a divorce, she didn’t ask her friends to fix her up or feel the need to frequent bars or health clubs.

A whopping 44 percent of respondents who tried online dating said the experience led to a serious long-term relationship or marriage.