[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Online Dating, Circa 1985

April 28th, 2008 by Benj Edwards

Online Dating Circa 1985 - American People Link AdThey put that blue streak there for a reason.

It may seem like online dating is a new thing, but it stretches back farther than you’d think. Case in point: American People/Link, an early dial-up relationship service using Teletext — a much hyped (but little used) online graphical display technology at the time. I’m not sure how successful the service was, but that guy looks pretty happy. If anybody out there ever used People/Link, we’d love to hear from you.

[ From Popular Computing, February 1985 ]

Discussion topic of the week: Have you ever dated someone you met online? Beyond that, how have computer networks changed your social life?

If you use this image on your site, please support “Retro Scan of the Week” by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.

16 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Online Dating, Circa 1985”

  1. Retro Garden Says:

    I have had a couple of relationships with girls I’ve met over the internet. Nothing’s wrong with it, and I prefer it to meeting people in a night club, as you get to know them better 🙂

    My social life is practically organised over facebook now. It’s bad, I know 🙂

  2. Geoff V. Says:

    I’m dating a girl right now that I meet through an online service. It cuts through a LOT of BS.

  3. Dave Says:

    I’ve been married for almost seven years to a woman that I met on Yahoo! personals… Does that count? 🙂

  4. Benj Edwards Says:

    Of course it does, Dave. 🙂 I met my wife on Friendster. It would be a great story if the name “Friendster” didn’t sound so darn stupid in retrospect.

    “Dad, where did you meet mom?”

    “Friendst…I mean, at work.”

  5. tcv Says:

    I used this service a couple of times back then. It was the only service that allowed you to pre-pay time by check. It was basically IRC pre-IRC. It was expensive for a 14 year old boy. Never met anyone though!

  6. Corwin_the_Physicist Says:

    From a Babylon 5 IRC chat room, I met a woman from the other side of the US in 1998. Moved her to California in 2000. We married in 2005. We are still happy. Neither of us were looking at the time … we just … CLICKED! (gd&r)

  7. joevega Says:

    Via match.com I reconnected with a girl I had a crush on in high school (8 years earlier) but was shy to ask out. We’ve been together 5 years, are married and have two kids. 🙂

  8. Teebo Says:

    My first 3 sexual partners I met over BBSes, as a teenager. No pictures were shared beforehand, so it was a true crapshoot. But combine teenage horniness with meeting girls online = fun.

  9. jim hickle Says:

    I subscribed to PLink (and Genie and Delphi and Compuserve) because I could connect without long-distance calls showing on my parents’ phone bill. Don’t remember much about it; it was more of a generic Compuserve than the romance finder the advert claims it is.
    It was either People/Link or Genie that had a special interest group called “Alternative Lifestyles”. Since I had a computer, no one else I knew had a computer, and I listened to bands like The Cure & The Smiths, I should qualify as “Alternative”. Shortly after logging in I dropped carrier without even logging out. It really should have occurred to me that alternative=homosexual but it didn’t.

  10. Aaron Stein Says:

    i never dated anybody i met on line, but this does bring back memories of hundreds of hours on this new and exciting thing called american people link. i attended parties in vegas and NY… very cool at the time. i still have my Plink Vegas Venture 1981 baseball cap.

  11. cph Says:

    I remember Plink, Genie and Delphi, subscribing to them from 1987 or so. I was mostly interested in downloading software, but I’d occasionally stop by a chat room and shoot the bull with folks. Never met anyone from those services in person though….

    Delphi was neat because it had rudimentary text-only web access (radical for the time) and Dialog databases (very expensive if you dealt with Dialog directly)

    I think Plink went out of business in the early 1990’s. I dropped Genie and Delphi when I got full Internet access, somewhere around late 1994.

  12. sender Says:

    there a group on Facebook with a bunch of characters from CIS CB, Plink, etc.


  13. Ken Paul Says:

    In case any Plinkers drop by here, we also have a Facebook group:


  14. RickW Says:

    I was one of those addicted to PLINK. Hours and hours of chat room typing and getting to know people from all over the country. In our area, there was a group of us who got together frequently for parties. Occassionally someone would host a national party somewhere like Vegas or Disneyland (California). Met some memorable people and still have a baseball cap with M.O.R.F. on it.

  15. Greg Carttar Says:

    I was a committed PLINKer. Hot chat at 300 baud. Compuserve also.
    Tons of people on there, met and dated several very nice women.

    It was great fun. I carried a TRS80 color computer on the road with me.

    I loved PLINK. Had to dial in long distance, one month my long distance bill was over $600, and at a Marriott in Chicago, I got hung for $150 of local access charges in my hotel room.

  16. Hamachi Says:

    Plink was downright addictive, lots of fun, racked up big bills (sure, it’s cheap per hour, but if you’re on there for dozens of hours each week, it got expensive!), and built wonderful friendships. It felt like we were all one big family… but then it disappeared suddenly, one day, and we lost much contact with each other.

    I met *PHOENIX at a Plink dinner one night, and we became friendly offline. When he told me he was transferring to a college in my town, I invited him to move in with me… and we stayed together about 20 years. (We’re still friendly now.)

    As Ken said, above: there is that Facebook group, where you may be able to meet up with old Plink friends again. I recommend all former Plinkers go there; it doesn’t spam much at all, and it’s a good way to get back in touch. (Please ask all your former Plink friends to join that group too!)

Leave a Reply