Most speed dating events match people at random, and participants will meet different "types" that they might not normally talk to in a club.
On the other hand, the random matching precludes the various cues, such as eye contact, that people use in bars to preselect each other before chatting them up.
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.
Unlike many bars, a speed dating event will, by necessity, be quiet enough for people to talk comfortably.
Participants can come alone without feeling out of place; alternatively it is something that women who like to go out in groups can do together.
It is not known when speed dating was first carried out, but there were speed dating events in the London area in the mid-1970s.
Usually advance registration is required for speed dating events.
As reported by the BBC in the Science of Love, it only takes between 90 seconds to 4 minutes of face-to-face interaction to determine attraction, which gives speed dating an advantage over online dating.
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.
At the end of the event participants submit to the organizers a list of who they would like to provide their contact information to.
If there is a match, contact information is forwarded to both parties.
Pre-Dating was acquired by Cupid.com, but eventually became independent again. Several online dating services offer online speed dating where users meet online for video, audio or text chats.