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The Net loves Valentine's Day

How do I love thee, let me tell thee online. The Net offers a multitude of services, information, essays, and even love tests for the lovers of the world.

If cynics are right, then St. Valentine's Day is just a retail gimmick, and so are the slew of heart-saturated Web sites.

But for the lovers of the world, the Net offers dating services, digital Valentine's, essays on the origin of the holiday, and love tests. Created by everyone from online services and retailers to cyberpoets, sites for lovers and the lovelorn can be found all year round.

Those looking for love on the Net February 14 might want to start their search with a little history.

First off, suitors traditionally send candy and roses to prove their love on Valentine's Day. As numerous Web sites explain, the holiday wasn't always a love fest. According to one site, Valentine was a priest who secretly married young couples against the Roman Emperor's wishes. He was put to death for his actions on February 14.

If that's too Halloweenish, there's always time to look for a sweetheart. Many dating services have set up shop on the Net, catering to those leery of the singles bar scene.

Online matchmakers include: Yahoo, which lists nearly 300 such sites; Singles Online;; and LoveSearch. Even America Online is getting into the action with its 13,000 photo personal ads.

If people don?t find Cupid's arrow online, maybe they're looking for love in all the wrong places. The Love Test promises to help people "measures love and its dimensions." While not particularly scientific, the site is fun nonetheless.

Attached Netizens can also express their heart's desire on the Net.

Net historians say that in the mid-18th century, Valentines were hung form doorknobs because postage was expensive. A hundred years later, many Valentines are still made of paper, satin, and lace, but they are also fashioned out of digital bits and bytes.

To send a digital note, stop by sites such as Greet Street, Hallmark, Net Valentine, or I Luv which lets visitors send a virtual kiss.

Feeling a tongue-tied? Cyrano is online to help. There are also thousands of love poems too, if inspiration is what your missing. Be careful when sending saucy emails from work though, especially if your used to hitting "send all."