Places like Australia were populated by mail order brides. Some speculate English speaking cultures are "pioneering" cultures and just better suited for such things. Speed dating and a lot of our rituals might seem dehumanizing to others, while arranged marriages and traditions like the Tibetain custom of the bride first sleeping with the groom's brothers on their honeymoon might seem dehumanizing to us. Bottom line is all these rituals appear to work for a lot of people.
i haven't done it, but to me it seems more like being able to drive to a megamall, instead of settling for the goods at whatever mom + pop convenience store is within walking distance.
of course, you still have the full responsibility to check for quality and fit. but there's a lot more to choose from. i mean, if that one-in-a-million person is out there for you, statitistically they may not happen to be a friend-of-a-friend, or work in your building or go to your school.
To my amazement, I personally know 4 couples who met online and are very happy.