Imbalances between the number of available women and the number of men desiring partners created a demand for immigrant women.
As a result of this imbalance, a new system of "picture brides" developed in predominantly male settlements.
The majority of the women listed in the twentieth-century and twenty-first-century services are from Southeast Asia, countries of the former Eastern Bloc and (to a lesser extent) from Latin America.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union large numbers of eastern European women have advertised themselves in such a way, primarily from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova.
This network of smaller international marriage agencies is often affiliated with web-based international dating sites that are able to market their services on a larger scale, in compliance with regulations such as the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act.
Experian, a market research firm, reports that the top 10 international dating sites attracted 12 million visitors in March 2013, up 29% from March 2012.
International marriage agencies are frequently referred to as "mail-order bride" agencies.Mail-order brides work with "international marriage agencies".An international marriage agency (also called an international introduction agency or international marriage broker) is a business that endeavors to introduce men and women of different countries for the purpose of marriage, dating, or correspondence.Asian men also worked through mail-order agencies to find wives as they worked overseas in the 1800s.Key variables determining the relationship between migration and marriage were demographics, legal policies, cultural perceptions and technology.Asia Charm introduces more than a thousand Asian women to foreigners eager to arrange a cross-cultural marriage.The service is equally convenient for initial contact, further communication, and for sending gifts and getting agreed on a face-to-face meeting.Many women wanted to escape their present way of living, gain financial security and see what life on the frontier could offer them.Most of these women were single, but some were widows, divorcées or runaways.Men who list themselves in such publications are referred to as "mail-order husbands," although this is much less common.The term "mail-order bride" is both criticized by owners (and customers) of international marriage agencies and used by them as an easily recognizable term.