Nah. They were around at least 140 years ago, according to a city guidebook called Lights and Shadows of New York Life, published in 1872, which reproduced several in its pages.
The book detailed the appeal of the “personals” printed in the first column of an unnamed city paper:
“Very many persons are inclined to smile at these communications, and are far from supposing that these journals are making themselves the mediums through which assignations and burglaries, and almost every disreputable enterprise are arranged and carried on.”
So then as now, these missed connections-type ads don’t always have an innocent, romantic aim.
But apparently many did. “If a lady allows her face to wear a pleasant expression while glancing by the merest chance at a man, she is very apt to find some such personal as the following addressed to her in the next morning’s issue of the paper referred to.”
So what are the odds that any of these men hooked up with the lady they were looking for? I guess we’ll never know.