Meeting people online is just another way to meet people--or one would think! However, if the people you meet are far away from you, that can immensely complicate matters. Just being obvious about it, who visits whom first to find out if you can stand to be in the same room as one another for extended periods of time?
The reason why you mustd meet in person as soon as you can, if you think it's going serious, if because if it takes you a year to really get to know someone in real life, it will take ten years online! This is is because internet relationships are and have to be partial. Even with web cams and cheap calls online, you still aren't experiencing the full spectrum of the other person.
As well, in day to day terms, you don't have any way to verify what they are telling you or not telling you, and unless you have the money to hire a private investigator, etc, you'll have to rely on allowing time (and repetition) to smoke out discrepancies (if there are any).
Not to frighten people, but there are some very strange people who use the anonymity of the internet to find vulnerable people and take various kinds of advantage of them, and nobody wants to find themselves a victim of such a situation.