Online Dating Sites; An Algorithm With No Proof


| 5 Comments
Whenever I am watching television I see a commercial for an online dating site, which I always wonder how they work.  Even though I am probably never going to use one, I was still curious on how these "love finders" actually connect with what a person wants.  The truth is that there is no actual proof that the math behind online dating sites actually work, and are successful.

If one thinks about it scientifically, how can one certain survey or profile demonstrate what you desire emotionally?  How can a computer know what you want out of a relationship?  The human brain is so complex that it would be very challenging to have an online dating website that can find a match every single time.  Additionally people are always changing his or her opinions, thus he or she would have to go on many dates in order to find the right one.  According to   
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an article on Greatist.com, it is close to impossible to predict long term compatibility for these online dating websites.  Although people may enjoy each other's company for a short amount of time, there are many factors that can come into play that may turn a person away from another.

There is a stereotype that people lie on their profiles on these websites, which may or may not be true.  But either way it is a factor that can change if a person is truly meant for a certain person.  Just by looking a one's likes and dislikes does not show his or her's physiological state of being.  

I think an interesting study would be a blind study, and how many people actually end up with a partner that they like a good amount.  It would be interesting to see how accurate this algorithm can be because it is nearly impossible for it to be one-hundred percent accurate.  There are positives and negatives to this outlet for dating, but it would be interesting to see the odds and outcomes because in the end finding a "true love" has no statistics involved.  What is an experiment that would accurately prove or disprove these algorithms?  Is it unethical to have love searching and math combined? 

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5 Comments

My cousin has recently got engaged to a woman he met online, and he seems to be in a very happy relationship. You may not be able to tell how long you're going to be with someone just from their profile, but nowadays divorce is so common that you can't really tell regardless of how you meet them and just because you meet someone face to face doesn't mean that they don't have just as much to hide as someone who uses one of these sites. These websites are just tools for people who don't feel completely comfortable meeting people in your typical dating scene. These sites aren't run by Cupid and are by no means guaranteed love finders.

The success/failure of potential relationships is difficult (even impossible) to measure because relationships are so vastly dynamic. There are just too many third variables. Variables beyond what a dating site asks for (ie, likes and dislikes, hobbies, etc). And these things can get in the way of healthy relationship. Things like personal biases, smaller disparities in opinion and plans for the future (those of which may or may not involve a long-term significant other). In short, I think that any site claiming to use a system to help you find a relationship does not have the capacity to do so. In this case, I think the best "blind study" would be a blind date, because that's essentially what you're getting yourself into by trusting a profile.
Here's an interesting link that delves into common lies found on dating profiles:
http://www.womansday.com/sex-relationships/dating-marriage/online-dating-profile-lies

I think dating websites are a good outlet for some people; however, I'm not sure how something like this could be tested scientifically. Personally, I think that these websites can only "do" so much when it comes to helping people find love, and in the end, there are many other variables that can influence the relationship's outcome. People can lie on dating websites, and I think it's important that when signing up for one, people are aware of that. In the end, it all comes down to meeting in person and seeing how compatible you are outside of the worldwide web.

Hi Jesse! I agree with you that finding true love is not dependent on an algorithm, but, I do see where an algorithm may come into play for the first step of the journey. According to HowStuffWorks (http://people.howstuffworks.com/online-dating.htm), "Online dating is simply a method of meeting people." I'm sure that I'm not alone when I say that I generally get along better with people who share my interests and values. Keeping this in mind, if we look at the algorithm we're talking about as a method used to align people with similar interests and values, it makes sense. There are absolutely more factors that go into a successful relationship, but this is a good place to start. I think that dating sites like to play up this algorithm as if it is something magic that can skip all the steps in between wanting to meet someone and actually falling in love for marketing purposes. We have to remember that these are businesses trying to make money. Through market research (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/3/prweb10537905.htm), they know that some people are too proud or too scared of failure to try online dating. This means that they have to find innovative ways to attract these potential new customers. True love depends on much more than an algorithm, and the professionals who develop these dating sites know that. They simply see it as a good first step in finding true love and concentrate on that in their marketing efforts in attempt to persuade potential new customers that they are worth a try.

It's extremely difficult to measure relationship success in a scientific manner because every relationship is so very different. When these sites claim they have a "winning formula", it's all just marketing speak in my opinion. I feel most dating sites just match people based on how similarly they answered their questions.

Online dating itself seems to have positive effects for couples who utilize it the long run, however...here's an article about a study that showed married couples who met online had a lower divorce rate than those who met offline.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/04/online-dating-leads-to-hi_n_3384721.html

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