Millions of Americans have used online dating services. These days one in five romantic relationships begin online. What was once considered the act of a desperate loser is now seen by three out of four InterWeb users to be a practical and efficient way to meet someone new. Dating sites are especially helpful for people who have moved to a new place and have no local friendship networks. Some people believe they will be happier with partners who espouse similar values. After all, isn’t that what matching sites are promising us? All we have to do is sign up, take a survey, and voilà – Prom King and Queen live happily ever after.
When most of us hear this term, we think of aircraft flight recorders, which are orange now, but were once painted black. Words evolve, and the sealed container became a term that refers to any process whose inner workings are kept hidden. Companies have many reasons for wanting to keep their internal mechanisms secret. A few are good ones, but matching sites like eHarmony, Chemistry, and Perfect Match want to keep their black box processes secret because they don’t work. Say what?
They don’t work because their science is deeply flawed.
1. The probability of relationship success can only be measured in face-to-face interactions, with visual cues, expressions, gestures, touching, interplay, and give-and-take. Matching sites not only lack the face-to-face element, they lack synchronization, too. I write you a message and you answer in minutes, hours, days, and sometimes never.
2. Matching site samples, by definition, include only people who have never met. As successful relationships are defined by how couples who know each other interact, you can see how this would be a shortcoming.
3. Successful relationships are defined by how couples handle real-life situations, not by how they answer questionnaires. Scientific American says the principles and definitions used in matching sites’ questionnaires – similarity and complementarity – account for long-term success in less than one percent of successful relationships.
When the sample and the method and the numerical data have no demonstrated value, matching sites’ Artificial Intelligence Algorithms are working with sows’ ears.
They don’t care about the science. They’re busy selling hopes and dreams.
Some dating service stats.
- Online couples break up more than offline couples.
- Men’s profiles get more attention when they say they have large incomes and want children.
- Women’s profiles get more attention when they are thin, Catholic drinkers.
- Most users misrepresent themselves in one or more ways.
Me? I love playing polo in the rain with my celebrity pals on my yacht.