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A Quantitative Analysis of Online Dating 283

imjustatomato writes "Never before has something so human and primitive as dating been reducible to such discrete values. A study analyzes the data of an online dating service. When do you like someone like yourself? Among online dating members, "marital status" and "wants children" are the two most influential characteristics to match. Other interesting findings are: men initiate 73.3% of messages, but their initiations are 17.9% less likely to be reciprocated; 78.2% of messages are never responded to."
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A Quantitative Analysis of Online Dating

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:00AM (#16225179)
    I wrote that I wanted to relax on a couch with someone getting high and watching insects having sex on the Discovery Channel.
  • by Mr. Samuel ( 950418 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:01AM (#16225185)
    100% of my messages are never responded to.
    • So that's what chicks are into these days. Silly me, I thought they were all about differential equations!
  • RTFA? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:02AM (#16225189)
    Why not link to TFA? Here is a more direct link to the research []. I wonder why we got linked from the summary to another summary. Maybe because the summary is new today but the research is 2 years old.

    Anyhow, none of the numbers seem all that surprising, except that 55% of active members are women (63% of all members were men).
    • Re:RTFA? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) * on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:46AM (#16225395) Journal
      > none of the numbers seem all that surprising, except that 55% of active members are women
      > (63% of all members were men).

      "Members" are anyone who'se ever signed on for an account and not deleted it. They keep the numbers looking good by continuing to carry these. Not surprising, ISPs have done this for a long time. Men don't remain active members because they get so little response (ref. the original paper).

      Women remain active more because they tend to keep coming back to the chat rooms, mostly with other women. They hang around just in case a guy comes along to try to chat with them. Then they'll all play hot chat with him, and afterwards fail to respond to him at about the same rate as in email.

      I've been doing some research of my own. But I don't see anything surprising enough about it that makes it worth writing about. It's the same sort of behaviors I've seen since the time when BBSs started gaining general public members, prior to the spread of internet connection turning them into ISPs. I'm not surprised by the fact the article is new and the paper is 2 years old. I'm surprised that someone bothered to write a paper about something that's been going on for 15 years. On the other hand, it was a master's thesis. Very few academics care what master's students write about as long as the research is done halfway decent.

      • Members... (Score:4, Funny)

        by Savage-Rabbit ( 308260 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:38AM (#16226087)
        "Members" are anyone who'se ever signed on for an account and not deleted it....

        That is just plain wrong. Members (Latin name: Phallus Maximus) are sentient symbiont life-forms that human males carry between their legs. The member is connected to the brain of the human male and takes over control of the brain and thus the entire body whenever a human female is present manipulating the human male into to doing and saying idiotic things he would otherwise never dream of. Members, and the effect they have upon the behavior, utterances and personality of the human male can be quite annoying but unfortunately they can also not be eradicated since they are essential to the procreation of the species. Research into alternative technologies such as cloning is ongoing.
      • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @07:25AM (#16226645) Homepage Journal
        this chick 004.jpg []

        and this chick 003.jpg []

        the reason they didn't write back was they already finished spanking it for that evening...
      • Re:RTFA? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by neoform ( 551705 ) <> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:59AM (#16228499) Homepage
        I'm still surprised that no one has caught on to the fact that of the top 10 dating sites right now, at least 4 of them employ the use of fake profiles and even pay employees to chat with their members in order to get them to pay for premium membership. I know, because i've seen it happening first hand.. why doesn't anyone catch on to this?

        Ever recieve a flirt/wink from another rather attractive member, only to find he/she doesn't reply back when you message them? Or how about receiving large numbers of flirts/winks in a very short period of time when your member profile contains close to no information?

        Do a test yourself. go to, make a profile, but profile no personal infomation about yourself. wait a week and see what happens. odds are you'll be messaged by about 15 people who are all supposedly interested in you.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by protohiro1 ( 590732 )
          I can't speak for all dating sites, but I can tell you that at Match & yahoo there are no official fake profiles. But you have uncovered the real dirty secret of online dating: scammers. People in russia, nigeria etc create fake profiles with stolen credit cards. These profiles tend to be too good to be true, they then wink a lot of people (not too many, the sites look for this). When they hook someone they basically run the 419 scam on them. They chat enough to convince the guy they are legit, then spr
    • Re:RTFA? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ObsessiveMathsFreak ( 773371 ) <obsessivemathsfr ... .net minus physi> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @04:52AM (#16225897) Homepage Journal
      Anyhow, none of the numbers seem all that surprising, except that 55% of active members are women
      No, no, no, no. We're talking about the internet here. You must add a qualifier. 55% of active members say that they're women.
  • Online dating (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:10AM (#16225229) Homepage Journal
    I had mostly positive experiences with online dating after my divorce. I met several women, some were romantic friends, some were regular friends and one just didn't work out at all.

  • by macadamia_harold ( 947445 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:10AM (#16225233) Homepage
    Among online dating members, "marital status" and "wants children" are the two most influential characteristics to match.

    Uhh, yeah. I'm going to guess that the phrase "wants children" means something different, depending on whether you're on a dating site, or on Yes?
  • Religion and Smoking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sleepwellmyfriend ( 1003977 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:15AM (#16225257)
    I always thought discrimination against religion and smoking were bidirectional. Religious people are more likely to not want to date non-religious types, than the other way around. Non-smokers will prefer to date non-smokers, but I doubt smokers have much of a preference. It would be interesting to see if there are characteristics that work in the opposite manner. Opposites attract, don't they? Guess not
    • It would be interesting to see if there are characteristics that work in the opposite manner. Opposites attract, don't they? Guess not

      Well, there is one obvious characteristic where opposites do attract. At least for some 90% of the population...

    • by nickos ( 91443 )
      Religious people are more likely to not want to date non-religious types, than the other way around.

      Don't be so sure. As an atheist, there's no way I want the mother of my children passing any superstitious nonsense on to our kids.
      • Yup. It pretty much ended a year and a half relationship when we started talking about stuff like that. The truly mind-boggling thing is, she said she was an atheist all along. I had my suspicions before, but when she freaked and it became a two-hour argument because I said I would discourage my kids from attending a Christian youth camp (read: attempted brainwashing session) I finally admitted she was a closet Christian. After that, well, it's hard to respect someone.

        How weird is that? Who lies about thei

        • by flooey ( 695860 )
          How weird is that? Who lies about their religion?

          That does seem really weird. Is it hip to be atheist these days?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'm a non-smoker. Shortly after I started dating the woman who is now my wife, I told her that I would have a problem with the relationship if she kept on smoking. Before I met her for our third date, she smoked her last cigarette. It was a while after that that she told me she quit... better for both of us. That was six years ago.

      Good thing, too. Her heart surgery was two years ago. Had she kept on smoking, it might have been a heart attack...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:16AM (#16225259)
    I think it's fair to say that there's a lot of factors at play here:
    1. Communication. Email (and other text-based mediums) miss out on several communication cues. Tone of voice, body language, etc. are important to figure out exactly what is meant. I can write something and mean it in one way, but that doesn't mean the person at the other end will read it that way - they could just as easily (especially if they're having a bad day) cast it in a negative tone in their mind.
    2. Expectations. Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to find out that men (and women!) online are looking for the "perfect partner". Newsflash, people: there's no such thing. Everybody has their flaws. Doesn't matter who they are.
    3. Appearances (which comes in with expectations, I suppose.) If you're not 'beautiful', you're evidently not worth knowing. Dig a little deeper, people. There's more to beauty than stick figures like you see in those fashion magazines ...
    My experiences with online dating? I've met five, maybe six, people that way. One's a decent friend still. One, it's too early to tell (but my feeling is "nothing more than friendship".) The rest, I haven't seen much of beyond the early meetings.

    All in all, my Quest for Non Single Status shall henceforth be conducted off the computer. Between the cost, the frustration of usually never getting a message back (I'd rather hear "thanks, but I don't think it'd work out" than never hear back at all - at least then it's a clean break), and generally getting out and about in the real world a bit more than when I was a teenager, I think I'll be much happier for it. Do I need somebody? Hell no. Do I want somebody? Yes. But I'd rather be single than with the wrong person.

    • by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @03:00AM (#16225463) Journal
      Did they confine their research to just Because my experience with the greedy was poor. If you haven't paid, not only can you not send messages, you can't read messages others send to you. Even if those others have paid, you can't read their messages. When I was a paying member, I got one genuine unsolicited message which was from a woman who seemed nice but was more than twice my weight, and one genuine reply which was, sadly, negative. The rest of the messages I got were spams and scams. I wasn't doing as well as a 10% response rate, let alone the even higher numbers this research claims. Possibly it's because I refused to put down an income range. After I quit paying, I was still getting notices whenever someone sent me a message, but no info on who sent it or what the message was. A wink at least mentioned who. Damned if I was going to pay more just to find out it was another scam message. Now I think's lousy policies had a lot to do with the low response rate. It's not that all the women really were that rude, or swamped, it's that stinks. I get much better response rates on okcupid.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bill Dog ( 726542 )
        Even if those others have paid, you can't read their messages.

        I wonder if that was made clear to paying members, before you send them. Or before you join.

        I was similarly disappointed when I tried out the system of eHarmony a year ago. I could understand not being able to initiate communications until becoming a paying member, but I was very surprised that I couldn't communicate back. Someone who could initiate with me would have to be a paying member. But to me this lessens the value of membership. Esp. if
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by tukkayoot ( 528280 )
        Agreed, I've had good experiences with the responsiveness of people on OkCupid. A great match site can't have policies that excessively hinder people's ability to get in contact with each other, no matter how good their matching algorithims are.

        On OKC, I think all of my messages except one have received a response, and most of those responses from single women within my geographical range were receptive to the idea of meeting up for a date. I'm sure the fact that the site is free helps a lot in that regar
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Seems like you just need to try a better True! Ever since I signed up...err...clicked on a link and started getting charged....I've received tons of winks from lots of hot girls. Its so cute, when I send them a message back they all pretend they never sent me a wink. But I know they're just playing hard to get.

        In all seriousness, True is a huge scam as a quick google will reveal. In fact, the only reason it is profitable is that it made money before all the bad reviews came out, and dump

        • OKCupid's designers (math geeks from Harvard) anticipated this sort of study, so they built their entire matching algorithm on it.

          Most dating sites have a small (fixed) number of variables you can set, such as "wants kids" and "smokes." Say there's 10 variables with 4 values each. That's 2^20 possible distinct people (1 megaperson) on the site.

          OKCupid does that too. But then OKCupid lets users create additional variables for study (over 2000 at this point) with two to four possible values. So there's mo
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by misleb ( 129952 )
        Wow. gave like 3 weeks free with full access (if you uploaded a picture). And I found that 3 weeks was about the amount of time that it took to go through all the women in my area (20 mile radius). So I didn't have to pay. I just used up my 3 weeks. If I wasn't dating anyone a couple months later, I created a new account and gave it another go. I did have a problem with few responses per message sent, but I think that is pretty common for men everywhere. I'd say the ratio was about 1:7.

        But th
    • by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:01AM (#16225939)
      Appearances (which comes in with expectations, I suppose.) If you're not 'beautiful', you're evidently not worth knowing. Dig a little deeper, people. There's more to beauty than stick figures like you see in those fashion magazines ...

      I though that once upon a time. Then I realized I wasn't ugly and have been shallow and self gratifying ever since. It works for me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cara ( 118378 )
      Between the cost, the frustration of usually never getting a message back...

      On the dating sites I've been on, women definitely have the advantage here. I have never had to pay for an account, because I get enough interesting guys contacting me. I try to reply to every guy, including when it's negative. I think a lot of people don't delete their accounts after they're done and that could cause a lot of non-replies. It can be a pain though if you find someone, delete your account, then break-up and have to re
      • women's advantage (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Weezul ( 52464 )
        Women have what you say is "the advantage" in ANY singles settng. But very few girls manage to exploit it. And the reason is: the girls who are good with men have all got one before they every make it to a singles setting. Guys arn't usually happy with just one, if they can help it, so the guys who women usually choose in signles setting are just after a 2nd or 3rd partner. So the cycle continues.

        But the other important factor is compromise. All women want a "self-confidence" guy above all else (your g
  • my observation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aliscool ( 597862 ) * on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:18AM (#16225269)
    I recently spent two months on and by and am pleased with the end results... I am dating someone I met on there.
    You really have a hard time weeding through the mass amounts of spam email (I realize you are looking for someone in Virginia, but Montana is only 6 hours away), the obvious scammers mostly with .ru email addresses. The old I need a visa and it costs 600 American dollars thing.
    Also there are a fair amount of women that fall into the FREAK category.

    I would disagree with this point made in the paper "Among online dating members, "marital status" and "wants children" are the two most influential characteristics to match."
    From my limited experience on Match, I think the most important thing women were looking for was income range. I initially had that on my profile and got swamped with replies, after hiding that bit they slowed way down.
    • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:25AM (#16225309)
      Of course, women love a man with a huge... bank account. Did this suprise you?
    • Purely out of interest, why did you choose Match.Com (paid, not very "smart") over, say, (free, sort of "smart").
      • I think it was as simple as had the highest search returned when I was looking.
        Never heard of
    • Re:my observation (Score:5, Informative)

      by rossifer ( 581396 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:42AM (#16226383) Journal
      I just married one of the woman I met on in 2003, though the path to getting here was exhausting. I had 13 first dates where either I was interested but she wasn't or she was interested but I wasn't. By the time my wife searched for me and sent me an email, I was very tired of the whole thing and about ready to throw in the towel. But it looked like I would have an interesting conversation with this one last woman, so I went to the coffee shop and had an amazing night.

      Too many women (and probably men) are putting up unrealistically flattering photos, which means an unpleasant suprise in person. My wife unintentionally put up fairly unflattering photos and when I saw her in person, I had to check the room again, as I was so pleasantly suprised. I told her that her photos didn't do her justice and that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

      Just remember that dating websites only kinda solve one part of the problem. They get you introductions to people you would never otherwise meet. If they're honest on their profile, you also get some early answers to important questions, but there are no guarantees there. You're still going to have to go through all of the work of really seeing if the relationship makes sense and then putting in the work to build that relationship into something significant, with all of the joys and difficulties that will bring.

      As for the income thing, match equates "don't want to answer" with "less than $25k/year". My wife didn't want to date the unemployed and put "at least $25k/year" as a filter and only saw me because I had recently made my income visible. So my wife wasn't being a gold-digger, but wouldn't have seen me if I hadn't put my income out there.'s decision-making on this question is particularly questionable.


      • As for the income thing, match equates "don't want to answer" with "less than $25k/year".

        That makes sense, because if people are actually concerned with money and you list "don't want to answer", then why should they have to waste their time with your profile? Many people have said wading through the crap is part of the problem. It is true that you may have never met your wife if you had listed "dwta" from the start, but that could happen to anyone. Maybe you saw a woman in 2002 while waiting in line so
  • Oblig. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mister Impressive ( 875697 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:19AM (#16225281)
    Yeah, but 72% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
    • by Churla ( 936633 )
      Yes, but only 34.27% of people know that false statistics are more readily believed by people if you have a few numbers after the decimal place to look more "exact".
  • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:21AM (#16225287) Homepage
    No wonder geeks do not get much of replies. The very fact that a geek is sitting in his fortress, behind the flickering terminal, surrounded by 16 different and very old Linux boxen, clearly indicates that his romantic needs are best addressed by a robot or by some pr0n that is plentiful out there.

    And from the other side of the equation, no sensible female of the species will choose to date a geek that is clearly ill-adapted socially, is not likely to resemble a movie star from her wall poster, and probably will not fare well in the salary department if he ever manages to leave his basement (many choose not to.)

    And with respect to children, many men dislike children and don't want them at all. They are expensive to maintain, and pointless to raise in the first place. The society changed so much in the last 100-200 years that a large family that was a great advantage to a peasant is now a death warrant in many professional areas, financially and time-wise. Parents nowadays are expected to sink up to a million dollars into a child, with no ROI whatsoever. The parents become slaves to their children, working most of their productive life to maintain the family.

    • by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:28AM (#16225325)
      Wow... just wow.

      I give that one +1 Jaded as Fuck.
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:32AM (#16225345)
        Nah, give that one very young and hasn't figured out there's more to life than return on investment.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I'm very nearly 30. And I have to agree with the grandparent on his points to the most part. If you'rea nerd you tend to look at things (everything) logically, if you take that approach to having children, there really is no logical reason to do so in this day and age. Logically, a person is better focusing energy on wealth creation, when you're old and decrepid, you can pay somebody to look after you.

          It's only when you bring emotion into the equation that some find that having children serves a purpose.
          • by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @03:13AM (#16225523)
            If you'rea nerd you tend to look at things (everything) logically, if you take that approach to having children, there really is no logical reason to do so in this day and age.

            If you can say that, then you can say there's no logical reason to have sex or play baseball or create wealth. Some people want kids, others don't. There's no logic there. There's logic in not having them if you can't afford them, but that's pretty much it, I think.
          • by Tim C ( 15259 )
            There was a time when your kids would look after you in your old age, thus avoiding the need to pay someone else to do so and putting off the need to move into a home should you become infirm, perhaps indefinitely.

            Also, there's the enlightened self-interest angle; if *no-one* has kids, then the economy collapses as the workforce hits retirement age en masse. Now of course everyone isn't going to just stop having kids, but recently in the UK there have been rumblings about the generally increasing age of the
          • by Aris Katsaris ( 939578 ) <> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @04:15AM (#16225751) Homepage
            If you take emotion out of the equation, then there's no point in doing anything at all, given how happiness and unhappiness, satisfaction and dissatisfaction, are all emotions. Being inert as a rock is logical when there's no boredom or other emotion to make you desire activity -- letting civilization collapse is as "logical" as the opposite, when there's no emotion that makes one desire its continuation. Logic is only a method used to achieve end goals you've already set; logic is absolutely meaningless without *emotion* first setting what those goals should be.
          • Hmm. I'd have to say that when I first learned I was going to be a dad, the third thing that popped through my mind was "Well, I guess I don't have to worry so much about my pension anymore."

            (The first thing was "Already? I haven't finished paying off the wedding yet." and the second thing was "Yay! I love children and I've always wanted to be a dad!")

            In pure financial terms, the ROI for children is that, hopefully, they look after you in your old age. Now I know that is a hopefully, but given the pension c
          • by allanj ( 151784 )
            Without emotion, I'd be hard pressed to find a really good reason to do anything at all.

            And BTW, I have 3 kids. There's a BIG emotional ROI every day, if you care to open your eyes. To those who think that emotional ROI and monetary/professional ROI are not linked both ways - well, maybe you don't know everything yet.
        • Nah, give that one very young and hasn't figured out there's more to life than return on investment.
          Are you kidding? Hey grandparent, if you're reading...are you by any chance a stock broker? I'd like to discuss some financial matters with you...

    • -4, outrageous stereotypes: for instance - geeks are ill-adapted socially, geeks want supermodels, geeks are underpaid (though offshoring has been threatening to make that one true), many men don't want kids (perhaps this is true on though)

      -1, hypocrisy - posting on slashdot

      -3, 3 counts of bigotry, one against geeks, one against people who want kids, one against kids, period.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
    • Kids are frequently portayed as a cost factor with no ROI whatsoever. I can tell you otherwise. I have seen many old people in retirement homes and see a huge difference between those who have a family and those who don't.

      Those with no kids often have nobody, who

      - looks after their well being (nurses and doctors are often overworked and do not notice health problems until it is too late)

      - visits them regularly. You can immediately spot people who haven't seen friends or relatives in a long time, they are of
  • by Denial93 ( 773403 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:29AM (#16225331)
    I cannot believe geographical distance wasn't a factor. Who is going to date someone a two hours drive away? Then again, ignoring this probably helped in making the number of messages sent the best predictor for number of messages received, giving more false hope to quicktyping nerds. Bet the author was one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You know I used to think like that. I tried for a while, and initially I limited it to women who lived within 15 minutes of where I lived, and I met a lot but they were all the same and I was looking for something that was different to my past experiences. Fast forward a year, I had gone international. When you go international it takes a lot of work. Sometimes you would find like 2000 matches to your criteria, and you go through them and find like the top 10,20,100 whatever. This is when you need
    • by Andrewkov ( 140579 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:49AM (#16226437)
      Women love long-distance relationships. All talking and no sex.
    • by Octorian ( 14086 )
      I dated someone nearly that far away for the better part of a year. Probably my most successful relationship to-date, and I didn't meet her online. Then again, the biggest problem with distance (besides that it gets annoying after a while) is that it forces the relationship to get serious a bit too quickly. The drive is too long for casual dating, but it does work if you spend weekends in each other's towns.
    • by fbjon ( 692006 )
      I've been dating someone who is a two weeks drive away for a couple of years now...
  • by roboRob ( 850487 )
    I disagree that online dating "is an easy, socially acceptable way to find partners for dates or relationships." The "stigma of desperation," as it is described in one of these papers [], is still strong.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by aauu ( 46157 )
      Try going to bars. You'll meet the nicest alcoholics.
      • We prefer the term drunkards... then we don't have to go to meetings...

        Well... besides the strong desire to go to the Lost Weekend []...


        Drink heightens feeling. When I drink, it heightens my emotions and I put it in a story. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, American author

    • by misleb ( 129952 )
      There is only a "stigma" insofar as you feel embarassed about finding dates online. I met my now wife online about 6 years ago. Nobody laughed at us or anything like that when we told them how we met. Mostly people were curious about how it worked. Some even asked for the website. And if you take the time to explain it, people see how it isn't any different than meeting someone in a bar or whatever.

  • okcupid (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:43AM (#16225379)
    For what it's worth (and I imagine it's worth a lot to slashdot readers), my experiences with online dating have always been best with okcupid []. It is free, novel (fun matching tests), and its participants always seem, to me, to be more appealing than those of eharmony,, and all the other paysites.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ONU CS Geek ( 323473 ) *

      I've found success/insanity on okcupid as well.

      She's a hairdresser, runs ubuntu, and is getting FiOS installed next week. She also doesn't care that I work insane hours, have an on-call schedule, am in CA a few weeks a month, and tend to be antisocial to just about everyone.

      She even had t-shirts from thinkgeek from before we started dating.

      Unfortunately, before her, I met a total whack job who after getting in a nasty fight with, threw razor blades at me while I was asleep (to prevent her from cutting
    • Re:okcupid (Score:4, Informative)

      by radtea ( 464814 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @11:03AM (#16229715)
      For what it's worth (and I imagine it's worth a lot to slashdot readers), my experiences with online dating have always been best with okcupid.

      I've found the free sites generally better than the pay sites, too. Never met anyone from okcupid, but I met my current g/f on PlentyOfFish [], and met a previous g/f there as well.

      In about three years of online dating I've observed that:

      1) Almost everyone lies, generally about age, appearance and relationship history. Lieing about appearance is the one that I haven't been able to make sense of. I've observed it myself in women, and according to many women I've dated lots of men do it too. One women described a guy she met as being, relative to his online picture, like the "before and after" of some terrible and ravaging disease. Lieing is a showstopper for me, so I have tended to drop a lot of women gently after a first meeting.

      2) Even on the really skanky sites, women are either looking for a relationship or are really messed up. I've never dated anyone from such sites, but poked around out of curiousity. Really.

      3) Free sites are better than pay sites. Lavalife is the best pay site I've used.

      4) Different sites have different geographic representations. I live in a small town, and some sites have far more women in my area than others. I have no idea why.

      5) By far the best strategy is to "meet early, meet often." After a couple of e-mail exchanges I ask if she wants to meet for coffee somewhere. If not, that's the end of it--life is too short to waste time on electronic interaction when five minutes face-to-face will tell you more than five months online.

      Overall, online dating is a very good thing if people go into with reasonable expectations and treat it as an introduction service rather than a magic filter that will find them "the One" without any hard relationship-building work on their part.

  • by LilGuy ( 150110 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @03:11AM (#16225511)
    I've had much success with "internet dating", but it seems to depend on where I live. When I lived in Houston the girls were plentiful and fun. Living in Des Moines is a completely different story. The only ones I get replies from here are trollish freaks that probably couldn't get a date if they didn't post fake pictures of some model, or at least some hot chick from down the street. I'm still amazed at the enormous differences in both quality and quantity of women from the online world between the two cities.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by misleb ( 129952 )
      What kind of twist of ego can convince a person that the lack in quality/quanity replies is indicitive of a lack of quality women? If I couldn't get any desirable women to reply to me, I might start to question my relative attractiveness... not the attractiveness of the women.

  • Primitive? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kahei ( 466208 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:10AM (#16225971) Homepage

    What's 'primitive' about dating? You think they have or had 'dating' in primitive societies? Modern Western culture, and those parts of the rest of the world that have been globalized into it, are the only places we find this custom. They didn't 'date' in Europe/America in the 1900s, and they don't 'date' in most of the world now, except for that internationalized overclass that you get in big cities.

    They have lots of sex, but that's a whole nuther thing.

    Enjoy the sophisticated, rarefied culture that allows you to have such esoteric customs as dating! But don't think it's a basic primitive instinctive thing, because it's about as natural to human culture as the iPod.

  • Done before (Score:3, Informative)

    by Don_dumb ( 927108 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:16AM (#16225999)
    Never before has something so human and primitive as dating been reducible to such discrete values.
    Actually I just finished reading 'Freakonomics' [] its been out for a year and did just such an analysis on Internet Dating. It really is a good read.
  • by threaded ( 89367 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:55AM (#16226161) Homepage
    When I was 14, I hoped that one day I would have a girlfriend. When I was 16 I got a girlfriend, but there was no passion, so I decided I needed a passionate girl with a zest for life.

    In college I dated a passionate girl, but she was too emotional. Everything was an emergency; she was a drama queen, cried all the time and threatened suicide. So I decided I needed a girl with stability.

    When I was 25 I found a very stable girl but she was boring. She was totally predictable and never got excited about anything. Life became so dull that I decided that I needed a girl with some excitement.

    When I was 28 I found an exciting girl, but I couldn't keep up with her. She rushed from one thing to another, never settling on anything. She did mad impetuous things and made me miserable as often as happy. She was great fun initially and very energetic, but directionless. So I decided to find a girl with some real ambition.

    When I turned 31, I found a smart ambitious girl with her feet planted firmly on the ground and married her. She was so ambitious that she divorced me and took everything I owned.

    Now, I am older and wiser, and am looking for a girl with big tits.
    • For anyone who reads the parent, just skip his other steps and go right to his last step, you will never regret it.
      If you are lucky enough to marry one, you can play with them as much as you want unless she has PMS. ;)
      I do my best to play with and worship them (and her) every wonderful day.
    • funny, but not original - I read this same "Story" years ago.
  • Top Criteria (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CrazyTalk ( 662055 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:13AM (#16227001)
    Having done online dating in the past my top criteria was religion - not what religion they were following per se, but what religion they were looking for. "Catholics seeking Catholics" seemed to be the most common requirment in my area on As someone who is Jewish, albeit barely practicing, I was forced to skip these profiles over. What really irked me were profiles seeking a "Christian, Muslim, Taoist, Atheist" etc. and they had to go out of their way to de-select the option of dating someone who was Jewish, rather than just select "All religions"
  • I had quite a bit of luck when I was using a fee-based service: had a steady flow of dates, dated for several months on a few occasions, and met my present girlfriend. With the fee-based service, you had to buy credits to send messages (instant or mail) but 'smiles' were free. You'd log in and either find responses to the few emails you sent out the day before or at least a couple of new 'smiles' to pursue. It was easy-peasy.

    When I tried a free site, my response rate dropped to about 1% compared to abo

  • The blog entry just cherry picks some data from Master's thesis work done by Andrew Fiore at MIT (he is now at Berkeley). His online dating research papers can be found here [].

    Fiore's thesis [] is a much more interesting read then the blog entry .

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