Internet dating success rate add topic

It’s a simple question and a common one — one whose answer could determine the fates of both a multi-billion dollar industry and millions of lonely hearts.

It’s a question that seems distinctly answerable: we have user data, surveys, clear metrics for success or failure, entire books full of colorful charts.

And yet, just this week, a new analysis from Michigan State University found that online dating leads to fewer committed relationships than offline dating does — that it doesn’t work, in other words.

In fact, this latest proclamation on the state of modern love joins a 2010 study that found more couples meet online than at schools, bars or parties.

And a 2012 study that found dating site algorithms aren’t effective.

And a 2013 paper that suggested Internet access is boosting marriage rates.

Plus a whole host of dubious statistics, surveys and case studies from dating giants like e Harmony and Match.com, who claim — , even!!

— that online dating “works.” This much should be obvious: We don’t actually know.

Some of the reasons for that ambiguity are clear in this latest study.

For starters, there’s this greater cultural issue of how we define relationship success: Is it marriage? Is it what Ok Cupid’s data team calls a “fourway” — four messages back and forth between two semi-interested parties?

That’s a tough one to parse, and different studies have defined it different ways.

(This one, for the record, looked at marriages and other long-term relationships; if you’re not looking to tie the knot, its conclusions aren’t for you.) Then there’s a sort of secondary issue in how we define a site’s actual function, because despite the marketing hype, that isn’t clear.

578 Comments

  1. One of the features of Ok Cupid that is both wonderful and troublesome is the Message lights system.

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