Online Dating Sites, Do Matching Systems Work?

Online Dating Matching System

Every time you turn on the TV you are bombarded with one, two, maybe three different online dating sites commericals. Several profess to match you on a “scientific” level with your potential dates. You know the ones I’m talking about. You might have even tried them, if you lived long enough to complete the very probing questionnaire. Seems pretty legit right? But hold your horses! Apparently a team of psychologist, possible a few who received the infamous “Dear John” email  have taken a closer look at the “science” of online dating.

online dating matching


Online Dating Sites help you meet new people you would not have without them.

Eli J. Finkel, Ph.D., the lead author of this review, has a lot to say about online dating. According to Dr. Finkel, “Online dating is great. It allows people access to potential partners they otherwise would not have.” Not to bust Dr. Finkel’s chops, but we kind of already knew that. Moving on!

The good doctor does bring up an interesting point. He states, “Specific things that online dating sites do undermine some of its greatness.” Do tell.

He points out that although profiles cover your personality traits, likes, dislikes, and what you are looking for in a potential “match”, sometimes this information is not exactly useful in identifying a partner. I know that sounds like the complete opposite of everything we’ve ever told you at, but do not panic! What Dr. Finkel is trying to point out is many of us still don’t know exactly who we are looking for.  Sound familiar? Remember our little piece a while back “Branding Yourself Online”? If you don’t, or haven’t read it yet take a moment to check it out. A little refresher never hurt anyone.  Truly, Dr. Finkel makes a great point. If you don’t know who you’re looking for, how can you expect to find them?

A coauthor to this article, Dr. Harry Reis, points out that the “buffet” of potential dates can cause us to fall into a “shopping mentality”. Dr. Reis states, “Objectifying your potential dates and comparing them like shoes,” is a bad thing. Yes it does seem, a little shallow, but I’m going to have to politely disagree. No, people are not shoes, but in all honesty we all “window shop” before committing to an actual social interaction. I’m not condoning or condemning this approach. It is what it is.  I do have this to say, we live in a visual society and when you couple that with “I like what I see and we both like reading/hiking/knitting etc.,” it at least gives people a solid starting point.

The real kicker, for me at least, is the apparent thumbs down given by Dr. Finkel and his group of coauthors on the effectiveness of matchmaking algorithms. As a matter of fact the authors were unable to find a single thorough study showing the effectiveness the matched-by-science-and-algorithm approach.

I hate to argue with an algorithm, but it’s time the truth be known. I have worked with niche dating sites for ten years . I could quote facts and figures supporting their effectiveness, but that would be boring. Not to mention I’ve used the word algorithm so many times I’m afraid I might have nightmares about my high school math teacher. It’s not science, and it certainly isn’t magic. So let me put it this way. When you join a site whose sole purpose is to match people with similar interests guess what? You are much more likely to find exactly who you are looking for!




Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science

Dr Finkel

Dr Reis

21 Responses

  1. This is very interesting to me. I think relationship success is based on working and understanding of your partner but the science of how they match up is another thing to ponder.

    • I know what You mean.. I think so too! I’m wondering about the science and not so sure I’m a believer..

  2. How The Science work is interesting.. I do think if people start out with common interest it helps make the relationship grow faster and a bond can be built in these factors. I love your spin on this!

  3. This is so interesting. We are so “married” (if you pardon my pun) to science these days from CSI type shows to dating sites that so many people are losing their connection to their intuition. No matter how much science backs up a match, it’s still going to come down to chemistry. Thanks for this terrific explanation.

    • I like dating sites.. but the science I’m not so sure about! Timing and Chemistry are huge factors in how an online relationship or an offline relationship is going to work!

  4. I believe there is not just ONE perfect person out there for everybody. There are several, maybe more than that. The relationship needs to be build and developed. Matching up common interests and background would give the two people starting out something to have a grip on. The rest is up to the couple: are they willing to commit, share, love, grow, learn etc. Most of the people who join a dating site are looking for that serious relationship and thus are probably willing to put time and effort into a new relationship. My 2 cents! :)

    • I’m with you al the way! I do not believe there is just one person that is right for you. The effort is what makes a relationship work and that is it takes to make any work!

  5. This is a really interesting read. I’ve always wondered about how these sites match people up. I love your comment that you can’t find what you’re looking for if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

    • That’s True in all matters.. love or success..;) I am nit too sure about the science of matching people.. but I think people can go to a site where other people are single and looking and find someone they are attracted too. I KNOW that works!

  6. Great post. I have to say that I tried online dating for 6 months and found a lot of dead ends. However, I know many people who have made that love connection successfully. Interesting information!

  7. I love to see people find their love. Online is a good option for many.

    • I do too Sally! It’s the best job in the whole world to help people find a partner! You can find love online.. I’ve seen it hundreds of tome in the past 10 years.

  8. You know what I said about this exact issue in my book, “Kill Me Now!” and you know how much I laughed at it and I still do.

    I am constantly getting these match ups. The algorithm is not difficult, but what match me with someone who is no longer on the system? Or match me with someone who is looking for a female. Are they recommending threesomes here?

    • I just am not a big fan of the matching up.. and some systems are full of junk and do not really use a system they just send you a notice to get you back to the site. I know dating sites work and love all the happy client letters!

  9. I have never been a fan of the matching system. I think there is great benefit however in joining a niche dating site where you are likely to find a person that is interested in similar ideas and has mutual attracts as you do. Great Post!

  10. I have never used a dating site but I can’t see how this would benefit. Seems to me alot of folks wouldn’t be as honest as they could be sometimes :)

    • I have never used one either Anita . But after I saw how people were connecting and meet on social media I saw how they could and would work!

  11. I’ve never used a dating site and not sure if I would ever do it. However it can be beneficial today, as so many people are busy, I agree with Anita, it can be a some dishonesty there… when hiding behind the PC :) Thank you for the article!

    • I know what you mean.. there is a lot of that going in everywhere ! I have enjoyed all my years working with dating sites and all the people that I meet!

  12. Interesting points and I think there are certainly merits to legit dating sites. But, like everything else there is some skepticism as to how they work. I believe it is a great way to meet someone you might never have had the opportunity to meet and yes, it is sometimes a crap shoot, but worth the effort

    • I have worked in the industry for 10 years and I know that it works.. I not sure about a Scoence match.. but I really like Niche dating. My happiest clients use niche sites. I was so blown away by that!

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