Thursday, February 01, 2007

More on Online Dating

My good friend, Matt Huggins, emailed me this article by Robert Epstein from Scientific American.com that discusses online dating.

Epstein touches on some ideas that I’ve mentioned before. Once again proving that money matters in dating showing that income can make up for a lack of other attractive characteristics.

What Epstein writes really articulates though are the pros and cons of online dating, and while he tries to surmise that online dating could have a wonderful future ahead of it, I personally cannot get over the glaring drawbacks that are attached to the venture of online dating.

According to Epstein, the good news is that online dating is continuing to grow and in some ways getting better. Unfortunately, participants still have to deal with the lying of age, weight, and sometimes, flat-out lying about your own picture. Those are tough things to stomach for me, let alone the staggering odds that I might find a mate online.

In 2005, using eHarmony's own published statistics, a team of credible authorities--among them Philip Zimbardo, a former president of the American Psychological Association--concluded in an online white paper: "When eHarmony recommends someone as a compatible match, there is a 1 in 500 chance that you'll marry this person.... Given that eHarmony delivers about 1.5 matches a month, if you went on a date with all of them, it would take 346 dates and 19 years to reach [a] 50% chance of getting married." The team also made the sweeping observation that "there is no evidence that ... scientific psychology is able to pair individuals who will enjoy happy, lasting marriages."


Also, Epstein goes on to mention that we still face a “false negative problem” where the matching from a dating service takes away people you might never meet, but “who would adore each other.”

I think for myself to make a current judgment on the reading material for online dating, I would have to say that it’s simply just another market, a dating market. And just like the real life dating market, online dating deals with its own pitfalls. Deception, people (or computers) setting you up with whom they think is a good match, and the sheer effort and will it takes to put yourself out there and figure it out are all items that can make it difficult. In the end, the common sense logic is right, online dating is still dating; we’ve just changed the initial communication medium.

****Update: I respond to the comment left by the eHarmony blog.
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