Skip to main content

Matching Algorithm Claim of Online Dating Sites Likely False

Luckily, there are online dating sites with a seemingly endless supply of possible dates and their promise to use special matching algorithms should deliver compatible hits in no time.

Reality, however, may reveal that those promised matches may not be quite as easy to come by as those sites promise. Doubt that these algorithms work are somewhat substantiated by research that claim those promises are little more than hot air.

“To date, there is no compelling evidence that any online dating matching algorithm actually works,” said Eli Finkel, Associate Professor of Social Psychology at Northwestern University. “If dating sites want to claim that their matching algorithm is scientifically valid, they need to adhere to the standards of science, which is something they have uniformly failed to do. In fact, our report concludes that it is unlikely that their algorithms can work, even in principle, given the limitations of the sorts of matching procedures that these sites use.”

Finkel said that, after reviewing those sites, claims of having matching algorithms in place are "unsubstantiated and likely false." According to the researcher, online dating websites do not consider even the most basic findings in relationship science and, as a result, cannot predict "long-term romantic compatibility."

For example, the sites ignore data from a couple’s "interaction style and ability to navigate stressful circumstances" - information that cannot be analyzed with the data that is provided by the individuals using such services. The success of data sites is much more likely to be based on the fact that they enable people to meet others relatively quickly and "chats and messages people send through online dating sites may even help them to convey a positive initial impression, as long as people meet face-to-face relatively quickly."

  • Tab54o
    This is the exact thing that's wrong with Eharmony. They make you fill out a bunch of crap, tests just to be able to talk to someone. Would be much more effective to just skip the crap and meet the person and find out IN REAL LIFE if the person is a match or not. All boilsd down to how fast you can meet people and weed them out.
    Reply
  • Cy-Kill
    I know when eHarmony started, I tried it a few times, because I was not looking for someone of my own ethnicity, I'd get an email saying something along the lines of "sorry, we can't help you, because we don't have a match"....
    Reply
  • kittle
    I tried eHarmony for a while, but after 1,000 "matches" that never responded to anything, I gave up.
    too many weeds I guess.
    Reply
  • zak_mckraken
    Well, whoop-de-doo.
    Reply
  • __-_-_-__
    I can't believe people really use this crap... bunch of nolifers
    Reply
  • drwho1
    “To date, there is no compelling evidence that any online dating matching algorithm actually works,”

    Really?
    I thought that the whole was enough Evidence of their BS.
    Reply
  • drwho1
    Dammit still no way to EDIT on Toms!

    I meant to post:

    “To date, there is no compelling evidence that any online dating matching algorithm actually works,”

    Really?
    I thought that the whole claim was enough Evidence of their BS.
    Reply
  • igot1forya
    I found this Cracked.com article particularly funny - Matching X-Men to their soul-mates using dating sites :) It's amazing how these sites even exist.

    cracked.com/blog/matching-x-men-real-dating-sites-experiment/
    Reply
  • SirGCal
    Actually, I found the better sites, like eHarmony actually work if you're honest with yourself and the questionnaires... Once I broke down and did a no BS profile for myself, it took about 4 months to find my new wife. And we are matched so well it's almost unimaginable. And only now do I understand what real love is, and you can't explain it to someone who never knew and I was married for 13 years before this one and 'thought' I was in love.That's another story...

    Anyhow; Sure, it might have just been luck and coincidence... But I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Plus we are not the only couples that I know who were successful with this method. The biggest difference then other sites is it is not a 'pick a picture' type system. You are given potential matches to your profile. If you weren't honest, or they weren't honest, it won't ever work. If you really are painfully honest with yourself, it might work for you.

    Or it could all be bunk and the lucky people like myself were simply that, lucky... But I spent thousands with other matching services, online and off, after my divorce with no quality results and very little money (~120 if I remember) to eHarmony and it blew all of the others away with my results. But again, to be honest, I could have just been lucky. But then, I personally know a lot of couples that were 'lucky' if that is indeed the case...

    If it didn't work for you, I truly am sorry. But I wounder, were you really honest?

    Back to the topic though; If they algorithms are an industry secret (obviously, they aren't going to publish them), how can anyone really say how it does or doesn't work? They can't hand it to the MIT algorithm destruction (so to speak) group to break it down and see what fails or how it compares to other similar company type algorithms. So how can they really say anything about it? It's easy to say 'there is no evidence' simply because it's a trade secret and not published information they can break down. Obviously this is so other companies don't steal their ideas (patents only protect so far... hence secret formulas in food products and recipes as another good example). Without the entire algorithms to analyze, this whole thing is simply another speculation anyhow. Plus, they state what is and isn't compared... What site(s) are they specifically talking about? They don't even mention that. But it sounds like eHarmony WAS NOT one of them:

    For example, the sites ignore data from a couple’s "interaction style and ability to navigate stressful circumstances" - information that cannot be analyzed with the data that is provided by the individuals using such services.
    I remember parts of eHarmony's questionnaire and it did have questions pertaining to these types of life situations. Infact, the one thing that caught my eye about it, other then the fact it took forever to complete the over 250 questions, was how detailed it actually was and the extremely personal questions they did ask. Lieing or stretching the truth of yourself would also be extremely easy. That's why I had to really do it and be painfully honest with myself. But that's when it also worked.

    Was it luck or the real deal? Honestly, I'll probably never know. But I'm eternally grateful to eHarmony either way. Match, Yahoo, etc. never came close... But I consider myself one of the luckiest people alive to have really found my soul-mate; and it would never have happened if it wasn't for eHarmony. That simple fact is indisputable.
    Reply
  • ronml
    Forget algorithms, I'd settle for better search mechanisms on certain sites.
    I'm Jewish and politically conservative. (Both matter to me.) The obvious site would be JDdate, but they don't even let me search be ideology. They do have a ridiculous color coded personality scheme, which is just plain worthless.
    Match is OK for this. Other sites really do give worthless choices. That and tons of scammers.
    Reply