She loves me, she loves me not: The analytics behind finding true love with online dating

September 12, 2017
Credit: Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

Looking for love online? You are not alone. Nearly 50 percent of the American public knows someone who has used an online dating site and 5 percent of Americans who are married or in committed relationships today met their significant other online. But with so many different online dating platforms, how can users know which one will best meet their needs? According to a new study in the INFORMS journal Management Science, it all depends on if you are comfortable with rejection. If not, be prepared to pay more.

The study, "Competing by Restricting Choice: The Case of Search Platforms," explained that most sites, such as Match.com, compete by building the largest user base possible, and provide with access to unlimited profiles on the platform. Others, such as eHarmony.com, pursue user growth with the same intensity, but allow users to only view and contact a limited of others on the platform. However, despite the limited , eHarmony's customers are willing to pay an average of 25 percent more than Match's customers.

The study authors, Hanna Halaburda of the Bank of Canada and New York University, Mikolaj Piskorksi of IMD Business School, and Pinar Yildirim of the University of Pennsylvania, created a stylized model of online, heterosexual dating which found that increasing the number of potential matches has a positive effect due to larger choice, but also a negative effect due to between users of the same sex.

Therefore by offering its members access to a large number of profiles, Match's users are also more likely to experience rejection, as each of their potential matches will have access to a larger number of options, increasing the competition among members. With access to only a limited number of profiles, eHarmony users are more likely to successfully and more rapidly identify a match with another user, who because of limited choice, is less likely to reject them.

"Online dating platforms that restrict choice, like eHarmony, exist and prosper alongside platforms that offer more choice, like Match.com," said Halaburda. "On a that offers more choice, agents also face more competition as their candidates also enjoy a larger choice set."

Ultimately, for dating users who can tolerate rejection and aren't bothered by a potentially longer timeframe to identify a match, Match.com provides much greater choice of options. However, for users who are looking to more quickly identify a potential mutual match, eHarmony limits competition that may result in rejection.

Explore further: Dating app Tinder finds gold at Apple's App Store

More information: Hanna Halaburda et al. Competing by Restricting Choice: The Case of Matching Platforms, Management Science (2017). DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2017.2797

Related Stories

Does online dating really work?

February 6, 2012

Whether enlisting the help of a grandmother or a friend or the magic of Cupid, singles long have understood that assistance may be required to meet that special someone.

The secret formula to successful online dating

June 19, 2014

If it seems as if everyone you know is online dating, you're not alone. According to recent surveys, more than 40m single people out of 54m singles in the US have signed up to an online dating site such as Match.com and eHarmony. ...

Online daters ignore wish list when choosing a match

February 21, 2017

Despite having a very clear 'wish list' stating their preference for potential ideal matches, most online daters contact people bearing no resemblance to the characteristics they say they want in a mate, according to QUT ...

Tinder-style apps score as online dating grows

February 11, 2016

The age-old quest for love is moving inexorably online for young and old Americans alike—whether this means swiping on their phone for a hot date, or using matchmaking sites to find the perfect mate.

Recommended for you

Metacognition training boosts gen chem exam scores

October 20, 2017

It's a lesson in scholastic humility: You waltz into an exam, confident that you've got a good enough grip on the class material to swing an 80 percent or so, maybe a 90 if some of the questions go your way.

Scientists see order in complex patterns of river deltas

October 19, 2017

River deltas, with their intricate networks of waterways, coastal barrier islands, wetlands and estuaries, often appear to have been formed by random processes, but scientists at the University of California, Irvine and other ...

Six degrees of separation: Why it is a small world after all

October 19, 2017

It's a small world after all - and now science has explained why. A study conducted by the University of Leicester and KU Leuven, Belgium, examined how small worlds emerge spontaneously in all kinds of networks, including ...

Ancient DNA offers new view on saber-toothed cats' past

October 19, 2017

Researchers who've analyzed the complete mitochondrial genomes from ancient samples representing two species of saber-toothed cats have a new take on the animals' history over the last 50,000 years. The data suggest that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.