The lab photos were only a little less attractive than those chosen for online dating profiles (about 5% for women and 4% for men). Clues to which types of profile photos work come from one online dating site which has analysed 7,000 photographs in its database (oktrends, 2010): (Remember, these are all associations so we can’t be sure about causality.) Even amongst a diverse population of online daters, people still prefer someone who is similar to themselves.
When Fiore and Donath (2005) examined data from 65,000 online daters, they found that people were choosing based on similarity to themselves.
Getting a response online can be a hit-and-miss affair.
Although opposites don’t tend to attract, by its nature internet dating does encourage diverse matches.
The authors argue that it is changing the face of marriage by bring together types of people who previously never would have met.
This is more of a criticism of the technology currently available than it is of the general idea of internet dating. (2008) argue that this will change as online dating services move towards more experiential methods, such as virtual dates (see: why internet dating is aversive).
There’s only limited data about how well internet dating works and most of this research examined heterosexual daters. (2008) found that 29% of their sample had found serious relationships through internet dating. (2009) found that about 6% of married couples had met online in the UK, 5% in Spain and 9% in Australia.
Part of the problem is that people are encouraged by online dating to think in consumerist terms (Heino et al., 2010).
Users are ‘relationshopping’: looking at other people’s features, weighing them up, then choosing potential partners, as though from a catalogue; it’s human relationships reduced to check-boxes.Somewhere between one-third and three-quarters of single people with internet access have used it to try and meet someone new.But, over the years, we’ve heard conflicting stories about how successful it is.For many, but not all internet daters, the aim is to meet someone new in the flesh. (2008) found that 51% of people had made a face-to-face date within one week and one month of receiving replies to their online overtures. It’s only after this stage is complete that people can get to know each other.This first meeting is often treated by internet daters as the final part of the screening process (Whitty & Carr, 2006). Despite all the positive things the research has to say about internet dating, there’s no doubt that it can be unsatisfying and aversive. (2008) reported that they spent 7 times as long screening other people’s profiles and sending emails than they did interacting face-to-face on real dates.Recipients answered only 30% of men’s messages to women and 45% of women’s messages to men.