Online Dating Algorithms Don’t Work, Study Says

One of the more controversial subjects in modern courtship is online dating- and whether it works, is full of lonely people pretending not to be fat or poor, or is a better option than trolling your local bar for the thousandth night in a row.

In fact, the criticisms of online dating are legion, but so too seem to be the numbers of couples who happily met over the internet and have had very successful relationships. While meeting online is still a tiny bit stigmatized- something you might know if you’ve ever had to tell a less-internetty person that you’ve met someone through the internet- one of its major selling points is that sites like eHarmony and use extensive “algoriths” to find and match you with your perfect partner.

Algorithms! I don’t understand exactly what that means but they sound very mathematical and indisputable. Surely someone selected for me by the principles of math and science is my soulmate, right? Not so fast, some researchers say- as they point out that while these services may lean on algorithms for credibility, they don’t actually hold their systems up for true scientific scrutiny. Researcher Eli Finkel commented in a statement pertaining to the most recent study:

“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 does concede that the services have merit- just perhaps not in the algorithm department:

“Online dating is a marvelous addition to the ways in which singles can meet potential romantic partners. To date, there is no compelling evidence that any online dating matching algorithm actually works.”

Do you find online dating to be a large waste of time, or do you know of any great success stories?