You're Wasting Your Money On Subscription Personal-Ad Sites, Says Guy Who Just Happens To Work For Free Personal-Ad Site
The stats-obsessed romantics who break down the calculus of love at OkCupid are claiming that anyone who's looking for love on its competitors — Match and eHarmony, specifically — is wasting their money and their time (which is money, you know!) by hunting around for potential partners there. All this through the power of math!
OkCupid editorial director Christian Rudder's charts and graphs are out to prove that the subscription numbers put forth by Match and eHarmony actually do lie — that the dead profiles on both sites outnumber the active ones by a country mile, which not only makes the "millions and millions matched" claims suspect, it multiplies the chance for futility all around. (The sanctity of marketing materials, questioned? Be still my heart!) But one thing that's interesting about his argument is his hypothesis that all these dead profiles are even dragging down the quality of initial pickup lines. It's a bit heterosexist in that it assumes a man makes first contact with a woman, but we are talking about the Internet here. So!
A man can expect a reply to 1 in every 100 messages he sends to a random profile on a pay site. The sites of course don't show you completely random profiles, but as we've seen they have an incentive to show you nonsubscribers. Even if they do heavy filtering and just 2 of 3 profiles they show you are ghosts, you're still looking at a paltry 10% reply rate….
Basically, because the likelihood of reply to each message starts so low, the average man is driven to expand his search to women he's less suited for and to put less thought (and emotional investment) into each message. Therefore, each new batch of messages he sends brings fewer replies. So he expands his criteria, cuts, pastes, and resends.
And that is the calculus behind those messages women get that just say things like "nice pic you look good" or "hey u look cute wanna hang??" (One commenter on the post suggested that this futility would best be broken only when these frustrated men decided to "grow a pair shut off the computer and talk to women in the real world and forget this â€˜online dating' nonsense.")
Now, one might think that the closing line of this flowchart-studded, statistics-laden blog post — "Then you should go sign up for OkCupid." — would seem to undercut any sense of objectivity behind its conclusions. The equivalent of, say, the Corn Refiners Association analyzing high fructose corn syrup's relative healthiness to sugar. Which is true! And honestly, free sites are just as bad when it comes to dormant profiles and flooding-the-zone messages, and possibly worse; at least the $19.95-$59.95 (yow) paid per month to the likes of Match and eHarmony is something of a motivator to actually use them.
At the very least, this study accomplished one thing: It put into hard numbers the feelings of dread and overall yuckiness that crops up in some people when they try to navigate their way through various online singles bars of the free and paid varieties. Now when a "helpful" friend suggests you try out online dating, you can just fling a bunch of statistics back in their face instead of hemming and hawing!