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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.
Indeed there are now many dating sites aimed at narrower demographics such as sports fans, Jewish people or those with particular medical conditions.
To examine internet dating diversity, Dutton et al.
People aren’t using online dating because they are shy but because they have moved to a new city, are working long hours or don’t have time to meet anyone new.
Although 94% deny their internet dating profiles contain any fibs (Gibbs et al., 2006), psychologists are a suspicious lot. (2008) measured the heights and weights of 80 internet daters, as well as checking their driving licences for their real age.
People instinctively understand this when choosing their profile photo so Toma and Hancock (2010) took photographs of internet daters, then judges compared these to the real profile photos.
Most people want to meet up eventually so they know big lies are going to be caught. Even without Photoshop to iron out the wrinkles, camera angles and lighting can easily change perceived attractiveness.The one-third response rate, which is backed up by academic research (Rosen et al., 2008), is partly because many internet dating accounts are dead. In a study of online dating, Rosen et al., (2008) found evidence that more intense emotionality, e.g.oktrends also found that longer messages only yield a small improvement in response rate for men and nothing for women. using words like ‘excited’ and ‘wonderful’, made a better impression on both men and women.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.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.