You've seen the digital-age versions of self-help gurus, the ones with official titles suggesting they've cracked the code of human compatibility. But the ones most likely to be telling you the truth are the ones that admit that their dating algorithms are also powerful marketing tools. The notion became a wonderful marketing tool—red meat for the media. ' Then you go meet her and most of the time you put your head in your hands because she was so ugly—and she was thinking the same about you." (This was the pre-Internet era, mind you, when computers had 12K of memory. People of type A are compatible with people of type B. They speak at online-dating conferences, describe their unique matching approaches, and promote their books. EHarmony has refused to reveal its algorithm, Finkel said, and therefore the company should not advertise a scientific approach to matching until it can show, publicly, that its system works according to the standards of scientific rigor. Finkel spoke with imploring volume and speed, as if an elaborate show of authority might convert the crowd to his cause. For nearly 50 years, ever since computers were first used to help college kids hook up, people assumed, or hoped, that the fact of technology as mediator would mean not just .
But the site is premised on the idea that the more questions John D. Questions range from the abstract (Would you prefer that good things happened, or interesting things?
) to the specific (How often do you feel the need to get really drunk?
); from penal policy (Which of the following is the more appropriate penalty for rape: death, castration, prison, community service?
And she's a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle who mugs on behalf of the dating site Perfect Match.com, where she co-developed The Duet® Total Compatibility System.
As such, the math geeks who ran the first computer-dating services at Harvard in the 1960s were happy to perpetuate it. Match sheets arrived without photos.) Their doubts aside, the young men still boasted publicly of doing it better than the competition.
Oh yes, of course we're always refining our codes, optimizing our algorithms. From the company's perspective, claiming a superior "scientific matching system" or "personality profiling test" could distinguish you from the field.
In 1966, the inventor of computer dating, a Harvard math major named Jeff Tarr, joked to a reporter: "If there's some chick I'm dying to go out with, I can drop her a note in my capacity as president of Operation Match and say, ' Dear Joan, You have been selected by a highly personal process called Random Sampling to be interviewed extensively by myself ... In 1965, Dewan told the Harvard that his competitor's questionnaire was "less sophisticated, appealing to the big, Mid-west universities." All these years (and all this behavior science) later, it's not the professor-backed dating sites but the ones run by math geeks that seem to be on top.
'" The industry's second-comer, another Harvard math geek named David Dewan, remembered: "There was a lot of randomness to it. At the conference, Sam Yagan, a cofounder of the free dating site Ok Cupid.com, strutted around, collected multiple awards (for the second year in a row), and gave a talk on how he sold Ok Cupid to last year for million, an incredible sum for an advertising-based business model that is thought by many in the business to bring in little revenue.
Playing on their admiration and jealousy, Yagan, a Harvard grad who wears jeans and Ok Cupid T-shirts beneath a blue blazer, encouraged his colleagues one minute, and provoked them into fits of rage the next.