Does online dating sites really work

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These algorithms focus on searchable traits that aren't predictive of relationship success (measured by long-lasting relationships and satisfaction).

Searchable characteristics consist of those easily taken from a person's profile, such as age, religion, income level and race.

The platform and scale brought about by these online dating sites have been a huge benefit for singles, especially those with traditionally smaller social networks.

Gian Gonzaga, senior director of research and development at e Harmony, described it as, "Imagine being in a bar and how hard it would be to find five people you might connect with.

Researchers refer to that tendency to idealize people based on the bits and pieces of information they share online as the “hyperpersonal effect.”“There’s been some research that’s found the longer people communicate online before meeting face to face, the more like the first date is to result in rejection because they build up this fantasy persona of this person that might be hard to live up to,” Gibbs said.

So while statistically online dating certainly works, with more than 10 million American couples as proof, it’s important to grasp the difference between what Gibbs calls online “relationshopping” and offline “relationshipping.”“Online dating sites are all about bringing people together, and sometimes it forms this illusion that with a few clicks of the mouse you can find your soul mate,” Gibbs said.

His research points to interactions, affect and behavior as the indicators of relationship outcomes, rather than searchable traits that these online dating services use for matching.

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