Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Technology

The Problem With Internet Dating's Frictionless Market 453

Posted by Soulskill
from the friction-jokes-excluded-for-obviousity dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Peter Ludlow writes in the Atlantic that the internet has turned the dating marketplace into a frictionless market that puts together buyer and seller without transaction costs. And that's a bad thing. 'Finding a partner used to be expensive, and the market was inefficient. If you lived in a large city, there were always people looking for partners, but the problem was how to find them.' But one advantage of inefficient dating markets is that in times of scarcity we sometimes take chances on things we wouldn't otherwise try while in times of plenty, we take the path of least resistance (someone who appears compatible) and we forgo difficult and prima facie implausible pairings. Another problem with frictionless online markets (PDF) is that assume we know what we are looking for. But sometimes we simply don't know what we are looking for until we stumble across it in a search for something else, says Ludlow. 'The result is often unexpected and beautiful. So it is with relationships; compatibility is a terrible idea in selecting a partner,' concludes Ludlow. 'We often make our greatest discoveries and acquire our greatest treasures when local scarcity compels us to be open to new and better things.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Problem With Internet Dating's Frictionless Market

Comments Filter:
  • One question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joeflies (529536) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @07:32PM (#42526245)
    Are the divorce rates changing or staying the same? That would lend some credence to his arguement that the old, difficult method produces a more beautiful and unexpected match. The problem with the old method is that it's often a game of attrition, namely you keep dating until you give up on finding someone that you are lifetime compatible with, and settle whoever's around at the time.
  • Re:One question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @07:36PM (#42526285)

    Are the divorce rates changing or staying the same? That would lend some credence to his arguement that the old, difficult method produces a more beautiful and unexpected match.

    The problem with the old method is that it's often a game of attrition, namely you keep dating until you give up on finding someone that you are lifetime compatible with, and settle whoever's around at the time.

    If divorce rates are increasing (which I suspect they are), you'd be hard-pressed to convince me it has more to do with internet dating than simply a large shift in the way people find marriage to be a temporary commitment these days as opposed to when our parents were children. Divorces have been on the rise since the 70s and 80s, long before plenty of fish and match dot com and all those sites.

  • by NeoMorphy (576507) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @07:39PM (#42526327)

    I met my wife through a good, and free, online dating service. The problem with the ones you pay for is that most of the members(95%?) can not reply back and they make it impossible to tell who is a paying member or non-paying member. But a good service allows you to find someone that is a great match. Without online services you have what? Bars, work, church? Even then you have to hope for good timing and the geographical range is limited.

    The articles statement about you taking people for granted is BS. Some might, but that's because they have issues that exist outside of online dating. Know what you want and don't be afraid to set deal breakers. If you hate smoking and can't deal with it, no smokers, or the reverse if you love smoking. You need to be honest with yourself and your potential mate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @07:43PM (#42526383)

    Staying single is more popular than ever before.

    This is probably because of a few factors:

    1) being wealthier means people don't need each other as much. Being more able to survive and find entertainment alone makes your time worth more and your need for a partner diminishes, so we would expect fewer people would date.

    2) the culture of equality has made dating a lot harder than it used to be. Modern couples are no longer a leader and a follower, but rather two leaders. Naturally, that doesn't work well in most cases.

    3) People, by virtue of being able to afford more luxury, develop a sense of entitlement that drives potential mates away. Men expect that their greater wealth means that hotter women will throw themselves at them, and women expect that their independence + beauty should result in even more devotion (or obsession, as some seem to demand) from even higher quality of men. So, nobody is willing to settle, and when people find someone willing to date them both parties feel like they are settling and expect the other party to act like they are "dating up," and be more devoted....of course THAT doesn't work well either.

    Unless breeding is an important goal for you, these days you are usually better off single.

  • by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @07:43PM (#42526385) Journal

    Just move country.

    You will be an interesting foreigner. With or without the internet, this gives you an edge.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @07:46PM (#42526417)
    We know what we are looking for, and look for what we are looking for, but we don't know what we want. Would a person who shares 20% of our interests be more interesting than someone who shares 80% of our interests because they drive us to new things? Maybe, but when looking, we look for the 100% match because it's easier to find someone who likes the same movies, rather than arguing or trading off preferred movies. Scarcity drives us out of our comfort zone, and our best match may be outside our comfort zone.
  • Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @07:46PM (#42526419)

    The market be damned. If I can tell at a glance whether a woman spells 'you' as a single vowel or not, society, traditional marriage, the divorce rate, whatever - it can all go to hell.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @07:49PM (#42526443)

    Specifically, for those of us who have figured out what we want. No more spelunking in bars, hoping the local gaming night has a single female available, or hitting up women in sports clubs. Just a simple hang-out shield. Also helps when being hopelessly shy - email/messaging is much easier than just randomly walking up to someone.

    All in all, this is looking really hard for a drawback to online dating. Kinda like the people who argue about how bad it is to have 1 million in the bank, and how simple life was when they had only 1000 dollars in the bank.

  • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @07:53PM (#42526487)

    I'm separated, and I can't think of any good reasons to be in a relationship again.

  • Re:One question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vaphell (1489021) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:13PM (#42526693)

    Feminism is partially to blame. Many women feel entitled to good lives with plenty of thrill and whatnot so they simply dump their boring husbands who slave away 12hr/day to support the family (women initiate divorce in 70% of cases).
    Ever heard women saying men have it so good, they live their sweet patriarchical lives with obedient housewives, dinners every day, sex every evening and whatnot, yet whining that there are no good men willing to marry on the horizon? The truth is the marriage is an increasingly lousy deal for men. Due to decades of lobbying based on 'will somebody please think of the women', the law is heavily stacked against men, when they marry they are literally at the mercy of their wives.
    Wives are entitled to half of wealth just because, can get their husbands arrested on their word alone (domestic violence even if it didn't happen), in case of divorce get child custody (and have men by the balls if they ever want to see the children), child support and/or alimony (material situation of the man doesn't matter at all and he can be forced to pay more than he earns).

  • The reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:18PM (#42526731)

    I'm separated, and I can't think of any good reasons to be in a relationship again.

    Probably because you haven't met the reason yet. It's ok to be single. If the right person comes along, wonderful. If not, enjoy whatever suits you.

  • by erice (13380) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:25PM (#42526795) Homepage

    Now you go online, select a partner, and you are immediately dating someone who is at least interested in you. Of course online dating is still work, but the emotional labor and risk of failure has been significantly reduced.

    Methinks TFA is complaining about a problem that doesn't actually exist. At least from the male perspective, online dating has a great deal of friction.

    You can't just select a partner and immediately start dating them. You need to message them. It better be good or they don't respond. Actually, they probably won't respond even if it is good.

    You need to do this over and over again until you get a response.

    After you get a response, you need to carry about a conversion for a little while until you can arrange a first date. Most will stop replying before you reach that stage.

    Only after you've met and your date hasn't stood you up or canceled at the last minute for no reason are you dating. Everything before that is just a headache.

    The market has just as much friction as before. It has just moved from the finding to the getting part. It's like shopping online where there are many shops selling but hardly have stock and none will tell you one way or the other until after you've filled out a detailed order form.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:39PM (#42526925)

    Consider the number of young readers who live at their parent's place. Or the number of more seasoned readers who might be divorced, or still single, and aren't going as much as they should.

    Or Widowed. Together at 22 (she was 41) for 20 years (married for 16 years, 3 weeks). She was diagnosed w/a brain tumor the day before Thanksgiving 2005; spent our last Thanksgiving, Anniversary, Christmas, New Year's together in the hospital. Coma started on Jan 5 and she died on Jan 13, 2006 at 3:00pm; haven't dated anyone since. (P.S. The Winter holidays suck now.)

  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:51PM (#42527019) Journal

    Don't forget the "professional" Child Support moms.
    They seduce guys, get a baby, put in a token two years because they need Dad to cover the other half of the diaper stage, then divorce them and collect child support. Then they get new boyfriends for the cuddlin' and help under the table but get to collect the child support as free cash.
    Posting as AC because this comment will get pummeled in 12 minutes. But it's true.

  • Re:One question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:04PM (#42527143)

    True, but there is no point in trying to make a relation ship work when you can see fairly early that it is not going to.

    The question addressed here is whether the internet can serve as that "first sieve", or if you have to wine and dine everyone that comes along just to find out the same information you could find on the internet dating site.

  • by quantaman (517394) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:20PM (#42527263)

    Don't forget the "professional" Child Support moms.
    They seduce guys, get a baby, put in a token two years because they need Dad to cover the other half of the diaper stage, then divorce them and collect child support. Then they get new boyfriends for the cuddlin' and help under the table but get to collect the child support as free cash.
    Posting as AC because this comment will get pummeled in 12 minutes. But it's true.

    Do you have any evidence that this problem actually exists?

    1) I don't think child support is that generous, particularly when you consider the costs in time and money of raising a child.

    2) Why get rid of the dad? Wouldn't they be able to extract more value by staying in the relationship?

    3) I don't think it's nearly as easy for a women with children to attract a man who will support her as you suggest.

  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms AT infamous DOT net> on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:00PM (#42527955) Homepage
    For whatever it's worth, I just wanted to offer my sympathies, and best wishes that in the fullness of time you may heal and find love again. (It's not too late -- I'm in my early 40s myself and just started dating someone pretty nifty.) Take care.
  • Re:One question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vaphell (1489021) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:46PM (#42528289)

    Of course feminism is partly to blame. These days men can't treat their wives like shit and expect them to stay in a terrible marriage on the basis that they don't have any other options.

    The problem is that often 'treating like shit' means 'i am bored', 'he works long hours and he's not around', 'he doesn't take me to restaurants anymore'. Do you really believe that all these divorces are because of legitimate 'treating like shit'?
    Besides women are not angels, they are humans of flesh and bone too. They initiate violence as much as men do, if not more (due to its perceived non-serious nature, there is no threat of real consequences above their heads), the only difference of any significance is they are usually physically weaker.

    No, it really isn't. It just seems that way to you because you think the law should always side with you over the women you think you should have control over.

    Yet it really is
    (and it doesn't affect me at all as i don't have any desire to marry nor control any woman, the inequality simply rubs me the wrong way)
    If the law was just, there would be nowhere near the current imbalance.

    How often it's the male who gets the sole custody? 5% maybe? How many in case of females?
    How often it's the female who pays alimony/child support to the male? Next to never?
    How often it's the male who gets locked up by default in case of domestic violence because of the concept of 'predominant aggressor' enshrined by the DV laws?
    Why is that men are only approx 1% of are allowed to the shelters for DV victims?

    Feminists are not anywhere close to being egalitarians because they dismiss men issues right off the bat. They don't want any competition turning attention away from their pet causes .

  • by eriks (31863) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @12:41AM (#42528605) Homepage

    I'm sure that situation (more or less) has indeed happened. However, what about the (much more common) occurrence of men treating women as just a place to stick their dick? With little regard for what happens afterward to her or her child? Like, for thousands of years? Obviously not all men, even long ago, were like this, however I think my point is clear.

    Yes there are laws that have been put in place in the last hundred years that theoretically give women legal standing and power (as opposed to none), however even in our modern society, I'd say that on balance, women still get the short end, in a society still mostly ruled by rich old white men.

    Look at fucking *current events* with "women can reject rape sperm" and other dark-ages bullshit like that? There are *many* men that still think that way. And they're pissed that they can't *literally* own their women anymore, as their grandfathers did.

    I'm not saying that two wrongs make a right, but one has to look at context, and frequency.

    Sure, there are women that abuse the power afforded them by law. Are you saying that men never do that? Of course not, since that'd be absurd. Both men and women have selfish drives, though I think men still win in that department, statistically speaking.

    Also I'd be surprised if the *vast* majority of couples (married or otherwise) started out as anything but two people genuinely caring about each other. Things can go sour fast, and they do often, for many reasons.

    I just don't think there's the same level and frequency of sociopathy in women as there is in men.

  • by fearofcarpet (654438) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @01:47AM (#42528941)

    I too met my wife through an online dating service. TFA is written by a romantic who has watched too many rom coms. I moved around a lot, every four years on average for the last 20 years--and thousands of miles each move. That makes it hard to establish a wide network of friends and relegates you to dating co-workers, random people at bars, and chance encounters. After dating through basically my entire network of friends of friends, most of my available co-workers and friends of co-workers, and a few disasters with bar pick-ups, I hit the Internet and (eventually) found a wonderful person who never would have set foot in a bar and whom I never, ever would have encountered through my job. Neither of us is perfect, but we get along well, share common goals, are attracted to each other, and are generally very compatible. That is real life. Finding "The One" or your soul mate or falling in love at first sight, blah, blah, is a fantasy that happens rarely in real life.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:21AM (#42529385) Journal

    I just don't think there's the same level and frequency of sociopathy in women as there is in men.

    And here is where you are absolutely wrong. Your post was fairly convincing until then.

Real Programmers think better when playing Adventure or Rogue.

Working...