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This discussion has been archived.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:
  • lube (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:26PM (#42526185)

    well, lets hope it's as frictionless as possible...inadequate lube leads to broken condoms and accidental babies.

    • Re:lube (Score:5, Funny)

      by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:43PM (#42526387) Homepage Journal

      Never run short of lube again:
      http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MR3IVO [amazon.com]

      • Re:lube (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:49PM (#42526441)

        "Customers who viewed this item also viewed: LOTR Narsil Sword"

        • by anagama (611277)

          makes sense, it also shows this in the also viewed category:

          Sharp, Provolone Piccante Cheese (Whole Wheel) Approximately 60 Lbs

          What better to cut a whole wheel of cheese with than a sword?

      • Re:lube (Score:5, Funny)

        by oztiks (921504) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:33PM (#42526869)

        The customer reviews are even more disturbing

        1.0 out of 5 stars Hazard for cats, December 2, 2011
        By Mark A. - See all my reviews
        This review is from: Passion Natural Water-Based Lubricant - 55 Gallon (Health and Beauty)
        This is a hazard! I've already lost two cats in this thing. There should be a warning sticker or something. I assumed the cats would float, but they sunk like rocks into the lube. And no, it's not what you think. Don't be disgusting. I was trying to create my own cat lube wrestling league. You know, for sickos.

        • Re:lube (Score:5, Funny)

          by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @12:26AM (#42528157)

          Funniest thing I've seen in... well, three days, but only because I saw The Room three days ago. Look at these:

          It fixes squeaky doors in seconds, makes drawers side in and out and in and out and in and out without fail with a single application. It fits right in the back of my '86 El Camino. I do have a problem with birds falling in and drowning, but using an old pasta strainer duct-taped to an ax-handle is perfect. It has already paid for itself and a custom suspension for my car-truck!

          I stole a barrel of this lubricant earlier this week.
          The police are, currently, still trying to restrain me.

          Pros:
          Moist!
          Bulk savings!
          Very slippery!
          Container is easy to roll downhill and is large enough to hold most bodies.

          Cons:
          Unattractive packaging
          Difficult to store
          Tastes like paste

        • A couple more for fun:

          ...all I saw in the stores were lubricants that were flavored with cinnamon and paprika, or designed to somehow "heat" your private parts. No way, Jose! (I experienced the "heat" thing personally once after an adventurous incident with a toaster. I'll stick with "room temperature" from now on, thank you very much.)

          I know what you're thinking, "Dave maybe you should ease up on the porn, the kids haven't seen you in weeks." "My god, the cats all white and sticky" To that I say: shut up and mind your own business, if I want to spend my free time drinking jack and wackin' it to some teen runaway making bad life decisions well that's my business. And I'm sorry about the cat but I ran out of tissues. Anyway I highly recommend this product, it's the perfect gift for Mothers Day.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by davester666 (731373)

        OMG.

        3 left in stock.

        2 new.

        I don't want to know the person who wants to buy the third drum.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      But then how are we going to keep the birth rate up?

  • Settle? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Did the author just tell us that sometimes it's better to simply "settle" for whoever you can find instead of finding someone compatible? :)

    • Re:Settle? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:38PM (#42526311)
      Not quite. The author suggested that finding a masterpiece is difficult when we are distracted by a sea of merely pleasant art pieces. Sure, you'll find someone compatible when it's easy to match constraints, but you will not have the opportunity to discover someone different than what you were superficially looking for.
      • by chrismcb (983081)
        No... What he is saying, is when you have a lot of choices, chances are you'll find a choice that meets your criteria (yeah!). But when there aren't a lot of choices, you'll settle for something that doesn't meet your criteria (boo). DUH.... BUT he claims that, you sometimes find a hidden gem, when settling for something outside your criteria.
  • One question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joeflies (529536) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:32PM (#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 @08:36PM (#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.

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

        by Vaphell (1489021) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:13PM (#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).

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

          by miroku000 (2791465) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:45PM (#42526965)

          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).

          While it is somewhat true that marriage is not as good of a deal for men as it used to be, that is not entirely a bad thing. Women have more career options than they used to. When you have no way to survive without the marriage, you are less likely to initiate a divorce. But, it is true that women more often are awarded alimony and custody and such. But this may be because often men are making more money than their wives. Here is the paradox though. Women's value on the dating market peaks at age 21. Men's peak value on the dating market is at age 36. So, after the divorce, men stand a much higher chance of finding a better mate than women do. http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-case-for-an-older-woman/ [okcupid.com]

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

            by Vaphell (1489021) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:50PM (#42527449)

            But this may be because often men are making more money than their wives

            probably there is some amount of prejudice against women but it doesn't make that often repeated 77% claim true. There is no economic sense to overpay workers when cheaper alternatives are on the market, especially when everybody is whining how soulless companies cut expenses at all costs. The reality is that if you account for life choices (eg men are much more willing to accept longer commute times, more overtime etc) the difference becomes negligible.
            Lower skilled men are usually the first to go when the company they work for is in trouble so the man=breadwinner role is undermined especially on lower levels of society. On top of that women in general are better educated and constitute the majority of students, which is a problem, because (even ignoring the 'lousy deal for men' thing) really soon women will be unable to find a mate anywhere near their level and i don't think they will be happy with 'mediocre' males. I guess their frustration is bound to go to 11.

            Here is the paradox though. Women's value on the dating market peaks at age 21. Men's peak value on the dating market is at age 36. So, after the divorce, men stand a much higher chance of finding a better mate than women do

            that's not really a paradox. Evolution made us value women by their looks (~20 is the best time for pregnancy) and men by their possessions (ability to provide for their mate and their offspring). That shooting in the foot done by women who hastily initiate divorce out of boredom only to find themselves in an overcrowded market with much better competition might be caused by simple shortsightedness and rosy perception of their situation.

            I've seen some stats based on that okcupid data, that women have very skewed definition of 'average looking' where not-johnny-depp-level but still damn fine looking men, easily in top quintile, were considered merely so-so (yeah, selection bias of the site and what not, but stats of males were not as ridiculous). That might suggest that women often have an unrealistic image of reality and expectations, tend to overplay their hand in their prime time and get into the SOL situation past the peak, in their 30s.
            Yep, we live in interesting times.

        • 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.

          • by quantaman (517394) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:20PM (#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.

            • The problem exists, though I'll say it doesn't necessarily require a marriage to start with. I'll avoid the "Citation needed" gig, and instead reply that you should ask around about the "Head of Household" income tax status on the US tax code. The kids appear, the marriage collapses, and then the father is on the hook by law because the woman doesn't re-marry (which would end the child support). Then the woman "conveniently" gets a new boyfriend in her life who pays for the perks of living, and the child su

              • by quantaman (517394) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:02PM (#42527537)

                Well for evidence an article from a reputable newspaper would do (my very brief search didn't find anything). Besides, you're now arguing that the marriage is failing, not as part of a deliberate scheme, but because the woman has no commitment, which is a much weaker claim.

                As for "the woman doesn't re-marry (which would end the child support)", and 'cuddling under the table' comment from your first post, this appears to be false [about.com]. The woman's relationship status does not affect child support. You could be talking about alimony, but that's something completely different (and probably harder to get after a short term marriage).

                In short your comment is factually inaccurate and has a chauvinist tone, it should be pummelled.

            • by jamesh (87723)

              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?

              It only has to happen once for the problem to "exist", but doesn't imply that it happens with any significant frequency. I happen to know someone who has 5 kids to 5 different guys and would be raking in the child support (different arrangement here in AU than in the US, but a similar net effect) if she hadn't picked 5 deadbeats to have kids with.

            • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @01:23AM (#42528479)

              I've seen a half dozen of these situations in 30 years and so I can speculate some answers for you.

              1) Child support is 23% of the man's income for one child and scales up from there. There is NO requirement or enforcement that the money be spent on the child. If the couple owned a house and the man makes "good money", they are often required to pay part of the house payment while not being allowed to live there. For bonus points, in pro alimony states the man also pays child support.

              2) The mom gets nearly complete control over how the child is raised. The dad gets to enforce his rules 6 days a month.. the mom gets the rest. This has declined since 2000 as joint custody occurs more. For bonus points, the 6 days plays out as free weekend baby sitting for the mom.

              3) If she's "hot" then it's pretty easy to attract a lothario-- especially if said lothario doesn't have to pay her rent. He doesn't have to support or deal with the kids. But if lothario turns into a step dad... he usually has no say in how the kids are raised. unless she repeats (which I have no personal experience with in 30 years but have heard about third hand). Oh wait.. there was one- high school friend, he was totally in love with one of these. She had 4 kids by 4 guys by the time she was done. And we are pretty sure that his daughter wasn't really his daughter.

          • Posting as AC because this comment will get pummeled in 12 minutes.

            Huh. TaoPhoenix. I always wonder who that AC character was.......

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

          by sesshomaru (173381) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @12:26AM (#42528143) Journal

          What women actually want (if you are lucky, the alternative is even worse) is for you to spend lots of time with them (when it's convenient for them) but still also make a good living. If you aren't making enough money, you'll have a hard time starting a relationship, since it's one of the things women filter for. You don't have to be rich, she just wants to know you can take care of yourself and your kids (and maybe her too, if she's old fashioned).

          On the other hand, if you make a good living but put in tons of overtime, then she gets upset with you for never being around. It will cause friction. (I've been getting this from the missus lately since I'm putting in a lot of extra hours these days. We've been together 14 years though so I'm not too worried.) It also leaves her open to approaches by other men, and if she's lonely that's a real temptation.

          It's one of the reasons why I get so frustrated with guys who take a perverse pride in the long hours in many IT jobs. I want to tell them, "Enjoy being a monk in the service of the Machine God, because this will wreak Hell on your marriage."

          Oh, and for God's sake, avoid most women who call themselves Feminist unless you've checked them out carefully. In fact, there's tons of strong belief systems that can be problematic (if you are atheist and she's religious, for example) but certain types of Feminism are all about trashing men, and it's best to consider that label a warning sign if a woman cops to it. Actually, though, I think most non-desperate men will not choose a Feminist as their first choice on a dating site unless she looks like Barbarella or something.

          Oh, and one last note. I really think it's divorce that's the crummy deal for men, rather than marriage. I don't know many old married couples where the man is too unhappy, but I've never met a divorced man who didn't have some horror story to tell.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            What women want is as varied as what men want, and the vast majority of us born after 1965 have no interest in a guy's money. Just like men, what hat we look for financially speaking varies all over the place depending on our own abilities & future plans. We're not in an era where women plan to stay home for the rest of their lives tending kids anymore, you know...

            There are no "types" of feminism that are about "trashing men" -- and secure, non-sexist modern guys have no problem dating feminists. Ther

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

        by radtea (464814) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:17PM (#42527241)

        If divorce rates are increasing (which I suspect they are),

        There's this amazing thing called a "search engine" that you can type "queries" into. If you'd spent two minutes doing that you'd have found that what you "suspect" is wrong. Divorce rates have been flat for decades, and may even be decreasing a bit (can be tricky to tell because divorce rates drop in poor economies.)

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

        by fearofcarpet (654438) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:22AM (#42528795)

        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.

        Part of the problem, IMHO, is that the US basically offers couples two choices: marriage or, under the eyes of the law, complete strangers. I currently live in Europe with my wife (who is European), but we aren't "married" in the American sense--we have a civil union. It's sort of like a marriage in that we are legal partners, own a home together, etc., but I had to proactively accept custody of our son when he was born and it has a built-in prenuptial agreement. I'm not sure about Europe as a whole, but I know the 'pax' in France (a civil union) is on the rise, while traditional marriage is declining sharply.

        Many European countries offer a buffet of partnering choices that allows couples more fine-grained control over their partnership. There are even cases where people are religiously married in their church, but legally have a civil union or a "living partnership contract" because they don't believe that the government should have anything to do with the sanctity of their marriage. In the city in which I live (which happens to be predominately atheist) people by-and-large don't even use the terms 'husband' or 'wife' because marriage isn't super common, even with older couples with kids. Instead, people reflexively use the term 'partner' to describe their SO.

        Should we choose to move back to the US, we would essentially be forced to marry. It would save my wife the PITA of dealing with work visas, but more importantly, we would be family in the eyes of the law and could visit each other in the hospital, have implicit wills, file taxes jointly, etc., etc. But I don't think that marriage is right for everyone at every stage of their lives, however, many of my friends got married because they wanted to buy a house, have kids, or because they had just been together for long enough that they figured, why not? And a bunch of them are now divorced. If the US offered people gradients of choices--as we do with other big life decisions like home ownership--then perhaps the divorce rate wouldn't be so high because only people who were super into marriage would do it.

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

        by LoRdTAW (99712) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @10:33AM (#42531641)

        I would say that the Divorce rates are up because a) divorce is no longer religiously and socially taboo. Which leads to b) people are less religious today, its more of a tradition than a true spiritual belief. I bet there were a lot of marriages that were unhappy but they learned to work things out and live with each other. They feared god or being labelled a social outcast. Getting divorced was considered a sin and people would look at you funny, a stain on your reputation for the rest of your life.

        Today, women aren't the "helpless homemakers" they once were expected to be. Women didn't work. They cooked, cleaned, made babies and raised them. So they needed a man to provide for them and married young, usually in their late teens/early 20's. Now that women work, they are no longer helpless home makers. They can provide for themselves. So where is the drive to get married? Children? Even then how do women cope with having a kid and a career? Do they want to give up their career (My mother did and she holds a masters degree)? That is why more people are getting married in their 30's instead of their early 20's or late teens like they did 50+ years ago. They become firmly planted and then search for a mate. I also believe the high cost of living strains relationships as two incomes are now mandatory to survive. So two people must work in order to rent/buy a home, pay bills and raise kids. You better love eachother and not just be physical. In short: "shits complicated".

        Anecdotal examples:
        I have a friend who knocked up a girl while in the Army. He married her and started to hate her but loved his son. After a few years of them living in partial misery and splitting up for almost a year, he made a massive effort to put aside his differences with her and be there for his son. Well it worked and he actually learned to love her if that can be believed. They now have three kids and live quite happily. They need effort to make things work, some people don't have that kind of commitment.

        My mothers parents shouldn't have been together either. My grandmother was a firecracker of an Irish woman who didn't take shit from anyone but loved her family members (Awesome grandma!). But my grandfather was an atheist, hateful, misanthropic man who also didn't take shit from anyone and was a genius and skilled craftsman in his own right. The two never expressed any love or affection towards each other. They slept in separate rooms and my grandfathers room was such a disaster that he mainly slept on the couch. As a kid I was terrified of him as he always watched you with a scowl and yelled at you for doing just about anything. He rarely attended family gatherings and hung out at a Polish social club in jersey. Later on in life he did warm a bit and I got to know him better. When he died, only my mother was there. A great man in many ways. How did two people like that get married? My bet is grandpa knocked up grandma and it was the late 40's, you better get married. They don't have wedding photos either. I once asked my mother why there weren't and she just said "its difficult to explain". So that is my conclusion. They just sucked it up and learned to live with each other. If they grew up today they would have certainly never been married or divorced very quickly.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      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

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

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

        • The reason (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:18PM (#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.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you want to add less misanthropic options, here's a couple more:

        4) Economic instability combined with people ranting about starting families you can't afford leads to people not starting families that they can't afford.

        5) Economic instability combined with employers' preferring unattached employees that can be expected to put in a few extra hours leads to people not starting families that they think will limit their economic chances

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

      by icebike (68054) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:54PM (#42526495)

      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.

      Agreed. Mr Ludlow has the whole premise upside down to me.

      When dating is expensive you are LESS likely to date around till you find a closely compatible person, and more likely to settle.
      He has the whole situation upside down.

      It will take a few years to find out if internet dating will produce more enduring relationships, but the old method wasn't working
      all that well either. Some sites claim internet dating works better [washingtonpost.com] for the marriage minded. Other sources ask the divorce question in their headlines [go.com]. (So we must invoke Betteridge).

      One service actually publishes some numbers [eharmony-blog.com] from an internal (and rather self congratulatory) study. They claim: "eHarmony couples had a 66.6% lower risk for divorce than would have been expected given eHarmony’s share of marriages in the population".

      I suspect the study is rather flawed, but its the only one out there that I am aware of.

      • by TXG1112 (456055)

        All relationships take work. When the cost of replacement is low, you are not committed to putting in the effort to make a relationship work and instead find someone else that you refuse to commit to because thee might be someone better out there and you don't want to feel like you "settled".

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

          by icebike (68054) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:04PM (#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 Sulphur (1548251)

      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.

      This is called synthetic annealing.

  • Go to the stacks looking for stuff, and bring home stacks of non related but vastly interesting reading material you had not thought to look at.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Saying "libraries are better than ebooks" is like saying "Video stores are better than movies"; you're comparing the distribution model with the product it's distributing. Also, the "discovery" aspect of libraries (and bookstores) is present with online bookstores too. Have you never been to Amazon.com?

  • by NeoMorphy (576507) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:39PM (#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 AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:00PM (#42526559)
      POF and OK Cupid are about the only two actually free widely-available services I've run across. What did you use? The Freemium ones are bad, xdating even has in their TOS that they'll fabricate profiles and communications "for entertainment value" and any female you'd be interested in is a fraud.
    • by fearofcarpet (654438) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:47AM (#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 TechyImmigrant (175943) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:43PM (#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 @08:46PM (#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 @08:46PM (#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.

    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Funny)

      by turp182 (1020263) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:04PM (#42526613) Journal

      "At a glance" seems awfully superficial, taken at face value.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      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.

      Unless you're in the market for a non-western woman, then the lack of English and Grammar skills can be considered a plus.

    • I'm with the AC on this one. When I was still single, any interest I might have had in a woman completely and utterly disappeared the instant she typed, "Do u like [whatever]?"

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:49PM (#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 mjwx (966435)

      All in all, this is looking really hard for a drawback to online dating.

      You're not looking very hard then.

      Catching up with my sister at a coffee shop last week, hearing "you look very different from your profile picture" said quite a few times was hilarious.

      I've always found online dating sites dodgy. The western oriented ones like OK Cupid end up pushing something. Some others like Date In Asia are often free advertisement for working ladies.

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      I've actually found that it's much easier for me to approach women IRL than online.

      Mainly this is because I've noticed that online a lot of women have insanely high standards, even an average (in terms of both looks and personality) woman gets used to being contacted by multiple men every day so they tend to not even reply to messages unless you're in the top n% (for small values of n) by their standards.

      It can be quite annoying browsing women's profiles on sites like OkCupid, lots of them list qualities yo

      • by jez9999 (618189)

        Depends what you mean by "easier". "More chance of success", yeah maybe. But I think the point being made is that for some people it can just be plain difficult to muster up the courage to randomly walk up to a woman you don't know and say hi. Especially considering what is implied by that - "I think you're attractive and would quite like to go to bed with you." It's very unlikely a man would randomly introduce himself to a woman for any other reason, if there's no shared interest or anything.

  • by Cederic (9623) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:49PM (#42526449) Journal

    Dating sites come with a bunch of filters. Find me a well education intelligent white catholic girl (hey, I'm atheist but catholic girls' schools seem to produce my sort of woman) who's a good cook, likes to dance, can put up with 4 hours of computer gaming on non-dance nights and has a slim or athletic build.

    Or skip the dating site and find yourself with an interesting person that has few of those attributes but is great to spend time with. Bonus if it's a girl and she fancies you.

    That said, I'm still reluctant to ask out the intelligent female dancer that's about my age and fancies me, purely because we have the same dress size. Sadly I appear to be sufficiently superficial to want someone slimmer than I am.

    • Find me a well education intelligent white catholic girl (hey, I'm atheist but catholic girls' schools seem to produce my sort of woman) who's a good cook, likes to dance, can put up with 4 hours of computer gaming on non-dance nights and has a slim or athletic build.

      You're going to have a hard time interesting a well educated, intelligent girl if you write like this....

  • I've always had really poor luck in dating other girls who were in a technical field of some kind. I think it requires people with different kinds of minds to make a good relationship.

  • The computer matches are so perfect as to eliminate the thrill of romantic conquest?

    Where have I heard that before? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE7mi-gdIYw [youtube.com]

  • by erice (13380) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:25PM (#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 nschubach (922175)

      You got that right... Ever try not initiating conversations on dating sites (as a male)? I've received one message over the past 5-7 years of having various profiles and I don't consider myself an ugly person or undesirable in any way. Women simply don't initiate conversations online. Just like in the "real" world men have to be the ones to stick their neck out.

      • This isn't my experience. I still have a profile on okcupid although I haven't logged in since September (I am told by one of the people I met via it, I don't remember) and I probably only used it for about three months.

        But since then I've had at least three messages from women (that I only got to read the first line of in the email that OKC sent to me)

        What I didn't like (and is alluded to in the grandparent) is that it's far too much dating oriented.

        Only after you've met and your date hasn't stood you up o

    • 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.

      Umwelt [wikipedia.org]:
      http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-race-affects-whether-people-write-you-back/ [okcupid.com]

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@ p ... r e trograde.com> on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:08PM (#42527181)

    I actually RTFA this time, and it blew my mind!

    Turns out I had the whole concept of Internet Dating wrong! I've been dating the Internet itself!

    mind-gasm

  • by TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:11PM (#42527199)
    The article is just a bunch of buzzwords trying to appear profound on that basis. There are only three things that matter in the world of online dating sites: (1) Have an attractive picture, (2) Have an attractive picture, and (3) Make sure your picture is attractive. That's 99.44% of online dating right there. You can write out the most heartfelt and sincere profile in the whole world and it will go unreplied to. Likewise when responding to womens' profiles; I don't think it matters at all what you write beyond a certain minimum of decorum. It's a meat (meet) market, pure and simple, and it's pure Darwinism.
  • by Stirling Newberry (848268) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:51AM (#42528961) Homepage Journal
    I did some consulting in this area a while back, and since I am under NDA, will not mention specific sites. But the people running these sites know a good deal about what is going on, and have their own interests in the dating marketplace. What is fairly common knowledge in the industry is this:

    1. Individuals who are in the high attractiveness quandrant, the company I worked with referred to the as "date bacon," have high rates of being replied to, high rates of physical meetings, and moderate levels of dating success. If you are, or present as, a young, never married, childless, photogenic, of median for the site intelligence, and slightly above median earning and intelligence, male, the e-dating world looks like the one in the article: it is easy find partners, though it was fairly obvious who was real (the disappeared after 1-3 physical dates) and who was not (serial daters with complaints coming in after ward). There were some echo quadrants: people who were post a short "starter marriage," which could also have been a non-married domestic LTR, had date bacon like rates of reply etc. There was a distant echo quandrant among post-child individuals. Date bacon was the product: getting these people on was a high intensity activity, because everyone else on the site messaged and joined to message date bacon. This was irrespective of genders and orientations: women had a very narrow range of men the wanted (near their age, but slightly older, attractive, financial success signalling men of above median educational attainment), as did men (who were actually less visually correlated than the women). Date bacon did not stay on the site long, and date bacon indexes were good predictors of matching. Bacon goes with bacon.

    2. For everyone else, things were a great deal worse, however for, what was euphemistically terms "alternatively monogamous," read people in sexless marriages who were searching for relationships on the side, had high rates of use, and would score partners out of sheer persistence. The site had an equivocal relationship with cheaters, because these people were the income, but too many and it drove down site stats. I did some work to figure out the optimal level of cheaters. Yes there is one.

    3. The least satisfied quadrant was non-date bacon individuals searching for monogamy. The difference here is a factor of about 10 from date bacon. People in this quadrant see a totally different dating world: low rates of reply, few physical dates, low chance of a relationship, though, as you might guess, if people did make it over these hurdles, they tended to leave the site. Males in this population did not stay paid members, were as many females in this population did.

    4. There were two other populations, one "the non-daters," mostly women who got replies and were either hostile or non-responsive. Part of the project was to weed these people out, because they were "payment killers." One interaction was enough to get a member to cancel. The other were what the programmers called "subprime," people with significant geographic, personal, or physical barriers, or women with children. This was a fairly large base of people, who were culled periodically because too many again dropped membership rates. Essentially, people who had few other alternatives.

    5. Very specific people were also consistent long term users, and were shunted to more specific sub-sites, this is because outside of their subset, they are non-daters, but inside they look more like date bacon. Hence sub-sectioning and bucketing run rampant.

    6. The upshot of this is that there is about 10% of the population that e-dating works well, or very well for, and another 20% which has no good alternative. These individuals were satisfied, or at least repeat, users. For another 30% the experience was highly negative, indeed, even soul crushing.

    7. YMMV - because personal relationships are heavily based on factors which do not capture from dating sites, many relationships happen even in low probability areas,

    • by jfengel (409917)

      One interaction was enough to get a member to cancel.

      That's really interesting; I hadn't realized that. It should be easy for the site to discover toxic users when you see a high correlation between contact with them and departures.

      How were such people "culled"? Did you just delete the account, or were they dropped low in the searches so people didn't find them? I wonder if it would have been useful to them to be informed. "Look, the common factor in your failed relationships is you. We think you'd have more success here if you were less of a jerk."

      I know the

All warranty and guarantee clauses become null and void upon payment of invoice.

Working...