In basic terms: people are people

No, I’m not whipping you back to a 1984 computer studies class, learning Beginners All-purpose Symbollic Instruction Code or even your 45 RPM turntable with the Depeche Mode single whizzing around on it when you got back from school. Thankfully, I was thirteen then and the scars have healed; well, almost.

Rather, I’m asking you your opinion of matchmaking sites and the algorithms they use to pair you with a shortlist of prospective partners. Are they any good? Do they work, other than to discount the physical aspects you enter in your likes and dislkes, such as height, age, weight, nationality and location?

Well, one person who believes not is a Dr Dan Ariely who has proffered that they are a waste of time. He himself being a professor in behavioural economics, which, according to Wikipedia (no, I’d never heard of it, either) is: “primarily concerned with the bounds of rationality of economic agents.”

Still none the wiser? Me neither.

Having given several interviews on the subject matter, here is a summary of his belief that the dating site algorithms don’t work; you can decide whether any of it makes sense or you get the feeling that he was once a dating site regular, but has been let down just once too often…

Are algorithms ineffectual remedies?

In one interview, given to PC World concerning dating site algorithms (?), Dr Dan, having admitted that he had not actually been privy to the actual algorithm configurations due to their confidential nature, suggests that, although his argument is ‘unsupported’, they are nothing but ‘placebos’.

Online dating like a round trip for a coffee?

During another interview for Big Think, Prof Ariely surmises that the results derived from time spent online dating are not worth the effort that the member puts in.

Allegedly, the professor has been involved in surveys which monitor online dating activity. The results of which suggest that, from the hours of searching for, initiation of and responding to contacts – which absolutely ‘no one enjoys’, according to him – just to get to meet up with someone for a coffee is simply not worth the effort.

The timescale he apportions to reaching this metaphoric cup of coffee is six hours on any given dating site and refers to that ‘trade off’ as ‘unsatisfactory’.

Can I be honest? I can think of few places where I could sit about in my underwear, unkempt and unshaven, other than behind my laptop and, in six hours, pull off a date. If I could do that three nights a week, that would be my weekend sorted, week in, week out.

If Dr Dan has a better method for attracting the opposite sex, he ought to stop giving interviews and start selling it online – he’d be a millionaire overnight.

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