A two week study into the way ‘success’ stories used their dating sites has revealed that, of the biggest names in the online dating industry, its users define achievement in very different ways.
The iSchool, Drexford, investigated 20% of each of OkCupid, eHarmony and Match.com’s claims to fame couples over a fortnight in an attempt to get to the bottom of a very real dating site mystery: what do users hope to achieve when they sign up to an online dating site and how do they choose the dating site based on their requirements.
In essence, their are three categories of success to choose from, each ranging from the short-term of purely meeting a single on the dating site of their choice and taking the relationship off screen to begin a successful courtship.
The second rating was the much more committed step of having someone propose to you, based on a relationship that has begun online.
And the third and most exclusive assessment of the success story was the big one – the act of two people who have met through one of the dating sites actually tying the knot and joining each other in wedlock.
meet the judges
The trio who took on the responsibility of ploughing through the information were Rachel Magee and Christopher Mascaro of Drexel’s iSchool, part of the curriculum at the College of Information Science and Technology there, overseen by Dr. Sean P. Goggins.
how do we choose our dating site?
Taking a random one in five of the success stories from each of the dating sites from a fortnight in Spring 2011, the team made some interesting insights at what was classed as a successful experience.
Using ‘marriage’ as the yardstick, the report revealed the 84% of eHarmony users success stories were about wedlock, just less than half of match.com’s tales referred to tying the knight and only 23 of OkCupid’s members considered marriage the key to a successful experience.
What this shows, in layman’s terms, is that the majority of eHarmony’s members use the site for the purpose of finding a life-long partner and that really is the purpose of them joining the site. Match.com’s has a mixed membership, where there is a combination of long-term relationship seekers as well as those who use the dating site for playing the field.
And OkCupid’s membership do not consider marriage as the be all and end all of a successful dating site and judge it by other methods.
In summary, people will join a dating site based on its stories of success that suit the preferences of what they’re looking for. If you want casual, there are sites for it, marriage has its role to play and if people are intent on that, they will determine which dating site offers the best opportunity and there are those in the middle who may be looking for a life-long partner if the Mr or Mrs Right happens to avail themselves.
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