No luck dating online? Is your name the reason?

If you’re reading the success stories on your dating sites and wonder why that’s not you in the picture, check under the photo to see what the lucky couple’s names are.

The chances are – and these are very real results based on one of Europe’s top dating sites – that if your moniker’s Dennis or Kevin, Chantal or Celina, your e-mails are being overlooked in favour of the Marks, Alexanders and Charlottes of this world.

Even Biblical names were preferable to the unfanciable ones, which, according to the study, include Jacqueline and Justin also.

The study, conducted by researchers from Berlin’s Humboldt University, examined 200,000 dating site profiles on eDarling.de, created for its German audience.

On the continent, and this is typical of the majority of Europe, it’s all well and good having a perfect profile picture but the words weigh heavier than any image you care to post. Within those words, the name is very seriously considered as part of your dating site profile.

The evidence thrown up by the study is actually quite incontrovertible. If your name is Alexander, you have twice as much chance of your e-mail being opened than if your parents had had you Christened as Kevin. Absolutely true – 102% more correspondences were opened from Alexanders than Kevins – in a study of so many dating site members, that is hard to refute.

And there’s more, even more compelling conclusions drawn by the lead author of the study, Jacob Gebauer (bet he’s really a Kev or a Den). He has gone as far to say, in an interview with the Daily Mail, that singles on dating sites would prefer to remain just that single, than start up an online relationship with a Kevin or a Chantal. His words, not ours! I’m sort of feeling a bit guilty writing this as, seventeen years ago, I christened my daughter Chantelle – babe, I’m sorry!

This, however, is not the first time the Germans have singled out Kevins as having their name as a hindrance. 2,000 teachers in 2009, from the same country, adjudged anyone named Kevin as being unlikely to achieve academic success. One of those involved in the assessment even stated of the name that it “…is not a name, it’s a diagnosis.”

No wonder Roland Rat made sure he was the star of the show and not his gerbil sidekick who, for the purpose of this article, shall remain nameless.

Would you date a Kevin? See how many you can find as you go online dating.

How do you define ‘success’ on your dating site?

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.

Whatever your need, try our range of the top five sites we have hand picked for the best on the ‘net for dating.

Dystopian dating sites being watched – one

It may seem like a chapter from a dystopian fantasy to some, but George Orwell must be up in heaven, shaking a stick at us, saying ‘I told you so!’. Not only is Big Brother watching us, but he is evaluating all of the information on our dating sites to try and figure out one of the grandest emotions of them all: lurve.

The problem with academia’s assessment of the subject of love in the past, and its precursor, dating, is that the only sources of reference have been collated from information ‘volunteered’ from exercises such as censuses and early investigations into basic mate selection. Well, there were some pretty heavy explorations in the Free Love era of the late sixties but what Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix contributed could never be studied in a dope-free classroom.

No, what matchmaking and dating sites provide the researchers with is an open window into what singles, many of whom have never been in a long-term relationship before, really want from a partner and not what has either been interpreted by a Victorian professor in times when showing an ankle was tantamount to scandal or what was written on an official government form because you thought that was what was expected of you, either from your partner or society as a whole.

Recent research is more credible than ever, with worldwide dating site hits being estimated at 600,000,000 in one month (source: Experian Hitwise). And that’s conservative. When you’re looking to head up an enquiry into the essence of love revolving around the impact of online dating you need someone knowledgeable in dealing with motorways of human traffic – the good sort on the web, that is.

dating sites key to emotive catalysts

Andrew T Fiore is a Facebook scientist, so his insight into volume was invaluable. Assessing the criteria, he was also positive in acknowledging the role dating sites play, since the online world integrates more into the offline one more every day, stating that they provide “true-to-life context for examining the risks, uncertainties and rewards of initiating real relationships.”

Not only is Big Brother assessing what makes us want to approach someone, but also about what we are prepared to reveal ourselves. Andrew’s peer, Margaret Meads, has targeted some of the biggest online dating platforms to gauge other essential motivators, such as attraction, trust, deceit, our cultural background and political preference – all have bearings on whom we weigh up as possible dating material.

What did Big Brother make of it all? Find out more about our brave new world in the next chapter…

Dating sites look to unlock love’s lost links

If you look online for case studies into the behaviour of singles looking for love online, you will find a plethora of information on the subject. It would seem that everyone in the media, tabloid to social, is conducting their own Freudian research into what makes us tick when we approach someone on a dating site, how far we will go to betray our own true nature to get people to approach us and why, when the online world of matchmaking offers potential partners of so many varied cultures and backgrounds, as a species we tend to “stick to [our] own kind”.

The New York Times – in my humble opinion, having now written dozens of articles about online dating, based in hub central of the matchmaking world – has recently conducted a study on the studies conducted thus far. In a 1,600+ word piece, so concise it could be presented as a thesis on the subject of dating online, the NYT researchers have combined the results and produced an overview of the personalities and traits that categorise your typical online dating site member.

Some of the results are what you would expect in any walk of life when two people are hoping to attract each other – fibbing about their age, casually losing a few pounds when the situation merits or claiming to be a leading automotive distribution magnate when, in truth, they own a second-hand car dealership in Guildford.

the results were like opening Pandora’s box

Many of the other findings though, considering the enlightened age in which we are supposed to live, are nothing short of shocking. In the UK, we tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves when it comes to political bias – simply red, true blue, mellow yellow or going green. Across the pond, however, your alignment to your favoured member of congress can be as closely guarded a secret as the last time you went to the gynaecologist or had to take a trip to the clinic to be privately pubicly deloused.

Another trait that stood out like a banana in a bowl of cherries was how much people of race went for people with the same coloured skin. Whether there remains a deep-seated racist streak or a genuine fear of the unknown that people feel they are not allowed to show in public remains a mystery but what is fact is that, when dating site members choose their ‘match who [they] would most like to see results of’, a huge majority will only enter values for their own race.

Over the course of this week, we will drill down into each of the sectors highlighted in the study, what it means for UK dating (as much testing was carried out stateside) and, moreover, what the results mean for the average single, looking for love on line.