Once upon a time, people used to meet each other in bars, through a friend or at a park. But times have changed, for better or worse is subjective. The digital age has taken over many aspects of our lives and how we function and this, of course, includes our love lives.
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, over 49 million people in the US have tried dating sites, while currently 20 percent of relationships were created online. Because of dating sites like eHarmony and Match.com, singles can meet other like-minded singles and take it to the next level.
However, an interesting study, "Competing by Restricting Choice: The Case of Search Platforms", published in the journal Management Science, looked into the analytics behind dating sites to see if there is a way of finding the best one to work for you. Apparently, it all depends on how you deal with rejection.
The study revealed that Match.com has a very large data base and allow its users to have access to multiple profiles, in comparison to eHarmony that gives their customers a limited amount of accounts to view. Even with the restriction from eHarmony, their users are still happy to pay 25 percent more of Match’s membership fee.
The researchers who carried out this study, Hanna Halaburda of the Bank of Canada and New York University, Mikolaj Piskorksi of IMD Business School, and Pinar Yildirim of the University of Pennsylvania, found that giving users a wider access to different dating profiles wasn’t necessarily a positive, as they were more likely to face competition, and thus rejection, due to each member also having the opportunity to view several other profiles.
"On a platform that offers more choice, agents also face more competition as their candidates also enjoy a larger choice set," Halaburda said in a statement.
It seems as though eHarmony’s closely guarded algorithm and choice for viewing fewer profiles is more successful as there is less of a chance a user may face rejection as every member has fewer options. Although those “with more patience or a higher utility from being alone" would rather use platforms that offer more choices as the fear of rejection isn't as strong.
It’s practical to think that a larger data base would effectively mean a much higher success rate, especially as eHarmony has 17 million users and Match.com have 24 million, but the study's findings suggest instead limiting competition offers a higher success rate as fewer people are less likely to reject you.
Don't believe it? Well, it appears the dating sites already know this, which is why “the effect resulting from self-selection also explains why a platform limiting choice is able to charge a higher price than the competitor offering more choices”.