It’s Official – Online Dating Has Lost Its Stigma

Love

New research study claims that online dating has a "shopping cart" mentality. Dating sites disagree.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you probably thought the stigma associated with online dating had already disappeared. However, a team of five researchers has published a report in the February issue in the journal, Psychological Science in the Public Interest to spread the news we already knew. It's ok to tell your friends you've joined an online dating site.

This is good news for singles in the U.S. as the research analysis says that Internet dating is now the second most common method of matchmaking, behind personal introductions from friends. Their report also claims it’s a hit-or-miss effort while looking for love online.

This should be no surprise to singles and couples alike, as just about everyone knows someone who’s met their significant other or spouse online. At the Super Bowl party I attended, two out of three couples met online; one on JDate, and another on Fitness Singles, both considered niche-dating sites.

Professor Harry Reis, one of the five co-authors of the research study cautioned that comparing large numbers of potential dates might encourage a “shopping mentality.” I secretly wondered if this meant we’d have an “Add to Cart” option before checking out. This latest research also looks down upon the scientific matching and algorithms that many sites such as eHarmony have successfully woven into their profile sign up and matching process.

Dating algorithms and scientific matching were the subject of a heated panel at the recent Internet Dating Conference in Miami, where Dr. Eli J. Finkel, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, said there was no science behind the algorithms. OkCupid’s CEO and co-founder Sam Yagan and Dr. Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle, creator of the Personality Profiler for online dating site Perfect Match vehemently disagreed. The debate for love got a bit heated. The dating sites stood by their list of questions to help singles meet better matches, whether through math or science.

On February 9, 201, CNBC will be airing an in-depth documentary called Love at First Byte, where executives from several online dating sites including Match.com, eHarmony, and OkCupid will discuss the business of finding love online in time for Valentine’s. One thing's for sure, online dating is a hot-topic in the news this Valentine's Day.
 

Follow me on Twitter @JulieSpira and on Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert

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