Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dating sites need new algorithms

Occasionally, dating sites send me an email and tell me that one of the best matches out there for me is - my ex-husband.

While that's clearly not 100% accurate - it does lend a certain amount of validity to the online dating process. After all, even though we got divorced, we are still really good friends. Not only that - we were together for fourteen years.

It makes sense that "on paper" we'd be a good match. Ages, education levels, interests, political/social views, personality types are all taken into account in those match suggestions. Obviously, the "spark" or connection can't be predicted, but you have to start by meeting someone. The criteria dating sites use to suggest who you should meet is as good a place to start as any.

Most of what's used is public information - what you share in your profile. Your interests, what you're looking for in a relationship, whether you have kids, whether you want kids, if you're single or divorced, how long your longest relationship lasted, education, work and interests, etc.

But doesn't it make sense that dating sites could also use some of the private information to match - or not match?

My ex and I share a last name, because I never went back to my maiden name after the divorce was final. So...the site thinks that two people with the same last name would be a good match? I suppose it can't totally be disqualified - there are very common names out there that two people could share, and not be related.

You might wonder, what could be more awkward than being matched to your ex-husband?

Being matched to your brother - which happened to my friend recently. She and her single brother live near each other, are close in age, and have a lot of the same interests. Match thinks they're like 90% likely to be an excellent couple.


1 comment:

  1. Haha. I was always amused when it kicked back friends for me to be "matches" with I could see it on paper...but was MORE amused by some of the people it thought I would be a match to. Really? The guy with 4 cats, a highschool diploma who was set against kids? Not so much.