If dating sites want to claim that their matching algorithm is scientifically valid, they need to adhere to the standards of science, which is something they have uniformly failed to do. In fact, our report concludes that it is unlikely that their algorithms can work, even in principle, given the limitations of the sorts of matching procedures that these sites use. - Researcher Eli FinkelI don't actually know what any of that means. He may very well be 100% right.
What I do know is, dating sites have worked for me. Both sites I've used faithfully (Plenty of Fish and OkCupid) say they use algorithms to suggest matches. Both ask questions about personalities and preferences, and say they use the answers to determine which users are the best matches.
Both good relationships. Ultimately, neither worked out long-term - but that was about chemistry, and personalities. Fundamentally, we were good matches, and both were worthwhile people in my life.
Obviously, the algorithms used on both those dating sites recognized something about each of us, and could tell a relationship might work. I don't think you can count on an algorithm for any more. Love involves people, and will always be imperfect. Sure, we can identify with a particular personality type or astrological sign or whatever - but everyone is the sum of their own individual experiences.
The beauty of online dating is being able to identify those things that are most important to you, and find like-minded people. From there, you can find those with whom you feel the "spark," and with whom you want to build a relationship.
Which is really all dating is - and an algorithm is as good a place to start as any.
As luck would have it, CNBC is airing a show called Love at First Byte: The Secret Science of Online Dating. It airs tonight (February 9) at 9pm.