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DATING

How to Hack Online Dating

Learn how to use online dating algorithms to find the person of your dreams

Man hugging woman in snow

If you’re single, you probably felt the same way most single people did on New Year’s Eve. That 2019 was going to be different and next year you would have someone special to kiss at midnight. According to the Independent, online dating activity goes off the charts January 1 and “Dating Sunday” is the best time to start looking for love. If you’ve tried online dating before and it didn’t work out, don’t worry. Thanks to economists and data analysts, you can now learn the truth about algorithms and finally hack online dating.

Economist’s Guide to Online Dating

Man and woman holding hands in restaurant
Couple holding hands in restaurant

In his book, Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating, Paul Oyer breaks down his experience with dating sites. Oyer, who met his girlfriend on JDate, says that the high amount of supply and demand in online dating reflects the ideal conditions for a thriving economy. With so many people using sites like OkCupid, it creates what’s known as a thick market.

If you’re a single, straight male ages 28-38, you’re in luck. Oyer states that men who meet these qualifications are in high demand when it comes to online dating. This is especially true in cities like New York, where the female population is demographically higher. For members of the gay community, San Francisco is the most LGBTQ friendly city and has a higher ratio of men.

As such, men under forty have a higher opportunity to be selective than men over forty. Oyer compares this to search theory, where buyers and sellers decide using what’s available to them is more convenient than expending the resources to find something better. If you’re in the high demand age range and haven’t met your match yet, just keep trying. But if you’re over that mark, keep reading.

Choose the Right Photo

Men's dating profiles from Bumble
Nice examples of Bumble dating profiles

Not surprisingly, Oyer says that when it comes to online dating, looks matter. A lot.

Oyer cites that a good looking person gets four times as many messages as the average person and twenty-five times more than someone considered below average. Furthermore, the top 5% of men get twice as many emails than the top 10%.

If you don’t feel you fall into these percentiles, don’t worry. Oyer advises keeping two things in mind: statistical discrimination and adverse selection. What this means is, people make assumptions about you based on the information given. From there, they will decide if they want to message you or not.

Post one or two photos that demonstrate your commitment, such as wearing business attire or interacting with kids. If you’re outgoing, post photos of your travels and nature hikes. People want to catch glimpses of your personal life, so linking to Instagram is a great strategy. As always, a smile goes a long way.

Write About Your Personality

Men's Online Dating Profiles
Examples of good Zoosk dating profiles

Amy Webb, a professor of strategic foresight, went on TED Talks to explain how she hacked online dating. Webb noticed the algorithm was doing a great job of matching people based on information, but not personality. So, she created a point system of the most important qualities she was looking for in a mate and used them to score her matches. Then, she created fake male profiles to gather information on other women.

Thanks to all the data collected, Webb rewrote her profile so well that she received over a thousand messages. According to Webb’s data, the smartest people write over three thousand words, but the most popular stick to about ninety-seven.

Man using online dating app on phone
Man reading messages on his phone

Webb advises using optimistic words like, fun, love, and family to steer the algorithm in your favor. Speak generally about your interests and avoid using specific movie titles. Just because you love Caddyshack 2, it doesn’t mean your match is going to feel the same way. (Unless your love for it is a dealbreaker, then by all means go for it)

Avoid making more than one reference to drinking. It gives the impression that you just like to have fun and, if you’re seeking a serious relationship, that’s not the way to go. If you have kids or a job that earns a modest living, make that clear to ward off people whose needs don’t match yours. The trick is to find someone who is comfortable with your situation and focuses on the qualities important to you.

Take a Chance

Couple kissing at sunset
Couple kissing at sunset

When scrolling through profiles, it’s so easy to be superficial. Imagine walking down the street and becoming infatuated with a stranger’s laugh or feeling captivated by the way someone holds a conversation. These are nuances you don’t get to experience if you’re put off by someone’s picture. Take a chance and read deeply into what someone says in their profile. You might have more in common with someone you initially disregarded than with that guy or girl who showed just a little bit more skin.

The bottom line is, make yourself approachable and never lie about what matters to you. Your perfect match is out there and he or she is ready to laugh about mischievous gopher movies with you. Or not. I hear Caddyshack 2 is a terrible movie.

If you need help finding the right dating site, check out our Online Dating Platform Listing. Have any more online dating hacks for our readers? Let us know in the comments. Happy hunting!

David Romo
Lifestyle blogger and content creator. I keep you entertained while your boss thinks you're working. After earning his BFA in digital filmmaking, David spent years honing his skills as a screenwriter and producer. He then took a chance and quit his day job to pursue writing full time. In an unexpected turn, David found a completely new role as a marketing associate and copywriter for GREY. Currently, he has one published book and is writing an adventure for a tabletop RPG.

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