A senior editor at Fast Company, Feifer met his wife Jennifer Miller, a freelance journalist and author, through Ok Cupid after narrowing his search criteria to two requirements: “Jewish” and “journalist.”Feifer and Miller told me they didn’t start using Ok Cupid with the hopes of finding their soulmates.Instead, both joined the site after ending long-term relationships and moving to a new city without many friends.The strongest predictors of a good, functional relationship are how a couple interacts, and their ability to handle stress — two things that science says current dating website algorithms can’t predict and online profiles can’t demonstrate.It doesn’t help that these algorithms are closely guarded trade secrets.
With some goading from a friend — who somehow convinced me that the stigma against online dating was no more — I joined Ok Cupid and started scanning the thousands of matches that popped up on my screen.The majority of the surveys, studies, and reports evaluating online dating sites’ efficacy are paid for by the companies themselves, leading to some possibility for biased results.Plus, many big sites have been hesitant to allow independent researchers to look at their matching algorithms in depth. Of the 13 online daters I talked to for this article, only one believes algorithms can make successful matches. “I don’t believe that an algorithm can match me up, and I don’t want to match me up,” said Jason Feifer.“It’s no different than if you meet someone on the street.The same rules apply,” said Steven C., a yoga instructor who met his partner on [email protected] (a dating site that’s no longer active) 15 years ago.
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