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Thread: Is the model of online dating doomed to failure?

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Is the model of online dating doomed to failure?

    My name is Dan, and I'm a 39 year old single man who finds himself using a dating Web site.

    ("Hello Dan")

    On paper, I'm a good catch. I've got a graduate degree, and I work in a prominent job in a local government agency. I own a nice house in a decent neighborhood. I've got all my hair. My height is average - 5' 10". I tipped the scale at 165 pounds yesterday; 10 less than in January, but with about 10 more pounds of gut to lose. (I'm getting a membership at the local JCC next week, to firm up what will remain.) I'm fairly attractive, too.

    However, in the world of online dating, it seems like I'm invisible. For every 10 to 15 letters I send out, I get only one response, which may or may not be positive. I compose literate, unique letters -- not cut 'n paste -- with no content that could be considered offensive or sexual. I only pursue women that I feel are "in my league," who are looking for someone with my stats; I won't write to a woman who is looking for a man that is 5' 11" or taller, 38 and younger, athletic, or with an income range that is above mine. Still ... nothing.

    Men everywhere online lament that "women never respond to personal ads." Women usually respond with "it's because we're swamped." I think this will lead to the eventual downfall of most online dating services.

    Why? Let's use an analogy.

    Imagine a society where ten hour workweeks are the norm. There are 1,000 job vacancies for mid-level professional positions, and 1,000 qualified applicants. Those doing the hiring almost never headhunt, because they'll always have plenty of qualified applicants. Each of those 1,000 applicants applies to 100 jobs. Each of those doing the hiring will have 100 resumes to look at. They all pick what they feel are the best of the best that apply. Those lucky "best of the best" -- maybe 200 of those 1,000 job-seekers -- end up with a job offer. Because there such a short workweek, they can work four or five jobs if they want.

    If the employer doesn't allow moonlighting, they can easily find another job; they're the best of the best, after all. Rather than replace the former employee with the second or third choice of the previous applicants, they readvertise, get 100 more applicants, and again choose only the top one, even though the others are suitably qualified. The employers complain, saying that all employees do is hop from job to job; that it's so hard to find and retain good workers. Most job-seekers complain that nobody will hire them, and that employers only hire the overqualified, despite what they might say otherwise.

    Some of the 800 that didn't get jobs tell of their plight on a Web-based message board. They're told that maybe they shouldn't be seeking professional work, despite their degrees, qualifications, and talent. Instead, they're told, they should find a job at McDonalds or Wal-Mart. They're also told that such jobs should be considered equal to the positions that better suits their knowledge, skills and interests; that they should look past the low pay, poor working conditions and lack of personal fulfillment. If they're not willing to consider the cart retrieval boy job at Wal-Mart as equal to a mid-level planning or environmental science position, they're just too picky or elitist.

    Now, let's pretend there's 3,000 job seekers, and 1,000 jobs. Welcome to the world of online dating.

    In the world of online dating, it seems that small group of men enjoy a disproportionately large amount of dates, sexual encounters, and relationships that may or may not last, monopolizing the average-and-better women, while the larger group of average-and-better men will have great difficulty meeting peers. Because a relatively small percentage of men are dating a relatively large amount of women, the men will be tagged "players," and women will think less of the men they meet online. With the majority of men getting ignored unless they date down or just happen to beat the tough odds, they'll get frustrated and leave. The model falls apart.

    Fortunately, my account with a popular online dating service is free; the only cost being the erosion of my self-esteem. I can afford to stick with it, hoping that maybe I'll beat the odds. For those that are paying, I think it's a huge ... well, a huge marathon. You can complete a marathon, and even finish towards the front of the pack; an accomplishment in itself. However, there's a small group of runners from Kenya that win every marathon they participate in. Unless you're a Kenyan runner, you're just not going to win.

    What say you?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    What say you?
    I say you should check out QueenB's thread here

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Floridays's avatar
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    Have you posted your picture? One of my co-workers is doing the online dating thing, I think she signed up with eharmony, and she said that people will not respond if the other doesn't have a photo.

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Floridays
    Have you posted your picture? One of my co-workers is doing the online dating thing, I think she signed up with eharmony, and she said that people will not respond if the other doesn't have a photo.
    I don't want this thread to turn to a discussion of my online dating strategy. Just to get it out, though ...

    Yes, I've got accurate photos in my profile. No ex-girlfriends or Hooters waitresses, no distant mountaintop shots, no driver's license or employee ID photos, no blurry emo-style webcam images shot at strange angles, nothing shirtless, and nothing where I'm showing off my material belongings.

    No, my profile is not staid, cliche-filled, self-centered, a long checklist, or littered with comments that could be seen as offensive or immature, such as "no fat chicks he he he".

    No, I do not send out form letters, make sexual overtones, imply a future relationship, have a tone of desperation, or suggest an immediate meeting.

    Yes, my profile is honest about my height, weight, age, education, career, and marital status (or lack thereof). I do not list my income; it's just below the border of what's considered a low category and a high category.

    No, I don't write to women who haven't logged onto the dating service in weeks, months or years. I only write to women who are active, who have logged on in the past few days.

    Yes, I include a munged e-mail address that passes unaltered through the filters of the service, in case the woman on the other end is not a subscriber.

    According to all common and published wisdom regarding online dating, I'm doing everything right.

    That's all I'll say.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Dan, one of the reasons you may not be getting many responses (other than women being swamped) is that maybe they've found someone else interesting before you came along, and are corresponding with that guy, and not interested in juggling two or more guys.

    I for one, won't initiate discussion with anyone on-line if I'm getting interested in one guy, on-line or not.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    In the world of online dating, it seems that small group of men enjoy a disproportionately large amount of dates, sexual encounters, and relationships that may or may not last, monopolizing the average-and-better women, while the larger group of average-and-better men will have great difficulty meeting peers. Because a relatively small percentage of men are dating a relatively large amount of women, the men will be tagged "players," and women will think less of the men they meet online. With the majority of men getting ignored unless they date down or just happen to beat the tough odds, they'll get frustrated and leave. The model falls apart.

    What say you?
    Well, if that is at all accurate, it sounds a lot like normal dating -- at least from what I understand. Most men seem to have trouble getting a date at all and a few seem to get pretty much all the action they want. <shrug>

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Well, if that is at all accurate, it sounds a lot like normal dating -- at least from what I understand. Most men seem to have trouble getting a date at all and a few seem to get pretty much all the action they want. <shrug>
    Well the next step in the thread of that dicussion is to start bashing the other gender for their shallowness. Personally, I've always observed dating (on- or off-line) to be an ethics-free zone; everyone talks a good game that they care more about personality than appearance, are looking for a "real" relationship with a "mature" partner, etc. but then they go out and all line up for a shot at one of the small group of very attractive and compliant men or women out there.

    I suppose I'm a pessimist as regards this topic. Blame my recent ex-girlfriend

  8. #8
    If the model Dan describes is accurate --and I have no reason to doubt that it isn't -- then I think Dan is absolutely correct. Too much frustration will lead to people trying the next new thing to come along, or try the old ways again, or give up entirely. Maybe that's why new dating sites seem to keep popping up all the time.
    Je suis Charlie

  9. #9
         
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    Hey Dan, you say your joining the local JCC to start working out...odds are you will meet more women there that you may have even more in common with than those online...I was listening to a talk show this morning and htey were talking aobu tonline dating..one of the guys said "If my wife and I had written all of our interests/and such down for an online dating service, we never would have been matched up" ...I think thats true, meeting people in person you feel and instant chemistry (or you dont) and the process can take a lot less time/energy. I don't have any problem with online dating services, jus ttrying to think about other ways to meet people...being at the local J seems to be a good way...

  10. #10
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I would suggest that you read “If I am so wonderful, why am I still single?” It is a good book, and I think that it would help you in your quest to find the right woman. It showed me what I was doing wrong, and what I was not doing enough of. I was surprised at how many more women I started meeting once I started to look at other places to go for lunch, coffee, library, and other places. I also told all my friends all the benefits of them setting me up. (Many of them tired) But the biggest thing was for me to be truly honest as to what I wanted in a woman. You said that you were looking for woman who were in your league. WHY? It drives me crazy when I hear people say things like that. Dan, the only reason that those woman are your of our league is because you won’t contact them. If you contact them then boom, just like that they are in your league. You never know, maybe they dated the male model type who is stuck on him self, and they realize that they want an attractive guy who has a real life. You often see those hotties walking with some guy and you ask your self, how did he end up with her? He asked. True there is sometimes other things involved, but I suggest that you at least send them a letter. The worst that can happen is that they say no, or if it is on line they don’t answer, then who cares. You don’t back down when some multi billion dollar multi country company wants to put a 1000 square foot sign on top of their building, when your the only one reviewing the plans. NO, you tell Wal Mart that they have a snow balls chance in hell of getting it approved, and send the plan back along with a complimentary copy of your sign ordinance.

    If anything, I am guessing that you are under shooting your chances, and these woman think that your out of your league. STEP IT UP.

    Depending on the web site that you use, they may change your e-mail address even if it is written in when you send messages to non-paying members. I know that many of them are doing that now. What I did to get around it, is thought of it like a spam bot. It was michaelskis at (what ever the last part is) so that they could not pick it up.

    The human soul is limited only by what you are not willing to let it achieve.

    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Well, if that is at all accurate, it sounds a lot like normal dating -- at least from what I understand. Most men seem to have trouble getting a date at all and a few seem to get pretty much all the action they want. <shrug>
    That is because the guys who do get what they want go after what they want, not what they think that they deserve. I have tons of dates, had woman issues, but I realized that I have never met a woman who is too good for me... well, maybe the girl that I am with now. But that she said yes because I asked.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  11. #11
    Is the model of online dating doomed to failure?
    For most, yes.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by LPA
    Well the next step in the thread of that dicussion is to start bashing the other gender for their shallowness. Personally, I've always observed dating (on- or off-line) to be an ethics-free zone; everyone talks a good game that they care more about personality than appearance, are looking for a "real" relationship with a "mature" partner, etc. but then they go out and all line up for a shot at one of the small group of very attractive and compliant men or women out there.

    I suppose I'm a pessimist as regards this topic. Blame my recent ex-girlfriend
    Sorry that you feel that way. I don't happen to think men are "shallow" and I am not in the habit of engaging in man-bashing. I do think dating is generally not a good system for finding a potential long-term relationship. I have said that before in this forum.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The Irish One
    For most, yes.
    I don't know that it's online dating is doomed anymore than in person dating is doomed. It's hard work - any way you look at it. Finding the right person takes effort (that's why it's so good when we find it).
    All dating has issues. Once you figure out that you're doing it correctly, (in theory) you don't have to do it anymore!!
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Arrggghh.....

    Thank GOD I'm married and don't have to deal with any of the crap you singles are shafted with..... End.

    har har har......The One laughing all the way home to his lovely wife.....
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  15. #15
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I think it is doomed. It is way too easy for people to make all kinds of false statements about themselves, which has probably led to skepticism & cynicism on the part of the viewers. I think LPA was on target with the statement that online dating is an ethics-free zone. It's a lot harder to keep up a charade when it involves physically approaching someone rather than digitally. Of course, finding opportunities to interact with other singles can be hard to find. (I tried to keep this gender-neutral)

    I don't know what to tell ya, Dan. You seem like a good find on paper and I'm sure you are in person. I sometimes wonder if the same principle applies to dating that does to job-hunting: that it's easier to find a job/date when you already have a job/date.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  16. #16
    I don't know that it's online dating is doomed anymore than in person dating is doomed. It's hard work - any way you look at it. Finding the right person takes effort (that's why it's so good when we find it).
    All dating has issues. Once you figure out that you're doing it correctly, (in theory) you don't have to do it anymore!!
    I'll second that

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Future Planner's avatar
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    My experiences with online dating were disasterous because 1) people out and out lie about everything and anything 2) they severely distort the truth or 3) their perceptions are wildly different than mine about what constitues intelligence, education, attractiveness etc. etc. I think number 3 is actually a valid part of the difficulty of online dating - perceptions.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian nuovorecord's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Fortunately, my account with a popular online dating service is free; the only cost being the erosion of my self-esteem.
    Dan,

    Here's my $0.02 on this subject, since I used online dating for about 5 years and found my wife through that medium.

    The challenge for guys is to make yourself stand out from the crowd, because guys out number the women by at least 2:1, maybe more. Plus, they're the ones doing most of the initiating, so the women are slammed with email. I ran into this same problem initially. If you haven't already, I'd suggest spending an evening reading through the GUY's entries and see what the competition is selling. From what I heard from the women I met and dated via the Internet, most guys talk about their car/boat/stereo/bodily measurement/etc. Women are more interested in who a guy is - his goals, dreams, values, ability and willingness to commit to a LTR, etc. Maybe emphasizing those types of things in your profile would help. Also, if you haven't, put in your profile that you are open to receiving email. Some women are shy about approaching guys, even online, amazing as it seems. After I changed my profile to reflect more of those things, I began getting email from women.

    IMHO, the free dating sites are a waste of time, because every yahoo guy out there is using them. The pay sites (it would seem) reduce the competition level due to the financial commitment. I used Match.com successfully, but there are other good sites as well. I never met anyone interesting from a free site.

    Like I said, I met my wife after 5 years of internet dating and it was worth every minute and dollar of the experience. We have a great relationship and every day gets better. And, not to brag, but she read my profile and paid the $25 for a membership to Match.com just to send me an email. She definitely wasn't interested in me because of my looks or possessions!!!

    Good luck!
    Last edited by nuovorecord; 18 Mar 2005 at 6:31 PM.
    "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America." - Bill Clinton.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Sorry that you feel that way. I don't happen to think men are "shallow" and I am not in the habit of engaging in man-bashing. I do think dating is generally not a good system for finding a potential long-term relationship. I have said that before in this forum.
    Sorry, I didn't mean to seem like I was accusing you of being on the verge of a man-bashing binge, just that that's where it seemed like the conversation was heading.

    I haven't (obviously) been around this board long enough to see where you've said dating isn't a great system, but I think I agree. One standard I've tried to use--in order to prevent myself from Seinfeld-esque nitpicking--is to ask myself whether I could deal with being shoved into an arranged marriage with this person. Surprising how often the answer is yes....

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by LPA
    Sorry, I didn't mean to seem like I was accusing you of being on the verge of a man-bashing binge, just that that's where it seemed like the conversation was heading.

    I haven't (obviously) been around this board long enough to see where you've said dating isn't a great system, but I think I agree. One standard I've tried to use--in order to prevent myself from Seinfeld-esque nitpicking--is to ask myself whether I could deal with being shoved into an arranged marriage with this person. Surprising how often the answer is yes....
    No problem.

    To try to catch you up on some of my comments in this forum: I have been on maybe half a dozen dates in my life and didn't like the experience. I got married at 19 and we have been married 20 years. He was my best friend from high school and we also knew each other through another social circle that had nothing to do with school. We are now legally separated and getting divorced. The divorce is amicable and neither of us regrets getting married. Among other things: he has been in the military 19 years and most guys his age in the military are fairly recently married or are on marriage number 3 or 4. All things considered, I think it is a good track record.

    I don't particularly plan to "date" in the future. Just hanging out, I have had a few marriage proposals in the last couple of years, to which I mostly replied "I am in no position to make such promises: I am not even divorced yet." (or something along those lines). To me, a "relationship" is based on relating, not dating. You do that by talking, mostly, or doing things together that you both would likely do even if you didn't know each other. Sometimes, you do that by expanding each other's horizons into things the other person wouldn't normally pursue on their own. But I don't think you do it by engaging in "empty" activities as an excuse to be together. For the most part, I view dating as a "meat market" scenario and I want no part of it. No offense intended to anyone, it just doesn't work for ME.

  21. #21
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nuovorecord
    IMHO, the free dating sites are a waste of time, because every yahoo guy out there is using them. The pay sites (it would seem) reduce the competition level due to the financial commitment. I used Match.com successfully, but there are other good sites as well. I never met anyone interesting from a free site.
    I've got a free lifetime Match.com membership. I signed up a couple of weeks after Match first went online -- 1996 or so. For the first several months, match.com membership was free, to build up a mamber base. After they became a pay site, all of the members who signed up in its first months were given free lifetime "charter memberships."

    It's not as if there are millions that have free Match - there still weren't many online in the early days, and I really didn't start meeting people through it until 2000 or so, when the membership base became large enough so you could choose from more than five or ten people in your age group in a large-ish city. In the early days, my response rate was terrific - maybe half of the letters I sent out would get a positive response, and I'd get an e-mail from a woman -- I mean a datable woman, not a Jean Teasdale-type or a 38 year old grandmother who likes pickup trucks, Jesus, #3 and "Harlie's" -- once or twice a week. Mailfade was a problem, but I had a moderate amount of success in an environment where the competition was very tough -- the athletic, newly wealthy dot-com studs that were everywhere in Denver at the time. No long term relationships formed from the dates I had, but I did meet some women that became good friends; not "let's just be friends" friends, but actual friends.

    As match.com membership grew, my response rate, and the rate of datable women writing to me without my contacting them first, gradually fell. Now, maybe one in 15 women I contact will respond, I meet a smaller percentage of those that do write back then I did five years ago, and I've only had three or four unsolicited e-mails from datable women since I moved here about 16 months ago.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I have always thought we should have a cyburbia dating service. At least with another planner, your spouse/S.O. would understand all the late meetins and such.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    ... I do think dating is generally not a good system for finding a potential long-term relationship. ...
    And so how are people suppose to meet and get to know each other? ....Go to Islamic law, I guess. Oh, I dread another long post....why did I do this?
    Annoyingly insensitive

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    And so how are people suppose to meet and get to know each other? ....Go to Islamic law, I guess. Oh, I dread another long post....why did I do this?
    Poof! Your wish is granted: No long post. I have no desire to even try to tackle such a question publically at this time. I have to pack and catch a train in the morning.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    Hmm... well I've never been into dating service sites or anything like match.com or such....

    Sure... I met my GF online, but it was through IRC/Forums. Sadly for the older singles around here, this is not an option, unless you count sites like this.

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