Scandalous OKCupid Experiment Exposes Our Greatest Online Dating Fear

bad dateBummer dating news for some of us: OKCupid has been experimenting on you. A couple of their tests were pretty harmless. There was one where they threw out a profile featuring a sexy photo of a bikini babe and no description at all. Her fake profile quickly became among the most popular because duh: Hot, scantily clad chick. But another experiment they did completely defeats the whole point of online dating -- and could make you lose faith in it altogether.

Or it could just confirm what you've long suspected about online dating.

Regardless, this is going to seriously peeve a lot of single women out there.


You know how you're supposed to get matched up with people you're most compatible with? Supposedly through the magic of math (and all those quizzes and questionnaires), they're supposed to be able to align you with your best possible matches.

Well, sometimes OKCupid would tell you you're compatible with a "bad match," just to see what you two would do.

Guess what? Bad matches would interact with each other anyway. You wouldn't pick up on the incompatibility right off the bat. But guess what else? This did not lead to any great romances. People would chat and quickly find out how incompatible they are and move on.

OKCupid founder Christian Rudder described the website's experiments in a blog post saying, "that's how websites work." But does this experiment kind of go beyond the usual website data gathering? Is there a bit of bait-and-switch going on here?

What if you hired a matchmaker who was just randomly drawing names out of a hat? Or worse, deliberately matching you up with men she knew you'd be incompatible with, just to see what would happen?

I guess the one upside here is that at least we know we really can trust ourselves: We do know when we're incompatible with someone, online or in real life. It's hard to put yourself out there to the world and dangle your heart before strangers. There's always that first date, that first conversation, your first chance to get to know each other. We worry about missing red flags or getting strung along. But I think, when we're really paying attention, we know more than we think we know.

Even if we can't always rely on a website to tell us who we're compatible with, at least we can rely on our own judgment most of the time.

Do you trust anyone, online or in real life, to match you with compatible people?


Image © iStock/CREATISTA

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