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John Tierney has a piece in the New York Times, Hitting it Off, Thanks to Algorithms of Love.

The psychologists and academics who created the personality tests at PerfectMatch eHermony and Chemistry.com are mentioned. Chemisty in particular is singled out for it’s attacks on eHarmony.

Until outside scientists have a good look at the numbers, no one can know how effective any of these algorithms are, but one thing is already clear. People aren’t so good at picking their own mates online. Researchers who studied online dating found that the customers typically ended up going out with fewer than 1 percent of the people whose profiles they studied, and that those dates often ended up being huge letdowns. The people make up impossible shopping lists for what they want in a partner, says Eli Finkel, a psychologist who studies dating at Northwestern University’s Relationships Lab.

Without peer review, as far as I’m concerned, personality tests on dating sites are a shot in the dark. I don’t care if it’s supported by decades-old tests or brand new insight and analysis. Without peer review, it’s all marketing hyperbole.

Tierney found a study done by eHarmony in 2005 titled Helping Singles Enter Better Marriages Using Predictive Models of Marital Success.

I would like to see a study of how effective various matchmaking systems are. Have a series of people join sites with matching algorithms, go out on dates, and review the results.

Remember, a dating site is only as good as it’s members.

The irony of the situation is that singles don’t care. They want results, not science. How in the world is someone supposed to gauge the effectiveness of Chemistry and eHarmony?

Tierney is asking for online matchmaking success stories, horror stories as well. The comments are full of personal stories of people trying various dating sites.

This one summed it up for me:

I hope science will be successful. I have already 5 wives, and none is the right one for me.

Interesting marketing fact: eHarmony is claiming responsibility for 2 percent of the marriages in America last year, nearly 120 weddings a day. In the past, the number touted was 45 wedding a day.