Let’s Try To Fix Online Dating
One of the biggest problems with online dating is the vast number of messages that attractive women receive from men. This makes the online dating experience too frustrating for both sexes. Too few women get bombarded with too many messages. Those women are forced to weed through the terrible mediocrity of those messages. Ordinary men get fed up because their response rate is so low. This is a lose-lose proposition for everyone including the online dating company.
Another huge problem is that too many people don’t take online dating seriously enough. They don’t log in particularly frequently or respond enough to incoming messages. They also don’t even open messages before deleting them. This is not online dating, it’s “catalog” dating, a serious limitation with online dating where the assumption is that there is always another profile, another member of the opposite sex available for a date.
A solution to this is to limit the number of incoming messages a woman can receive in a certain interval of time. Even if she deletes the message(s), no more messages can be received until the next interval of incoming messages commences. Mix it up it further by introducing a random element of time, 30 days, then 17 days, then 23 days, etc. That interval is never revealed to any user.
When a woman receives the the maximum number of incoming messages for that given time period, her profile is not available for display, it is completely hidden. There is no incoming message queue or waiting list. As well, the more incoming messages and pace of those messages, the fewer number of future messages she could receive for the next incoming message time interval.
Here’s another bit of functionality that would very much stir up this new hypothetical online dating website. Once a certain threshold of incoming messages is reached and she hasn’t responded to any of them, a woman cannot send out any type of message to a man, not even a “flirt” or “wink”. She can still view profiles but even if she views them, the men are not notified that the woman has looked at their profiles. The ability to send outgoing messages is determined by the response to existing incoming messages.
As for that responses to incoming messages, there can be two options, “Start a correspondence”, and “No, thanks”. This is a simple check box. If the person receiving the incoming message is sent a message with the “Start a correspondence” option selected, the two may continue messaging each other regardless if the original receiver’s incoming message queue is full or not. If a “No, thanks” response message is sent. The recipient is made invisible to both users, permanently removing both from seeing each online again.
To ensure that the two people escalate into a phone call or text, the number of back and forth messages is limited also. One of the messages must include a phone number that might be validated through a text through the system. The purpose of all this involvement with technology in the communication is to help push along the corresponders into an actual date.
Other solutions would be to only allow message deletion to occur after it has been opened and the sender’s profile displayed. Deleting an unread message without reviewing a profile completely defeats the whole online dating process. Having users read messages and the associated profile before acting encourages using the online dating website seriously.
Of course, the profiles are validated so that scammers, catfishers, and other users with things to hide are not permitted to sign up. That automated technology now exists and is in use by at least one online dating website. This functionality will likely become the trend for the future given how scammers have saturated existing online dating websites.
By acknowledging that men and women behave differently with their online dating efforts, such functionality essentially acknowledges and supports those common online dating behaviors. There’s no attempt to inflict social expectations on the process. Yes, this new online dating would be for heterosexuals only.
This new functionality would be required for creating better online dating profiles. This would naturally include photos (for both sexes) and more involved text descriptions. There would be one section requiring that both male and female users describes what he/she offers a potential paramour. The minimum number of characters required for this section would be greater for women than men. Women still haven’t figured out they have to describe specifically what they have to offer in the context of attraction and dating.
This flips the online gender power dynamic. Attractive women (and a few men) must pay more to get more messages. Regular women pay the regular rates because they are not bombarded with messages. For those people, the free trial period that includes all functionality can be extended. Of course, if a woman wants to pay more to have her desirability validated more, she’s welcome to it. This also forces women to take online dating more seriously. With fewer incoming messages, she must evaluate the profiles more carefully and act on them by sending a response in a timely manner.
While this new functionality applies mostly to women, it can also be applied to men who get lots of incoming messages. They, too, would have incoming message limits applied just like the popular women. In effect, the sex of the person doesn’t impact the core functionality of limiting messages and other features. There are, however, some features and functions that are sex-specific. Men and women are different, especially in the context of attraction and dating.
These system features both slows down online dating yet speeds up parts of it. Women (all popular singles online, in actuality) must be slow to review profiles displayed through incoming messages yet quick to respond. The haste is enforced with the vanishing message and profile after a certain period of time. If the woman doesn’t respond, the man’s message and profile is completely hidden from that woman. Her rejection through inaction effectively turns into blocking a profile.
There would also be functionality to encourage users to be more serious.
Popular message recipients would be encouraged (the carrot) to log in more often – and therefore taking the process more seriously – by increasing the numbers of allowable incoming messages by a modest amount until an eventual limit is reached. That amount would need some additional research and would be based on algorithms that would dynamically change that amount.
The opposite of the login frequency carrot is the stick where the profile is completely removed from searchability if the login frequency drops below a certain threshold. Of course, warnings would be sent out. Additionally, if the woman doesn’t respond to messages within a certain time interval, her profile visibility on the website decreases to the point of complete invisibility, even if a user name search is done.
The text descriptions in profiles would have a minimum number of characters and photographs. The backend system would, of course, require the primary photo to be a face shot and any improper photo could be flagged for speedy removal. As profiles are validated, that face shot would match the user. Also, profiles could be flagged for not including a full body photo. Hell, the profile wouldn’t even get approved without such a photo.
For an interesting thought experiment, the system could screen for a list of prohibited profile terms like “princess”, “diva”, “queen”, or any phrase that speaks of excess entitlement. That list would be dynamically modified through a review process by the website moderators so that new profiles would be rejected with an appropriate error message so the user could modify the profile .
There would not be an Android or iOS version of the website. Squeezing in a bit of online dating while on the go is not healthy for dating in general. Because fewer messages are available to read, the person reading them shouldn’t be staring into some wee phone screen hoping to find a match while sitting at a stoplight. A personal computer or tablet displaying the full website is required. Here’s another thought experiment – the website can only be accessed when the user is completely alone. Camera and software technology in the PC or tablet could do that.
Also, there would be no algorithms to match people automatically. The user knows what he or she wants, not simply a person selected by a bit of software, regardless of how sophisticated it might be. I certainly believe in the power of technology but I also believe there are some human actions that cannot be replaced by computer programs.
With the weaknesses of conventional online dating causing increasing frustration despite it’s still growing popularity, there simply must be new solutions to address that frustration. Of course, the suggestions I presented comes under the “it’s so crazy, it just might work!” category.
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‘If you don’t respond within 24 hours of reading my message, you will be permanently blocked.’ A simple one-liner near the end of my old profile.
I had no trouble implementing this, even after a conversation had been started. If any foolish woman started game-playing in this regard, that was it. It was interesting watching my profile still get after-views from women I had blocked. Yeah, I see you. Too bad. . . Next!
“Women still haven’t figured out they have to describe specifically what they have to offer in the context of attraction and dating.” Half-right. The lack of description specifically tells me exactly what they have to offer. . . in the context of ‘use for vagina and nothing more’, heh heh.
You do realize, PM, that what you’re actually proposing in all your useful suggestions amounts to nothing less than making women uncomfortable, thereby ruining what ‘online dating’ is /really/ about for them? Such a bastard, you are — probably why I enjoy your commentary so much.
Message Gemini to know more. . .
You and I would probably have a great date, because having read you for awhile, I sense mitually appreciating the fresh air . No disrespect toward your spouse, if you are married, BTW.
There is nothing like being offensive into perpetuity online, right? 🙂
As an aside, I looked at your link regarding the automated technology.
“*We do not require pictures, because some people wish to maintain a level of privacy*. Rest assured that these members have been screened and verified by the same process used to verify all members.”
Something is not quite right, here.^^
A website with images of young, ‘perfect people’ — slim women and metro-sexual faggots.
Also, the criteria 1,3, and 6 for their background check makes this website useless for any man who has been falsely arrested on trumped-up charges of “abuse”.
Watched their “video” — Of course, the woman needing protection from the bad guy.
Article entry: “Even big girls need daddy’s help”.
I found this complaint-quote interesting: “The person (read: man) was a player”.
It appears that this valiDATE website was created to try to shield women from the effects of The Hamster and running on vagina tingles.
I assume non-exciting”nice guys”, or dudes without thick wallets, will still not stand a chance, though.
All the blog/articles contained therein were written by women who do not understand themselves (and perhaps men who have no Game). Apparent Rule #1 for first date (out of the ten): ‘Forget Dutch; as the man, you pick up the tab!’
I’ve actually had face-to-face meetings with the principals behind ValiDATE and so know more of the backstory behind this new online dating website. It’s based right here in Broward County, Florida.
According to the CEO of ValiDATE, only convictions are used for the criteria for approval. The CEO has a background in law enforcement (Florida Highway Patrol) and likely knows all too well about spurious accusations, especially around high conflict divorce.
It’s not just to shield women. The CEO was dating a woman with a criminal record and likely a cluster B personality and it took a lawyer to get the woman off his back. It was that experience that helped motivate him to create ValiDATE.
I actually offered to write the blog posts for ValiDATE because the current blog posts are just as you describe. It still might happen.
I proposed the opposite on another blog to fix online dating. Restricting initial posts from men would work too. It was not well recieved.
On a parallel note, Captain Capitalism has had some posts about nightclubs and how futile they are as a vehicle to meet women. After reading him, it seems that any successful vehicle is driven into the ditch over time.
Not suggesting anything about my perceived attractiveness or lack thereof, I had to comment on the simple brilliance in the solution you offered wrt limiting as per number of msgs : rate of time.
Personally, I have abandoned online dating attempts every single time I get back up on the horse to try again (beginning with a Yahoo site in 1999) because I become too overwhelmed with the responsibility I feel to not ignore any person”s real effort to communicate with me because I *invited* it by virtue of publically asking for attention.
I feel accountable to that and because I don”t plan ahead or ready myself for a deluge of incoming msgs, I wind up being out of integrity and not responding to anything beyond 20.
That is what I can manage unprepared. And not without sloppy form. In turn, I deactivate my profile for another 6 months to a year or forever until I give it a go.
Never had I considered having a functional and intelligently designed game plan *before* inviting interest.
And, I humbly would submit that it isn’t lack of having intelligence. It is because as a woman, I likely associate dating activity with that part of my brain given over to the squirrels.
Not very smart. And, now, I know. So, I will make that correction.
Thanks, in all due part, to your post. Again, thank you for the cud to chew!
Great ideas, unfortunately they’ll never be implemented because online dating works exactly how their creators intended it to work. It’s a free market, and the proprietors are selling a product which costs them little but which is in high demand. The product, however, is not matchmaking – it’s female validation. The online dating sites don’t actually want matches – matches (at least theoretically) remove customers from the potential income pool. What they want is people to log on and never log out, which is largely what they are getting. They do this by leveraging the inherent gender imbalance in dating to provide high octane doses of validation to the women, who in turn keep the men hooked with largely false hopes of matching.
Damn. Beat me to it…
I think they’re selling subscriptions and in some cases (POF) pageviews. The subscription sites are like gyms that want to keep you paying monthly regardless of whether you achieve your goals or even visit the facilities. On the pageview driven sites the advertisers are the customers and the software is designed to keep you searching, searching, searching in the most inefficient ways that get you served as many pages and ads as possible.
All good suggestions, but it’s unlikely that they’ll be implemented at any of the major, and popular online dating sites. Because actually successfully getting people together isn’t the main purpose of these sites. The main purpose, especially those that are pay sites, is to keep you on the site and keep paying as long as possible. Like real life, high-quality men and women will tend to do fine and inspire marketing trumpeting those successes to keep others chasing the brass ring.
I’ve largely given up on online dating, but that focuses me on more in-person interactions with better success.
I’m not sure online dating can be “saved” but I wish valiDATE success.
Exactly right, but maybe a new dating site implementing some of these suggestions could compete successfully? To do so, it’d need to be more appealing to the average woman than the existing options. Any lurking ladies care to offer an opinion?
You mean well, but you’d also have to make the options for men more appealing.
I have an inactive OKC profile that I really don’t put to use because I don’t answer questions or get too inolved in any sense. Hence, from what I hear, that keeps me from getting looks at more attractive women’s profiles. Granted, maybe OKC and attractive women are as common as Obama and displays of masculinity, so even answering questions created by goons may not matter and I’d have no reason to pay to uncover the phoney likes my profile has received.
Match had a free email day a few Sundays ago. That really sounded neat that I could now find out who has viewed and liked me since I was last a subscriber some years ago. No, not really. Mostly women approaching my mother’s age–great if you don’t want to start a family–and an occasional 75-year old grandmother tossed in along with a couple of obvious website-planted bots from several states away. Most of the younger women don’t stay put for long assuming they aren’t under the impression that sarcastic “humor” and going to school well into their 30s is desirable to desirable men in teh first place. Sigh.
High-quality folks, in general, just won’t have to use OLD. Even then, like LS is getting at, I do a lot better getting aproached in person since I’m not reduced to a bunch of numbers and meaningless words with no soul behind them. 5’2″ women face-to-face don’t care that I’m 5’11” rather than 6’3″ like a typical OLDing woman would demand.
I only got two dates on PoF before I quit the service. It typically takes 30 messages for a decent lead. I am 6′ 2″ fit good looking guy in his early 30s and my results were surprisingly terrible. Both girls I went out with were 7s at best and they told me they get over 100 messages a day. I escalated quickly and got make outs with both but no second date. I can’t compete with 100 guys a day.
I think the future of online dating is outsourcing the work to appointment setters in developing countries. I know a few guys that have been crushing it for 70$ a week.
Not sure I’d want to find myself on a date that the woman agreed to only so she could get access to more profiles.
Here’s why online dating, and any other kind of grown-up dating, is a mess. Nearly all the women who can make relationships work are already in one by their mid-to-late twenties, and they stay in it for the rest of their lives. Based on the marriage, divorce and never-married stats, that’s just over half of them. The other half either don’t get married, or simply don’t have what it takes to make domestic relationships work and so get divorces or never get into any domestic relationships.
A woman in the dating scene after about age twenty-eight, or back in it after a failed marriage or LTR, is not really looking for partners. That would be far too… reality-directed.
She is doing it to preserve her self-image as a woman who is ready for, wants and capable of, having a relationship. To do that, she doesn’t need to actually meet a man. She just has to go through the motions of looking for one. And judging by the behaviour of some of the women in my office, her self-image doesn’t need her to do that for long.
And that’s why no amount of tweaking the rules will make online dating even remotely functional. The women aren’t there to find a partner. They are there to manage their image of themselves. Pure solipsism.
For an interesting thought experiment, the system could screen for a list of prohibited profile terms like “princess”, “diva”, “queen”, or any phrase that speaks of excess entitlement.
Also add “friend”, “friends” and “sarcasm”.
No guy cares for women who lie about their reasons for joining OLD sites. No woman has friends that point them to these sites and admit it with a straight face. No guys wants to know what a woman’s friends think about her, either. Knowing how women fluff up their fat friend’s esteem online, they won’t get the truth, period. We all know that women with a sarcastic “humor” aren’t attractive.