Online Dating Meets the Scientific MethodS

Brain chemistry questionnaires, genetic testing: online dating sites are going to pretty extreme lengths to prove that their methodology is the most advanced. Because hey, then they can justify higher rates! But does any of it actually work?

The NY Times gives a rundown of a few sites that embrace Cupid's geekier side. For a $2000 lifetime membership, for example, ScientificMatch.com uses a DNA sample—from a cheek swab, sicko—to test for genetic markers in your immune system that may indicate compatibility. Chemistry.com employs a questionnaire developed by a biological anthropologist to match up temperaments for $50/month. And eHarmony, the granddaddy of them all, uses sociological variables to filter and sort its members for up to $46/month.

Online dating is a $976 million a year industry, so it's either working for some people or singles are very persistent/wealthy these days. But success rates are hard to measure, even for dating sites with a scientific slant. And whatever successes are found may not stem from fancy questionnaires as much as the self-selecting, pre-screened pool of people ready to find that special someone:

The sites attract cohorts of people interested in slowing down the online dating and mating process, in finding out more information about potential partners - or in ruling out unlikely suitors - before they graduate to the meet-and-greet stage.

And while $50 a month might sound expensive for meeting someone, the Times also points out that it's a heck of a lot less than a monthly tab at a single's bar. [NY Times]


Bad Valentine is our own special take on the beauty—and awkwardness—of geek love.