But one man’s folly is another man’s fortune: A large percentage of customers fall off the love wagon after finding their “one true love.” They keep coming back over and over again, producing a revenue stream that has a very long tail, says Herb Vest, CEO and founder of the dating site
They then narrow down the search by filtering prospects using criteria such as gender, ZIP code, race, religion, marital status and whether or not a person is a smoker.
Users filter through the results themselves, deciding on their own which prospects to pursue.
The technology that powers these dating sites ranges from incredibly simple to incredibly complicated.
Unsurprisingly, e Harmony has one of the most sophisticated data centers.
For example, if a customer clicked on many matches that were at the outset of his or her geographical range — say, 25 miles away — the system would assume distance wasn’t a deal-breaker and next offer more matches that were just a bit farther away.
“Our biggest challenge is the amount of data that we have to constantly score, move, apply and serve to people, and that is fluid,” Essas says.
Finally, there’s the biggest question of all — do these tech-driven, algorithm-heavy sites work any better to help people find true love than the local bar, church group or chance encounter in the street? • Deliver an acceptable range of probable matches and offer a variety of ways to pursue those prospects, including high-tech developments from video chat to photo-realistic avatars.
Armed with these questions, a passably decent head shot, and a very patient wife, I set out to discover what’s under the covers in the world of online dating. • Keep the quality of the prospect pool high by weeding out inactive and misbehaving users and by blocking the 10% or more of new accounts every day that are estimated to be scammers, con artists, criminals, sexual predators and other undesirables that can overwhelm a site and drive away paying customers.
These online dating services run on a curious mix of technology, science (some say pseudoscience), alchemy and marketing. Before communicating with matches, however, visitors must sign on as a paying member.
Under the covers, they combine large databases with business intelligence, psychological profiling, matching algorithms and a variety of communications technologies (is your online avatar ready for a little virtual dating? To succeed, a site needs to do the following: • Offer excellent response times.
“We wanted to take the basic concept of the Myers-Briggs indicator and apply that to relationships,” says Founder and CEO Duane Dahl.