Anyone who has ever spent time on a dating site would probably tell you they’re fully aware of how cringe the entire experience – and many of the people on there – are.
That said, you don’t really know the depths of the horror until you’ve witnessed it from behind the scenes.
These 14 people have worked for one app or another, and they have some stories.
14. The police sometimes get involved.
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I ran operations for an online dating company (notably not affiliated with Match). From database analytics I can tell you a few things. Men initiate contact around 80% of the time in straight matchmaking, and if you are a woman looking to date other women and you simply initiate contact with another woman you have a good chance of success simply because it’s very very very common for women to match but then neither initiates contact. IIRC we were able to determine that it takes on average about 3 dates before sex happens (I don’t recall how we worked that out, I’m not a data analyst, but presumably it was some keyword based algorithm looking at chat messages).
We got so many requests for information from the police that we had an informal system with them, to save them from wasting time getting warrants for information about people who we didn’t have data on, they would ask about a particular name/email/whatever other identifier and we would just say yes we have data about them or no we don’t, and if we did they’d then go get the warrant to get a copy of it.
The other thing I can tell you from our analytics, that really shouldn’t be at all surprising, is to get some decent profile photos. Go get your talented friend or just hire a photographer to take some really nicely-lit well-composed photos of yourself and watch your match rate soar.
13. Be yourself.
Ok so I didn’t work with a dating company per se… But I helped software engineers optimize their profiles.
Men get VERY FEW matches, regardless of how good their profile is.
Women get A LOT of matches, but most of those matches are useless.
Edit: this has gotten a lot of attention, so I wanted to share my basic advice.
Don’t try to appeal mildly to EVERYONE. Appeal strongly to a small subset of people. Emphasize who you are.
Show don’t tell — what makes a person want to date you? Will you impress them with your volunteer work? Will you bring them fun places? Will you make them laugh?
Get good photos. If you have to, get a friend with a good camera to take photos of you multiple times over a day with several changes of clothes.
be brutally honest. Do you need to go to the dentist because your teeth are gray? Go. Do you need to get a haircut? Go somewhere that charges $50 a haircut and tell them to do what they want (if male). Do your clothes fit? Ask a fashionable friend. Remember: people are judging you on your appearance as much as you are judging them. They can’t see you’re kind of funny or interesting. They can see if you’re well groomed and making an effort.
Any more advice and I charge $50 USD an hour 😉
12. Don’t give up too soon.
There was a post about 1-2 months ago on subreddit (Dating_Advice) which explained the best way to use Tinder to your benefits.
It was something like, ”don’t like everybody” also” don’t like girls who put their instagram in profiles because most of the time they won’t respond to you and they just want follow” ”instead focus on girls who have nice bio and over time 1-2-3 weeks algorithm is gonna learn you and it’s gonna match you with potential candidate.”
At first you might have 1-2 matches but over time you gonna get more and more.
Most of the people give up after 4 days, there isn’t enough time for algorithm to learn you.
11. Some interesting stats.
Guys swipe right on 47% of profiles. Women only swipe right on 12%.
I knew some guys would swipe right more than women, wasn’t prepared for how little women swipe right!
edit: Here’s some more…
Searching for serious or casual relationships for men vs women:
61% of men want something serious while 38% want something casual
87% of women want something serious while only 13% want something casual
It’s worth noting on that last one that it’s partially because of a difference in how men and women would describe themselves if they’re not sure.
Women would rather say ‘Something serious’ if they’re not sure to see how something goes but happy for it to turn casual if they’re not feeling it. While men would prefer to say ‘Something casual’ and then happy for it to turn serious if they like them.
This is why we’ve given in and added a ‘Not sure’ option in our big update next week.
Feedback on chats/users:
We’re unique in that we only let you chat to three users at a time, so you have to end a chat to talk to someone new. When you end a chat you have to give (private feedback).
Here’s some of the feedback people choose (you can pick more than one):
34% ghosted/didn’t say anything
12% great chat
11% polite and respectful
11% not enough in common
8% no chemistry
8% hard to talk to
Why people ghost:
We call ourselves the anti-ghosting app because we notify you if someone replaces your chat with someone new (since you can only talk to three at a time). Doesn’t stop rejection but at least you’re not left wondering and waiting!
We did some research with users to find out why people ghost on dating apps (they could choose more than one answer):
43% Avoid the awkwardness of saying I wasn’t interested
37% They said/did something I didn’t like
36% Was too busy and then it was too late
32% Couldn’t be bothered to keep replying
28% I forgot to reply
25% Couldn’t think of a reply
23% Too many other people to respond to
22% I’ve never ghosted anyone!
Source: I’m the founder of a dating app
edit 2: Thanks for all the awards, support and kinds words, seriously means a lot! Have tried to answer as many questions as I can and might even do a proper AMA when we launch our big update next week if there’s interest
10. The odds are not in your favor.
You won‘t find anyone from these companies that will reveal anything crazy, but what people should know is that dating sites/apps are legit 80% men. So unless you are devilishly handsome or have something else to compensate for a lack of looks, you’re just not gonna get anywhere.
Imagine there’s 100 people on a dating app, 80 men and 20 women. In reality maybe 5-7 of those women are worth pursuing, because obviously not every woman is attractive. You are competing with 79 other dudes for 5-7 women. Your chances are slim to none assuming you’re even average.
So long story short you’re 1000x better off flirting and getting numbers irl as opposed to being another card in the deck on some mediocre app.
9. Seems legit.
Approximately 9,000% of women from the Pacific Northwest love adventure.
Addicted to Travelling Coffee Dogs Wine The Office The 1975 Their family Loving and caring people Laughing Being laid-back INFJSNJFSE Good food (not bad food) Pick-up lines Sarcasm Working out Hiking Frank Ocean
Also does anyone want to play 2 humblebrags 1 obviously false fact?
8. Plenty of (cat)fish in the sea.
I never “worked” at OkCupid but years ago I reported a few profiles and then they made me a mod. There were more fake or scam profiles than dick pics. We think some profiles were reported just because someone didn’t like how they acted, but once you start image searching, you would typically find that those profiles are fake, or belong to real people that are definitely not on a dating site.
There were a bunch of accurate and proven catfish reports, and a lot of cute pets (pictures have to be of you, not your dog) and we would comment for the other mods “cute dog but breaks rules”. Also google the image of the dog and sometimes find out that it’s someone else’s dog.
7. That’s something.
My old boss was the financial controller of a big dating site. He kept on seeing these big invoices for modelling agencies and initially thought it was because of the big parties they used to host.
When he asked about it it turned out it was just content for the fake profiles they created to lure in users.
6. Low success rate.
My experience is ancient, from back when it was dating sites instead of apps. I wonder what has changed.
I was surprised by the insane amount of effort it took to remove nude/dick pix.
Plus the constant onslaught of sex workers that we kicked from the site every single day.
(I’m sure they use AI now to filter all those, but it’s probably still a lot of manual work involved.)
Also, how impossible it was to get women to initiate anything. We did whatever we could to make it more appealing to women, still the difference in male to female messages – vs. the other way around – was just mind-blowing. Like 1:1000 or so.
I was actually active as a user on that platform too. If I ever received a message from a woman, I basically went and deleted that user. It was always a sex worker. Always.
Oh and I should add, the partner matching algorithm was completely honest and real. (I know it cause I coded it.) There was absolutely zero trickery on that site. One reason why I loved that job. Sadly, the company went bust in the dotcom bubble, and took some of my money with it. Never found a job that was so much fun, with so great a team. Ugh, I miss the times!
ETA after reading some other comments:
My own “success rate” at two or three dating sites I tried, was abysmal. I’m not pretty, for sure, but based on my insider experience I don’t think it really matters. Over the course of 5 years, I got a handful of friends out of those sites, and IIRC one(!) ONS. Oh and one serious relationship, so there’s that.
By contrast, a female friend of mine is currently on one app. She has many dates alright, but they tend to turn out creeps or uninteresting. She’s looking for something serious, and has been unable to find it. And I mean, while I might not be a joy to look at – that lady is decidedly attractive, slim and sportive with long blond hair, successful at her job, financially independent… a keeper by all means. Still. Nothing.
So what I’m saying is, the stats are matched by personal experience. Online dating plainly and simply does not work. At all.
5. This checks out.
I worked with Bumble for about a year and the most insane user stat is that redditors are always horny and will stick anything up their butts.
4. A special kind of person.
I used to work at a dating site in the UK. I was on the tech side but most of the staff was a group of young women who manually approved images and text changes to profiles. There was about 10-15 of them and the turnover rate was about one a week. The work was just so mind numbing.
About 10 times a day they’ed shout that they’d “got another one”. Which basically meant one of the hundreds of thousands of men on the site has differently thought “I’ve thought of something nobody else has tried, I’ll upload a picture of my cock” at which point they’d all laugh at it, cancel the profile upload and go back to reading about people’s choice of pets or whatever else they thought was interesting
3. Definitely not shocking.
I forget the source but I remember hearing one of the sites come out with data that suggested that women were way more picky than men. Men would typically be attracted to about half the women they saw whereas women were only attracted to about 10% of men.
There was also some stuff on certain sexes and ethnicities getting more attention but I don’t want to get too much into that one just Google if you are curious.
2. Not necessarily positive.
Finally an ask reddit question I can answer! Throwaway because much of this information is not necessarily positive.
I worked for a dating app for a few years in a role that was pretty high up where I was privy to almost all of the inner workings of the app. I won’t say which one, but I think my experience probably is applicable to other apps as well.
We had a murder on our platform. The top of the company got interviewed as witnesses. TBH there wasn’t really anything we did our could have done about it, but it is crazy to think about.
One of our members got scammed out of six figures, and there was nothing we could do about it either. She was older, and lonely, and the person used an attractive picture and kind words to play off of that. If you let them, people will find any way to scam and abuse those who are lonely. Some of our systems for detecting and removing scammers and spammers were far more advanced than our systems for actually creating matches. Also we found older women were actually the most likely to be scammed. You can make your own conclusions from that.
To that point, the algorithms are less sophisticated than you think. They mostly consist of educated guesses, and then trial and error to see what creates the most engagement. This engagement could be anything from returning to the app, to sending messages. The main goal of the algorithm is always to get you to pay, never to actually ensure you meet somebody in real life, as much as we tried to lie to ourselves that it was.
No dating professionals or psychological professionals were ever consulted when we were building our software, software that basically plays cupid and changes the courses of peoples live. I kept thinking it would be a good idea to have experts and scientists tell us what determines attraction and sets up a relationship for success, but nobody was ever interested in hearing that. Instead we made our own choices about how to build this thing.
I met hundreds of our users in person, and they were all pretty great people. Many of them were willing to come in and talk because they were struggling with actually finding people and matches on our app. It was sad that our software was failing them, some of the best, most lovely people, really struggled to find a partner.
Almost every dating app has a significantly larger percentage of men than women.
We toyed with doing a test of “blind dating” where you couldn’t see a users profile picture until after a match, but that failed really quickly.
People truly are superficial.
Contrary to many users on this thread, we were a large dating app and we didn’t actually create any fake accounts. We were certainly proud of that.
That being said, there are some that do it, and it’s relatively obvious when they do. The profile is usually a very attractive person, somebody who…. probably has no need for dating apps, and it’s usually shown very early in the queue, and the photos tend to be of “instagram influencer” level quality. That’s the biggest giveaway.
I can likely answer questions too provided they are general enough.
1. Thanks, I hate it.
One interesting finding they had was that if you’re an asian male or black female, you’re playing the online dating game on the nightmare difficulty setting by default.
I’m all for “you’re attracted to what you’re attracted to”, but these stats make me think there’s something deeply rooted in us as humans to cause this.
Y’all, I cannot believe although I also definitely believe these are true.
Has anything super cringe happened to you while on an app? Tell us the story in the comments!