Finding True Love with Match.Com: The Math Behind the Matches

We all love a bit of love and romance and at one time many people met at the local disco (showing my age), at work, or were introduced by friends. Nowadays though many people are using technology and social media to find their soul mate. Match.com is an online dating site for people to find love but have you ever wondered about the math behind the matchmaking?

Match.com was founded in 1995 when online dating was barely heard of and set about matchmaking in the bid to find compatible couples. According to Sarah Kessler on Mashable, one in five couples now meet through online dating. Match.com has now commissioned a study looking at data from 16 years of matchmaking in a bid to be even more successful in matching up suitable prospective partners. The dating site now has around 14 million visitors per month according to Compete.com and so analyzing that data was a hugely complex task.

Amarnath Thombre, VP of strategy analytics headed up the three-year challenge with a team of 12 in an endeavor to create equations for suitable matches and come up with an algorithm that works. As Thombre himself put it, “It’s easy to predict who likes The Godfather, but in this case The Godfather has to like you back,” which pretty much sums it up. Match.com’s President Mandy Ginsberg, along with Thombre spoke to Mashable and outlined 4 components of the new algorithm that has already doubled the amount of “yes” matches.

The first part was pretty basic, looking at surveys that people fill in when signing up and matching people who both liked similar characteristics in others. The second part bore in mind that many people who fill in details about themselves are not always telling the complete truth or put unnecessary relevance on something. For example, of those women who said that the prospective partner’s desire to have children is a “must-have,” 57% still emailed men who stated they didn’t want to have children. The new Match.com recommendation engine now takes into account that people are sometimes willing to compromise on what they want and may start to recommend other partners if a user has looked outside their must-have areas.

Another aspect concerns the fact that sometimes people can’t spell out exactly what they’re looking for in a partner and so now looks for people who behave in some of the ways that you do. In other words Match.com has worked out that people who behave similarly to another user while on site are likely to be a better match. Finally Match.com can now use its store of data to estimate who might be a good match for you before you’ve even rated a match yourself, correlations such as the fact that Republicans are more willing to make contact with a Democrat than the other way around for instance.

Using mathematics to matchmake may sound clinical but if it works, and it certainly does for many, that’s great. Meanwhile if you want to brush up your dating and flirting techniques you can always use a virtual partner although that wouldn’t suit everybody! Let us know if you used a dating website and found true love by sending us your comments.