“I was on a date with a guy who turned out to be a convicted felon.
Another guy claimed to be 38 but was at least 60,” says Kate, a 33-year-old government analyst from Washington, D. “Sometimes I will go on a date to see how bad it’s going to be.” The fact is that online dating is, well, complicated.
But the responses from the more active group suggest they’re highly frustrated.
They gave online dating sites the lowest satisfaction scores Consumer Reports has ever seen for services rendered—lower even than for tech-support providers, notoriously poor performers in our ratings. Well, finding a mate can be arduous and exhausting.
“Our real-life and online identities are more and more interwoven.” Because of this cultural shift, online dating sites now have unprecedented reach into our lives. Reams have been written about online dating, but as far as we know, no one has put the sites to the test.
They are gatekeepers to a massive population of potential partners; they control who we meet and how. So Consumer Reports decided to survey almost 115,000 subscribers about online dating and their experiences with it.
There’s a whole range of difficult human emotions to contend with: insecurity, disappointment, rejection, maybe heartache. “Sometimes there is nothing that clicks whatsoever,” says Julien Nguyen, a 30-year-old software designer from Austin, Texas, who has used Bumble and Tinder.
“Sometimes whatever chemistry we had just fizzles out.”Perhaps being in the market for a mate can’t be compared with using other services. D., a professor at the Harvard Business School who studies consumer behavior, thinks so.
“It’s a product of the growing normalcy of using social media apps,” says Moira Weigel, author of “Labor of Love: The Invention of Online Dating” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016).
Perhaps that’s why, among those who said they had used multiple dating sites, 28 percent had tried four or more.
But our research also found that online dating, however painful and time-consuming, often does produce the intended result if you use it well—and persevere.
D., a junior fellow in economics at Harvard University.
In other words, there’s no incentive for them to make the experience speedy.You can find the right person more effectively by choosing the right site, which means determining the demographics it caters to and figuring out whether a large or niche site will best serve your needs.