Selection Bias and Online Dating
New York Times has an article on the science behind online dating sites, like eHarmony and Chemistry.com, that base matches on intensive surveys. The article notes:
Gian Gonzaga, senior research scientist at eHarmony, said that studies his company had conducted of married people who met through eHarmony and a control group who met in other ways found that those who linked up through eHarmony were happier.
The only trouble, as Professor Lohr points out, is that couples who met through eHarmony had been married only six months and were “still in the honeymoon phase,” while the control group couples had been married about two years.
The real issue here isn’t “honeymoon phase” versus not; instead, visitors to “scientific”-based sites obviously are looking for a particular kind of relationship. Other sites, which seem more casual, or even relationships starting from the physical word may have a different take on relationships before starting. Nothing quite says, “I’m looking for something serious” like paying between $40 and $60 a month for such as service.