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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Looking For Love:

Looking For Love: Drexel Researchers Put Online Dating to the Test

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, one in five Americans finds his or her spouse via online dating websites, but according to Drexel researchers, marriage isn't the only measure of success among people looking for love in cyberspace.

Rachel Magee and Christopher Mascaro, both second-year Ph.D. students in The iSchool at Drexel, College of Information Science and Technology, and their advisor Dr. Sean P. Goggins, completed a study that takes a closer look at the success stories of online daters. Their results, which will be presented at the international iConference in February, point toward a more accurate interpretation of "success" in online dating.

The Drexel study, entitled "Not Just a Wink and a Smile: An Analysis of User-Defined Success in Online Dating," examined data gathered during a two-week sample period in the spring of 2011 from success stories listed on the dating sites Match.com, eHarmony and OkCupid. The researchers looked at a random sampling of 20 percent of the success stories from each site.

Their findings concluded that a vast majority, 84 percent, of users who reported "successful" experiences on eHarmony where referring to marriage. By contrast, 46.7 percent of the reported success stories from Match.com were marriage stories and only 23 percent of the success stories on OkCupid were about marriage.

Each of the sites broke down their results into three categories of success: dating, engaged and married. An analysis of the data revealed that most users who had a successful experience on OkCupid, considered "dating" to be successful with slightly fewer stories of "engagement" and the fewest stories in the category of "marriage."

The frequency of stories for both eHarmony and Match.com increased in each category from "dating" to "marriage."

The researchers also examined geographic distribution of the people who logged on to write about their online dating success stories. Success stories followed population trends across the country. The region with the most respondents was the South Atlantic, while California boasted the most success stories as a state and Houston, Chicago and New York, respectively, were the top cities in generating online dating stories. The stories and locations of successful online daters indicate that in-person social networks may influence why individuals select online dating sites.

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