OkCupid admits recommending 'bad matches' to see if users would fall in love

Posted at 9:23 AM, Jul 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-29 13:48:52-04

The online dating site OkCupid admits they recommended poor matches to see if users would fall in love.

"…we took pairs of bad matches (actual 30% match) and told them they were exceptionally good for each other (displaying a 90% match.) Not surprisingly, the users sent more first messages when we said they were compatible," co-founder Christian Rudder wrote in a blog post titled 'We Experiment On Human Beings!'

Rudder defended the experiment on the power of suggestion.

"…guess what, everybody: if you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work," Rudder wrote.

-- Other experiments on users

OkCupid also conducted an experiment on the value of the user's picture versus the text written in their profile.

"Essentially, the text is less than 10% of what people think of you," Rudder wrote. He cited a profile of a woman with no text in her profile that scored in the 99th percentile for personality.

"So, your picture is worth that fabled thousand words, but your actual words are worth…almost nothing," Rudder wrote.