Enterprises have used web analytics to analyze many things: how to cluster products on a web page or catalog page to increase sales, which product descriptions customers prefer, and which explanations visitors find confusing, to name just a few. Now, scientists are using web analytics to analyze dating and love. (You know it had to happen at some point.)
On April 10th, The New York Times carried a story entitled, "Romantic Revulsion in the New Century: Flaw-O-Matic 2.0." The article notes,
Instead of asking people about their mate preferences, scientists can now watch mating rituals in real time. They’ve tracked who asks out whom — and who says yes — at online dating services by watching the customers’ clicks and scanning their messages to look for telephone numbers and phrases like “let’s meet.”
... Just as Darwin could have predicted, the researchers have found that women are pickier than men. While men concentrate mainly on looks and will ask out a lot of women as long as they’re above a certain threshold of attractiveness, women focus on fewer prospects.
They’re less willing to date someone of another race. When using online services, they pay more attention than men do to a potential partner’s education, profession and income. They prefer taller men, but they’re willing to relax their standards for the Ron Perelmans of the world, as revealed in a study of more than 20,000 online daters by Gunter Hitsch and Ali Hortacsu of the University of Chicago and Dan Ariely of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
They found that a 5-foot-8 man was just as successful in getting dates as a 6-footer if he made more money — precisely $146,000 a year more. For a 5-foot-2 man, the number was $277,000.
A/B testing at its finest: do you prefer this 6-foot hunk who makes $60,000 a year, or that 5'8" fellow who makes $206,000 a year?