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“I think there is a possibility [that these algorithms] could evolve to better predict long-term compatibility.

The same rules apply,” said Steven C., a yoga instructor who met his partner on [email protected] (a dating site that’s no longer active) 15 years ago.

The majority of the daters I interviewed (and Slater, too) at some point referred to online dating as a tool, and that’s just what it is.

In many ways, online dating resembles offline dating — the resulting relationships are no different. So why do so many millions turn to the Web to find love?

While many dating sites claim the ability to find your perfect match, social scientists aren’t buying it.

This suggests that online dating is proving to be no more effective at creating lasting relationships than the old standards.“I really didn’t see it as any different from the way that people met each other for decades past," said Feifer. creates a relationship, is not the Other daters agreed, and so does Alex Mehr, a co-founder of the dating site Zoosk.

"Online dating doesn't change my taste, or how I behave on a first date, or if I will be a good partner.

It doesn’t help that these algorithms are closely guarded trade secrets.

The majority of the surveys, studies, and reports evaluating online dating sites’ efficacy are paid for by the companies themselves, leading to some possibility for biased results.

Research suggests that, while it is possible to predict whether two people could enjoy spending time together in the short term, it’s (nearly) impossible to scientifically match two people for long-term compatibility.

The strongest predictors of a good, functional relationship are how a couple interacts, and their ability to handle stress — two things that science says current dating website algorithms can't predict and online profiles can't demonstrate.

It only changes the process of discovery," says Mehr in Dan Slater's new book "Love in the Time of Algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating." (Slater notes that Mehr was the only dating exec he interviewed who felt this way.)It’s the efficiency of this “process of discovery” that’s appealing to many daters.