A user might say they are looking for someone in their early 20s with at least a bachelor degree and a certain minimum monthly income.
They don’t actually stick as rigorously to their preferences as they might have thought they would though.
According to recent surveys, more than 40m single people out of 54m singles in the US have signed up to an online dating site such as and e Harmony.
In the UK, 9.1m people have used an online dating site and one in every five new committed relationships starts online.
While they are more likely to respond to first contact from someone who matches their original wish list, we found that 70% of the messages sent by women and 55% of those sent by men were to communicate with people who did no meet their original criteria.
We took factors such as a user’s age, height, location, income and education level as well as their activity, popularity on the site and their similarity with other users in terms of taste and attractiveness to others and were able to tell whether a user would reply to another’s initial contact message with 75% accuracy.The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.View the full list If it seems as if everyone you know is online dating, you’re not alone.We devised a reciprocal recommendation system to match users of mutual interest according to content-based algorithms, which are based on factors that include a user’s age, education and income – and another, collaborative filtering-style algorithm, which is based on prior communications: both of the user and of other users with similar interests and attractiveness. Collaborative filtering algorithms not only learn the preferences of an online dater but also take information from the behaviour of other similar users.Given that we have a tendency to make choices other than what we have predicted for ourselves in our stated preferences, this is a much more dynamic method.