Anyhoo, related to dating sites:
- One thing I'm wondering is how the very first person signs up to a new dating site. If the site is completely empty, it makes little sense to spend time filling out a profile. I guess the same happens with new social networking sites, but the problem is more pronounced with dating sites, since there is (still) some stigma in writing a profile, and since you get no benefit out of a dating site unless it has people who are not your friends. My guess: new dating sites put fake profiles to seem more popular.
- Has anybody done a good study comparing online versus real world dating? I've seen a few, but they are all pretty much bunk: either they have ~5 subjects (note to the HCI community: let's please stop writing papers with only 5 subjects), or they are done by the dating sites themselves (sorry, eHarmony, I just can't believe your propaganda). The study I'd like is a long term one: if you meet online versus in the real world, what is the probability that you are still happily together 10 years later? My personal guess is that unless the study is done carefully, online dating would win big because of a sample bias.