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Online dating is different from shopping for, say, a sweater, he explains: “Once you decide on the sweater you want, you can get it.But with dating, the sweater has to agree, too.”Another reason for the low satisfaction scores may be that “most dating sites have some misalignment between profit model and user experience because they are financed through subscription fees or advertising,” says Scott Kominers, Ph.Finkel says the overall percentage of marriages in the survey is "on the high end of what I would have anticipated."Sociologist Michael Rosenfeld of Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., says the numbers seem "reasonable."He says his own research, published last year in the American Sociological Review, found 22% of newly formed couples had met online, "but couples who meet online are more likely to progress to marriage than couples who meet in other ways." He says his new analysis of nationally representative data found that of 926 unmarried couples followed from 2009 to 2011, those who met online were twice as likely to marry as those who met offline.
Cacioppo has been a member of e Harmony's Scientific Advisory Board since it was created in 2007.Lead author John Cacioppo, a psychologist and director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, says dating sites may "attract people who are serious about getting married."While Cacioppo is a noted researcher and the study is in a prestigious scientific journal, it is not without controversy.It was commissioned by the dating website e Harmony, according to the study's conflict of interest statement.In addition, former e Harmony researcher Gian Gonzaga is one of the five co-authors."It's a very impressive study," says social psychologist Eli Finkel of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill."But it was paid for by somebody with a horse in the race and conducted by an organization that might have an incentive to tell this story."Does this study suggest that meeting online is a compelling way to meet a partner who is a good marriage prospect for you? But it's "premature to conclude that online dating is better than offline dating."The findings about greater happiness in online couples "are tiny effects," says Finkel,whose research published last year found "no compelling evidence" to support dating website claims that their algorithms work better than other ways of pairing romantic partners.