Online dating can be a gamble: You never know if a message will land you a romantic first date, or a “ghost” or scammer.
One Reddit user quantified his journey in the $1 billion online dating industry in a very personal graph on Monday. Inspired by someone who did the same for OKCupid IAC, -1.64% over the course of 500 days, user KeongManja showed his swiping progress over the course of 28 days.
The results: 53 matches, including 38 people he began talking to on WhatsApp — a separate app owned by Facebook FB, -1.56% — and 12 who “ghosted” or never replied. Of the 38 people he spoke with, nine agreed to a date, three stood him up, and two cancelled, leaving him with four actual dates.
These results are not uncommon for many dating apps, said Talia Goldstein, chief executive officer and founder of dating service Three Day Rule said. “Online dating can actually be a great way to increase your pool of potential matches and find dates. However, it can be a confusing and ambiguous process for many,” she said.
Why do people swipe right if they don’t want to meet?
It can be difficult to know what people’s intentions are, she said. Did they swipe right just to boost their ego and see how many matches they could get? “That could explain some of the ghosters, no shows, and non-committal responses like, ‘Don’t know when I’m free’ or ‘too far from you,’” she said. More than 44% of people in one survey released last year said they were swiping for “confidence-boosting procrastination.”
Why should we care? People waste a lot of valuable time — and money — swiping and hoping. Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold, the premium membership, charge $4.99 and $9.99 per month, respectively. Over 2.5 million people pay on Tinder. Match.com charges between $16 and $36 a month, depending on the length of time you sign up for, and eHarmony charges between $10 and $60 a month. Users can save by signing on for, say, a six-month bundle. And some sites, like PlentyofFish.com and OkCupid, offer basic membership for free.
American millennials spend an average of 10 hours a week on dating apps, a study from Badoo.com found, with men spending 85 minutes a day and women spending 79 minutes a day.
Heterosexual men are not picky on Tinder, a 2016 study from Queen Mary University of London in the U.K. found. It showed men swipe right far more often than heterosexual women do, leaving them with a low success rate: about 0.6%. Meanwhile, women are more selective about who they swipe right on, getting a match rate of 10%.
“Our findings suggest a ‘feedback loop,’ whereby men are driven to be less selective in the hope of attaining a match, whilst women are increasingly driven to be more selective, safe in the knowledge that any profiles they like will probably result in a match,” authors on the study said.
Ghosting is not unique to Tinder by any means
This seems to be the case on other apps as well: The Reddit dater seemed to have a similar experience compared to another Reddit user’s experience on OKCupid. That user sent out 143 unique first messages over 500 days, as well as 80 canned first messages, and was messaged first by five women. That resulted in six planned dates, two of which stood him up, leading to four actual dates.
OKCupid has said it is attempting to combat the swiping culture and force users to put more thought into whom they interact with on the app. “We don’t want people to be quick, we want them to be slow,”Elie Seidman, who was chief executive officer of OKCupid at the time, told The Wall Street Journal. (Seidman has since moved on to become the chief executive officer of Tinder, also owned by IAC IAC, -1.64% ) Unlike Tinder, OKCupid also matches people based on a long list of questions.
Of course, successfully getting from match to date doesn’t mean the date itself is successful. Most first dates do not lead to second dates. This could be for a number of reasons: Women have complained that in the age of dating apps, men are increasingly using the first date as a therapy session, using them as a sounding board for personal problems.
To attract dates, a sense of humor and a good credit score have proven to be helpful. And the hook-up culture may also play a part. Some people will smile through a date, but they’re really looking for sex.
Dating coach Meredith Golden said the biggest mistake men make is letting banter via text message to continue for too long without extending an invitation for a face-to-face meeting. “Banter for about 2 to 3 days, averaging 2 messages per day, then ask to meet,” she suggested. “Also, cast the net wide. Swipe a lot and engage with many. For every 10 interactions, one to two will most likely result in meeting for an average dating app user.”
No word on how Reddit user KeongManja is faring now.