Online Dating: Truth in Advertising

Since my life consists of SO many exciting events I found myself on an online dating site tonight. Yes, a Saturday night. Shock, I know. I recently, yesterday to be exact, cancelled my account since it hasn’t yielded any fruitful results.

When somebody cancels a subscription to an online dating site, they might naturally expecte to get offers of renewing their membership. Some of these may be at discounted rates. I am no exemption to seeing these offers. Tonight I received an offer from today. A screen shot of the offer is below:

My biggest question is how can any marketing person, in good conscience, claim that their dating site will be “… jam packed with millions of new people…”. Really, Millions of people for me to meet? I don’t see how this is even remotely feasible.

Let’s look at this logically (as we all know, Logic is not something that many businesses use to make decisions). The World has a population estimated at 7.05 Billion people inhabiting its land masses. I live in America, a population of approximately 313 Million. So far both of these numbers are above the “2 Million” threshold, which would constitute “millions”, as mentioned in the renewal ad.

I live in the Midwest. The Midwest can conceivably be made up of seven states: Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. If we add up all of these states we get 49,391,991 people, or about 15.78% of the United States population. Still well above the 2 million threshold mentioned above.

I have some parameters for whom I date. They must live in the same state, Illinois, not be further than 25 miles away, and between the ages of 23 and 34. Illinois has 12,869,257 people (according to Google Instant). 25 Miles covers approximately four counties, Dupage, Kane, Kendall, and Will counties. This includes areas well beyond 25 miles, bit it is not easy to break these down given the vast number of cities, so we’ll just use these statistics. The population of these four counties come to a combined 2,241,669 people. A mere 10% above the 2 Million people threshold.

Now, let’s break this down into sex. Women comprise approximately 50.1% of Illinois residents. If we take the 2,241,669 total population and apply the 50.1% of females, we are down to 1,123,076 females. This encompasses all women. Now let’s break this down further into the necessary age range, (20 to 24, and 25 to 34 are the only ranges given). They comprise 20.7% of the population. We take the 1.123 Million and multiply by 20.7% and get 232,477. Now this is the range of females between 20 and 34, who live in the nearest four counties (within 25 miles). According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) only 44.9% of people between 25 and 34 are married in the United States. If we take 100% – 44.9% we get 55.1% that are single. We take this 55.1% figure and multiply it by the 232,447 females in the four counties and get 128,078 people who might meet my criteria.

Now, I have found some more statistics that will aid us in further reducing this number. According to Statistics Brain there are 54 Million people who are single in the United States. This means that 17.25% of the United States citizens are single. Also according to Statistics Brain, there are 15 Million members. Both of these statistics are as of June 20th, 2012.
We can then apply the 17.25%, for being single, to the total 128,078. The result we receive is approximately 22,094 females. This is the number of single females in the four counties around me. Of the 54 Million single people in the United states, 40 million have tried online dating. This is approximately 74.1%. We will continue to utilize the national percentage and apply it to Illinois. This means that of the 22,094 females 74.1% of these have tried online dating, this comes to approximately 16,372 possible matches.

I have more specifics, like body type, hair color, whether they have kids or not and the like. Suffice to say, the MAXIMUM number of females that I’d be willing to date is probably closer to 5,000, if not even less. Even if we remove my preferences and go with the raw numbers, 22,094 is approximately 1.1% of the “Millions of new members”. This is well below the claim.

Therefore, in all reality, The likelihood of finding an actual person online is lower than one might expect. Even though the chances are slim, there are still two rather interesting statistics. The first is “Percent of marriages in the last year in which the couple met on a dating site” at 17% and “Percent of current committed relationships that began online” at 20%. It looks like Match is right One in five relationships begins online. Good luck being one of those 20%.

The next set of facts is the “Average length of courtship for marriages”. If the couple met offline it was 42 months. However, if they met online, it was a much shorter 18.5 months. This means that even though you’re 1/5 as likely to find somebody online, if you do, you may be able to find somebody who is marriage material. (Much like myself, being marriage material, not actually finding anybody).

I’m not saying online dating won’t work for anybody, because for some it does. It has worked for me in the past. Despite this working the past, the last year of online dating has left a rather sour feeling regarding online dating as a whole. It’s not so much the almost $500 I’ve spent in the last year (6 months payment on Match, 6 months on eHarmony and other 3 months on eHarmony and $4.95 per month for A-List on OKCupid). It’s actually more of the lack of responses, and ZERO dates, from any of these sites. However, that’s an entirely separate rant on online dating etiquette.

Online dating is definitely not for everybody. It may be a way to supplement your existing dating pool. You never know, you may be one of the lucky ones who does manage to find somebody online.

Online Dating: Truth in Advertising 2
Wayne Dixon
I'm into anything technology related. I do some HTML/CSS/PHP development. I like to follow things that most people would find annoying or not worthwhile. I follow Apple, Microsoft, Google, The Cloud, cell phones and even programming. By Day I'm a Systems Administrator for a Library, which has it's own set of issues. Follow me on Twitter.

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