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Plus, many big sites have been hesitant to allow independent researchers to look at their matching algorithms in depth. Of the 13 online daters I talked to for this article, only one believes algorithms can make successful matches. “I don’t believe that an algorithm can match me up, and I don’t want to match me up,” said Jason Feifer.

A senior editor at Fast Company, Feifer met his wife Jennifer Miller, a freelance journalist and author, through Ok Cupid after narrowing his search criteria to two requirements: “Jewish” and “journalist.”Feifer and Miller told me they didn’t start using Ok Cupid with the hopes of finding their soulmates.

A dating site is not a magic “fix” for your dating problems.

“If you don’t have a personality, it’s going to come across in an email, a phone call, or across a table,” said Larry K., 46, who met his wife on nine years ago.

It only changes the process of discovery,” says Mehr in Dan Slater’s new book “Love in the Time of Algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating.” It’s the efficiency of this “process of discovery” that’s appealing to many daters.

“I guess maybe the promise of online dating is that it allows you to get out and have those experiences and make those mistakes and hopefully learn a lot from them,” said Slater. is to get [them] out there and get them to socialize.” Sure, you might encounter some horrific experiences — but hopefully you’ll learn from them and those lessons will benefit your search for a partner in the long run.“Even if I had married someone that I had met through a friend or whatever, online dating still would have been fun,” said Feifer.

In many ways, online dating resembles offline dating — the resulting relationships are no different. So why do so many millions turn to the Web to find love?

The question is: Are those first dates and relationships really any different from connections made in more traditional ways? Even though the number of budding Internet relationships is increasing, the overall rate of partnership is not increasing at all.“Maybe it’s not the best means to the end of finding the best relationship, but it gives people a way to do something about their situation.It may or may not be the best shot at finding what you want, but it’s doesn’t mean it will never happen.With some goading from a friend — who somehow convinced me that the stigma against online dating was no more — I joined Ok Cupid and started scanning the thousands of matches that popped up on my screen.Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my Valentine’s Day depression-induced hunt for Prince Charming.

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