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Data, A Love Story

How I Gamed Online Dating To Meet My Match

Amy Webb

Basic suggestion is to log on to a dating site as the opposite sex, and see who you are competing with, what attributes they offer, and which are most successful. Author unsuccessfully offered a resume of work skills and achievements, but had to rethink when wound up with a series of pathetic or disastrous dates. So she set up a dozen fake male profiles, then monitored the women who responded, and how they 'sold' themselves.

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What she learned - women who were able to convey a truly happy mood or sexy attitude in their photos did better than the very pretty women with staged smiles and poses. Solo shots of average women did better than very pretty woman in a group. Pics with pets look awkward. Using a flash aged everyone, including men. By far best shots taken during the "golden hour" - the first and last hours of sunlight, which also means outdoor shots look better than indoor. All successful profiles show bare arms at minimum, and highlight a bit of cleavage - every gallery seemed to have at least one strapless dress and one deep V-neck shirt.

Despite the old adage of 'let the man contact you first', popular women didn't hesitate to reach out. They would say things like "Hi there. I like that you [detail from profile]. I'm interested in [detail] too." No strange pickup lines or abbreviations - just a friendly, non-committal 100 words or so.

You had 24 hours to respond - any more and they'd write you off. And the women would be the ones to end the conversation. They'd IM chat for a while, then they suddenly had to go somewhere else. ("I'm busy, I'm not desperate"). And they don't mention personal stuff on first few messages.

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