Why You Should Pay for Online Dating

If you manage to find a match through an online dating site, that match is more likely to commit to meet if they have paid a fee for the service.

OkCupid’s dating research blog has worked hard to convince readers that they should never pay for online dating.  The basis of their argument is that there are just too few subscribers on fee-for-service dating sites to make it worth the lonely single's while. I won’t argue their point on that—after all they have a flow chart, and at one point I am pretty sure they used calculus to figure out the number of subscribers (which even I think is a bit audacious).  So we will let them have that point: there are fewer potential matches on fee-for-service dating sites.


There is an argument to be made, though, that if you do find a match on an online dating site, that match is more likely to commit to meet if they have paid a fee for the service.

A study published last year tests this theory in an online dating simulation where a participant "pays" a fee to search online for potential dates after answering a series of questions describing their perfect mate. At the end of the search they are informed that a match has been found but that he/she does not have all the qualities the participant is has been searching for (I think we all can relate to that experience). At this point in the simulation the participant is informed that a friend would like to set them up on a blind date with a person who is absolutely perfect in terms of their criterion for a mate. Participants then have to choose how much time they are willing to commit the inferior date from the online service and the superior match that is the blind date. They only have an hour total to split.

It turns out that a person’s preference for the online date is correlated with how much they had invested in the service. Those who paid nothing, or very little, for the search were much less willing to choose the online date over the blind date than those who paid a higher fee. For example, the length of time men in the study chose to commit to the date arranged online was 28 minutes when the cost was $0, and almost 49 minutes when the cost was $50. The length of time women in the study chose to commit to the online date 13 minutes when the cost was $0, and 28 minutes when the cost was $50.

I know that you thinking "Hold the phone! Rational people don’t take sunk costs into consideration when they make decisions!"  What can I say?  People aren’t always rational, and even if they were the decisions involving human relations just might prove to be the exception.

Sunk cost effects disappear over time, so if you are looking for match online you should look for a site that charges a monthly fee, instead of a one-time upfront fee.

In Halifax, where I live, men pay significantly less for some online dating services than women do. I am sure that the real reason for this is, as a friend of mine likes to say, in this town any man with a job and his own teeth can find a good women. This research suggests though that if a fee is used to encourage commitment, men need far less of an incentive than women do.

Coleman, Martin (2009). “Sunk Cost and Commitment to Dates Arranged Online.” Current Psychology Vol. 28 (1): 45–54.

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less