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Jui Ramaprasad Desautels McGill

Anonymous browsers actually ended up with 14% fewer matches


Online dating hindered by anonymity feature

Those who pay extra to browse anonymously on online dating websites are likely to be reducing their chances of a match, new research from the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University reveals.

Professor Jui Ramaprasad and her co-authors found that the traditional social norm restricting women from making the first move remains dominant online and, as men aren’t notified if their profile is viewed, they can’t contact women who might be interested in dating them.

“Women give weak signals by viewing profiles – the online, flirting equivalent of a hair flick – but the anonymity feature means men simply can’t pick up on the cue,” says Professor Ramaprasad, who studies online behaviour. “It’s a premium feature, but it doesn’t necessarily help women looking for love online.”

Anonymous browsers actually ended up with 14% fewer matches, with women impacted the worst.

The researchers did find that anonymity lowered social inhibitions. Users viewed more profiles, but this additional viewing did not translate into matches. Anonymous users were also more likely to check out potential same-sex and interracial matches.

This large experiment, conducted through a major North American dating website, randomly selected 100,000 new users and gave half free access to anonymous browsing, enabling them to view profiles without leaving digital traces. The findings were published in the journal Management Science.


For more information, a copy of the paper, or to speak to Professor Ramaprasad, contact Stephanie Mullins at BlueSky PR on or call +44 (0)1582 790 706.

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