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People Who Work For Dating Apps Share The Best Behind-The-Scenes Facts They Know

Image of a black keyboard where the return key has been replaced with a pink one with a heard and the word "love" on it.

Online dating seems to be the norm for finding a partner these days, but the process can seem a bit esoteric and confusing for those who haven’t been using the apps all along.

Working for the companies that run dating apps and websites is more interesting than the average person might expect, too.

Reddit user brunetteht3 asked:

“Redditors that worked with a dating company (Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, etc.), what’s the most insane user stat or behind-the-scenes fact you found out about?”

Try Reaching Out

“I ran operations for an online dating company (notably not affiliated with Match). From database analytics I can tell you a few things.”

“Men initiate contact around 80% of the time in straight matchmaking, and if you are a woman looking to date other women and you simply initiate contact with another woman you have a good chance of success simply because it’s very very very common for women to match but then neither initiates contact.”

“IIRC we were able to determine that it takes on average about 3 dates before sex happens (I don’t recall how we worked that out, I’m not a data analyst, but presumably it was some keyword based algorithm looking at chat messages).”

“We got so many requests for information from the police that we had an informal system with them, to save them from wasting time getting warrants for information about people who we didn’t have data on, they would ask about a particular name/email/whatever other identifier and we would just say yes we have data about them or no we don’t, and if we did they’d then go get the warrant to get a copy of it.”

“The other thing I can tell you from our analytics, that really shouldn’t be at all surprising, is to get some decent profile photos.”

“Go get your talented friend or just hire a photographer to take some really nicely-lit well-composed photos of yourself and watch your match rate soar.” – jamesinc

Not The Best Job

“I used to work at a dating site in the UK. I was on the tech side but most of the staff was a group of young women who manually approved images and text changes to profiles.”

“There was about 10-15 of them and the turnover rate was about one a week. The work was just so mind numbing.”

“About 10 times a day they’ed shout that they’d ‘got another one’.”

“Which basically meant one of the hundreds of thousands of men on the site has differently thought ‘I’ve thought of something nobody else has tried, I’ll upload a picture of my c*ck’ at which point they’d all laugh at it, cancel the profile upload and go back to reading about people’s choice of pets or whatever else they thought was interesting.” –mvrander

This One Isn’t Either

“My ex bf worked for the Yahoo Italy dating site back in the earlyish 2000s. His job was to pretend to be a woman, and message male customers just as their accounts were going to expire.”

“This would encourage them to pay to renew their subscriptions. Once they renewed, he would ghost them.”

“He only lasted for a few months due to how unethical it was.” –visualisewhirledpeas

More Than One Word Per Text Is Probably Good

“I used to work at Bumble, although this was about 4-5 years ago. Globally, about 90% of the users are men, so there is a huge male to female disparity, although it’s not that bad on a per country basis (for some countries).” 

“The most depressing stat though was the histogram of word count in messages. Something like 91% of opening messages were just one word ‘hey’, and ~85% of conversations were just one exchange long (‘hey’ -> no reply ever).”

“Looking at human, digital mating habits splayed out in data science form was really depressing.” 

“The countries which had better male-female ratios (which I can remember) were the Nordic ones, Sweden and Norway were close to 50/50, and for a time, one of them even had more women on the app than men.”

“Not sure how it is now.” –trias10

It Might Not Always Work Out

“[There was] A dude with over 2000 right swipes and no matches.” –Deleted Account

“Bless him – that’s quite sad actually. Hope he found someone eventually.” –brunetteht3 

Maybe Don’t Use Dating Sites For Your Side Hustle

“Lots of gay guys get banned from grindr selling weed. Would get a lot of emails of ‘why am I banned’ .”

“Go to their profile and will say ‘HMU for that 🌳'” –PayneTrayne

“At my bachelorette party in New Orleans someone wanted weed and was going to try to find someone on Burbon Street. My friend said it was way easier and safer for him to use Grindr 😂” 

“Took less than ten minutes!” –mathlady89

Too Bad They Don’t Take Monopoly Money

“Most dating sites and apps are owned by one company The Match Group. They have a near monopoly. I think Bumble is one of the few not owned by them.” –HueJass84

“Funny you should say that, Bumble is owned by a woman who was also a co-founder of Tinder. The rest of that founding team owns The Match Group.” –zadeon9

“To be fair, she (Whitney Wolfe Herd) launched Bumble as a more comfortable and empowering alternative to Tinder and later sued them for sexual harassment. This comment seems to imply that she’s somehow in cahoots with Tinder/Match.” –spacemanaut

 So Many Unsolicited Pics

“I used to moderate OK Cupid. The amount of unsolicited dick pictures men would send women, not even accompanied by any words was horrifying.”

“I mean, you’d expect it because online dating is a cesspit but the sheer amount would still surprise you.”

I had to look at each reported picture and say ‘Yes, that’s a penis’.” –Jimmypeglegs

“99% of the time, the dick pic doesn’t work. What happens after it’s reported?” –IsThisNameTakenThen

“I’m guessing they think it’s a numbers game? I’d only ever see the picture if it had been reported by the recipient, but if they liked it then fair enough.” 

“As to what happens afterwards, usually their account would be banned. OKC were usually quite quick at getting rid of surprise dick piccers.” –Jimmypeglegs

Everybody Lies, But About Different Things

“I worked for Match for a couple years. This is probably widely known but women frequently lie about their age and weight and men lie about their height and salary.”

“Also, it’s a big problem that women are inundated with DMs while most men get none.” –ChickumNwaffles

Dating Life Pro Tips

“Ok so I didn’t work with a dating company per se… But I helped software engineers optimize their profiles.” 

“Men get VERY FEW matches, regardless of how good their profile is. Women get A LOT of matches, but most of those matches are useless.” 

“1) Don’t try to appeal mildly to EVERYONE. Appeal strongly to a small subset of people. Emphasize who you are.” 

“2) Show don’t tell—what makes a person want to date you? Will you impress them with your volunteer work?”

“Will you bring them fun places? Will you make them laugh?” 

“3) Get good photos. If you have to, get a friend with a good camera to take photos of you multiple times over a day with several changes of clothes.” 

“4) Be brutally honest. Do you need to go to the dentist because your teeth are gray? Go.”

“Do you need to get a haircut? Go somewhere that charges $50 a haircut and tell them to do what they want (if male).”

“Do your clothes fit? Ask a fashionable friend.”

“Remember: people are judging you on your appearance as much as you are judging them. They can’t see you’re kind of funny or interesting.”

“They can see if you’re well groomed and making an effort.” –Katamende

While online dating might seem even scarier after reading these facts, it’s still worth giving it a try if you’re looking for love.

Just remember to put your best (online) foot forward!

Written by Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters

Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters is a writer/web designer and aspiring librarian based in Northern Maine. When not writing or in class, they devote much of their time to multiple non-profit organizations, largely focusing on LGBTQ+ rights and animal welfare. During rare moments of free time Winona enjoys video and tabletop games, as well as various nerdy fiber crafts such as crocheting (mainly amigurumi Pokémon, cat toys, and blankets) and counted cross stitch.