“The offline ‘flirting’ equivalents, at best, would be a suggestive look or a preening bodily gesture such as a hair toss to one side or an over-the-shoulder glance, each subject to myriad interpretations and possible misinterpretations contingent on the perceptiveness of the players involved.
Much less ambiguity exists in the online environment if the focal user views another user’s profile and leaves a visible train in his ‘Recent Visitors’ list.” “Men send four times the number of messages that women do,” says co-author Akhmed Umyarov, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.
Compared to the control group, users with anonymous browsing viewed more profiles.
They were also more likely to check out potential same-sex and interracial matches.
“Professional social networks, such as Linked In, also offer different levels of anonymity, but user behavior and the underlying psychology in these settings is very different from that of romantic social networks.” As with many academic research projects, the idea for this experiment stemmed partly from serendipity.
Surprisingly, however, users who browsed anonymously also wound up with fewer matches (defined as a sequence of at least three messages exchanged between users) than their non-anonymous counterparts.
This was especially true for female users: Those with anonymous browsing wound up with an average of 14% fewer matches.
“So the anonymity feature doesn’t change things so much for men.” Experiments of this sort could be used in a range of online-matching platforms to help understand how to improve the consumer experience – though it’s important that the experiments be done ethically, the researchers say.
Both men and women who pay a little extra to browse online dating sites anonymously get fewer matches, a new study shows.
But that’s especially true for women who are often reluctant to make the first move.
Out of 100,000 randomly selected new users, researchers gave 50,000 free access to the anonymous browsing feature for a month, which allowed them to view profiles of other users without leaving telltale digital traces.
The researchers expected the anonymity feature to lower social inhibitions—and it did.
Jui Ramaprasad, an assistant professor of information systems at Mc Gill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, explains the reason why: Women don’t like to send personal messages to initiate contact.In other words, she says, “We still see that women don’t make the first move.” Instead, they tend to send what the researchers call a “weak signal.” “Weak signaling is the ability to visit, or ‘check out,’ a potential mate’s profile so the potential mate knows the focal user visited,” according to the study.