AI helping to improve the odds of finding true love or a one-night-stand

Posted: 25 April 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

Thanks to the internet, trying to fix up a date, or even simply looking for a quick fling has never been more simple.

From the days of dressing up, scouting pubs and clubs and then being brave enough to actually approach and talk to someone – things are now as easy as scrolling through a list of profiles on your mobile phone, occasionally swiping left and hoping for the best.

As a result, online dating (including apps) continues to rise, with some figures suggesting around 8,000 companies currently in existence. But how do you separate the good, the bad and the, erm, ugly?

To help find the answers, is US AI firm Luminoso Analytics, who analysed 107,379 reviews of 16 popular dating apps spanning the past three years via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Using its analytics software, it applied AI and natural language understanding to identify the key concepts being discussed in the reviews, creating a scoring systems to rank each app on several different concepts, from attractiveness and romance, to hookups and app functionality.

Luminoso said it found the findings both “fascinating” and a “little unexpected”.

One night only

The results showed that those looking for something “short and sweet” on so-called “hookup apps” like Tinder or Grindr, were most likely looking in the wrong place.

Instead, unlikely apps such as Her, CoffeeMeetsBagel, FEM, Happn, or OKCupid – were scored as the most associated with hookups. As for Tinder, it ranked 10th out of the 16 apps Luminoso analysed.

True love

Luminoso also found the the best apps for finding love aren’t all that different from the best for “getting laid”, as it so crudely put it.

When it comes to finding ‘the one’, reviewers sing the praises of Her, FEM, Happn, Scruff, and OKCupid. (Tinder came in at number 11).

Established apps like eHarmony, Match, Christian Mingle, Grindr, and Zoosk rounded out the bottom of the list in both categories.

“Here’s a dating tip from us,” Luminoso wrote. “Choose apps that are more targeted to your specific interests and/or what you are looking for in a partner – or that enable you to easily filter through the masses to find those matches – rather than staying on generalised apps. Almost all of the highest-ranked apps for lust and love are targeted to a specific audience or have filtering capabilities. You might have more luck being a bigger fish in a smaller (or at least more filtered) sea.”

Overall winners and losers

So, which dating apps should you avoid? The data is in and the results are clear – the apps disliked most by reviewers are Zoosk, eHarmony, Match, Christian Mingle, and Plenty of Fish… in other words, the oldest and most established ones.

Instead, Luminoso suggests you swipe right on these apps, which reviewers were most likely to say they would recommend: Her, FEM, Happn, Scruff, and OKCupid.

Here’s the full set of app rankings, organised by concept and how associated they were with each app:


More online dating tips from Luminoso (in their own words):

If you’re trying to find all the attractive people (and let’s be real, who isn’t?), listen up – we’ve found where you need to look! According to reviewers, CoffeeMeetsBagel, Bumble, and OKCupid have the best-looking users compared to other apps.

Three’s a crowd:

For those of you who would prefer to have more than one attractive person in your bed, turn to the all-female app Her. (Sorry, gentlemen.) Threesomes were more widely discussed in reviews of this app than they were for others – including the threesome-specific app Feeld.

Fake profiles and scams

Are we getting tricked by the developing lords of online dating?

Fake profiles created by the app company (as opposed to other daters) was one of the most prevalent concepts throughout all the reviews. Daters frequently mention “fake profiles” (including other terms such as “scammers” and “bots”) of fictitious and often insanely attractive people, presumably to keep real users engaged and messaging even when the number of real users on the app is relatively low.

We hate to break it to you, but this seems to be an issue no matter which app you use. Reviewer reports of fake profiles were fairly consistent across all apps.

Based on reviewers’ collective experience with identifying fake profiles and scammers, here are some things daters need to look out for:

  • Profiles with only one photo, especially if it looks like it’s been professionally made
  • Minimal or no information (“ask me!”) in the “about me” or other sections
  • Quickly trying to move the conversation off the app and onto another platform

Of course, another type of “fake” profile is human beings put up fake pictures (or no pics at all), as well as misleading personal information. But online daters are overwhelming more concerned with “bot” profiles that lack a soul.

It’s official: Dating is better with an iPhone

Out of curiosity, we decided to see whether there was a difference between the reviews we pulled from the Apple App Store compared to those from the Google Play Store. Surprise!- reviewers with iPhones are much happier with their overall dating app experiences. Their reviews more frequently mention finding good matches, love, long-term relationships, and making friends.

On the flip side, Android users report both a worse experience overall with dating apps and more frustrations with the app’s features and functionality, including bugs and crashes.




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