Online Dating and Mechanism Design

posted Nov 28, 2012, 9:54 AM by John Lin   [ updated Nov 28, 2012, 9:54 AM ]
When I was doing online dating, I noticed there were a number of interesting technologies that were employed.  I am now thinking about the technologies under the hood and if there are ways to improve the experience for the end-user.

The dating sites fall into two broad categories: eHarmony and everything else.  The main demarcation line between these two categories is that eHarmony decides the profiles that you see, and other sites allow you the freedom to filter the profiles however you like.  eHarmony uses its own secret sauce to do the matching.

I wonder if eHarmony uses the choice data of a user to determine which other profiles to show a person.  The closest analogy I can think of is the algorithm that is used in administering SAT and GRE exams, where the level of difficulty is dynamically adjusted based on the success of a person answering a question.  It seems reasonable to assume that the preference set of dating for a person is relatively stable (it might be multi-dimensional, but stable).