Steve Odom, Founder Of Gelato - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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Gelato...sounds pretty interesting. Wondering how it really will compete with the well known sites that are already established. We'll see.

Fernando Ardenghi

There are 2 types of daters:
- casual daters
- serious daters
None of them are going to pay for "additional features like analytics — who has viewed your account, how long they stayed, real-time alerts and more."

"... The next big feature we will be releasing is recommendations and compatibility. ..."

Latest research says compatibility means personality similarity.

Matching based on Self-Reported Data / Bidirectional Recommendation Engines (Collaborative Filtering) will always be in the range of 3 or 4 persons "recommended" per 1,000 persons screened, in exactly the same range of searching on one's own.
Compatibility Matching Algorithms used by actual online dating sites (with Big-5 Model), are in the range of 3 or 4 persons "highly compatible" per 1,000 persons screened, in exactly the same range of searching on one's own.

Actual Online Dating Sites == searching on one's own == mutual filtering / bidirectional recommendation engines == compatibility matching algorithms, they are all in the same range.


Fernando Ardenghi.
Buenos Aires.
[email protected]

James Houran, Ph.D.

Some clarification is desperately needed here. Despite repeated corrections of some myths time and again in this blog, certain things continue to be asserted as "facts." Let's correct the record one more time:

1. THE TALK: Latest research says compatibility means personality similarity.

THE TRUTH: The above statement is an interpretation of data, but the data do not say this. In particular, the conclusion is a gross oversimplification. The degree of similarity observed depends on the particular individual-difference domain studied, with romantic partners showing strong similarity in age, political, and religious attitudes; moderate similarity in education, general intelligence, and values; and little or no similarity in personality characteristics (for reviews, see Klohnen & Mendelson, 1998; Watson et al., 2004).

Some researchers also cling to the idea that "personality" is the Holy Grail of compatibility variables, when research and common experience reveals that people of opposite personalities can have stable and satisfying relationships. Even hardcore proponents of similarity hypotheses (e.g., William Ickes, Glenn Wilson) admit this. Thus, strict similarity is not the bond that holds couples together. Rather, the latest and most sophisticated research suggests that it is a cognitive process that is the bond and that a mixture of similarity and complementarity is what really happens.

2. THE TALK: There are 2 types of daters: casual daters and serious daters

THE TRUTH: As an actual insider to the industry who has worked with several companies and who has conducted real market and academic research in this area, I can say that this conceptualization is not as cut and dried as the above claim makes it. If anything, there are at least three types of daters: casual daters and serious daters who are both in the minority, whereas a third category is in the clear majority, i.e., those that say they a hybrid or opportunists, so to speak. Specifically, people indicate they are interested in both opportunities -- a short-term romance or a lasting relationship.

3. THE TALK: No daters will pay for "additional features like analytics — who has viewed your account, how long they stayed, real-time alerts and more."

THE TRUTH: Features like this are perceived as a value-add to many online daters, who will pay for these services. In fact, the "Who's Viewed my Profile" functionality (or variations thereof) are rather standard because people are definitely interested in what types of people have looked at them. It's basic psychology that deals with the ego. Freud would approve of features like this!

As for other features, sometimes it is trial-and-error to discover what will appeal to people, what will help them be more successful in online dating and what people will pay for, but this is what market research is for. Blanket statements above that are based solely on opinion with no supporting evidence do not help the industry. Let's keep the commentary based in reality, not rampant supposition (just my two cents).


James Houran, Ph.D.

Sam Moorcroft,

Imagine if we could get both Mr. Ardenghi & Dr. Houran together at iDate2010 to duke it out...That room would be packed :)

Fernando Ardenghi

Hi Dr. Houran:

" ..... when research and common experience reveals that people of opposite personalities can have stable and satisfying relationships. "

That is accomodation, but how do you know if people of opposite personalities with stable and satisfying relationships have less satisfaction than people with similar personalities?

Klohnen & Mendelsohn in 1998
"romantic partners showing strong similarity in age, political, and religious attitudes; moderate similarity in education, general intelligence, and values; and little or no similarity in personality characteristics "

Klohnen & Luo in 2005
"People may be attracted to those who have similar attitudes, values, and beliefs and even marry them (at least in part) on the basis of this similarity. However, once individuals are in a committed relationship, IT MAY BE PRIMARILY PERSONALITY SIMILARITY THAT INFLUENCES MARITAL HAPPINESS. This suggests that attitude and value similarity may play a different role in relationship development than personality similarity does. For example, whereas similarity in attitudes and values appears to be important early on in the relationship and may play an important role in relationship progression, personality similarity becomes more important as the relationship reaches greater commitment."


Posters presented at 2009 biannual mini-Conference of the International Association for Relationships Research (IARR), hosted by the Kansas University Close Relationships Interest Group (CRIG). November 5–7, 2009 University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

"The Role of Personality Similarity on the Dating Relationship Quality of Americans and Taiwanese"

Tsui-Feng Wu and Susan E. Cross, Iowa State University; Yun-He Chou, National Chi Nan University; Arnold Kong and Wen-Hua Hsieh, Iowa State University

"Personality similarity between couples is a very popular topic, which has been shown to positively associate with Americans' dating relationship quality (dating satisfaction and commitment). Personality similarity, however, may play a less important role in the relationship quality of Taiwanese than of Americans, because Taiwanese may motivate to adjust themselves to their partners and have less need to find similar partners (Heine & Renshaw, 2002).To estimate personality, we used both Western and Chinese indigenous scales: Big-Five Scale and Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory. Data were collected from 195 American and 184 Taiwanese college students who were in a romantic relationship. Results of simultaneous multiple regression analyses indicated that personality similarity significantly predicted Americans' dating relationship quality. However, personality similarity did not predict relationship quality of Taiwanese. Those results were confirmed by two moderating analyses in which culture moderated the relation between personality similarity and dating relationship quality."

"The Relationships Between Love Style Similarity, Conflict Management and Relationship Satisfaction"

Cheng Wei Chuan, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan; Jeaw Mei Chen National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan

"Lee (1976) proposed that couples with similar and identical love styles will have better relationship satisfaction. However, this hypothesis was only partially supported in the previous research. Our aims here are to use new ways to inspect his argument and discover the relationships between conflict management, love style similarity and relationship satisfaction. Preliminary results show that people who tend to adopt dominating or avoiding strategies in conflict management are less satisfied than those who tend to adopt integrating or accommodating ones. In addition, dissimilar couples had worse relationship satisfaction and adopted less compromising or integrating strategies and more avoiding than similar couples. Gender differences, cultural differences, and the theoretical implications of these results are discussed."


Fernando Ardenghi.
Buenos Aires.
[email protected]

Ross Williams

Yay Sam - I think they should get a room to slug it out. Have you seen the agenda for iDate though, gonna need more than just them to fill it ;)

James Houran, Ph.D.

Hi Fernando,

You selectively cite papers that support your beliefs, but they do not prove your case. Relationship satisfaction is not measured well, which my published and presented work proved way back in 2004-2005. Plus, "satisfaction" ebbs and flows over time, so variances in even the most compatible and globally happy couples will show increases and decreases. Finally, the analytical methods used in all of these studies you cite do not meet professional testing standards. Sorry, not convinced and neither should you if you understand tests and measurements well.

The fact is that for every paper you cite that claims that similarity is the key, there are other papers that contradict it. The fact that there are happy and stable couples who do not have similar personalities proves the theory is wrong. Remember, one black sheep proves all sheep are not white. So instead of pushing the similarity hypothesis, which is incomplete at best, it's better to pursue why exceptions to this so-called rule exist and what explains those exceptions. The exceptions give us true glimpses into what bonds couples over time.

No need to get a room and slug it out -- the issue is pretty much resolved to those who understand the literature and what the data means versus how others interpret it. The cognitive phenomenon of "accommodation" (and related processes) is more critical to stability and satisfaction than personality similarity -- the research is clear on this. So again, it's not personality and it's not similarity. The most sophisticated studies prove revealed this way back in 2004-2005.

Most relationship researchers that you cite do not apply sophisticated methods or test the latest theories. I'm interested in moving the field forward, not keeping it stuck using outdated methods and theories that everyday observation easily discredit.


James Houran, Ph.D.

Sam Moorcroft,

Oh, the entertainment value alone would be worth it:-)

So, Fernando, can we all finally get to meet you in person?

James Houran, Ph.D.

Hi Sam,

I can put together a lively session, trust me. Of course, I want a cut of the admission fees if I'm the iDate entertainment!


James Houran, Ph.D.


this site is a good idea, but I don't know how I would feel about disclosing my facebook or twitter password to a third party site. There are so many privacy concerns and hackers out there, that sometimes a walled garden is important. If someone steals my dating account information, I wouldn't care that much, but if it was an e-mail or FB account, that would really compromise my info and friend list.

Lisa Rogers

It's all very ambitious - I hope it's successful, although I wonder about the privacy concerns that so many people will have.

Julie Spira

It's always nice to see a new entrepreneurial venture. If you would like to ask Steve any questions, he will be a guest on my radio show, "Ask the Cyber-Dating Expert" on Saturday, December 12th at 11am. The call in number is 646-929-0012.

Steve Odom

Joe, Gelato doesn't know your Facebook or Twitter passwords. We use their authentication engines where only a token is passed back to Gelato.

Lisa, I thought there would be more push back from people about sharing their information too. The surprising thing so far is that this hasn't been the case. They want to share more information! For example, I thought all messaging between users would naturally be private. But the feedback I'm getting from users is that they would like to have some of their messaging public, like commenting on profiles or activity stream items. They see that it is harder to be fake and that people's real personality comes out.

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