They are meant to take the pain and humiliation out of finding love.
But new research shows that while online dating sites are the second most popular way to meet someone, when it comes to finding the one you're still better off hitting a local bar.
According to a group of U.S. psychology professors, online dating or shopping at the supermarket of love, overwhelms potential love birds, often causing them to make lazy, incorrect decisions.
Combing dating Web sites for that perfect love match can be very frustrating, and online dating is a terrific addition for singles to meet. That said, there are two problems, the report's author, Eli Finkel, an associate professor of psychology at Northwestern University, said in an interview.
First, poring over seemingly endless lists of profiles of people one does not know, as on Match.com, does not reveal much about them. Second, it overloads people and they end up shutting down, Finkel said.
Eighty years of relationship science has reliably shown you can't predict whether a relationship succeeds based on information about people who are unaware of each other, he said.
The study's authors also questioned the algorithms employed by sites such as eHarmony.com to match people based on their interests or personality--comparing it to having a real estate agent of love.
While the algorithm may reduce the number of potential partners from thousands to a few, Finkel added the odds are no better than finding a relationship by strolling into any bar.
The assumption is they work. We reviewed the literature and feel safe to conclude they do not.
There's no better way to figure out whether you're compatible with somebody than talking to them over a cup of coffee or a pint of beer, he added.