OkCupid confirms it: Your race affects whether people write you back
The OkCupid blog published an analysis yesterday of the response rates from senders of various races. I absolutely love their introduction:
Welcome back, dorks. We’ve processed the messaging habits of almost a million people and are about to basically prove that, despite what you might’ve heard from the Obama campaign and organic cereal commercials, racism is alive and well. It would be awesome if the other major online dating players would go out on a limb and release their own race data, too. I can’t imagine they will: multi-million dollar enterprises rarely like to admit that the people paying them those millions act like turds. But being poor gives us a certain freedom. To alienate all our users. So there.
… The takeaway here is that although race shouldn’t matter in messaging, it does. A lot.
Since the three colors without gradients in their charts isn’t helpful, I redid their charts based on color percentiles; the top two values are bright green, the bottom two values are bright red and the 50th percentile is white:
What OkCupid found out
Because of eHarmony’s daily match limit, we need to be choosy who we set to receive as matches, especially if our current settings aren’t biting.
- If you’re a man — and not white — remove “Asian”, “Hispanic” and “White Non-Hispanic” from your Match Settings. Statistically they won’t reply, anyway.
- If you’re a woman — any woman — remove “White Non-Hispanic” from your Match Settings. Do I sense a white man ego in these two charts?
- Men, say hello to Black women and Native American women. Statistically, they will respond.
- Women, say hello to Middle Eastern men and Indian men. Statistically, more of them will write you back.
- OkCupid women respond to 27.6% of men who say hello, and OkCupid men respond to 42% of women who say hello. One may expect similar results in eHarmony, particularly during a Free Communication Weekend.
- The members who most likely reply to their own ethnicity are Middle Eastern men (56%), Indian men (55%), Native American women (35%) and Pacific Islander women (30%). If you belong to these races, you can probably tell us why.
- The members who most refuse to reply to their own ethnicity are Asian women (22%), Middle Eastern women (23%), Hispanic/Latin women (24%), Black men (37%) and White men (41%)
OkCupid is a free site and is visited by 1.5 million Americans monthly, vs. eHarmony’s 3.9 million. OkCupid’s audience participation rate is 48+8%, understandably higher than eHarmony’s 45+5%. eHarmony’s response rates are likely lower, accordingly. Compare their visitor demographics here and here, both directly measured by Quantcast.
Note that eHarmony discloses that they programmed their system to send just the matches who are “most likely to communicate”, in addition to the compatibility dimensions. Ultimately, I hope they base it on response rate statistics, for the sake of their black women customers.
UPDATE: Just for fun
Just for entertainment, I made a chart combining the respective rates to see which races are pairing up in OkCupid. For example, sqrt( 32% × 63% ) = 45% between Native American guys and Middle Eastern girls.