OkCupid: Benefits Of Using Personal Data For Research

This summer, a dating site I helped to found, OkCupid, announced that it had tested the effectiveness of its matching algorithm on a small number of users. We run tests on the site all the time, and we were particularly careful with this one because we were tinkering with something fundamental to the user experience. The test was brief, and everyone affected was made aware of it soon afterward.

But the reaction to our test was explosive, largely negative and, in retrospect, understandable given the way we presented the results. We announced the test in a post on our blog, and we explained what we found without fully explaining the test’s purpose. The collection and interpretation of consumer data is sensitive and complex. Our lighthearted analysis of an important issue rang sour, and it appeared to many that we were secretly toying with our users’ love lives. That’s an unsettling idea, even if incorrect. While we can apologize for the way we presented our test, the outcry around it broached a larger issue that transcends OkCupid or any one company.

Full Article on WSJ

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