Okcupid.com, the dating site.

Sunday, 27 December, Year 7 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Constant mention in the very logs eventually drove me to make an account and check the site out (it's /mirceapopescu if you're curious). For no reason I can discerni I spent 20 bucks or so for a "premium account", as well as 20 bucks or so for a bundle of ten "boosts" (hey - they have a cool lightning icon!), but more of this later.

First off, some groundwork : okcupid.com, like match.com, tinder and pretty much everything else in the "online dating" "market" is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorpii (along with a whole raft of "information" spamproducts - the likes of ask.com, about.com and all sorts of nonsenseiii nobody I ever knew ever used). IAC/InterActiveCorp started life as a spinoff from the Home Shopping Networkiv back in the 80s, which might or might not explain the appalling quality of their online propertiesv. They bought and sold various TV stations throughout the 90s, eventually moved on to buying and selling websites sometime after the .com bubble burst. This is not necessarily an ill thought-out business model : given the very peculiar market inefficiencies driven by the VC circus' own cash problemsvi, there's carcasses scattered around worth more than nothing (but significantly less than what the "investors" would want them to be worth at a minimum). If these people can be convinced to let go of their world-changing, revolutionary blow-ups for free, maybe the scrap metal and assorted leftovers could be worth something. This is essentially the business model of a rat, if rats could buy college dorms from fraternities post-party. Otherwise, it's a sort of garbage collecting, not entirely a meritless activity.

Nevertheless, whatever merits it may have, it's still essentially dealing in garbage, which is known in web 2.0 terms as "traffic" or no wait, that was the web 1.0 term. In web 2.0 it's "visitors" and "uniques" and "engagement" and something or the other else, I forgot. Basically, crushed PET bottles and crushed cans and whatnot, but instead of calling it generically "garbage" we're now going to say different words for all the many types. Whatever.

So informed, we can now proceed to the meat of the question. So, okcupid claims, from what I've seen, between a low of 130`000 and a high of 210`000 users on the site at all times. Without exception. This means that between 5 am on Christmas Day and 7 pm on Friday, December the 18th okcupid.com receives a differential in attention of just about 50%. If this makes any sense to you whatsoever, you're much more open minded than I - because on the strength of this metric alone I conclude that nobody seriously gives a shit about okcupid.vii

Out of those 130k to 210k "users", a number which to my eyes must be padded 90% or more by weight, through one week going December 15th to December 22nd my profile received exactly 0 attention. To be specific : not one single okcupid user clicked the associated like button (which might be explained by the fact that not one single okcupid user visited the profile). This may strike you as obvious, on the grounds of your direct experience online [with spamsites very similar to InterActiveCorp's]. Nevertheless, dating is a zero sum game : whenever someone dates someone else, that someone else also dates, the very someone in question! This is inescapable.viii Consequently, if the average user looks at say ten others on average, then necessarily the average user will have been seen by, on average, ten other users.

But who knows, perhaps the trouble's that "men hunt and women nest" or somesuchix, so making a male profile guarantees the observed results, and were I to somehow [how ?!] find a female that's just as cool and fascinating and everything as myself the observed results might have been different.

In any case, the site purports to match people according to fine criteriax, so if you'll only take the time to answer these questions they'll work some magic and spit out women you'd actually be interested in. Or something. I did, just for the record, fill in a hundred or so of those things, which led me to two discoveries. One's that jesus fuck people are boring and insufferable, what IS with these questions. Do yourself the favour, especially if you're trained enough in sociostatistics to know a bad poll when you see one, and read some of the questions. I think I skipped over three thirds for being malformed, nonsensical, pointless or liable to mislead through ambiguity etc. Not to mention irrelevant - tons and tons of inquiries that'd only make sense from the perspective of a 48 yo woman that's "dating" for the exclusive and express purpose of maintaining her present amorous entanglement with her cats.

The other discovery I made is that holy shit, who the fuck cares what women think. So she wants creationism taught in schools ? Who the fuck asked her ? Oh, that's right, Okcupid, that officious intermeddler, asked her. Well... as it happens I don't care what the answer might be. I operate on the general assumption that people are stupid, which is why I am rather strictly interested in women under 30 : they'll be just as stupid as everyone else, but a lot more trainable than people who've had decades to sit around with their stupidity and expertly justify it to themselves.xi

Thoughout this adventure in radio silence, I used a total of 5 "boosts", which are tokens okcupid assures will buy you exposure (for a cost of about $2 each). Generally, when you use one you see lots and lots of faces appear on a right side overlay (that's annoyingly getting in the way of actually using the site), claiming however many hundreds of users are seeing your profile RIGHT NOW! Whether they do or they don't we'll never know. What we do know however is that ~1`200 such views resulted in exactly zero visitors to the profile, exactly 0 likes, exactly zero messages and exactly zero interest of whatever kind.xii

All the foregoing notwithstanding, after about a week of sitting by passively and admiring the ineffectual pointlessness of okcupid's matching engine, I brought out the big gunsxiii, in the shape of some awking.xiv

The results were pretty interesting. Out of ~100`000 or so pings my profile received about 1`000 visits (the usual 1% that underpins all the web), which resulted in a half dozen or so likes (from people I wouldn't consider) and some rather amusing conversations. Let's talk a little about that.

okcupid-lesbian

There's no end of these abominations. I have no idea who translated "female emancipation" with "be as infantile and obnoxious as you possibly can", but they suck, seriously now.

In any case, always remember : talking to strangers is no place to activate your independence circuitry. Especially not as a woman. Especially not as low value blob of old age. Whenever you talk to strangers you beg, which is why the expression goes "I beg your pardon". It's not an idle turn of phrase, it's the nude and rude reality of the matter. Keep it in mind.

No, the fact that someone in your position should have could have had a family to derp at doesn't excuse you, nor does it give you blank license to act as you feel entitled to act, and it sure as hell doesn't transform the whole of the internet into your diffuse daughters-in-law and nephews. Whether that's what you need or not makes exactly zero difference : that's not what you have.xv

okcupid-somewoman

Apparently I should be ashamed of the plain old fact that aged women are sexually worthless. This is ridiculous on the face, but there's a deeper layer here. The woman is reasonably cunning - the reason she does it is that it works. And the reason it works is that you're stupid, statistically speaking. If I was a 50something looking for submissive bois I'd lead exactly the same way.

Anyway, to end up on a positive note (yes okcupid is worthless, both from an investment perspective and from a "I wanna date" perspective, but then again you already knew that) : one's own network still works, here like anywhere else. Build your own network. That's where the money, sluts and everything else is at.

———
  1. The chief advantage a paid account offers seems to be the ability to visit others' profiles invisibly. It is beyond my meagre faculties to comprehend why in the world would anyone on a dating site would wish to reduce their visibility, but nevertheless, that's the service and they're advertising it heavily - scarcely can a paying member find a page that doesn't somewhere importantly announce that "you are browsing visibly". Oh, I am ? Wow.

    No idea who thought this one up, but they might want some vacation time. []

  2. NASDAQ: IACI []
  3. Yes, ask.fm included. []
  4. Yes, yes, the people with the ridiculous cable infomercials. All of them.

    Would you like a knife to cut through shoe ? []

  5. Which are indeed numerous, incidentally - a casual scan uncovers tens of thousands of "different" spamsites scattered across 50 or so language spaces. []
  6. They're way, way oversupplied. The reasons they're oversupplied are not hard to understand : the US Government exists as a focus of a scam, which consists of exchanging value from the thirld world for empty promises. Yes, exactly like a century ago, except the seat of lying moved from a swamp on the Thames to a swamp on the Potomac. Always a swamp.

    To maintain the facade (yes, this is the "order" every Fed governor since forever has been trying to maintain : the facade protecting the fundamental scam of "buy these paper things for your oil and your bread, they're totally worth it!") they have to share some of the loot, and this results in the unfortunate situation where people who have no merit in the creation of the wealth they're disposing of get to dispose of wealth they had no merit in creating.

    Depending on the culture (which is to say, depending on the particular set of insanities and hang-ups of the chosen scapegoats [yes, always and forever the situation of one who spends what he didn't make is that of the scapegoat, ie sacrificial item]) this unholy disposition takes different forms, but only very superficially different- after all, there's a limited number of ways you can decorate a goat. Add some glittery shit to it, maybe some flowing ribbons, what the hell are you going to do ? (Note that the question doesn't inquire as to what you might be convincing yourself you're doing, in the heat of events. It's neutral, it inquires as to what you might do that I'd notice. "Brand name" glittery shit still goes in the "glittery shit" box, to be mixed indistinctly, horrible dictu!, with all the rest of the indistinguishable glittery shit.)

    The way it plays out in the US is that you get a little bit of real estate inflation, a whole lot of "personal worth" inflation, even more "paying kids to sit around and talk all day" and still there's a lot of fake money sloshing around looking for a use. What are you going to do with them ? You can't pay to scribble your name down on a building over at Stanford (one of the arbitrarily "more important" places where kids get paid to sit and idly chat all day long) because John from three houses down has a billion of the same useless paper things "in his account" and so he's driven the price of that through the roof. What's one to do, what's one to do, well... maybe if you gave your million to Madoff Barry Diller (or to Madoff Marc Andreessen, or to Madoff Paul Graham, or to any other Madoff out there - no shortage of these after all) so maybe they turn your "million" into a "billion". Note that this is a strictly uneconomic, purely nominalistic adventure. There's no business involved whatsoever, and for that matter there is exactly no difference between sucking cock to get your WoT rating turned from 1 to 2 on one hand or sucking cock to get your "million" turned into "billion".

    If you're having trouble getting your head around this, the following scene in City Hall might serve as an easily digestible primer :

    Frank Anselmo : Off-ramp and a subway stop already budgeted for.
    James Wakeley : But I'm left holding the bag.
    Paul Zapatti : What are you complaining about? The bag's full of cash. Minus a year. You can weather a year.
    Frank Anselmo : You can weather 100 years.
    James Wakeley : I've got partners. You're my partners!
    Frank Anselmo : You're holding so many options on land... ...you could buy Brooklyn. You could probably buy Staten Island too. Paul Zapatti : Would you excuse us, please?
    James Wakeley : Of course. I got an appointment anyway.
    Paul Zapatti : Good. Then it works out nicely. [ass slap]

    Paul Zapatti : You sure Bank Exchange is all set?
    Frank Anselmo : We got everything we wanted.

    So... yeah. Business, partners, bla bla. Same idea.

    The way it plays out in Argentina is that the federal government goes and borrows money in Europe. They're also running a scam (hey, it's a government, what'd you expect!) but theirs is a less valuable one, called desarollo in native cant. They don't have any access to the better paying "Western World" ie "We are Constantinople" scam, a situation that gave rise to no end of frustrated bitterness in the dry bosom of Argentina's Old Whore In Chief, and puzzled looks of incomprehension over by the Potomac.

    Nevertheless, their swindle still pays something, and once that someting hits the country they share bits with "the poor" (it's all roleplaying, remember that) in exchange for "the poor" not doing anything else with their life - god forbid something productive! No, they must all live in Buenos Aires and vote for the feds! They waste most of the rest, but in any case : print lots and lots and lots of pesos - which mostly end up in the housing market.

    So in this sense, the USG is better than the FGA, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the G whatsoever. There's nothing the G could do better or could abstain from doing that'd change anything. The people involved are somewhat different, so that if you give 300 mn UStards free wealth they don't have to earn they will get teenaged girls to strut around half-naked while "singing" and "spend" "10s of thousands" on bottles of fizzy wine, while also pushing the prices of a closet into the stratosphere. Meanwhile, if you're giving Argentine morons free wealth they don't have to earn they will simply "invest" in minuscule condo units and get themselves law degrees (seriously - everyone here's a non-practicing, licensed lawyer and owns a tiny 500sqft "3 room" apartment).

    While the Chinese keep shipping goods for free (oh, sorry, you thought your paper was payment ? lolololol) the delusion carries, or as the Argentines put it "hay mas futuro". Once the boats stop showing up...

    Never mind about that - it's not like you can fix it anyway. It's not the job of a scapegoat to turn into a king. You just keep bleating and admiring the glitz in your chintz, Prikoke - the future's not yours to see. Just feel. []

  7. If you have trouble digesting this, consider a discussion of another "electronic" item people actually give a shit about, or at least enough so as to actually riot in case it went away :

    "Once the clock strikes midnight and EBT cards are charged, you can see our results start to tick up," says Tom Schoewe, Wal-Mart Stores Inc's chief financial officer.

    We could safely say that the differential between that magical "a little bezzle just turned into dole" monthly moment and its polar opposite is a little more than 50%, or at least James LaFond seems to think so. If anything, I'd expect more pronounced cyclicity and seasonality to be visible in dating activity by actual humans, at least for the very simple reason that ~everyone who is in the market would be pushing hard after work a week pre-Christmas, and still alone butshitfaced drunk the morning after. []

  8. It also is a source of some amusement in sociology circles, given the well known fact that men report their average sexual encounters well above what the women say. []
  9. How sexist and unenlightened, wouldn't you say ? But more of this later. []
  10. The nonsense was the subject of an earlier post. []
  11. Yeah, that's right, what the fuck do you think idiots do all day ? Try and figure out how to fix their stupid brain ? No such luck. One hundred percent of the time their preoccupation is, "and in THIS situation, what do I say or do so as not to have to fix my stupid brain ?"

    Young cunts are a lot more fixable on the simple merit of not having had so long to fuck themsleves over that way. The older they get, the more complicated the arguments required to bring them to sanity, and for that matter the more constrained their ability to follow such arguments. Not to mention the obvious time problem : if you've spent two years to fix a filly you've got a sane woman at your side for at least half a decade. Why would you then put in five to ten to maybe even twenty years to undo the damage that same filly did to herself over five to ten to twenty years only to get a sane woman for... the remainder ? Gee, tough call, pay 2 get 50 or pay 22 get 28. What'd you go for, 2500% ROI or 78% ROI ?

    Yes, it's true that with an ungodly stroke of luck you can run into perfectly sane women aged 50something, or anything else. I know this personally, for having had it happen to me. In such a case the ROI'd be infinity, nominally, except if you have to go searching for them. They're so god damned rare you're better off extracting olive oil from North Pole sea water. []

  12. The profile in question craftily includes a link that can be measured. And it has. No one clicked it. []
  13. They're really only big guns for the web audience, but moving on. []
  14. If you don't know the answer to this question : it spits out a file (that's what cat does), sorts it so that it contains unique lines (sort -u), then passes it to curl line by line. What curl does is that it connects to okcupid.com claiming to be Mozilla (that's what the -A switch does), and claiming to be logged in (that's what the --cookie switch does, passes along some cookies, you can get these from the browser), and then spits out the resulting page into some sed processing that takes out everything but the name of the few "you might also be interested in" profiles that okcupid produces every time you check a profile.

    Obviously (is it obvious to you ?) this can be then run recursively, producing a list of ever-expanding recommended chicks. Also obviously (is it obvious to you ?) okcupid will notify them that you've checked them out (there's a special visitors tab for that). []

  15. And more generally, there's no credit given. You have to pay upfront. Woe upon you if you failed to make a left at the right place, it makes no difference that now you can't pay for what you actually wanted anymore, and there are no accomodations available. []
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6 Responses

  1. It also is a source of some amusement in sociology circles, given the well known fact that men report their average sexual encounters well above what the women say.

    Being the differential participation rate which is expected for a gangbang. But based on the higher variability in men's sexual activity compared with women's (part of their higher variability in fitness overall), there are more who have some reason for being ashamed of a low number.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    2
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 16 January 2016

    It seems altogether improbable that a woman which participates in a gangbang with ten dudes is going to report the partner count as "1 - the collective character of men gangbanging me, let's call it Bob". Altogether more probably she'll report a count of 10, which then would neatly balance out the men's reports. So - no, gangbangs wouldn't account for this (except, of course, if your study sucks in the sense of systematically missing out the gangbanged females).

  3. Zero visits, Zero 'likes', Zero messages...Must be that the site & everyone else on it is a Zer, not the tongue-in-cheek profile you put out there. One attractive, intelligent, Interesting woman did message you (albeit just to see if it Really was M.P.). OKC was rather boring--your profile was the only one that caught my attention because it was absurd and made me laugh. The other men presented rather dull impressions of themselves, even if more likable. Perhaps you know some Cascadian magic computing boys looking for more than non-sexual coffee chat or a date at a virtual cafe? Send them my way.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    4
    Mircea Popescu 
    Thursday, 25 February 2016

    As it happens I do - join #b-a and ask for cascadians.

  5. FL claims to have done some work to prevent bots from scraping their site, which is a small step in the right direction, but they really do need to work on something like what FB has and let users decide what information gets released to whom.

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