My relationship with Match.com goes back many years ? 12 to be exact. In a way, Match created my passion for online dating. Without them there would be no personal, academic and professional experience in this great industry. I met a hundreds of single women, which was an education all in itself.
Before I left eFlirt, Match hired us to teach webinars to educate their users how to actually use their website. I put together powerpoint presentations to teach frustrated singles how to navigate Match.com. I know where all the problems lie and the tricks Match uses to make money from their users. The site isn?t optimized to help singles, it?s mostly optimized to make money through an unnecessary amount of notifications. In this blog, I?ll break down a few ways Match confuses their users and frustrates me as a dating coach trying to assist my clients.
Issue #1: Profile Visibility
Match is very, very sneaky with this. It?s best practice for you to not make your profile live or visible until it?s competed in its entirety ? simply put, when you?re ready. The sneaky thing that Match does is make your profile ?Unhidden? everytime you edit your profile ? even if you?ve previously marked it as ?hidden.?
Why do they do this?
Well, on Match their number one goal is to make money. Many people create profiles for free, where you can also view other potential matches? profiles. If your profile is hidden, no one can see, message or send any indication of interest. Match auto unhides their users? profiles so new users get flooded with notifications ? many of which you can?t see until you pay for membership. They?re banking on your curiosity taking over and paying to see who?s reached out to you. Once you do that, they got you and you?re in the loop.
Quite frankly, this practice is bush league. No one new on Match realizes they do this cause they don?t tell you. A profile should never be auto unhidden on a user without them knowing.
Issue #2: Indicators of Interest Notifications
- Yes Rating ? Daily Matches
- Photo Likes
There is no more frequently asked question I get from clients than ?what do all of these different notifications mean? I feel overwhelmed!?
Daily Matches are matches their algorithm sends to the user daily. It?s very simple and Tinder-like in swiping. If a you hit ?skip? it just goes to the next potential match. When you click ?yes? it goes to the next match, but also lets the user know you?re interested in them.
The problem is, they don?t specifically say ?John617 said yes to you in his daily matches.? It?s confusing and a passive aggressive way to let someone know you?re interested. Often these matches aren?t very good and the users marked ?yes? happen by mistake.
Issue #2.a: Photo Likes
These simply come from users going through a potential matches profile and hitting the blue heart button. However, this is the same blue heart button you see when looking at the search pages of matches. Confused yet?
Issue #2.b: Winks
In all honesty, I?ve always liked the simplicity and main premise of a ?wink.? It really should work like the Tinder/Bumble swipe feature ? ?I like you and think you?re cute.?
If that user winks back then you can start a conversation and no one had to waste time crafting a message to someone who wasn?t interested.Unfortunately, the way it?s used is almost as useless as a ?Poke? on Facebook. People don?t respond in the manner in which winks were designed. On Match it?s looked at as lazy if you wink and don?t send a message.
The wink was really before it?s time ? it?s true meaning is basically how Tinder and Bumble became billion dollar companies.
Issue #2.c: Favorites
Favorites is criminally set up wrong. It?s a worse version of the wink. If you?ve been on Tinder you know what a ?super-like? is. Favorites is the 90?s version of super-likes.
How should it be used? Anytime someone favorites a user, they get a notification about it ? this shouldn?t happen. Favorites should be a quick way to bookmark a profile that you want to come back to in the future and message later when it?s a more convenient time for you. There?s no need to notify someone you?ve made them a ?favorite.? This notification makes the clients I?ve worked with feel uncomfortable because they don?t want to let someone they?ve never met feel like they?ve just been put on a pedestal.
Issues #3: Search Filters
The paradox of choice ? too many choices causes the feeling of less happiness, less satisfaction and can even lead to paralysis. I?m not saying match users get paralyzed with fear when looking at all of the search filters. There is a healthy limit though and Match crosses that limit by miles and miles.
Many singles don?t know what or who they want until they?re standing right in front of them. I?ve seen many clients click on so many filters they chop the potential matches available to them to a mere 25%. We?re talking good, quality matches too.
The best practice for any online dater is to have an open mind. I get there are ?deal breakers? but many users will filter themselves right out of seeing good matches for them, because Match lets them.
Issue #4: Match Events
Some of these events aren?t bad ideas. If you like activity dates or interacting in groups then these will be up your alley. The events I don?t get are the vacation trips with other singles. Are we trying to recreate Bachelor in Paradise?
Who?s going to go on a trip without knowing who all the other singles are? And if there?s a good match, how many others are going to be fighting for their attention?
These events should be more structured toward experiences users can do together on a first, second, or third date, etc. Which means these events would be better structured if they were locally in major cities. This could spark date ideas and create meaningful memories in a budding relationship. Similar to what How About We was trying to do before IAC bought them out and then dissolved the company.
Overall, I think Match can systematically do a better job to assist their customers. The confusion and frustration I?ve seen and heard from their users is eye opening. Online dating shouldn?t be this complicated. I still think they?re a viable option for singles to use when looking for serious relationships ? for now?
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