Celebrating five years of Compatti.com, we’ve looked back at our founding values in light of the once-booming online dating industry.
Online dating reached its peak in 2004, selling nearly a half-billion dollars worth of services in US alone1. However, the initial euphoria of the first decade resulted in poor quality dating experiences, ranging from misrepresented age and exaggerated personality to the “blind date” phenomena, just on a world wide scale.
The promise of finding Ms. or Mr. Right fundamentally contradicts financial motivation of dating industry. Even the name of the industry itself - “dating” exactly describes its objective – to keep you single, in the dating game - forever! Losing a $20 per month subscriber to the cupid does not benefit the dating business at all. When we approached one of the largest dating companies with an offer to improve their search for partners with Compatti.com technology the answer was fairly blunt: “We don’t want them to find their match. The longer they date the better off we are”.
But what makes Compatti.com any better? The focus on a relationship and its longevity. Right from inception of Compatti.com we believed in a relationship-focused service. Yes, searching for a date, friend or partner is the first step towards a relationship. However, Compatti.com is geared more towards providing ongoing relationships advice on how to improve and nurture your current or new relationship through its entire life. Our business is beneficial for as long as your relationship lasts. Therefore, saying that Compatti.com is just another online dating site is like saying that Britney Spears is just a fragrance producer.
The desire of singles to find their match in a fruitful relationship is evident by over 33 million hits on Google for the keywords “relationship” and “match”. Some dating sites, responding to the lack of relationship quality online, ventured into various psychological personality tests, claiming to find you a “perfect match”. However, have you ever questioned the reliability of these online self-assessment tests? Practically none of them publish their online retest reliability data, for obvious reasons. Those who do, like the True LLC 120 page manual, clearly confirms the retest reliability of online self-assessed psychological tests is very low [on page 47 the average retest reliability from all Factors for a person is 0.44. Since matching involves tests from two people the resulted reliability is a multiple of individual retest reliabilities 0.44 * 0.44 = 0.19 or 19%]. “For every 1 match on eHarmony that actually resulted in marriage, there were 999 “compatible” matches that did not.”2 Maybe this is why Match .com has quietly abandoned their personality test.
How could these online personality tests be reliable? Think about how differently you could answer those “psychological” questions based on their context or your mood. Take the same test again in a few months. Your answers most likely will be different. Moreover, even if they were reliable tests, all they could tap into is your conscious mind, leaving feelings, chemistry and the entire unconscious world unexplored. True love comes from your heart, not from your head!
Most of the modern psychological compatibility tests have evolved through clinical research by marriage counselors. Many of them are based on well-respected psychological test - Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - MBTI®. Its guideline clearly says “your MBTI results should be given to you as part of a one-on-one … session…” with a professionally trained practitioner, but not self-administered online or elsewhere. The published retest reliability of MBTI® is 0.75 (only 3 out of every 4 tests are repeatable and reliable). The reliability for matching 2 people is 0.75 * 0.75 = 0.56 or 56%. If the test, upon which rely many modern psychological personality tests, gives us just over a 50% chance of finding a compatible partner how could “online psychologists” claim they found “the formula of love”?
Mrs. Myers and Mrs. Briggs (ironically, not psychologists by education) developed MBTI® based on archetypes described by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. He also used Astrology in his practice:
“As I am a psychologist I’m chiefly interested in the particular light the horoscope sheds on certain complications in the character. In cases of difficult psychological diagnosis I usually get a horoscope in order to have a further point of view from an entirely different angle. I must say that I very often found that the astrological data elucidated certain points which I otherwise would have been unable to understand. From such experiences I formed the opinion that astrology is of particular interest to the psychologist, since it contains a sort of psychological experience which we call ‘projected’ – this means that we find the psychological facts as it were in the constellations.”3
Evidently the roots of MBTI® traced back to Astrology. “How can somebody call himself a student of human behavior … without at least studying astrology? …psychology is practiced by a bunch of well-paid incompetents. They can't fix a broken heart.” - says Nobel Laureate, Dr. Kary B. Mullis. The 1995 Consumer Reports study also shows a low level of approval for psychologists in the profession of marriage counseling: “Those who consulted a marriage counselor were less likely to feel they'd been helped .”
“A horoscope that accurately reflects your personality can be cast by a computer if you give it the correct birth data” says Dr. Kary B. Mullis. If individual personality can be cast from date, time and place of birth, this could be a retest reliable online compatibility test. When Carl Jung analyzed astrological birth charts of 483 married couples (described as “Synchronicity”4) he found a significant correlation of some astrological aspects in marriage. He concludes“… the psychological interpretation of horoscopes is still a very uncertain matter, there is nevertheless some prospect today of causal explanation in conformity with natural law. Consequently, we are no longer justified in describing astrology as a mantic method. Astrology is in the process of becoming a science.”5
This is why Compatti.com uses only reliable online techniques such as biorhythm and astrology, evaluating detailed individual horoscopes and not just the zodiac sun signs. Clearly, since our users have to answer only 3 questions: date, time and place of birth, the retest reliability is higher than any online psychological tests. Your birthday, time and place do not change at a later retest. Since the 1960s, almost all states in the US, and even earlier in some European countries, were recording birth times, making accurate astrological personality assessment available for the majority of people today. We are not opposed to psychological tests. But, we don’t feel it is ethical deceiving singles with unreliable self-administered tests online.
Then what is the future for online dating? Will it still keep fooling masses of singles with promise of a relationship which they can’t or don’t want to deliver? Will it still be losing online audiences to even more obscure off-line speed dating or the like? Or, will they realize that the only way to save the online business is to offer services beyond simple dating? I believe that the future of online dating is in its evolution towards the business of creating and nurturing the whole relationship. Initial introduction of compatible partners can be achieved online through reliable tests such as relationship astrology. It should be also complemented with off-line, one-on-one consultations with psychological, marital and astrological practitioners.
Whitepaper “ CONSUMERS ARE HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT ONLINE DATING”
© Copyright 2005 weAttract.com, Inc.3
Roderick Main. Encountering Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), p. 81.4
C.G. Jung, “Synchronicity”,1951, ISBN: 0691017948 – 1973, p. 43-685
C.G. Jung, “Synchronicity”,1951, ISBN: 0691017948 – 1973, p. 112