Do We Click? Using Psychology to Make Online Dating Easier
Mandy Ginsberg, Vice President and General Manager of Chemistry.com, on Modern Love.
Photo: Chris Bernard/iStockphoto
Match.com brought a world of dating possibilities to its subscribers, but last year, in an attempt to reach a slightly older group more interested in forming lasting relationships, the parent company launched Chemistry.com. The new site replaced the mysteries of looking for love with science—specifically, Helen Fisher's anthropology-based insights on the laws of attraction.
Ginsberg's background in business and technology made her an attractive candidate for VP of Chemistry.com, but she also brought personal experience: She'd been dating online for years. "There's no other online dating test that takes biological composition into consideration," says Ginsberg. "Helen is onto something huge."
The main difference between this site and Match.com is that the subscriber doesn't search for mates—Chemistry.com does, right?
Yes. You take Helen Fisher's personality profile quiz, tell us what you're looking for, and we offer potential dates. Match.com has 15 million subscribers worldwide; some people like having a lot of options to choose from, but others feel as though they're trying to find a needle in a haystack. We heard from two couples who never saw each other's profiles on Match.com, but they were paired by Chemistry.com, and now they're getting married.
Have there been other marriages since Chemistry.com launched?
Yes, we've been in business for only a year, and we have a handful of marriages and engagements. The first Chemistry.com couple to get married had a son in January. I'm a yenta, and I've created a child.
What's your defining chemistry moment?
Four years ago, I was a 33-year-old divorced mom from a traditional Jewish family when I met a guy from southern India who is from a Hindu family. We were both working at a software company. Our backgrounds were so different, but we had chemistry. I couldn't stop thinking about him, had butterflies, walked by his office all the time to say hi. Helen says we're a clear Explorer/Negotiator couple—I'm the Explorer. Is it a good combination? Sure, we got married after all! There are pluses and minuses to every combination; the test helps you become aware of what they are.
What advice do you have for women who are considering online dating?
Be honest, be yourself, and have a friend take a flattering photo. Go for coffee dates for the first meeting. They're shorter than lunch or dinner—you can tell if there's a spark within the first 15 to 20 minutes. Mostly, I'd just say, try it. I've never felt so uplifted in looking at our data—4,000 first dates are arranged every week. Whether it's the first or second, even the third time around, people need to know they can find a partner and fall in love.