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Matching Niches

July 25, 2008

The Long Tail

I am fascinated with the topic Shannon raises in her blog entry on “The Long Tail & Dating“, because I just realized I have been there. I am a living example of The Long Tail applied to dating. I did indeed find my special one on Match.com little less than a year ago. Also, there is one more person I know, who did this successfully, after I encouraged her to try, based on my positive experience with the online dating service. Even though I often joke about that I should be a paid spokesperson/endorser of Match.com – no, I do not receive a fee to promote it. I have not even considered taking the time to go back to Match.com and share my “success story”. Instead, I just informally encourage single people who do not want to be single anymore to try it with the warning that it is what you make of it. The service is just a tool, but it is up to you to be honest about who you are and be specific about who you are looking for. As with all things, destiny and luck play a role, but they are definitely aided by your conscious attempt to change the situation for yourself.

Filling out a form to find that special someone seems hilarious. It did seem mechanic to me at first – marking with checks my preferred options. Almost like ordering a meal or choosing a piece of clothing. That is why I like to say that my boyfriend came to me “out of a catalogue” and “tailor-made”. Now that I think of it – he is as imperfect as my own online search criteria 🙂 But seriously, the system works in a very customized way, which saves you many questions/doubts you would have for someone you met the traditional way. I am not saying it is safer. I am only saying it’s easier.

In her blog Shannon quotes The Long Tail that “there is something for everyone” out there to find on the web. When we apply The Long Tail to dating and relationships, it would sound like: There is someone for everyone. Reminds me of a Bulgarian saying from the pre-Internet era: “There is a passenger for every train”. And if we are talking about niches, what could be more specific and authentic than another human being. There are no replicas of people and even the most rare products/things on the (online) market have copies. So, the web simply helps us find this unque one person for us, when he/she is missing in our life. An almost devine function, isn’t it?! The amazing part is how random and yet precise online matching is.

I agree with Shannon that the Internet has changed markets and has influenced our personal lives as well. And to the opponents or disbelievers of online dating I would respond: If we are as picky as to what piece of software or pair of shoes we want (to buy online), why would our search for a relationship be less careful than that? I did it once and it worked at once. So, I am a believer. 

There is one questions that people in love ask each other, when they finally meet: “So, where have you been all this time?”. My “Long Tail” answer to today is: “In a special niche, waiting to match your search criteria”.

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2 comments

  1. I must add that, if on-line dating worked for me, then it was because two people found each other that had something worth sharing. Without using the harshest possible terms, no forum for finding partners works unless you do. I suppose that’s what she means when she says “it is what you make of it.” 😉


  2. I have always been suspicious of online dating as it became popular when I was already in my late twenties and I had heard a lot of horror stories. However, since my best friend was able to meet a guy who is really nice and she is really happy, I have begun to recommend the service to other single friends. It seems to me that what online dating allows people to do is first, become clear and express what they are looking for and second, recognize themselves (or not) in what other people are looking for. Thus, the “matching” occurs on two levels: someone else matched against your standards and you matched against someone else’s standards. For some reason, when people meet just in real life, a lot of mis-matching occurs because no one really clarifies from the get go what he/she wants and who he/she really is. And although filling out an online form with “requirements” may sound ridiculous at first, it probably saves you a lot of disappointments later on. It may not sound very romantic but you can become romantic once you have expressed your needs and you have found someone who hopefully wants to meet these needs. In real life, you first become romantic but then the romance wears out, once you start realizing who the person really is. Not to say that there’s no scam in internet dating and that some people still present themselves as who they want to be more so than who they really are, but the internet allows you to filter through the “dating material,” and thus saves you, well, time, and unnecessary dates. If I were single, I would have tried it, I think.



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