The Atlantic

Recruiting Women to Online Dating Was a Challenge started with questions about weight and explicit sexual preferences. Half the population wasn’t that into it.
Source: Scott Barbour / Getty

“Abstinence ... Animal rights ... Very conservative ... Marijuana OK ... Children should be given guidelines ... Religion guides my life ... Make charitable contributions ... Would initiate hugs if I wasn’t so shy ... Enjoy a good argument ... Have to-do lists that seldom get done ... Sweet food, baked goods ... Artificial or missing limbs ... Over 300 pounds ... Drag ... Exploring my orientation ... Women should pay.”

By the fall of 1994, Gary Kremen was working toward launching the first dating site online, There was another four-letter word for love, he knew, and it was data, the stuff he would use to match people. No one had done this, so he had to start from scratch, drawing on instinct and his own dating experience.

Generating data—based on the interests of a person in categories such as the ones he was typing out on his PC (“Mice/gerbils or similar ... Smooth torso/not-hairy body”)—would be the key to the success of Match; it was what would

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
A Tiny Island Exposes Europe’s Failures
The investigation into the murder of Malta’s most famous journalist has done more than plunge the country into crisis.
The Atlantic4 min readScience
The Disappearing Y Chromosome
It’s surprisingly common for men to start losing entire chromosomes from blood cells as they age.
The Atlantic7 min readPolitics
The President Can Do Whatever He Wants, Which Is Why He Can’t
The Founders gave the executive branch immense authority—but also counted on the people to hold their leaders in check.