The Atlantic

Recruiting Women to Online Dating Was a Challenge

Match.com 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, Match.com. 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

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