Online dating purports to combine both “data” and “science” to find you that perfect match. One in 10 Americans have used a dating site or mobile app, and 23 percent have met a spouse or long-term partner through these sites. In fact, 11 percent of American couples who have been together for 10 years or less met online. It’s no wonder—in addition to generic sites like Match.com, eHarmony, and OkCupid—the online dating world is rich with specialty sites for daters looking for a match based on a number of factors (e.g., income, biological traits, age, religion).
The industry still has a long way to go, however, especially when it comes to trust. A 2013 Pew study found that 54 percent of online daters felt someone had seriously misrepresented themselves in their profile. They’re not wrong; 81 percent of online daters reported inaccurate information about their weight, height, or age. They’re also apt to lie about their income and sexuality, and using out-of-date flattering photos is an all too common practice.
In this infographic, datascience@berkeley explores the past, present, and future of online dating. How do dating sites’ matching algorithms work? What data do users rely on when judging prospective dates? How can you optimize your profile to find that perfect match? Join us and watch as Big Data Seeks Online Love.
Every day, millions of singles crawl dating sites and apps, flipping through photos and profiles of potential matches.
He’s got nice hair! She’s a skydiver! He’s a pastry chef! Users skim profiles looking for a reason to send a message or dismiss (hint: do not mention your mom or exes). Finding a date, let alone love, just isn’t easy—even though there are plenty of apps for that.
WIRED couldn’t help but think there might be a better way to optimize your chances, so they pulled massive amounts of data from OkCupid and Match.com, searching for tips that might help you master Internet dating and find someone awesome.
Call it the algorithm method: Working with data crunchers at the dating sites, WIRED put together 25 tips for writing the perfect profile, selecting the right photo, and really understanding your audience. They analyzed the 1,000 most popular words on both men and women’s profiles, tabulated the most popular movies and TV shows, and crunched stats on what people consider their best feature vs. what features their potential dates are attracted to. They even scoured the top 400 most popular OkCupid profiles—the hottest people on the site in ten US cities—to see what their profile pics could tell the rest of us about attracting a date.
This chart shows 380 of the top 1000 most commonly used words in profiles on OkCupid. The color-coding shows the average attractiveness rating of the people using those words.Click here to enlarge. INFOGRAPHICS BY JOSEF REYESClick Image To Enlarge
WIRED couldn’t have done any of this without the help of the data maestros at Match and OkCupid: Christian Rudder, cofounder and president of OkCupid, and Jim Talbott, director of consumer insights at Match.com. These guys and their data teams ran queries of all kinds and pulled spreadsheet after spreadsheet of information to try and answer our strange questions. WIRED also needed OkCupid to get permission from their users to enable us to publish those popular profile pics. In short, WIRED couldn’t have scraped all this data and derived this advice without the help of these talented data crunchers who are as dedicated to data analysis as we are.
Buried in all that data were some surprising facts about how to optimize your dating profile. If you’re a gay man, pose outdoors—48 percent of the profile pics of the most popular gay men on OkCupid were snapped outside. (It was 80 percent in Atlanta!) Selfies are acceptable for women (45 percent of top-ranking straight women used them, as did 4 percent of lesbians), but not so much for men. Enroll in a yoga class and learn to surf—they’re the most popular activities for men and women alike, so either desirable singles are super mellow or it’s aspirational, and everyone wants to be mellow. Mentioning cats is fine, but mention “my cats” and you’re a weirdo. The data shows that lesbians appreciate nice legs, gay men prize nice arms, and straight women and men are looking for flat stomachs above all else. The tips got pretty specific in some cases: It’s 28 percent better for a male to refer to females as women rather than girls, and men who use “whom” get 31 percent more contacts from the opposite sex.
Courtesy of an article dated February 3, 2014 appearing in WIRED
The Hugvie robotic pillow allows people who are fr apart to feel like they are together (Click Image To Enlarge)
As more families rely on technology to provide methods of communication when separated, a roboticist in Japan is attempting to replicate the human connection lost in a long distance relationship.
Developed by Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro, the “Hugvie” is a brightly-colored pillow in an extremely generic shape of a person. Within the large cushion, there is a pocket that’s designed to house a smartphone or regular cell phone during a call. According to Ishiguro, the Hugvie uses a micro-controller and two vibrating discs to “translate” the emotions of the caller’s voice into physical form. The two vibrators act in conjunction to replicate a human heartbeat. The speed as well as the intensity of the heartbeat is completely dependent on the volume and mood of the calle
The Hugvie robotic pillow works with your cellphone to produce a huggy-feelie sensation (Click Image To Enlarge)
The current iteration of the product is being targeted at seniors and children. For instance, a parent on an out-of-town business trip could speak to their child while the youngster was wrapped around the Hugvie. The elderly could use it when speaking to a distant family member or primary caregiver over the phone. Future iterations of the design may be specifically targeted to people in a long distance relationship.
When explaining a design that offers a higher level of interactivity, Ishiguro stated:
“We’d like to develop this into a robot with an internal frame. We could build in lots of vibrators and special sensors, so that when you hug it, the other person’s robot moves as well. So far, I don’t think there has been a really soft robot. If we make this one a bit more complex, we could create something that really feels like a person while you’re hugging it.”
The Hugvie costs approximately $60 and is currently on display at the Vstone Robot Center in Tokyo. Osaka University’s Professor Ishiguro is also responsible for the development of the Telenoid, a portable teleoperated android robot that simulates a physical presence for someone in another location. The built-in speakers within the Telenoid play the voice of the caller and the human-like face replicates the emotional state of the caller as the caller’s face is being watched through a webcam.
COMMENTARY: The first time that I saw the Hugvie robotic pillow I thought it was a bit creepy, but upon reflection, I think it's a fantastic novel idea that I think is going to catch on. It would be an ideal gift for couples and a neat way to pacify young children. Both would get a big charge out of feeling Hugvie do its vibration magic.
Courtesy of an article dated April 28, 2012 appearing inDigital Trends
But now, Hefner, 85, says he and his former fiancée, 25, are still going back and forth about who gets permanent ownership of the pooch.
Hefner told PEOPLE on Thursday at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.
"We both love the puppy. I told her if she wants to keep the ring and the Bentley, then maybe I can keep the puppy. I [hope] we will work it out."
Playboy July 2011 Cover
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The Wedding Invitation
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The Wedding Cancellation
The Wedding Ring Auction
An unnamed source claims that
"Crystal couldn’t bear to look at the ring anymore because it brought back bad memories”
So naturally, the logical step is to put that bad memory up for a very public auction. While prior reports claimed Hefner paid $90,000 for the ring, Christie’s only set an estimate of $20,000-$30,000 on the ring. The lot description on the Christie’s reads:
A diamond ring. Set with a circular-cut diamond, weighing approximately 3.39 carats, to the circular-cut diamond hoop, mounted in platinum.
A diamond isn’t always forever, sometimes it’s only for 6 months, especially for Hugh Hefner’s ex-fiancee Crystal Harris.
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The Big Cry
Crystal Harris has revealed she called off her wedding to Hugh Hefner because she couldn't cope with the Playboy mogul's lifestyle.
The 25-year-old blonde, who was due to marry the 85-year-old at his mansion on Saturday, feels 'relieved' the ceremony has been called off but regrets 'disappointing everybody.'
In a tearful interview with America's Entertainment Tonight, she said: 'I wasn't the only woman in Hef's life. I didn't feel comfortable in my heart knowing that and getting married to him, because a marriage is between two people.
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Crystal told Entertainment Tonight.
'That's not what our relationship was.'
Hefner has long been famous for having multiple girlfriends and it seems he had no plans to change his ways.
She also blames 'stress' of having to deal with legal experts for her shock decision.
"We had to deal with lawyers, I never had a lawyer for anything.I'm going to pre-nup lawyers and lawyers to do a show - we had a two-hour special on Lifetime underway - lawyer meeting contracts, all kinds of stuff.. it was crazy."
Pre-nups and nasty lawyers have a tendency to do that to some gold digger chicks.
"The View" Interview
COMMENTARY: The Pope warned the world during his traditional serman on the eve of Christmas about, "too much glitter during Christmas," which is why this article had to be my very first post-Christmas blog post. It's so apropos.
What a life of pure ecstacy and glitter. The Pope must've been thinking of Hef and the Playboy Mansion girls when he said there was just too much glitter during Christmas (i.e. the over-commercialization of Christmas) and that the problems of the poor, sick and down trowden are swept under the rug.
When the 85-year old Playboy mogurl Hugh Hefner became engaged with Crystal Harris, the 25-year old Playmate and live-in at the Playboy Mansion, I got visions of little "Hef" baby boy or girl running throughout the Playboy mansion, but it was not to be. Instead, the world was shocked to receive this Tweet from Hef:
"The wedding is off. Crystal has had a change of heart."
Crystal later reponded with this post on her website.
"After much deep reflection and thought I have decided to end my engagement with Hef. I have the utmost respect for Hef and wish him the best going forward. I hope the media will give each of us the privacy we deserve during this time."
Hef invited over 300 people to the wedding using Papeterie custom-made invitations (see above), which called for a pink Romona Keveza gown and Torrance Bakery strawberry cake.
If Hef and Crystal had beeen married, this would've been Hef's third marriage, and her first. Hef filed for divorce in 2009 from his second wife, former playmate Kimberly Conrad. He was previously married to Mildred Williams, whom he divorced in 1959.
Harris's manager Michael Blakey tells PEOPLE.
"I heard the sad news today this morning. The split was a mutual decision and the two remain good friends."
The Final Talley
So just how much did Hugh's relationship and engagement to Crystal Harris cost him? Here's a rough estimate:
Playboy Mansion room and board from January 2009 to October 2011 ($10,000/mo) - 22 months x $10,000 = $220,000.
Weekly Playmate Allowance ($1,000 per week) - 96 weeks x $1.000 = $96,000.
Playboy Playmate fee - $1,000,000
Playboy travel and entertainment for things like dinners, trips, parties, etc. ($2,000 per month) - 22 months x $2,000 = $44,000.
Engagement ring - $90,000
Bentley Continental GT automobile - $170,000
Gifts and other goodies - $50,000
Wedding costs and reception - $150,000
Attorney's fees - $25,000
I was very conservative with the cost estimates, and I left out the costs of music and singing lessons, recording, etc. that Hef paid to help out Crystal pursue her music career, so Hef probably paid out about $2 million just for Crystal when it's all said and done.
Here's the video of Crystal Harris' debut album "Club Queen." Was it money well spent?
On the positive side of the ledger, the July 2011 "Runaway Bride" issue sold 450,000 issues at the newstand at $4.95 per issue for total newstand sales of $2.250 million. After deducting printing and distribution costs, Hef netted about half or $1.250 million, so he only lost about $750,000 on Crystal Harris. The publicity he got was worth at least that, and probably more, so when it's all said and done, the engagement was a win-win for Hef and Crystal. Crystal got her music career launched and Hef sold more Playboy mags.
I did find the following video of Crystal at a pool party at the MGM Resort Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, dancing and drinking champagne with another very beautiful and curavacous Bunny friend. Notice that they are leafing through a magazine, probably the Playboy "Runaway Bride" July 2011 issue.
Anyway, Heff is a whole lot happier now, with his two new girlfriends, and attendant harem. What a life.
Courtesy of an article dated December 26, 2011 appearing in CNN
It's a 120-million-member social network that's adding over 300,000 users a day, with more than 4.3 million daily photo and video uploads, and seven billion monthly page views. It has Facebook's fastest-growing app, with 570,000 new daily users, making it the third-biggest app of all after FarmVille and CityVille. Hugely profitable, it's forecast to generate hundreds of millions of dollars this year, and is being aggressively courted by venture-capital firms valuing it in the billions. And it's run from London by a secretive Russian serial entrepreneur who has steadfastly refused to be interviewed or photographed. Until now.
Badoo is the world's largest social network that you probably haven't yet heard of. Run from 800-square-metre loft-style offices in Soho, it is brilliantly effective at providing one simple and universally compelling service: hooking up members according to their profile pictures and location. "Chat, flirt, socialise and have fun!," implores the home page, alongside photos of prospective friends such as Terri, 21 ("Wants a candlelit dinner"), and Christopher, 25 ("Wants wake up with a girl" [sic]). Sign in, and a message declares that "204,516 girls [or guys] near you are looking to meet a guy your age!". Explain your intentions (the pull-down menu's suggestions include "to talk about sex", "to get a massage", "to flirt") and Tatyana, Oshrit or Gary might just give you access to their stash of private photos.
Still barely registering in Britain or the US, the free-to-use network -- on the web and via smartphones -- is a mass phenomenon with members in:
Brazil - 14.1 million members
Mexico - 9 million members
France - 8.2 million members
Spain - 6.5 million members
Italy - 6 million members
Relying on word-of-mouth rather than any marketing spend, it has cracked the internet's eternal conundrum: how to persuade users to pay hard cash in a world drowning in free digital services and content, by charging members each time they want to boost their visibility to others searching for a date.
A year after Badoo's 2006 launch, when it had 12 million members, Russia's Finam Technology Fund bought a ten per cent stake for $30 million, valuing it at $300 million (this year Finam will realise an option for a further ten per cent at a higher valuation). Today, A-list investors such as Sequoia and Accel are courting the business and there is talk of an initial public share offering.
Bart Swanson, hired as the new CEO in September 2010, expanded Amazon in Europe and run EMI in France. Says Swanson:
"Cracking the Anglo-Saxon market will probably give us double to triple today's reach. The opportunity for people discovery [through Badoo] is a horrendously large market -- it's a confluence of social, proximity, mobile, and it's extremely local. The basic mechanism of what Andrey has developed is genius -- just like Google with its AdWords, it's people paying for self-promotion. And it works."
Andrey is Andrey Andreev, originally from Moscow but based in London for the past six years, who founded Badoo on a string of other highly profitable Russian internet businesses: Mamba, SpyLog, Begun. Andreev, a youthful 37 with a cherubic smile below a floppy fringe, has so far eluded media attention: Russian Forbes last year called him "one of the most mysterious businessmen in the West" (it also reported his original name as Andrey Ogandzhanyants, under which the SpyLog.net domain was registered).
We were introduced in January by Israeli investor Yossi Vardi at Burda's DLD conference in Munich, which Vardi co-chairs, and later met in London. (Vardi has no stake in Badoo.) And then in mid-February, alone in an office belonging to Freud Communications, Andreev agreed to share his story. It has been a busy few days. Andreev explains that Michael Moritz, the legendary Sequoia investor who took early stakes in Google and Apple, has just flown in from Palo Alto to meet him; he has also been meeting Kevin Comolli of Accel's London office. Moritz declined to speak to Wired, but Comolli -- whose investments include Playfish, Kayak and Getjar -- calls Andreev a "genius" with whom he would like to work. Says Comolli,
"Badoo is a social phenomenon. It's explosive growth, viral, it's playful, it seems consistent with offline social interaction but in this hypervirality mode that only the internet has enabled. The secret sauces in companies like this are so nuanced, and the difference between getting it wrong and right lies only with these special people like Andrey. He's created something very powerful."
The 5' 8" Andreev explains quietly and precisely, the reasons why he has remained so silent?
"I love to focus on making things rather than exploring myself. I don't feel that it helps to make money or make business. I feel Badoo is ready for me to identify with. Because it works, it grows like crazy. And people love it."
There is another unspoken reason: with an IPO being considered, the company needs to raise awareness to maximise the valuation being floated by investors and bankers (currently being discussed at "around $2 billion", according to Andreev). The business is printing money: revenues and profit are growing by "double-digit percentages" each month, he says. "We see bankers everywhere. We are like celebrities."
Badoo launched in late 2006 in Spain, where Andreev was then living, as a conventional photo-sharing website. Says Andreev,
"We assumed that the 'meet new people' idea wouldn't work there -- Spanish girls are like princesses, you couldn't touch them, you had to meet their parents first before inviting them to the cinema."
The site wasn't generating revenue, but numbers were growing sharply: the 2007 Google Zeitgeist list of fastest-rising search terms listed "Badoo" second, just below "iPhone". In 2008, Andreev decided to test his assumptions of Spanish women and as an experiment refocused the site on meeting new people. "And the girls didn't leave. At that time, France was growing fast, Italy was. Then one day we discovered we had 30,000 registrations in Turkey [that day]. What happened? Was it a hacker attack or scammers? No, someone wrote an article about us. It's as if all the users jumped on the bus and went there. Bang -- in two months, suddenly we have a Turkish market with a million members." Today the overall gender ratio is 45 percent female, 55 per cent male (in Brazil and Poland women outnumber men); 86 percent of users are aged 18 to 34.
Andreev introduced some simple premium services into his revenue model:
Rank Higher During Searches - You could pay a dollar or a euro to "rise up" the search results, and so attract greater attention.
Increase Profile Photo Visibility - You could pay again to have your profile photo more widely visible across the site.
Virtual Gifts - He introduced virtual gifts to buy for your prospective date. "No one's pushing you to spend money, but if you want to attract more users, you have to pay," he explains.
"You pay to advertise yourself. If you want something to go faster, you pay. And some people pay tens of times every day to rise up. But people love advertising themselves. Lots of people use this function several times a day. They become addicted."
By the end of 2009, the site had 48 million registered users -- a fifth of whom, then CEO Neil Bryant said at the time, were paying to boost their profile.
Andreev explains his idea for a mobile location-based Badoo:
"Then we had the idea of mobile -- how to meet people nearby. We understood that people could meet each other in a big town, but how much more exciting to see who's sitting next to you in a café? Or you can just walk past a nightclub and see who you can pick up before you get in. It's another opportunity to hook up random people for adventure. We're talking about real life, real time. We know this girl is 500 metres from here now."
Badoo Mobile launched last summer on the iPhone, and in March on Android phones. Within weeks, with barely any marketing, the iPhone app was the number-one social-networking app in France; after eight months, it had been downloaded 1.5 million times. Andreev sees proximity as key to the business's future. Even desktop computer users can share their location by downloading an app that accesses Wi-Fi networks, IP addresses and other data points. "If you're sitting at home and someone's walking with an iPhone nearby, we know the distance between you. We can also show the iPhone user that you're nearby. So it works for everyone."
in 180 countries
134,628 new users per day
506,336 users online now
1,517,000 photos and videos uploaded daily
who speak 25 languages
According to Pikimal, Badoo's demographics are as follows:
Age Ranges Of Members
Members Between 13-17 Years
Members Between 18-34 Years
Members Over 35 Years
Gender Of Members
Number Of Female Users
Number Of Male Users
Ethnicity Of Members
Location Of Members
So where does Badoo rank by visitors per day in comparison with other social networks?
According to Quantcast, Badoo's global web traffic is not available, but here are their estimates for the U.S.
If the above estimates for Badoo's U.S. traffic are correct, then Badoo is definitely making tremendous headway against social network sites like Facebook and other dating sites in a relatively short period of time (6 months).
According to Inside Facebook, Badoo has been around for years, mostly as a slickly-designed dating social network site, but it introduced a Facebook app version in October, and it’s recently been challenging many larger dating competitors.
The app has had a huge December, growing from 3.19 million monthly active users and 365,000 daily active users a month ago to 10.8 million MAU and 1.34 million DAU today — making it the second-largest dating title by MAU and the largest by DAU on Facebook, according to our AppData tracking service.
The company’s site claims upwards of 115 million members total, and also utilizes a Facebook Connect integration that works with its Facebook app. Using Connect or the app, a user automatically is fitted with a profile that includes their name, age, location, sex and profile photos.
Since hiring Bart Swanson, Andreev has stepped back from day-to-day management to focus on product development. And, yes, he is thinking about his next project. Says Andrey,
"Always -- I have a black box of things to do, but it's not easy to jump from one to another." What type of business? "Look at my experience -- it won't necessarily be a dating or hook-up service. But it will be internet. The mobile internet is the biggest opportunity in the world. Smartphones outsold PCs last quarter. The opportunities will include meeting new people. Hook-up on mobile is a multibillion business. And on tablets. If today 90-95 percent [of engagement] is via the web, in a year 50 percent will be mobile,"
Does Andreev have Facebook in his sights? He says,
"Badoo is more of a social network than Facebook, as on Facebook you interact with your existing friends in an absolutely virtual life. Badoo is more social: it provokes you to go down on the street and meet these people."
As for Andreev's next move, in Swanson's words, "he's built up the mousetrap, he's involved in the strategic issues, but he's not that involved on the details and he's phasing himself out. My challenge is to keep him here as long as possible."
Does he fear becoming more public? "For now, it's not a big problem," Andreev replies, "as now we have a company that's successful." He pauses. "It's a human thing. You have something cool. This is mine -- I made it. It's like a kid. Before you have this, what's there to talk about? That I'm cool?"
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COMMENTARY: There are several things that I like about Badoo.
It differentiates itself because it is a dating social network and its slick look is specifically designed for the dating scene. The combination works well because it combines the social networking element and the dating. Dating service members usually leave the site once they find a mate, but the social network element keeps you locked in--brilliant.
Unlike Facebook, which is very drab by comparison, Badoo has more color, and is full of life, fun and enjoyment.
Badoo leans heavily towards Millennials (18-34 yrs of age), which is the sweet spot for dating, and also represents some of the heaviest users of social networks.
It's unique premium pricing model allows users to "advertise themselves" in order to move up in profile and photo searches and users can give virtual gifts (virtual box of chocolates, bouquet of flowers, and so forth).
Uses a location-based mobile dating app.
Although Badoo's membership leans heavily toward males, this is not that unusual for a site that emphasizes developing dating relationships.
I tend to agree with Andreev that Badoo is "more social" than Facebook. It's much more one-on-on, designed to build closer and more intimate relationships between members of the opposite sex, not just close friends and business associates.
I like this guy Andrey Andreev because like many very successful entrepreneurs he left college at an early age then he caught the entrepreneurial bug. Andrey has a lot of street smarts, not afraid to experiment, uses his gut feelings. If it doesn't work, he tries something else, until it sticks.