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  • 19.01.2019
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The Rise of Online Dating, and the Company That Dominates the Market

Understanding The Dating Market

To browse Academia. Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. Log In Sign Up. Relationshopping: Investigating the market metaphor in online dating Journal of Social and Personal , Jennifer Gibbs. Relationshopping: Investigating the market metaphor in online dating.

Interviews were semi-structured to ensure that all participants were asked certain questions yet allowed the freedom to raise other relevant issues. The interview protocol included open-ended questions about participants online dating history and experiences, profile construction, perceived differences between online and traditional dating, assessment of others online, ways in which online dating had changed their approaches to dating and perceptions of their own desirability, perceived effectiveness of online dating, and demographics.

Although we analyzed the entire data set, three items specifically probed the marketplace concept: Has the knowledge that there are thousands of profiles available online changed the way you go about dating? If yes, how? Data analysis After the phone interviews were transcribed, they were checked for accuracy by the researcher who conducted the interview. Transcription generated pages of single-spaced text. All audiotapes and interview transcripts were labeled with pseudonyms to ensure coordination among materials and to preserve confidentiality.

Interview transcripts were analyzed using Atlas. Analyses were conducted in four steps. First, using open coding, the first two authors collaborated by coding alternative transcript line-by-line. Second, after the data were coded once and the emergent categories such as more picky online and efficiency were identified, each author coded the data again to ensure that categories were thorough and accurate.

In the third step, codes indicating participant strategies that were influenced by the market metaphor were highlighted. For example, the more picky online category was found to reveal several strategies for calibrating ones selectivity in terms of choosing others of equal or greater desirability.

After these four coding steps, the larger thematic structure, which will be discussed in the follow section, emerged. A table with sample codes and quotes is available on request from the authors.

Findings: The online dating market Data analysis revealed that the market metaphor was indeed salient for online dating participants, as over half of them used such metaphors without being prompted.

During interviews, they compared online dating to an economic transaction, referring to their list of potential partners as a sales pipeline, or describing the site as like a supermarket or catalog. When talking about online dating, participants of both genders evoked the marketplace metaphorical framework to explain their experiences, with both positive and negative connotations.

This marketplace lens and its language of shopping, marketing, and purchasing surfaced as participants described various facets of relationship initiation.

We coded these descriptions into five themes: assessing others market worth, determining ones own market worth, shopping for perfect parts, maximizing inventory, and calibrating selectivity. Participants employed key strategies in each of these areas, while also, at times, resisting the metaphor and its implications. Assessing others market worth: Seeing beyond self-marketing In the online dating marketplace, participants assessed potential partners desirability in order to determine whether the two were an appropriate match.

Our data suggest that participants developed various strategies to assess others online. This assessment of others fits squarely with the marketplace conceptual framework of relationship development in that the initial.

When assessing others, participants accounted for the natural tendency for others to idealize themselves in the profile. Participants evoked consumerist metaphors of selling and marketing when they discussed the personal profile and how to interpret it. Some compared the profile to a rsum, a promotional tool that markets ones best self rather than a complete or accurate representation.

The profile was perceived to be a means by which people marketed themselves, presenting themselves strategically by emphasizing positive characteristics and deemphasizing negative characteristics. This is like a rsum you are sending to someone someone could lie on their rsum.

But I think that if a person interviewing is a decent interviewer they pick that up on the phone or the first meeting Sally, Los Angeles. Just as products are marketed to appeal to certain demographics, participants broadcast qualities they thought would appeal to the specific kind of individual they wanted to meet.

Participants developed strategies to account for the tendency for others to over-emphasize positive characteristics, acknowledging that the profile was a selling tool or promotional device designed to make others sound wonderful and was to be approached with skepticism.

As explained by one participant, Everyone is so wonderful over the Internet. What the Internet doesnt tell you is that, Im defensive, I talk about my problems all the time, I cant manage my money Sam, Los Angeles. To counter this tendency to present an ideal version of ones self Ellison et al. For example, participants reported that men tended to exaggerate height while women would underestimate weight. Participants developed the strategy of making mental calculations in interpreting physical descriptions to account for this margin of exaggeration: one woman mentioned that if a profile said a man was she would assume he was probably 59; another man said that if a woman said she was average body type, he would assume she was slightly heavy.

Another strategy involved triangulation to verify the information presented. Participants adopted strategies such as avoiding profiles without a photo, without multiple photos, or with only one blurry photo. In one case, a participant arranged a face-to-face meeting with a woman who turned out to be ten years older than her picture.

After the meeting, he vowed never to go out with someone who only had one picture again. Another participant saved her e-mails from early in an exchange in order to compare them to later e-mails and look for conflicting information. These strategies of translating the profile and triangulating among various information sources were ways of assessing the market worth of others, similar to the way in which savvy consumers learn to treat marketing and advertising campaigns with skepticism.

Determining ones own market worth Online dating participants developed strategies not just to assess others, but also to determine, and advertise, their own desirability. This market worth was based not only on their self-perception of desirability, but also market demands for their attributes and the supply of other competing partners with those same attributes. In online dating, the structure of the site, along with the large pool of participants, supports the market metaphor because it allows for tangible and explicit assessment of ones own perceived desirability in ways less likely to occur with traditional face-to-face communication.

The marketplace metaphor was evoked through accounts of participants assessments of their value.

PDF | In this manuscript we explore the ways in which the marketplace metaphor resonates with online dating participants and how this. In this manuscript we explore the ways in which the marketplace metaphor resonates with online dating participants and how this conceptual. Online investigating mean construct Com use c. Courtship, for dating. Metaphor in D. Personal categories online investigating dating the on to.

If their perceived value was too low, then participants changed self-presentation behaviors in hopes of being seen as more desirable. Market worth also could be assessed according to explicit, immediate feedback, such as the number of hits on ones profile e.

It also could be assessed by comparing the ratio of people replying to e-mails compared to the number sent out e. They are looking but its not catching them [Danny, Los Angeles]. In the extreme, this quantifiable assessment led to a realtime estimation of market worth based on checking e-mail inboxes which some users did several times a daysimilar to the way day-traders check online stock market indices.

These explicit feedback mechanisms generally seemed to increase, rather than decrease, participants perception of their own worth in the marketplace. When asked explicitly about whether the responses they had received online changed how they viewed themselves, only two participants out of 34 felt their self-image had been negatively affected.

Many answered that it was unchanged, but those with a positive self-assessment reported that it was reaffirmed by the responses they received: I dont know if its changed the way I view myself.

Ive been told that Im an initially attractive person and I think its driven home the message. Some participants, especially women, considered online dating an ego boost based on the types of responses they received.

One woman said that after she posted her profile and received a number of e-mails in response, she realized, Im much more attractive than I had thought, you know, so that was good. That boosts your morale and punches it up. Thats a positive Patricia, Los Angeles. Also, their positive self-image was reinforced through the communicative process of selling themselves: Im more aware of my qualities in terms of what I have to offer. And theres something almost like a positive affirmation, too, because if you repeat things enough times you begin to realize it.

Its like Im describing my job and my career with every person I meet. That makes me more conscious of what I do and how I feel about it. Max, Los Angeles Downloaded from spr. Maxs observation reveals the role of communication in affirming or reaffirming ones self-worth; through the act of marketing oneself repeatedly with potential suitors, he was not only selling himself to others but to himself as well. Together, the larger pool of potential dating partners and the ongoing communicative process of reaffirming ones positive characteristics worked to convince participants of their own worth and contributed to increased perceptions of their own desirability.

View Homework Help - online dating from SII at University of Toronto. Relationshopping: Investigating the market metaphor in online dating Assessing . In this manuscript we explore the ways in which the marketplace metaphor resonates with online dating participants and how this conceptual framework.

Shopping for the perfect parts The functionality of online dating sites, specifically the ability to filter through thousands of profiles, supports the market mentality of online dating in that participants had to make decisions based on an increased supply of potential matches. This encouraged a shopping mentality, in which participants searched for the perfect match based on discrete characteristics and reduced potential partners to the sum of their parts. Decision making based on these qualities was quite different from offline dating situations in which individuals often get a more holistic impression of the individual, usually taking into account unquantifiable aspects of personality such as energy level and interaction such as chemistry.

For some participants, online dating encouraged an environment in which partner selection became sterile and calculating as opposed to a spontaneous, magical crossing of paths.

As one participant explained, In terms of introductions, [online dating is] a great start, but it also starts to become a little impersonal and sometimes its hard. You dont have that same magic of when two people meet. It becomes much more clinical and youre already looking at quantitative aspects age, occupation and everything else.

Understanding The Dating Market

Youre constantly evaluating as opposed to meeting someone and not knowing anything about them but knowing theres already a spark. Max, Los Angeles. The consequences of this type of filtering, enabled by the search functionality of the website, included the tendency to shop for people with the perfect qualifications. As Max continued to explain, the online dating environment fostered a sort of shopping cart mentality in terms of this one yes, this one no.

You know, Ill take her, her, her like out of a catalog.

Many participants appreciated being able to screen potential partners by specifying the qualities they wanted in a partner: To me, [online dating is] like picking out the perfect parts for my machine where I can get exactly what I want and nothing I dont want, and I can read all about it before I buy. I think, What do I want? Well, Im looking for this, and I want this but not this. And you can weed through a lot of stuff right away.

Frank, Bay Area. This metaphorical language, comparing dating to picking out the perfect parts for a machine, illustrated the market mentality: the ability to shop and choose exactly what the participants wanted and did not want. Many participants also saw this type of partner shopping as a good way to increase the odds of a long-term relationship because it allowed them to target individuals with certain characteristics and to avoid those with Downloaded from spr.

For instance, a man who hated smoking could easily filter out smokers, or a woman who did not want children could search for men who felt the same way. For one participant, the fact that chemistry or physical attraction did not enter into the equation until other types of information were revealed was positive, because it allowed her to focus on meeting someone with shared interests as opposed to just physical compatibility: This way helped me get to know somebody first.

Thats why I got divorced in the first place, for no reason other than we were mismatched. We had no similar interests.

Thats why I really want to get to know somebody and who they really are first, before I meet them. Courtney, Bay Area. Her use of online dating was a strategic choice to reprioritize the factors that she used to select potential romantic partners.

In her case, removing the magic, or physical connection, from the equation allowed her to prescreen the pool for those individuals with a better chance of a successful long-term relationship. Maximizing inventory: Playing the numbers game The availability of a large pool of people, which one participant referred to as greater inventory, as well as the ability to search for specific characteristics, made online dating feel like an effective and efficient option for many because it seemed to increase their chances of meeting a potential partner simply because they were exposed to so many individuals.

As one male participant rhetorically asked, Where else can you go in a matter of 20 minutes, look at women who are single and want to go on dates? Marcia, another participant, emphasized efficiency: You can do it any time, night or day. It helps you filter people without spending a lot of time, which we dont have. This increased inventory may have encouraged the perception that online dating was a numbers game in which one just had to meet enough people in order to find the perfect romantic partner.

Because her search was so specific, she appreciated that online dating allowed her to quickly identify those particular users.

So, this increased supply of available prospects may have encouraged the belief that success was purely a result of applying sufficient effort and meeting enough people adopting a type of sales approach. One woman recounted advice a computer salesperson gave to another online dater: The example he used was, out of phone calls there might be 20 potential prospects, and meeting with them there might be three or four sales out of that Its a trial and error thing, its a numbers game.

He said to her, Youve got to meet guys! Out of guys, theres bound to be a few. And she met them and went on a lot of first dates and finally met somebody. So maybe it is a numbers game. Jennifer, Los Angeles. Jennifers quote exemplifies this strategy of viewing online dating as a numbers game and attempting to go out on as many dates as possible in order to maximize ones inventory and thus ones chances of finding the right dating partner.

This strategy also invokes the language of financial markets, in that dating a number of people was perceived as a way of hedging ones bets to avert risk and secure a good future, in case one date or investment did not work out.

Calibrating selectivity We explored whether the characteristics of online dating that highlight the marketplace metaphor namely, the increased supply of potential partners and the heightened sense of ones own desirability changed the way in which online daters made decisions compared to the decision-making process employed in traditional dating.

In other words, were participants more or less selective online? A few individuals described the ways in which increased exposure to a variety of people some of whom they would not have considered initially led them to be more open-minded.

However, for the majority, the increased supply encouraged them to try to process many profiles in as short a time as possible, causing them to discard those who did not match their criteria after only a cursory assessment of a few factors; in other words, to look for reasons to filter people out, rather than in. According to participants, there did seem to be a relationship between the assessment of ones desirability and the degree to which they could be discerning in their assessment of others.

One of the two participants who said that online dating experiences had lowered their self-esteem said she became less picky over time. She said I dont pick the models because I know that they wont pick me.

So I pick the Joe averages.

Another man mentioned that as he aged and his online response rate suffered, he broadened his age and weight criteria for potential dates. Similarly, in the online dating setting, participants made assessments of their own level of desirability and that of others, and then performed mental calculations as to whether the match was equitable or not: I like a guy who can express himself in writing, but at the same time it kind of intimidates me.

So if its really good and Im blown away by how they write, I probably get intimidated and dont respond. If its kind of good, but doesnt necessarily blow me away, Im more likely to be interested and contact them. Just like if I were at a bar and I saw a really handsome guy, it would probably be the same.

Marisa, Los Angeles. While Marisas quote reveals a focus on finding someone of equitable desirability, others often women who were inundated with e-mails could afford to be discerning and only respond to those they were interested in. The systems rapid feedback gave users the opportunity to precisely calibrate their level of selectivity, based on the supply of potential partners and their own perceived desirability.

In this market, participants came to understand their own desirability in regards to various considerations made more explicit by the number and types of responses received.

Resisting the market metaphor A final set of strategies focused on resisting the market metaphor.

The Rise of Online Dating, and the Company That Dominates the Market

While many viewed the metaphor of the marketplace as a benefit, others evoked the metaphor in a way that resisted its implications or focused on its negative consequences.

These included eliminating potentially good matches, losing the magic of meeting someone face-to-face, creating an expectation of more results with less effort, and encouraging quick decision making on surface-level characteristics. First, filtering on demographics meant that some individuals would be eliminated based on arbitrary criteria. When potential dating partners first meet one another in a traditional setting such as a bar, specific attributes such as exact age are not readily apparent.

However, in the online dating environment, individuals chose somewhat arbitrary cut-offs as their search criteria and acknowledged that this might preclude opportunities to meet potential good matches.

Another perceived disadvantage of the exchange nature of online dating was the loss of excitement or magic of the face-to-face meeting. Filtering through thousands of profiles seemed more calculated and clinical: You go through. And hey, we all want to meet somebody extraordinary but you know youve got to discover whats extraordinary about people and its usually not on a list.

And then you try to figure out how do I possibly bring some magic back into this? Jose, Los Angeles. Joses metaphor invokes the notion that relationship compatibility involves magic rather than quantifiable lists of attributes. This suggests that something critical may be missing from the market metaphor, which emphasizes the transactional nature of relationship formation while obscuring the more ineffable elements of romance and shared chemistry.

Third, the market perspective might also breed the expectation of getting more with less effort: I think, again, with the exposure to a greater number of people its very effective.

But the downside of it is, I think, that the expectations are very much of a consumer that sort of instant karma expectation, expecting a connection with less effort. David, Los Angeles. David acknowledged this consumer aspect of online dating may have encouraged the belief that a great relationship could be had just by discovering the right profile, rather than cultivated through hard work and effort.

A fourth perceived disadvantage of the shopping mentality was that it encouraged participants to make judgments more quickly when reviewing profiles than in traditional settings. Quantitative elements of the profile e.

A female participant said she refused to practice what she called meat market shopping, a term that highlighted the crassness of the marketplace approach to online dating. This process of quickly assessing others based on these.

Given the increased supply or pool of people available to date, participants found quick ways to eliminate people, or as one member said, it encouraged a find my flaw mentality. Another participant explained: [Online dating and traditional dating are] very similar in a lot of ways, but where its different, I think, is the supermarket mentality from what Ive seen that people make instant decisions based on that one thing.

They click through profiles very quickly, I think. Theres probably too much choice. They dont take the time to consider the sort of detailed profiles, perhaps. These were all ways in which participants resisted the market metaphor by critiquing it or mentioning its potential negative consequences.

Discussion This manuscript explores the ways in which the marketplace metaphor resonated with online dating participants in initial relationship formation.

Online dating - Online dating Market metaphor one of the...

Taking a metaphor approach contributes to the online dating research by highlighting the ways in which the language used by participants shapes their experiences and interactions with potential partners as well as their own self-worth. The marketplace metaphor influenced their communication strategies and behavior: they described accounting for others exaggerated rsum-like profiles, assessing their own value based on explicit feedback, adopting a shopping mentality and choosing features as if out of a catalog, and referred to the process of finding a partner as a numbers game.

In addition, participants adjusted their level of selectivity based on their own perceived desirability and the increased supply of available others. Although there was a tendency to view dating through this market lens, some actively resisted the metaphor and its implications. These strategies, whether conscious or unconscious, aimed to attract the best possible match. Exploring the marketplace metaphor in the online dating context offers insight into relationship formation and assessment because it highlights acceptance of, or resistance to, the social exchange nature of relationship decision making.

Considerable research has investigated the exchange nature of relationships described in theories of interpersonal behavior and decision making Becker, ; Roloff, ; Sprecher, For example, interpersonal theories, such as the Social Exchange approach, rely on an economic framework e. These theories presume that individuals will choose to enter a relationship with others who can, and are willing to, provide resources they need in exchange for their own resources.

Yet, these theories have been heavily critiqued because of their focus on rational choice Heath,their tendency to reduce relationships to economic exchange Zafirovski,and the weaker than expected connection between equity and longterm relationship satisfaction Sprecher, While the above approaches have been critiqued as too reductionistic, our analysis suggests that adopting a metaphorical marketplace orientation towards online dating activities serves to highlight how participants view the exchange nature of relationship initiation and development.

This perspective influenced both their overall orientation towards the online dating process and the strategies they claim to use within it. Participants orientation towards online dating as a metaphorical marketplace may reflect the structure of the online dating site, which includes long lists of demographic and other characteristics and sophisticated search functionality.

The filtering process emphasizes discrete aspects of individuals, rather than as typically occurs in a face-to-face setting a more holistic assessment. This affects decision making, because individuals are focusing on self-reported demographics and descriptions such as age, height, or income rather than social interaction or chemistry.

Because these sites make personal characteristics more explicit, they may facilitate reductionist and one-dimensional decision making.

Some of our participants felt that the online dating setting encouraged a more calculated and consumerist perspective towards mate selection by enabling individuals to systematically select and deselect checkboxes regarding their preferences. In online dating, these preferences are more explicit, privileging those characteristics that are discrete and quantifiable. Online dating researchers point out that the design of online dating services may influence the beliefs of their users as to what is important; as Fiore and Donath argue, the features of a person that Match.

Finally, the process of marketing themselves through the online dating site affected how individuals viewed their own desirability. The functionality of these sites typically provides individuals with a quantifiable assessment of the demand for their product via the number of hits on their profile and e-mails received.

Interestingly, when participants assessed their own desirability, most felt their positive self-concept was either reinforced or. This highlights the role of communication in constructing self-image and worth. Participants reported feeling better about themselves as a result of their ongoing efforts to market and sell themselves to potential dating partners and the level of response to such efforts. A powerful market metaphor pervades both the design of online dating sites and the conceptual metaphorical framework that participants adopt when they consider these sites and their role in them.

The analysis reveals the explanatory power of the market metaphor and suggests several implications for theory and practice. First, it may encourage an attitude in which both oneself, and others, are commodified as products to be sold, assessed, purchased, or discarded. This cavalier attitude towards discarding others once a flaw is discovered may carry over to relationship behaviors even after the initial phases. For instance, other research has noted that online dating participants may not see themselves as accountable to others because there is not an integrated social environment e.

Such a view regards relationships as transactions based on matching discrete pre-existing traits and characteristics, while downplaying the less-tangible emotional and chemistry-based aspects that go into making a romantic connection and the subsequent interaction required to build a relationship.

Second, an important implication of the notion that online dating is a numbers game, with its emphasis on locating the perfect product as opposed to the relationship-building process, is that it encourages relationshopping looking for a perfect materather than Ducks notion of relationshipping building a successful relationship through communicative interaction. Online dating sites present a portal or market for people to meet, but for the most part leave the rest of the relationship development to be worked out in subsequent face-to-face communication.

This can privilege certain qualities over others and perhaps encourage a nave sense that finding the right match will result in a successful relationship with little effort.

The market metaphor, as well as the structure of the online dating site itself, may focus attention on determining the best formula i. Perhaps in light of this, some online dating sites now offer personality tests, academic research, and expert advice to help match people Gottlieb, Online dating participants tread a fine line between embracing the marketplace metaphor and denying it.

They seek to benefit from the positive aspects of this mode of meeting others, such as the choice it entails and the ability to proactively specify a combination of traits while shopping. However, our participants also mentioned negative connotations to the.

partners through the dating site before meeting face-to-face. Matching refers to a site's use . Online dating has grown into a billion-dollar industry, and it is one of the few growth . To extend the clinical-trial metaphor, scholars have amassed. inbound-marketing-is-like-dating-four-stages-of- To make this analogy more concrete, let's explore how a budding romantic relationship. View Notes - Online dating from BIG COURSE SII at University of Toronto. Online dating Market metaphor- one of the best market model Market changes the.

These negative aspects include the commodification of relationships and people, which devalues the uniqueness of individual actors and encourages a more clinical approach to finding a mate. In addition, participants spoke about the lack of magic in getting to know one another and experiencing a kind of buyers remorse when they discovered people who were not what they appeared to be. In one study of mediated dating, the prevalence of market metaphors was met with resistance.

Ahuvia and Adelman found that the perceived sacredness or uniqueness of a love relationship was challenged by the idea of people as exchangeable, and therefore less unique, commodities. As they write, This commoditization of love and dehumanization of people accounts for much of the discomfort that many people feel with this consumerist imagery p.

Although some resistance to the metaphor was voiced, the salience and predominant acceptance of this market metaphor in our study has implications for interpersonal relationship initiation as it calls into question what types of relationships are being privileged by online dating. The market model depends on a certain faith in rational actors, ones who can assess their worth, their offerings, and their partners desirable qualities.

Yet, it is difficult to see how such a view is sustainable in the context of desire and dating, in which compatibility may be less a rational equation and more an unpredictable elixir of non-rational factors, such as chemistry and emotion. Given this, it is possible that the market values are an attempt to rationally control desire in ways that are likely to set users up for frustration when these expectations do not lead to success as easily as expected.

Although we did not examine success rates in this study, this would be an interesting topic for future research. Our findings have practical implications as well. Given the negative implications of the market metaphor for relationship formation, designers of online dating sites may want to reconsider site designs that privilege demographic criteria in favor of more holistic descriptions.

Sites may also expand on their services to help users succeed in online dating by counseling them not just about how to write profiles and initiate relationships, but how to develop relationships as well. Online dating users may also want to consider the implications of various online dating models Match. Future research on metaphors in online dating should explore potential gender differences between the use of language, and therefore conception, of relationship formation.

For example, do males feel more comfortable with this market metaphor language and evoke it more often? Another area of research to explore is differences in language use between those who are window shopping, or just browsing, versus those that are actually looking for offline relationships. Also, further research could explore the difference between traits or qualities participants feel they can judge through CMC and those that they need to assess face-to-face.

This could help individuals understand the benefits of online dating without underestimating the effort of building a successful relationship once they meet a. Finally, research should explore if metaphors change as a relationship moves from initiation to development in online dating. Alternate metaphors could affect behavior in the later stages of relationship development. This study has several limitations. Our findings are confined to the initial relationship formation stage; we do not know whether market metaphors will continue to be salient or whether, as suggested by Ahuvia and Adelmanthey will be replaced by new metaphors as participants form relationships.

A second limitation is that qualitative data are not generalizable to other populations or contexts; our goal is not statistical generalizing but analytic generalizing, in which theoretical propositions and insights can then be applied to other research settings and situations Yin, A final limitation is that these findings are restricted to online dating models in which individuals create their own profiles and make their own decisions about whom to pursue such as Jdate. Other online dating models such as eHarmony.

Overall, the marketplace metaphor provides insight into the ways in which participants make assessments and decisions about relationship initiation within a specific CMC environment.

Dating market metaphor

The technical affordances of the online dating context filtering functionality, access to an increased supply of potential mates, and detailed demographic information about others influence how individuals use language, specifically market metaphors, to describe the process. This use of a market metaphor may influence how individuals perceive relationship initiation online, resulting in specific strategies for assessing and interacting with others and assessing ones own desirability in this relationship marketplace.

The marketplace metaphor resonated strongly with our participants, offering hope for more opportunities to find a relationship match, yet posing potentially problematic implications for relationship development through a focus on the numbers game of efficiency rather than communication skills for relationship development.

Market metaphors for meeting mates. Research in Consumer Behavior, 6, Arvidsson, A. Quality singles: Internet dating and the work of fantasy. Bailey, B. From front porch to back seat: Courtship in twentieth-century America. Baker, A. Down the rabbit hole: The role of place in the initiation and development of online relationships.

Barak Ed. Baxter, L. Root metaphors in accounts of developing romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 9, Baym, N. Interpersonal life online. Livingstone Eds.

Becker, G. A theory of marriage: Part I. The Journal of Political Economy, 81, A treatise on the family. Blau, P. Exchange and power in social life. New York: John Wiley. Bracker, N. Accounting for the economy of metaphors and metaphors of economy. Herbrechter Eds. New York: Radopi. Burke, K. A grammar of motives. Business Wire. Jupiter research sees steady growth for online personals, despite explosion of social networking.

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Lincold Eds. Each type of relationship progresses through certain milestones before dollars or diamond rings are exchanged. But instead of becoming happy customers, down the romantic-relationship-road, two people become happily committed to one another. Before you can make any changes to your relationship status on Facebook, you need to do some searching to find that special lady friend or man friend.

In this stage, maybe you scope out some candidates on OKCupid or maybe you agree to go on a friend-recommended blind date. Candidates typically emerge using an online- and offline-research combo. Creating blog posts, guides, videos, ebooks, and other content related to what prospects are searching for makes it easy for potential candidates to cyber-stalk, i.

Brands and people show their true colors eventually, so you might as well be transparent up front. Once research helps narrow down your options, you might find yourself in the next stage of the dating cycle Dates are gone on.

Jokes are cracked. Embarrassing stories are shared. Laughter is laughed. Butterflies are had. Things are a-okay for now, and the future looks bright. All it takes is a little gossip and a few unsightly photos on Facebook to change the way you look at the situation. This is the stage where some deal-breakers have surfaced. You might discover that your little honey muffin comes with some serious emotional baggage.

Or, you might find out this person you fancy is a total weirdo, but perhaps in an endearing kind of way. Both parties are finally getting comfortable enough with one another that they begin to divulge more and more information. Others not so much. For example, a salesperson might be hopeful enough about your propensity to buy that they finally reveal the true, astronomical cost of their fancy schmancy services.

A marketer or salesperson dealing with a prospective customer in the stage of uncertainty masters the art of anticipating when this game of seesaw is taking place, and proactively chips away at any insecurities by providing helpful, reassuring information at just the right time.

If the marketer does their job right, you get past what you thought were total deal-breakers, your relationship is strengthened, and you move on to an exclusive relationship -- going steady, engagement, or marriage.

Both the courter and courted are happy they each got what they hoped and dreamed for all along. The relationship is mutually beneficial, and each person involved is relying on the other to help them become the best version of themselves. Loyalists love Apple so much they stick around, or even go out of their way to help Apple improve through honest, constructive feedback. It takes some time and research to figure out if commitment is meant to be. Transparency, trust, and good timing are essential if you want any relationship to evolve from nothing to something meaningful.

Originally published Aug 20, PM, updated July 28 Contact Us.

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