Friday, September 11, 2009

On-Line Dating Experiment #1: The Main Profile Picture

Again and again I have stressed the importance of having a good main profile picture on your on-line dating profile.

The main profile picture is the first thing potential suitors see, and in the on-line dating sphere, first impressions are the only opportunity you really have to snare someone’s interest. Posting a good photo of yourself will make or break your on-line dating success.

Some people just don’t seem to get this and post bad pictures of themselves, and then often times, complain in their profiles about the lack of emails or "winks” they get. To me, it seems starkly obvious that a good profile is going to be a cash cow, and that if your profile isn’t getting a lot of attention – chances are your main profile picture sucks ass.

Bad pictures consist of, but are not limited to; photos in which the person has a sourpuss look on their face or looks mentally retarded. If there is a picture of a guy and a girl, together, and the girl has her face cut out of the photo: this is a bad picture to post. Bad pictures also constitute a photo of you with your fat-ass hanging out all over the place in a hot tub with pea-green water. Being overweight doesn’t make you unattractive, but your unflattering picture does. Pictures where you are trying too hard; like you are topless, or the photo is of you and your sweet ride, or pictures where you have PhotoShopped a mermaid tail on yourself, are also bad. Pictures from your "modeling" portfolio also fall into the "trying too hard" catagory. I personally dislike photos that people take of themselves in the bathroom as well. I don’t want to look at a photo of you with your unflushed toilet or skanky public urinal in the background. Please do not post a picture of yourself in your wedding gown from a previous marriage. Even posting a photo you took of yourself in front of a mirror with your new boob job is better than that (this is not a good option either, but it is the lesser of the two evils).

Simple, close-up photos are the best way to attract attention from the opposite sex. However, don’t just take my word for it: let me break it down like a grade school science fair project.

My hypothesis is that normal and good main profile pictures will generate almost triple the amount of interest than an awful beast of a photo.

Background and Research:
To find out exactly how much a good or bad profile picture factors into how much interest your profile generates, I conducted an experiment with my own on-line dating profile.

The experiment will consist of taking 3 different pictures and using them as my main profile picture. Each photo will remain up as the main picture for a week, and I will check in periodically to count the number of views, winks, and emails my profile receives with each picture as its masthead.

Materials and Procedures:
The picture for Week 1 will be a full-length photo of me looking cute in a little black dress. The photo for Week 2 will be a close-up of my face, again looking quite cute and bright-eyed. The picture for Week 3 is a hideous monstrosity that I should have destroyed after my friend took it (see photo above). It’s an absolutely terrible photo of me – spliced to the mainbrace drunk – with a tampon shoved up my nostril - and I am trying to touch the tampon with my tongue.

The Results:

Week 1: The Full-Length Photo
Duration of Photo Exposure: 7 days (starting on Wednesday and ending on a Tuesday).
6 emails
13 winks

Week 2: The Close-Up
Duration of Photo Exposure: 7 days (Tuesday – Tuesday)
6 emails
19 winks

Week 3: The Fugly Tampon in Nostril Photo
Duration of Photo Exposure: 8 days (Tuesday – Wednesday)
2 emails
2 winks

Discussion of the Results:
The picture from Week 2 generated over 5 times the views as the picture from Week 3, and Week 3 even got an extra day. I repeat: over 5 times the amount of interest. That is how much a shitty-ass main profile picture will damage your chances of on-line dating success.

The second picture I posted, the close-up, had the biggest success rate. The full-length picture from Week 1 came in second place – 53 views behind the photo from Week 2.

While I figured the picture of me looking o so glamerous with a tampon in my nose wouldn't attract a lot of winks and emails, I am surprised that more guys didn't click on the photo to see what the hell was going on. Shallowness outweighs curiosity.

Interestingly enough, I would have thought the full-length photo would have attracted more interest, you know - ‘cause no guy wants to be dating a fatty. However, contrary to what I thought before this experiment, guys are actually more likely to check out a profile with a close-up shot of a face.

The moral to this story is: profiles with bad main profile pictures will be passed over. It doesn’t matter how witty and charming you are in your profile: it won’t even be read until you’ve put some pretty bait on the hook. Post a good picture of yourself, preferably a close-up, in order to generate more interest and views to your profile.

Good hunting.


La Belle Mere UK said...

Personally I love the photo of you with a tampon up your nose. I reckon you should use that on your CV!

But seriously, some of those profile pictures??!!! What are people thinking?!!!!

If I were to be online dating I would use the pic of me on my blog today... that is me in the pic. honest.

Courtney said...

HAHA holy shit. I can't believe you did that.. or that there were some people still interested, after seeing such a ridiculous picture. Oh boy!

Joanne said...

Yikes I hope you didn't reply to the 2 that e-mailed you with the last picture!!!

Very interesting experiment - with more of these you really could sell an online dating manual. I remember cleaning up a few of my male friend's sites.

As I said before I am loving following your adventures - I actually wanted to sign back on the other night after finding you and seeing what is available now - my bet is some of the "funner" guys are still there (five years later)

Miss Peregrin said...

Oh em gee. Why oh why would you post a picture of yourself with another person whose face is blacked out? Is there any better way to make yourself look deranged?

I'm not sure why it isn't completely obvious that a bad profile picture = less interest in you as a person. Some people and their crazy logic. Keep up the good work!

Mr. Apron said...

But you failed to include the obligatory cleavage shot, taken whilst you are seated, looking up at the camera coyishly, and the photographer is standing up, shooting down.

I'm amazed at the amount of 20sb profile pictures are of the aforementioned vicissitude. I mean, come on, slutbags-- this isn't a dating site.


Jules said...

I hate the bare chested shots the most...and why do they always seem to be taken in the bathroom, at arms length?! Yuck!!

I've nominated you for an award. You can find it here:

S.E. Sward said...

I know they say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover ... but if we all did that, there would be no need for cover art. All our bookshelves would be lined with books with plain brown wrappers for covers. Stupid saying. If you don't like the cover, you're never going to open the book.

It is amazing how some people shoot themselves in the foot with what they put out there on a dating profile. I consider them PSAs - Public Service Announcements. I always think: 'Thanks for the warning, I'll be avoiding you like the plague now!'