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Online dating site OkCupid says it's experimenting on you, too

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Was your OkCupid match really compatible, or were you part of an experiment?
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A Facebook exec already apologized for the site playing with users' emotions, but OkCupid wants its users to know it's doing the same, as is every other website on the internet.

The dating site published a bold blog post (opens in new tab) titled "We Experiment on Human Beings!" in which OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder explained that this is just "how websites work."

"OkCupid doesn't really know what it's doing. Neither does any other website," Rudder wrote.

"Most ideas are bad. Even good ideas could be better. Experiments are how you sort all this out," he continued.

Tough love

The post appeared on OkCupid's blog OkTrends, on which the company has published statistics and information gleaned from analyzing and experimenting with users behavior.

According to Rudder, Facebook didn't do anything wrong in its experiment, and he seems to think the outrage over News Feed fiddling is both undeserved and overblown.

"Guess what, everybody: if you use the Internet, you're the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site," he wrote, citing several OKCupid experiments, including one in which they removed everyone's photo for a day and conversations subsequently went deeper than normal (even as usage plummeted).

In another experiment, they told people who were poor matches for one another they were actually good matches, and those users got along great. It worked both ways, too: users who were actually good matches disliked one another when told they were incompatible.

Sure enough, that apologetic Facebook executive said much the same thing in July.

"This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was," Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said, admitting only that "it was poorly communicated."

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.


Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.