Naturally, this inspired both wonder – OMG, nerds can break the code and get laid!

One of the more popular news stories being shared around the web this week has been the story of how Chris McKinlay, a mathematics PhD candidate “hacked” OKCupid in order to find love. – and misaimed anger by people who seem to believe that McKinlay was doing something fiendish and underhanded, a digital pick-up artist who dehumanized women by trying to reduce seduction into numbers and becoming an online Svengali.

The truth however, was much more prosaic. McKinlay did what many nerds have done before: he attempted to solve a problem by taking his strengths – research, coding and statistical sampling – and applying them to the task at hand. Rather than finding some ruthless exploit in the human psyche that was somehow vulnerable to math, he was, put simply, attempting to moneyball online dating.

Of course, McKinlay is hardly the first person to attempt to make the system work for him… or even to apply it successfully. Amy Webb, a digital strategist with Webbmedia Group employed a similar strategy of data mining, mathematical analysis and matchmaking algorithms to solve her own love issues.

And you can do it as well. You may not be a brilliant mathematician able to write custom code to seek out your perfect – or near perfect – match… but you can definitely crack the code and make OKCupid dance to your tune, giving you more success in online dating than you’ve ever had before.

How They Did It

While their methods differed – McKinlay started by examining how to affect OKCupid’s milfaholic coupon match percentages while Webb was developing an algorithm to predict which men on JDate had long-term potential – their approaches were the same: both McKinlay and Webb wanted to know how to make themselves more appealing to their potential online partners. In order to do so, they both engaged in researching just what made someone desirable online through a combination of coding, A/B testing and statistical probability.

Part of OKCupid’s appeal is in the compatibility matching. The site uses a specific compatibility algorithm based on comparing the questions answered by two possible matches, how each person hopes the other person would respond and what weight they give that question. In OKCupid, your compatibility score directly affects the visibility of your profile to other people. The lower your compatibility with an individual, the less likely you were to show up in their searches. McKinlay, frustrated that he had such low compatibility with women in the Los Angeles area, used bots to gather information on how women answered questions and sorted them into discrete groups based on their interests. After determining which groups were most interesting to him, he would create two profiles crafted for maximum appeal for women in those particular clusters.

How To Hack OKCupid

Making this one of the few times you can actually say that those AP math classes would have relevance in the “real world”.

Webb, on the other hand, wanted to find The One1 and created a large data set of features that she felt were critical for long-term potential and gave them numerical values, weighted for importance. If an individual didn’t reach a certain score, then she wouldn’t go on a date with him. If he didn’t reach an even higher score, then there wasn’t likely to be any long-term potential and she was less likely to consider him as marriage material.

To help craft a profile that would appeal to the sort of man she was attracted to, she decided to become him; she created ten separate male profiles in order to collect data on what sorts of women she would be competing with. Over time, she developed enough quantitative data to determine issues like profile length and qualitative data to help determine what to write in that profile and how. And in her own words it made her “one of the most popular people on the Internet”.