Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match

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Overview

A lively, thought-provoking memoir about how one woman "gamed" online dating sites like JDate, OKCupid and eHarmony – and met her eventual husband.

After yet another online dating disaster, Amy Webb was about to cancel her JDate membership when an epiphany struck: It wasn’t that her standards were too high, as women are often told, but that she wasn’t evaluating the right data in suitors’ profiles. That night Webb, an award-winning journalist...

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Data, A Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match

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Overview

A lively, thought-provoking memoir about how one woman "gamed" online dating sites like JDate, OKCupid and eHarmony – and met her eventual husband.

After yet another online dating disaster, Amy Webb was about to cancel her JDate membership when an epiphany struck: It wasn’t that her standards were too high, as women are often told, but that she wasn’t evaluating the right data in suitors’ profiles. That night Webb, an award-winning journalist and digital-strategy expert, made a detailed, exhaustive list of what she did and didn’t want in a mate. The result: seventy-two requirements ranging from the expected (smart, funny) to the super-specific (likes selected musicals: Chess, Les Misérables. Not Cats. Must not like Cats!).

Next she turned to her own profile. In order to craft the most compelling online presentation, she needed to assess the competition—so she signed on to JDate again, this time as a man. Using the same gift for data strategy that made her company the top in its field, she found the key words that were digital man magnets, analyzed photos, and studied the timing of women’s messages, then adjusted her (female) profile to make the most of that intel.

Then began the deluge—dozens of men wanted to meet her, men who actually met her requirements. Among them: her future husband, now the father of her child.

Forty million people date online each year. Most don’t find true love. Thanks to Data, a Love Story, their odds just got a whole lot better.

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  • Data, A Love Story
    Data, A Love Story  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this insightful, funny journey through online dating, Webb, a compulsively organized journalist and digital strategist, tries to find the perfect man by putting herself in his shoes. After the end of a relationship, Webb develops a 1,500-point ranking system for her ideal partner, but she can’t seem to find him. In an elaborate masquerade, she creates a fake JDate profile—as a man—to discover what kind of woman seduces Mr. Right. Webb’s advice for dating both on and offline is insightful (and data-driven), and her descriptions of meddling family members, bad dates, and worse profiles are hilarious and familiar to anyone who’s tried dating online. Some story elements feel slightly misplaced and glossed over—her mother’s illness is a confusing plot thread, and there are too many details about George Michael. While some of her best advice is stashed in an appendix, her tips for creating and managing an online dating profile are trenchant. The story of her own experiment is funny, brutally honest, and inspirational even to the most hopeless dater. Agent: Suzanne Gluck and Erin Malone, William Morris Endeavor. (Jan. 31)
Kirkus Reviews
A female journalist/digital media strategist's wry account of how she used mathematics, data analysis and spreadsheets to find the love of her life. Time was running out for 30-something Webb, who desperately wanted to get married and start a family. So she followed the advice of friends and family and tried online dating "to cast a very wide net" and find "the perfect man." Unfortunately, her computer matches were less than inspiring. Some blatantly misrepresented themselves; others were bores, dorks, egotists, mooches, sex fiends or married men on the make. Webb finally realized that she wasn't getting better responses for two reasons: her own lack of specificity about what she wanted in a potential spouse and the absence of a personal system to help her determine which matches would make good dates. She developed a list of 72 desirable characteristics, which she then boiled down to 25, ranked and numerically weighted according to importance. Webb then went to work revamping her online profile in order to get the most responses from the best possible matches for her. To get the data she needed to do this, she created several profiles for fictional men with the characteristics she sought. All of the females who responded seemed shallow, but Webb also saw that they were among the most popular with the most attractive and successful men. Then she had a flash of insight: Regardless of their real-world accomplishments, "these women were approachable [and] seemed easy to date." Armed with this knowledge, the author recreated her online image to market herself as "the sexy-girl-next-door" rather than a competitive, neurosis-stricken workaholic. Ultimately, she got her man, "a storybook wedding" and the longed-for child. But some readers may wonder how the things Webb "discovers" about successful dating through her research could have eluded her in the first place. Pleasant, geeky fun.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525953807
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/31/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 531,379
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

AMY WEBB is an award-winning journalist who wrote for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications before founding Webbmedia Group, a digital-strategy consultancy that works with Fortune 500 companies, major media companies and foundations, the government, and others. She lives with her family in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

4 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 23, 2013

    I met my boyfriend online. When people are skeptical or amazed

    I met my boyfriend online.

    When people are skeptical or amazed by this (especially my friends who do date online and haven’t had much luck) I tell them that online dating is easy. The hard part is being completely honest about a) who you are, and b) what you want out of online dating.

    So when I heard about Data, A Love Story I was immediately intrigued. Partly because I like funny lady memoirs, partly because I’m always into people who are smart enough to game things—especially Internety things, because that requires a much higher level of math than my brain can fathom—and partly because I wanted to know how Webb was successful with online dating, since I’ve also been successful with it.

    All in all, Webb’s book is a really great read: honest, funny, sad at times, and really really smart. However—the way Webb went about “gaming” online dating included making 10 male profiles and email addresses so she could scope out her female competition. Which is, you know, a little creepy, but fine. It’s fine. And then she conversed with other women on the site as a guy for “research” which bordered on Catfish for me.

    I mean, it never went into “I want to be with you forever but I refuse to meet you” territory—when she was pretending to be a guy she was never ever ever saying things that would lead anyone on—but still. There’s something a little creeptastic about pretending to be not only one—but ten—different men when you are a woman. The up side to it was that Webb’s brain was doing incredible math aerobics while she collected data on not only what other women’s profiles were like, but HOW they went about conversing with me. She made word clouds, charts, graphs, spreadsheets, and things more complicated than that that caused my head to hurt just looking at them.

    It’s really intense.

    Overall, this is a fun read about a woman who refused to settle for someone who did not meet every piece of criteria she wanted in a husband. Luckily, she gamed online dating and in this book basically tells you how you too can do it. If you so choose. But more than that, I think every woman who reads this will identify with Amy’s frustrations and concerns and will celebrate Amy’s triumphs right along with her.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    When I found myself laughing out loud i knew this is a book for

    When I found myself laughing out loud i knew this is a book for me.Brains +Humor=Love.With heartfelt love of her family, Amy did it her way.A must read for all.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2013

    What a hoot! This is an inovative way to find love. Webb think

    What a hoot! This is an inovative way to find love. Webb thinks outside of the box with numbers, graphs, charts and finding out what someone really wants. I found myself laughing aloud and telling my single friends to read the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    Single? Know anyone single? Buy this book.

    To be fair, I am NOT single, but I have single friends and a single daughter, so I plunged into this book thinking it would be all research, but it was a real-life modern love story. I was completely entertained and enthralled with Amy Webb, who got her man. She has written a brutally honest book that lays bare all the vulnerability and heartbreak of dating, including some family dynamics, and friendships that round out the cast of characters who play their parts superbly in her funny, sad, inspiring, uplifting life story. I would give this a PG rating, so don't look for getting into the sheets, unless they are spreadsheets. She excels in that department, and somehow makes it all sound fascinating. Even if you don't get as technical in your own search for Mr./Ms. Right, there are a lot of good tips you can use to maximize your chances for success. Will my daughter find true love? Stay tuned. She read the book. Baby steps!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    Only 9.95 Amazon Kindle

    Just helping...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2013

    Enlightening!

    Thought the book was fun and insightful. Brought out a lot of the unspoken truths abou the images that are portrayed on those sites. I am guessing that at least 81% of what is on profiles is fiction. Most importantly, if we don't know who we are or what we really need we will continue a search that yields nothing but unfulfilled hopes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 1, 2013

    well written and fun

    I've been through the online dating experience several times and am a bit older than Amy. The book was funny, insightful, and had some very good tips for the experience. Everyone should filter for their own age, site, and goals, but it is a fun read even if you don't go online.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

     Even if you've never dated online - and have no plans to - ther

     Even if you've never dated online - and have no plans to - there's tons to enjoy in this fun, entertaining read. And as someone dabbling in the online dating world myself, there was tons to relate to. Did I evaluate my online profile again after reading the book? Yep. Did I log into my dating site as a member of the opposite sex. Ummm....

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    A great combination of whit, charm, humor, and love! I read thi

    A great combination of whit, charm, humor, and love! I read this book in 2 days. I could not put it down. Yes, Ms. Webb shows a little bit of OCD in her but who doen't have a little bit in them. I am telling all of my friends to get out and get this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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