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In fact, we used to give this very advice on Ok Cupid’s own photo upload page: When at first these results came back, we didn’t believe it.
We installed all kinds of sophisticated photo analysis software libraries, ran scripts to measure the percentage of face in each of our photos, generated diabolically meaningless scatter plots: But the facts were stubborn: your face doesn’t necessarily matter.
In the near future, we’re going to be arranging series of blind dates through the site, and profile photo accuracy vs.
the success of the date will be a big part of the report. Our data set was chosen at random from all users in big cities, with only one profile photograph, between the ages of 18 and 32.
The pictures do all the work: in different ways, they pique the viewer’s curiosity and say a lot about who the subject is (or wants to be).
Of course, we wouldn’t recommend that you meet someone without first seeing a full photo of them, that still seems like a recipe for disaster.
To wit: a journalist was visiting our office recently, and when we told her we were researching user photos, the first thing she said was “please tell me people hate it when guys show off their abs.” We hadn’t finished running the numbers yet, so we confidently reassured her that people did. Of course, there is some self-selection here: the guys showing off their abs are the ones with abs worth showing, and naturally the best bodies get lots of messages.
Because of our restricted data set for this post, we can only make confident claims for 19 to 31 year-olds right now, but it’s our strong suspicion that this downward trend continues with age.In fact, not showing your face can in fact be a positive, as long as you substitute in something unusual, sexy, or mysterious enough to make people want to talk to you.All of the above subjects get far more messages than average, and yet none of them have outstanding profiles.But unlike the Abs Shot, this positive effect actually trends As you would expect, women get fewer and fewer new messages as they age (which is a topic for another whole post!), but this decrease in new contacts is substantially slower for women with cleavage pics.