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OkCupid Profile Picture 'Experiment' Reveals How Different Online Dating Is For Women vs. Men

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If you're considered an attractive woman on OkCupid, you will receive over 500 percent more messages than women who are considered less attractive.

That's according to a not-entirely-scientific study detailed on Jon Millward's blog, which confirms that some of the stereotypes about online dating are true -- we just didn't know how true.

In his study, Millward, a writer and author, used dating website OkCupid to create 10 dummy accounts for five women and five men. The question he set out to answer with his experiment, which he ran in the U.S. and in the U.K., was, "Is online dating a different experience for men than it is for women?"

He used profile pictures varying in degrees of attractiveness, with "attractiveness" based off his own opinion. He then had three judges create a ranking system and list the fake accounts from "hot" to "not." He included the same personal description for all ten phony individuals.

"At this point, I had ten profiles with similar sounding usernames, all with the same answers to 25 questions, with the same written profile and personal stats (all heights consistent, the same level of education, etc.)," Millward wrote on his blog. This means the only difference between all ten participants was their profile picture.

Millward did find there were huge differences in the attention each profile received. He noticed the two women who were at the top of his attractiveness scale received 581 percent more messages than the other three women combined.

He also found that the most-frequently contacted woman, whom he and the judges had ranked second highest in attractiveness, had nearly 17 times more messages within a week than the most contacted man. The group of five females were also more-frequently contacted than the males, with three men receiving no messages at all over the experiment's seven day period.

"When it comes to receiving unsolicited messages based on gender and photos alone, women wipe the floor with men, and very attractive women sandblast the floor with the fellas," Millward states.

OkCupid has conducted its own studies on profile pictures belonging to female users (with their consent), finding that attractive women do indeed get plenty of messages, but that "guys tend to ignore girls who are merely cute."

They also found that in some cases, the more variance there is among male users' view of a woman's picture, the more attention the woman receives. In other words, being different or distinctive may polarize men's opinions, but it often works to the woman's advantage.

"If you're a little chubby, play it up. If you have a big nose, play it up," the OkCupid post "Mathematics of Beauty" reads.

While some people find the cycle of online dating to be "hellish," the number of users continues to rise. According to MBA Programs, in 2007 about 20 million people visited or used online dating sites. That number has now doubled, with around 40 million romantic hopefuls now looking for love online.

Does this information about OkCupid's profile pictures surprise you? Did you think the gap between "attractive" and "less attractive" users would be so vast when it comes to receiving attention? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, or tweet us at @HuffPostTech.

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