One of the features of OkCupid that is both wonderful and troublesome is the Message lights system. When someone is logged in and looking at your profile, one of three traffic light colors will appear:
- Green: Replies often
- Yellow: Replies selectively
- Red: Replies very selectively
As far as I can find out, there is no specific documentation on OkCupid’s end explaining the math behind the lights. There’s much speculation on the OkCupid forum and in user’s journals about the system and whether it’s accurate and/or fair.
The Bottom Line
Ladies, if you have a red light, guys are going to assume you won’t reply to their email. Many of them won’t even write the email because of this assumption.
So it’s pretty critical that you do everything in your power to keep your light green, or at least yellow.
A New Client
I had a new female client recently who signed up for OkCupid as her first attempt at online dating. She put up one photo and a little blurb that said that she had just signed up and would be filling out her profile soon. Then she hired me.
In the few days her profile was up, she received some unsolicited emails from local guys wanting sexytime.
Yep. Her nearly empty profile with one, semi-obscured face picture was getting her emails. And she deleted them, since she thought, “I don’t want this.”
Makes sense, except her lack of replies turned her light yellow. And if she had continued in that manner, it would have turned red before she even got her new profile up and running.
Does A Red Light Hurt Me?
I generally advise my male clients to email the women with green and yellow lights first and to only email a red light if it seems she’s an extremely good match. Even then, most of the red light women live up to the red light and don’t reply.
I have heard of men who hide the profiles of women with red lights. I don’t advise doing this (since the system *is* a little buggy). But ladies, just letting you know – there are sweet, wonderful, geeky guys who assume your red light means that you’re a meanie who doesn’t reply to anybody. It’s in your best interest to keep your light green.
How to Keep It Green
There’s no sure-fire way to do this (since there are anecdotal reports that the light system is buggy), but here’s what I recommend to keep your light green.
- Reply to everything. Yes, even the douchebags who just want to stick it in the nearest warm hole. You don’t owe them a real reply. Just type: “No thanks.” Click send. Then find the link (at the bottom of his email) that lets you block him. You’ve kept your light green AND you’ve prevented him from contacting you again. Done and done.
- Don’t delete emails from your mailbox until it gets full. There is some evidence that even if you reply, deleting the message futzes with your “score.” So keep ‘em in there. Purge once a month or whenever your box starts to reach capacity.
I’m curious to see some data about the messaging system. If anyone stumbles upon some, let me know!
Happy dating, geek friends.