What Percent of People Respond to Your Initial Emails on Match.com?

woman lying on bed while responding emails using her laptop

As you may know, before I became a dating coach, I was a prolific online dater.

I tried every site around, starting in the late 90’s. Matchmaker.com. Nerve.com. JDate.com. Match.com. eHarmony.com. Chemistry.com. And probably a few others that are escaping my memory right now. These days, PlentyOfFish.com and OkCupid.com are the two free online dating players worthy of your consideration.

But from both my personal experience and my coaching experience, I’ve learned that most people tend to fail in online dating and then blame the website.

This is like blaming the gym because you didn’t lose weight.

Site are just big boxes of single people who are trying to meet each other. Nobody shows them how to come up with clever usernames. Nobody teaches them what photos to post. Nobody illustrates how to create a unique, compelling online dating profile. Nobody teaches effective email techniques based on actual research.

This is the way normal people talk when they go to parties. They don’t tap you on the shoulder and say, “You look cute. I think we have a lot in common. Let’s go out.”

The closest anybody gets is OkCupid – and all they do is give you test results – approximately 27% of people respond to first emails, overall – they don’t show you HOW to write great first emails.

So if you’ve been frustrated with your results in online dating (and one look at the comments below indicates that you ARE), there are a number of things you can do differently to get different results. One of the most powerful ones has to do with writing first emails. Consider what most people say:

Subject: Hi

Text: Hey Pat102. I read your profile and you seem really cool. I liked your photos. You have a great smile and I think we have a lot in common, too. I noticed that you have a dog. I also have a dog. What kind do you have? Where do you like to walk your dog? Maybe we can get together sometime. So, check out my profile and if you like what I have to say, I really hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely, Chris.

If you’ve ever received an email like this, you know it sucks. But then why do you also WRITE emails like this as well? My theory is because it’s easiest – it’s what comes naturally to you. So you don’t put much thought into it, and, not surprisingly, it doesn’t get very good results. Why would it? There’s nothing funny, interesting, compelling, or different about such an email. Plus, it compliments the recipient too much – as if Chris is just praying that he/she is good enough for Pat102. No wonder Pat doesn’t respond to this display of weakness.

First emails are best when you offer your opinion of something specific in the person’s profile – but instead of doing what you normally do: “I agree. I like popcorn, too!”, you actually say something disagreeable, controversial, silly, or playful. Make an observation. Be sarcastic. Come up with a joke. Anything other than, “I like you. I like what you said. Please, please, please consider going out with me.”

For example, if someone says in his profile that he likes Costa Rica, you think about all the things you know about Costa Rica and search your brain for a humorous angle. Something other than, “I’ve heard it’s beautiful there! Tell me more!” Personally, I don’t know ANYTHING about Costa Rica, but I do know that all of my left-wing, liberal, neo-hippie friends go on yoga retreats there. Literally, the only reason I’ve even heard of Costa Rica is because of yoga.

So I use this in my email:

Subject: Yoga-Retreat Island

Hey, Pat. I have to be honest with you. I don’t know anything about Costa Rica; I think it’s in the Caribbean or Central America or something like that. All I know is that all of my left-wing yoga friends go on week-long retreats there every year. Which makes me wonder: what does it look like when you fly in at the airport? As the plane is descending, do you see 25,000 people doing down dog at the same exact time? Are there 25,000 more people who are ziplining from tree to tree? Inquiring minds want to know.

Talk soon, Chris.

You didn’t talk about yourself. You didn’t talk about the person you were writing to. You didn’t compliment the other person. You didn’t brag about yourself or sell yourself or ask anyone on any dates. You just made a silly observation about Costa Rica.

This is the way normal people talk when they go to parties. They don’t tap you on the shoulder and say, “You look cute. I think we have a lot in common. Let’s go out.”

It all starts with a little bit of witty banter.This technique is known as the Opinion Opener technique and it’s worked like a charm for thousands of women and men who’ve bought my Finding the One Online audio series.

If you’re sick of online dating – all the wrong people writing to you and the right people not writing back, here are four simple things I will teach you to do:

* You can come up with a new username/headline.
* You can post different online dating photos
* You can write a better online dating profile.
* You can improve your email technique.

All of this is explained in fascinating detail in Finding the One Online – with 7 hours of audio, a 180 page transcript and a 35 page workbook.

Click here to see for yourself how to make more people respond to your initial emails on Match.com.

Join our conversation (343 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 241

    I’ve had a match.com account for well over SEVEN years now, and never got a SINGLE message on it! Granted, I’m not a super active user, but I’ve kept it up to date, new/rotated the pics, changed locations as I’ve moved from Portland to Phoenix to Tampa/St. Pete. (i.e. all decent sized metros) tried various bios. Zero contacts. Match is a joke.

    I know women message men a good bit less than vice-versa (I believe Dataclysm said 5:1 or 6:1 or something in that ballpark), but nothing? ;:-/ Zilch? In seven years? Really? Match is worthless.

    I think I’m a pretty decent looking guy, 5′-10″ (since everyone thinks that’s so important), college educated, decent salary, flexible hours, granted not jacked, but in shape/trim, no kids or debt, love cooking, the beach, day trips, play guitar, live music, art events, etc… I don’t think I’m boring is what I mean. I’m not at all looking for flings or FWB or similar.

    1. 241.1

      Something is wrong. Did you click the wrong gender in your profile? Is your profile hidden? A college educated man in three different cites who knows how to write should get winks and emails. Emails from real women with “attractive” profiles.

    2. 241.2
      Yet Another Guy


      You answered your own question; namely, you are not a super active user. Match rewards men who are active by placing their profiles at the top of views and match lists. Visibility is everything on Match. Match is a numbers game. Men who receive and extend a lot of “likes” and messages tend to receive a lot of “likes” and messages. Any man who is not willing to read a ton of profiles and write a sizable number of women is not going to do well on a dating site.

      1. 241.2.1

        Well, I was quite active in month-or-two long spurts (pretty much every day), PARTICULARLY when I moved to a new area to see if Match was any better or not from one metro to the next. Spoiler alert: It was dismal everywhere I went.

        They don’t do a very good job enticing you to bother paying for their service. If there’s no interest whatsoever, why would anyone pony up the scratch over Ok Cupid, or any of the app based sites most people have gone onto anyway?!

        Top, middle, bottom of the list, zero messages in seven years (really… think about that: seven years!) is insane. Hard pass.

        1. Vince

          I’ve always wondered how these dating sites make money, when the experience is bad for most people.

          It’s like paying to be humiliated.

          At least with Netflix you can something out of it.

  2. 242

    No, my gender was correct, and my profile was not hidden. I had a few views (laughable for the amount of time I was on there, and the fact I’ve been in three different, sizable metros), but not a single message. Not a one.

  3. 243

    Most guys I talk to who use match don’t get responses.

    But if you are an select demographic: tall, white male, good looking

    Then the women will view you as high value (SMV) and come knocking on your door.

    I know because my friend is in that group.

  4. 244

    It looks like this topic doesn’t have the sizzle anymore.

    Everyone has realized the limitations of online dating and moved on.

  5. 245

    “This is like blaming the gym because you didn’t lose weight.” This seems like a statement by someone who doesn’t really understand his subject matter. Let me give you an example, since you mention gyms. Suppose there was a gym with a set of machines for women, and another set for men. Suppose there was always enough machines for the women, but not nearly enough for the men. Men frequently come to the gym and find they can’t get access to a machine. They would quit that gym soon enough. It WOULD be the gym’s fault.

    It’s the imbalance between men and women that really kills these sites and makes them a waste of time.

    1. 245.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I’ll take you up on this, David. How exactly is there an imbalance between men and women? If 50% of people on dating sites are men and 50% are women, it would seem like EVERYONE has equal access. What you’re lamenting is the meritocracy. Some men are taller, cuter, richer, funnier and THEY are the ones who get the attention of the women you crave. Which is exactly what it’s like for women who aren’t young, thin and hot. So remind me, how is this different for men and women? Seems to me you’re focused on how unfair it is to YOU because YOU don’t have the chops to get the attention of the women YOU find most attractive but don’t spend too much time thinking about how unfair it is for THEM to be passed by YOU.

  6. 246

    I cannot stand seeing photos of men taking selfies in their bathrooms or gyms, not impressed. Just say you are fit and enjoy working out. Pouty lips on a man over 40 is NOT attractive. At least comb your hair and brush your teeth. Not had much luck but refuse to put out a photo. If someone whom I have a mutual interest in responds, I am more than happy to email or text a photo, just don’t want my face out there for all to see, especially those who I have absolutely no interest in communicating with. I figure if it is meant to be there will be chemistry. Things happen for a reason. Happy dating …

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