Furtherore when most academic papers are analyzing what characteristics are associated with contacting and being contacted by others or with replying to another’s initial message, they work generally with contacts replied at the first message too. So one tends to make the mistake of confusing response rates as first message as mate acceptance rates, which it’s wrong. Mate acceptance is not equal to rates of initial contact in which one sent a message to the other and got just a response.
Obviously most recipients refuse to send a response to those senders who don’t meet their physical requirements, so they ignore those they don’t find worthy. Say that you get an e-mail from someone, and you can tell immediately that you have no interest in communicating with that person.
So most people don’t reply at all, ever. Just delete the message. In Internet-speak, this tactic is completely understood to mean Not interested at all, ever.
Others send a short reply saying, Thanks for writing, but I’m not interested. Then they delete the person’s message. If the person continues to write, they don’t answer ( if the person persists, use the blocking feature on their message system for example).
By the other hand, some people may even extend the messaging exchange with an unattractive prospect, mainly users who usually receive few or no messages from their potentially preferred partners.
But when an inicial user contacted realizes that the prospect just isn’t a match, the frequent action to stop of keeping sending more messages. Other action is to send a last message to say: I need to stop now. I’ve enjoyed chatting with you, but I don’t think we’re a match. I don’t want to waste any more of your time. Best of luck in your search.
So how can we distinguish real mate acceptance of reply rates at first message? or even reply rates at several messages?. Hitsch et al. (2010) explain a reliable way to measure mate acceptance rates, or as they define, matches :
[…Since we can track only the users’ online behavior, we do not know whether two partners ever met offline or eventually got married. However, our data do allow us to observe whether users exchange a phone number or e-mail address, or whether an e-mail contains certain keywords or phrases such as get together or let’s meet. We therefore have some indirect information on whether the online meeting resulted in an connecting singles initial match, i.e., a date between the users. We therefore define a match as a situation where both mates exchange such contact information (i.e., for a match it is not enough for a man to offer his phone number; we also require that the woman respond by sending her contact information)…]
In other words, we can define as match or mutual acceptance when users are sharing personal information (emails, phone numbers, social networking, Skype ID, etc) with the purpose of set up an date. They further argues that:
[…For some users we observe multiple matches. We use each of these as a separate event when we describe the sorting patterns below. Matches are very different events from first-contact decisions: Table 4 shows that of all first contact e-mails sent by men, 4.3 percent lead to an eventual match…].