Six weeks later, they received lists of matches with phone numbers.
"Online dating is definitely a new and much needed twist on relationships," study co-author Harry Reis, professor of psychology at the university, said in a written statement.
Studies in behavioral economics show that the dating market in Western society is grossly inefficient, particularly once people leave high school or college, he said.
"The Internet holds great promise for helping adults form healthy and supportive romantic partnerships, and those relationships are one of the best predictors of emotional and physical health," he said.
But there are downsides to looking for love on the web, according to Reis.
Skimming over hundreds of potential mates can promote a "shopping" mentality, in which people are excessively picky and judgmental.
Also, many online daters correspond with one another for weeks or months by computer before ever meeting face-to-face, which has been shown to yield unrealistic expectations.
There’s no human interaction the Internet can’t make even more alienating, and that goes double for finding a mate.
But perhaps one way to make online dating less fraught is to treat it with the kind of clinical detachment that allows humans to becalm their misleading emotions and succeed at related enterprises, from stock trading to hiring the best employees.
With Valentine’s Day near, it’s time to bring on the economists.