Some Advice for Gold-Diggers

The Los Angeles Times reports that membership at online dating sites has increased substantially this year; eHarmony, for example, was up 20 percent.

In light of the economy, we wonder how many of these online daters joined up to do some gold-digging. They should be careful. As research by Gunter Hitsch, Ali Hortacsu, and Dan Ariely makes clear, income is often vastly overstated on online dating sites.

So potential gold-diggers might do better to meet up with a potential partner face-to-face to see if there’s really any gold there. A new study by Michael Kraus and Dacher Keltner, psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that people reveal their socioeconomic status in live interactions. Undergrads with a higher socioeconomic status, for instance, were found to be ruder when interacting with others than students of a lower SES.

According to a report in Live Science:

It comes down to our animalistic tendencies, Kraus explained. Like a peacock’s tail, the seemingly snooty gestures of higher SES [socioeconomic staus] students indicates modern society’s version of “I’m fit,” and “I don’t need you.”

Doctor S

People are even looking to the internet to find people to love just because of their money. Becoming pretty pathetic, cue Kanye's song....

Fred Beukema

Wow, Live Science. Generalize much?

C. Larity

Desperate gold diggers? Time to go change my income on to "over $200,000".


Actually, I think it's more likely that the fact that advertising rates have plummeted that has driven this. This has produced a surge in TV and radio ads for dating sites, in time slots never before available to them.

See also The Snuggie and Sham Wow.


Reading the story (LATimes), noticed remarkable similarity to 100 other stories, thought "Gee, when there are no journalists anymore, we'll just direct-distribute the press releases (written by the higher-priced PR grads from the J-school)."

Looked for numbers to support statistics. Saw 20%, 30%, but no raw data. So 10 customers become 12 at 20% growth.

Here's an idea. Let's make up a trend. Send press releases in 100-200 directions. Make it enticing, just before VD (Valentine's Day) when romance anxiety and romance money is in the air. Rely on the Bandar-log to spread it. $kaching$


What's new?.. This was also where all the action was when I was in U back in the 70s. The scions treat the gold diggers like dirt and they lap it up. A few years later, they were all of the opinion that "all men are scum".

It was so pathetic because here they were at a place that had to be the prime hunting territory for decent guys with a lot of potential. And 2+ males for every female! But no, they wanted it all and now.


"income is often vastly overstated on online dating sites."

Who would have thought that someone would actually stoop to placing a lie in a profile on an online dating website?

Joe Smith

"Undergrads with a higher socioeconomic status, for instance, were found to be ruder when interacting with others than students of a lower SES."

Well that helps explain why so many of my class mates in law school were so unspeakably rude to so many people. It was embarrassing to go out to a restaurant or bar with some of them.

Stuart Marks

Interesting to re-read the "Economics of Gold Digging" article from 2007 that was linked in the article. The gist of the argument from the respondent was that his money would "likely continue into perpetuity" but that her looks would fade, making marriage a "crappy business deal." I wonder what his economic situation looks like today?

floor mopper


wolfers quotes somebody that says:

"highly educated men start looking for wives "

so i guess men dig too.

here's my bad attitude aptitude numbers from 1973 when i first starting mopping floors at McBurgers:

verbal reasoning and numerical abilty:
99th percentile

abstract reasoning
99th pecentile

spatial reasoning
99th percentile

mechanical reasoning
85th percentile but 95th for a girl in that era

gold digging status: unemployed

Height is important: best be 6 foot.


Thanks goodness gold diggers are looking for rude stuck up guys. Leave the rest of us a better chance of finding a genuine lady ;)

Better By Design

To #4: Seriously, some econ/mktg wonk should be tracking the ad rates using "As Seen on TV" product case studies. Several of my friends are in the market for the Snuggie of late, primarily because of the heavy ad placement on ESPN etcetera.

d barranco

Do yuppies exagerate their income? By what %?

Do golddiggers "underestimate" their body weight? By what %?

Betcha it's close


I graduated recently and transitioned from a college with a 20:1 male:female gender ratio into a job that puts me in the top 10% of earners for my area. I have nothing but contempt for the kind of woman that I desired when in university, but was consistently denied, though now they seek me out.

Go by intrinsics, not extrinsics. That's what people want to be valued for, anyway, and is a lot less likely to change. Someone might lose all their money, but they're unlikely to lose the business acumen that let them get it in the first place. Similarly, while women age, compassion does not change so much.


I published a post about this, and talk about an interesting take on online dating services that might be of interest to those gold diggers:


Most of this research is flawed...think about it Ph.Ds talking about dating, women...

Most beautiful women (model, dancers, actresses) have very low self esteem b/c they realize they are being judged superficially...

And to make matters worse they accept abuse (Rhianna, Tyra) by men who now this fact.

Hard core playboys, pick up artists, studs know this and use it to their advantage.

Gold digging is really abuse advertising.

Smart men, seldon fall for this dead end.


Although there might be a number of gold-diggers out there on online dating sites, this is probably not the reason why online dating sites have seen increased traffic during these tough times. People have been forced to reorganize their priorities and they are looking for comfort wherever they can find it.