In general, men responded to women about three times as often as women responded to men. All men except Asians preferred Asian women, while all except black women preferred white men.
Men answered messages from other women—Asian, white, Hispanic, everyone—with average reply rates between 42 and 50 percent. And then there was my own baggage: Up to age 25, my attempts at dating—and I say “attempts” because they weren’t working—had almost exclusively been with white folks (men and women; I’m queer).
I found black people attractive, but I didn’t feel I had much in common with them.
One crappy October morning, I was sitting at my desk in the production office for the film I was working on (pretending to be busy), when I opened a link from a friend to an Ok Cupid blog.
The dating site, which I’d been on forever, had collected internal data on how much a user’s race affected the response rate she’d get after making the first contact.
Vu, who went through Y Combinator with two separate startups before launching Color Dating, said that the online dating experience — particularly for quick-swipe apps like Tinder — can be frustrating for minorities.
“If a community is predominately a certain race and expresses a specific preference, if you don’t fit with the majority, you’ll end up having a horrible experience,” he said.
That was two months ago — since then, Color Dating has attracted more than 30,000 users and quite a bit of positive feedback.
Tran, a Seattle native who re-located to the Bay Area after stints with Student RND and Tune, said that he primarily made Color Dating after females consistently told him that “I don’t date Asian guys,” or, “I’m just not attracted to Asian guys.” Tran felt that this was unfair and that the trend carried over into dating apps like Tinder.
He cited experiments that showed Asian males getting significantly fewer “matches” than Caucasian males and studies that demonstrated how difficult online dating can be for black women.