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Putting your Best Cyber Identity Forward


Sahib, Padma Rao; Koning, Ruud H.; & van Witteloostuijn, Arjen (2006). Putting your Best Cyber Identity Forward. International Sociology, 21(1), 61.


This article analyses the profiles of a sample of Russian women seeking partners from western countries collected from the website of an Internet marriage agency. The popular viewpoint is that such women, in possible collusion with the agency, use the anonymity of the Internet to create an image of a perfect partner for a western male. Taking the information at face value, the article compares single women seeking partners to women featured in a ‘Success Stories’ section. The study finds that although most of the self-reported information is not significantly different across the two groups, women from major cities (which are the locations of ‘romance tours’) are twice as likely to be successful. Surprisingly, standard factors valued in marriage markets do not matter. The findings are interpreted as evidence of the importance of face-to-face meetings and as partial support for the authenticity of the data included in the profiles.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Sociology


Sahib, Padma Rao
Koning, Ruud H.
van Witteloostuijn, Arjen