OKCupid recently released some data on its users, and reported that women who message men first are having more success on the site. Online dating is never easy, so a little insider advice can't hurt. They specifically looked at the behavior of sending the first message to a potential date. It turns out that people often originate a conversation with someone they feel is more attractive than they are:
When we looked specifically at sending the first message, we found one striking habit: everyone’s a reacher, meaning people tend to reach out to someone more attractive than they are. To put a number on it, men are reaching out to women 17 percentile points more attractive, and women contact men who are 10 percentile points more attractive. This means that if a woman does nothing, her inbox will be filled with less attractive men.
They also found that straight women often wait for the first message, which means their inbox is filled with messages from (presumably) less attractive matches.
Moreover, they found that if women send the first message, it turns into more fruitful conversations:
It turns out sitting back and waiting for the matches to come to you actually works against your favor.
So if it suits you, message first. And always be careful and selective, as there are already too many horror stories from online dating.