New site for Oxford students gets a relaunch

It looks like there’s some life in the old girl, yet: one student dating site, one of the most active of its kind in its heyday, is getting a relaunch soon.

The Oxford Romance dating site – or OxRo, as Oxford students affectionately referred to it – had originally been launched in 2008 before becoming a victim of its own success; the number of successful couples that found love or companionship effectively crippled the free website’s user base.  But now, four Oxford students have banded together to relaunch it, hoping to capture some of that early success.

Students using dating sites is nothing new; OxRo isn’t the first website dedicated to the endeavour of finding a partner.  Its predecessor, Cambridge-based CamRo, was even more successful, as both CamRo and OxRo delivered a much-needed service to the community.

Richard Neill, the site’s creator and current Trinity College, Cambridge DPhil student, said that it was established to provide an outlet to the amount of intrigue and romance that was so prevalent on campus.  Neill added that the site allowed users to forge intellectual or emotional bonds with someone else before actually dating them, leading to much more legitimate and lasting relationships than those that began in a local club.

The site has always been a labour of love, with Neill stating that he’s lost around £500 in hosting fees, mostly through events and server costs.  However, knowing that there have been more than 400 successful relationships forged on the website – not to mention the 13 weddings and one soon-to-be-born child – is ‘quite heartwarming,’ making it totally worth it to the site creator.

Fatherless children select from “daddy” online shop

A widow recently remarried more than ten years after her partner died in a small airplane crash. In an unusual step, it was her two children that sought out her second husband while surfing a dating site.

Charlotte Morgan, aged 41 years, encountered her new husband, who is 44 years old, after her children picked him out from the online dating site called “daddy shop”.

The retired model, who is now a businesswoman, had stopped trying to meet another man when her husband was involved in a fatal plane collision over Essex.

The ex RAF pilot, aged 34 years, was one of a total of three persons who were killed in the collision between a Cessna 172 and a Yak 50 not far from Harlow, in Essex. in April 2000.

After a decade had passed since his death, the woman, who owned a photographic agency, discovered a new found love, a father-of-one, who was divorced and came from North London.

It took nine months before she became engaged after her children, Zoe, and Will chose from myriads of other possible matches profiled on the online site.

The family, which includes Rose, Mr. Bolam’s daughter, are now residing under the same roof in a medieval farmhouse worth nearly 1.4 million pounds near to Ongar in Essex.

She recalled that she had been out on five dating encounters independently of her children the previous year but there was no real glow in the individuals.

Her son said he needed a dad as he was barely a year old when his father was killed and he did not know what it was like to have a daddy.

The kids chose one person and that in the end became their new father as he just fitted the bill. As Charlotte said, at least they could not claim it was a bad choice later on if things did not work out for them all.

Sexual corruption takes over girls on the internet

Lacking in security and vying for male attention, Rebecca was only 15 when she started meeting complete strangers for sex using internet based dating sites.
As a teenager, Rebecca suffered low self-esteem and sadly became obsessed with having sex with unknown men she met online to enhance her self-confidence.

Being on her own in a hotel room with a male she had only spoken to 30 minutes before, Becky knew she could not back away. For six months, the teenager had been chatting regularly online to Stuart after coming into contact with him on an internet dating site.

A part of virtual courting involved sending Stuart, who said he was 24 years old, provocative photos of her self. She didn’t question this and just complied.

Once he had bought Becky’s train ticket to travel 200 miles to meet him, it was obvious he was going to expect her to have sex with him. She didn’t want this to happen, but she couldn’t stop herself.

Rebecca said that they had been chatting for several months and had sent sexual messages to one another. She thought this would have to be the next step.

It was her first real life encounter that shocked her as he looked like nothing in the photo. He was certainly not attractive and was a 40-year-old not a 24 year old as he had originally said. Fortunately, the sexual encounter was over quickly.

He paid up for the room and then they said their goodbyes at the station, never to see each other again.

It appears that more and more children are growing up with an addiction to online pornography sites.

One would assume that the degrading experience that Becky went through would put her off internet dating. However, because she is an insecure, overweight teenager, she sought out any type of compliment that might be favourable in return for sex.

Her first encounter with Stuart was the beginning of a 5-year addiction to engaging in sex with males she had met through online dating sites.

Virtual war provides an avenue for love

Some are referring to the game “World of Warcraft” or WoW as the opening of a new era of online dating. The game’s ten million subscribers are quite comparable with’s two million membership or eHarmony’s one million.

The average online dating site subscriber allocates substantially less time browsing than Warcraft players do while in battle.

It is not only the statistics that may attract singles, but also the game’s player features encourage the forming of partnerships to take on monsters in a battle. If you try this war by yourself, you will be unable to overcome some of the game’s hardest challenges and you will take longer to get to the endgame and you will not have direct access to the game’s best features.

WoW it appears is an evolutionary feature of modern day love. In essence, WoW is not just a game (even though that was its original purpose) but it is a social networking situation, similar to Facebook and other dating sites.

However, an advantage of WoW as a stage for modern day love is it is also a niche site, bringing together individuals who have a serious fanaticism for gaming. Any two people can “date” once inside the game in a seemingly safe environment due to the virtual characteristics of the communication. It is also not that dissimilar from reality as avatars once playing the game can grasp hands while interacting as people do, bringing together that intimate feeling.

Expressing ones feeling virtually and in a game seems quite obscure but it is a move that is an example of dating experiences that are taking place in the twenty first century.

This century’s generation does not divulge their feelings but instead the role of technology has offered them the chance to exhibit feelings through texts, emails, or in virtual chat rooms and the weapon is one’s own choice.

It does have its worth as the clumsy silences, nervousness and introversion that often emerges with face-to-face communication can often have a negative effect. When these obstacles are obscured, we seek out more that is hidden behind the standoffish email or text message.

The overall advantages of face-to-face communication are numerous but to be take part in a true conversation tests a vital connection.

Sugar daddies get younger but so does their worth

Have you ever wondered what the make up of your average American Sugar Daddy is? If you’re not looking for long term commitment, no interest in a serious dating relationship, but believe your time has a price, you may want to consider becoming a Sugar Baby.

Many, many people see this way of life as nothing but legalised prostitution, yet spending time dating for money will definitely raise the question. The words ‘demeaning’ and ‘cheap’ often appear in the same conversation, but not when you’re speaking to either party involved in the ‘contract’, nor one of the most prolific names in the adult dating game, Brandon Wade.

The ‘Sugar’ lifestyle is not just rising in popularity as a way of life over in The States, it is rocketing. A combination of city-slickers earning far too much money to trust anyone as a partner or spending too much time working to devote to any traditional style of relationship combined with college graduates or young mothers struggling to find any job security – or job at all – has polarised the casual relationship.

The caw that gets stuck in everyone’s throat is when it is married men – or women – that draw upon Sugar Daddy dating sites. The men have too much money to care, often citing to their wives that they are away on business; the young piece of arm candy is absolutely aware of the situation and is blasé about the whole affair, taking money (on average $4,357 per month, according to one study, is the amount Sugar Daddies spend on their addiction) that would otherwise be destined for the family home.

That is small change, though, compared to what the average Sugar Daddy earns. The report, based on Brandon Wade’s, suggests that a Sugar Daddy will typically earn over $250,000 per annum and has a nett worth of more than five and a half million dollars, information which is available alongside each member’s dating site profile when you log on to the dating site.

In a separate report, which interviewed several Sugar Babies, they split their time between four older men. Older men who are, in more recent times, not so much older. The average age has come down in the last five years from 44 to 39 – hardly granddad age. This is due to a larger influx of a lot younger men and it is not just the age that has dropped. The net worth of the average Sugar Daddy dating site male member has dropped $1.5M and the monthly budget has also taken a hit by almost one third from $6,231, which it was five years ago.

However, that’s still a fair amount to lavish on the Sugar Babies, eager to spend time with the wealthy men-folk, who can expect, amongst other things, condos paid for, expensive cars, the $2,000 pooch and all sorts of other financial assistance in return for their time, attention and whatever else is in the contractual, mutually-beneficial relationship between the Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby of 2012.

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Dating site communication etiquette to follow for newbies

So, you’ve finally took the plunge and decided to give online dating a shot – why not? According to the latest figures, ten percent of all US citizens who regularly browse the wonder that is the world wide web have at least one dating site account!

Now all you’ve got to do is decide what comes next. How about opening up a line of communication with someone? That’s a great place to start. But, as with everything to do with looking for love online, there is protocol to follow and dating etiquette to consider.

If you’re either extremely opinionated like yours truly (you should read some of my other stuff on finance and insurance – I’ll never be a Tory-boy, that’s for sure) or don’t have the greatest command of the written language and struggle to express what you’re really thinking or feeling through the written word, piggybacking on conversations in the chat rooms where no one has got to know you yet may be considered bad form.

On casual dating sites, that probably is the way to go, but if you’re going mainstream, you want to break yourself into the crowd gently and let them get to know you before you start raining on anyone else’s parade. We do have another saying in The Black Country for that – it involves urination and deep fried potatoes, so is perhaps a tad uncouth in its literal translation for an upstanding blog like this, so we’ll leave it as raining and parade, to spare too many blushes.

Any-hoo, back to the point in question. Introduce yourself slowly and graciously by sending out polite, courteous e-mails. Make each one individual – can’t stress that enough – don’t just bulk-send the same e-mail to everyone! You’ll get a much better click-through and response rate if you mention something specific about the single’s dating site profile in your introductory message rather than carte blanche e-mail the same template to everyone who has a nice pair. Of eyes.

Over the next two days, we’ll look at a few ways you can make that first communiqué count, in order for you to get the best out of your dating site experience, have a bit of fun, and, by the time the first week’s out of the way, you’ll be wondering what all of the fuss was all about in the first place.

Watch this space for the rest of this week and into the weekend and we’ll have your little black book (if you’ve not got one, go fetch) so full of dates, you’ll be looking on Amazon for 2013 diary. How’s that for a promise? Until tomorrow, keep in touch with yourself. xxx

Sinead hoping nothing compares 2 recent dating site marriage

Well, she’s nothing if not persistent, that’s all I can say. Allegedly, Sinead O’Connor (for a whole eleven days last year Sinead Herridge), has announced on her own blog that, even after last year’s disastrous whirlwind romance with a guy she met on a dating site, she has joined PoF. And she’s making no secret of it, is the Irish starlet – you can access her profile under her user name VeryCareful1.

One would assume that dating site profile name has been chosen specifically after her 2011 stab at online dating which saw her marrying Barry Herridge after a short online relationship, then getting divorced two and a half weeks later. It does make you wonder if the two filled in the Chemistry section of the dating site, assuming that it was PoF they met on, of course.

If they did, something must have gone seriously wrong with the potion at elemental level for such a quick turnaround in affection. But she’s hoping for a little bit more of the old Luck o’ The Irish this time around, as it was announced on CBS that she’d come clean publicly rather than anyone think she’d gone discreet, shy and demure on us. What? That little lambkin?

This time around, Sinead is not limiting herself to the men in her native Ireland and the capital where she lives. From her quote, it seems as if being a ‘nice gentleman’ is what matters to the artist who was formerly at number one with Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U. To be fair, after she ripped up the photo of His Holiness The Pope (John Paul II) live on television, it’s a wonder that any of the Dublin men would give her the time of day, let alone think of starting a relationship with someone possessive such a heathen streak.

Although, if she cannot find herself a single man on the dating site, she may have a little more luck with the married man of The Emerald Aisle. According to a report at the tail end of last year, Catholics top the naughty nookie poll. So a quick amble across O’Connell Bridge or Grafton Street and she should be on her way, if that’s what she’s in the market for.

Whatever it is she’s looking for, we wish her the best; we know what a shy, retiring character she is, so, we’ll leave that one there, with just a final thought:

if you were fanous, yet still wanted to have a crack at online dating, would you stick with your own name, or be totally discreet and make up a random user name? Answers on a postcard, please.

Dobbie looks to expand dating site network beyond UK shores

There’s an auld saying down our way: where there’s muck, there’s money. It’s a motto that perhaps Bill Dobbie and Max Polyakov ought to have hanging over their office doors, Dobbie in his office in Edinburgh and his recently departed partner in the US, where he’s gone to dabble in gaming – the gambling type, not prostitution.

Last week we reported on the amicable split between the two, the market reaction from Courtland Brooks and the sizeable chunk of profit each of the gents made. On paper, when you see quotes like ‘profit up 67% to £7M pre-tax’ and compare it to the global figure that online dating is reputedly worth, $2.1bn last official figure I saw, you tend to think of said chunk of profit as not such a big deal.

But then you read another snippet in Scotland’s Sunday Mail which states that Cupid Plc was not only the fastest growing technology company in 2011 but the nineteenth fastest growing company in any field, as reported by Deloitte; it’s then you start to sit up and take notice of exactly how much the dating site industry is worth – and particularly their little corner of it – and you get an idea of what these two guys have done in a comparatively short space of time. And they’re not stopping there.

Dobbie has achieved what he set out to do and that is become one of the most formidable players on the UK online dating scene. Perhaps that is the reason Ukrainian partner decided to turn his attention to pastures new in The States, but it is clear that Dobbie still believes there is mileage in pushing dating sites further. Next step, in his own words, is to become ‘a true international player.’

And, according to the same report in the Scottish newspaper this Sunday, he is well on the way to doing that with the links they ‘uncovered’ to other sites unnamed on his staple affiliate dating site page.

The ‘revelation’ is that Dobbie is the owner of Alcuda, who in turn own UpForItNetworks,com. This sees a new side line for Dobbie only in the fact that the dating sites in that network cater for those who are in a relationship, under titles such as, whereas his main fortune has come from solely catering for the singles network.

Let’s face it, for every person on the planet there is a dating site for their sexual preference, so why the newspaper have taken umbrage with the dating site owner over this branch of his main business when he and Max have put so much back into the UK economy over the last five to seven years, who knows. The real story is how two guys with knowledge of a market and how to brand that knowledge have made a kick-ass living out of doing it and turned the dream into a reality.

Whether we like it or not, dating sites are here to stay and you’d rather have someone with an in depth knowledge of the industry taking care of personal details you may not want leaking out than a brand new start up. Something tells me, even though Max has gone to pastures new, Dobbie has not made his last million out of the dating game, yet.

Will facebook become the next big thing in online dating?, for me, do enough research on the online dating industry to satisfy the need of anyone who is vaguely interested in the cogs behind what makes the $2bn per year industry tick.  Okay, one may find it amusing that Android users are more likely to put out on a first date than iPhone or Blackberry users but, really, that type of research is nothing more than a page filler.  A little something to occupy their time whilst the dating scientists are waiting for the IT guys to come back from Starbucks to turn their machines on and off again after a grave malfunction during coffee break.

So quite why facebook have decided to assess how relationships change with the seasons is perhaps beyond reason.  Not content with grouping the blocks of information into four simple sections like the seasons, they have even drilled down into what days are more convivial to striking up relationships than others.

What facebook does have over your common-or-garden dating site,, though, to back up its findings is volume.  Whereas perhaps or even OKCupid may split-test over a few thousand as a sample batch for whatever query they perceive as being useful to their marketing, the facebook has 850,000,000 guinea pigs to test their algorithms ons, far bigger than any of your standard dating sites could ever hope to use as a pool for gauging information and split testing.

Given that there were so many singles taking part in the dating survey status, it does make sense that they were not all going to fit into the existing brackets facebook had originally created for its membership to choose from in the little drop-down box that tells the world so much about your dating habits.

If you are in either a ‘domestic partnership’ or a ‘civil union’ you can choose either of those options.  I’m not sure that there’s a whole lot of difference between the two.  I’d have put money on looking either one up in Thesaurus and finding each term was a pseudonym for the other, but that just goes to show what I know.  All sounds like dating to me.

I know you’re dying to know, now that we’ve started down this route, so I may as well spill.  Join me tomorrow (I felt just like Philip Schofield then, only it was ‘tomorrow’ and not ‘after the break’…ho hum) when we’ll see if there were any trends picked out or whether it was just another excuse for a café latte with a sprinkling of cinnamon and chocolate whilst the IT got to grips with the power socket with Measuring online habits the facebook way.




Dating site owner leaving to go on the game in US

One of the most well-known names behind the online dating scene, Max Polyakov, has called time on the industry and decided to seek ventures new in the US after a successful two years with business partner Bill Dobbie as co-owner of CupidPlc.

Those who have been on the dating scene for a while may know the firm as Easydate, the name of the company before Bill and Max took the public limited company from commanding £0.60 per share before they joined forces to a peak of £2.60 in June of last year. News of Max’s departure from his role as business development director saw the shares dip below the £2.00 mark from it’s prior price of £2.04 to £1.95, a drop of 4.4%. However, as Dobbie and Polyakov each disposed of six million shares slightly below that value at £1.80 each as a sign of the parting of the waves; both have a healthy return of £10.8M each following Max’s decision to turn his renowned talent to launching a social gaming venture in America. The pair retain 13.8 million and 12.6 million shares respectively, with Polyakov unable to release any more share capital for sale for almost fifteen months and will need to seek CupidPlc’s permission further to sell any more stock after that next milestone of June 30th, 2013.

The business behind the many dating sites which are part of their portfolio is still in an exceptionally healthy position. So much so that the beneficiaries of the new shares are institutional investors, chosen partners that a spokesman for the dating site parent company said had been a very deliberate consideration.

It may well be that, having seen revenue double in 2011 to £53.6 million, within that figure an increase of two thirds in pre-tax profit up to £7M, the business needs some shrewd investment quality to maximise the potential of that much capital. Polyakov will still have a silent interest in the venture as the remaining shares he holds represents a 15.5% holding, with Dobbie’s shares give him a remnant 17%. But the industry is mourning the loss of a true character inn Max who’s knowledge of online dating has provided massive impetus behind CupidPlc’s recent successes.

It remains to be seen how the shake up affects the non-financial stakeholders in the business, those who do the day to day dating marketing for the firms under the CupidPlc umbrella (believe me, I’m very interested in how that particular aspect pans out!) or if it will at all.

Mark Brooks of Courtland Brooks, the company behind Online Personals Watch, reiterated how much Max will be missed, given that, in the early days Easydate as was was Courtland Brooks client. The thought of CupidPlc without Max there would be ‘tough to imagine’ as he was the ‘driving force’ of the dating site owner’s growth since the business’ concept.

We will bring you news of how the new ownership will affect the world of dating as and when the investors have their feet underneath the table.

Dating site content held in question. Pish!

I know I may be jumping in at the deep end or guilty of a knee jerk reaction but there’s a comment in the press – specific to dating sites – that says that we don’t blog enough content. Pish!

Alright, the guy who’s posted the article freely admits that, in his role checking out what dating sites actually offer their membership he doesn’t spend all of his working hours trawling their blogs to see what they’re writing. But for us dating sites that put a helluva lot of work into crafting our posts and trying to develop a theme and a purpose, you can see why we’d perhaps take offence at such a comment.

It is our strong conviction that words are the very essence of the Internet and healthy, enjoyable content serves two very distinct purposes. One is to satisfy the search engines in order to make our online dating facility visible to you, the singles public, to put the very best dating facilities firmly within your grasp.

And secondly, more importantly, the online dating industry is now a $2bn global industry – innovations, new technology, dating events such as iDate Miami – if it wasn’t for us bloggers writing about them here on our dating sites, how would you, avid reader, ever get to hear of the advances that are taking place?  And I’m not even going to start about the dating site security issues we’ve regularly covered in the interests of keeping the millions of singles safe from fraudsters who are only after one thing, and it’s not your modesty!

Matchmaking sites, for instance, are always tweaking their coupling algorithms and using new methods to bring singles together – hundreds of men and women with letters after their names scratching their heads in underground laboratories in order to help you meet Mr or Mrs Right. Their work would go unnoticed if we didn’t bring their amazing feats to your attention.

Would you, for example, be even aware that a relationship could be started by a dating site that matches you with a potential partner based upon your DNA? Okay, it’s not been scientifically proven that this method works any better than other scientific formulae applied to parship but it does have its own success stories, like any of the other mainstream dating sites.

See – you probably didn’t even know that a sample of your spit could do so much for you, did you? And this gentleman has the gall to say we don’t big up the content enough on our blogs! The very nerve of the man.

Please, show your appreciation – drop us a comment about our dating site content, or if there’s something you would like to see us write about that we’ve not covered already (use the search box, below – there’s not much we haven’t covered over the last six months, to be fair). Other than that, join me again tomorrow, where we’ll have some more riveting content to share with you, dear reader. Until then, adieu. And you won’t have come across that word anywhere else today, I’ll bet. x

Genetic dating – find a match using your spit

We’re very used to talking about the dating pool here on But when it comes to the gene pool – especially when the subject matter also talks about diving into the birthing pool with any potential match from a a dating site – that’s perhaps one pool too many for us to comprehend, especially before one has even met their potential partner.

For those of you who’ve followed our blog, it will come as no surprise that, when it comes to online dating at least, what’s not someone’s cup of tea, another will slurp the saucer dry. So it is with the latest news from Gene Partner, a company from Switzerland who claim to be able to matchmake you with your perfect partner using a scraping you send to them from the inside of your cheek, give you the optimum chance of producing eine kleine Wunderkind, and all through a simple biological algorithm and their interpretation of the results.

Ah, the results of what? I hear you ask. Well, this is perhaps the most unromantic act of courtship imaginable, although birds have been known to partake, and that’s to take a swab of your DNA from the inside of your cheek and despatch it, forthwith, to the professors waiting to test and assess your spit. Told you it wasn’t pleasant.

The firm is not the only company out there in dating land to offer a match based on your genetic coding. Scientific Match will offer you a lifetime of cheek scratching and comparing for a four-figure fee whilst Eventful dating will take your saliva and that of someone you are interested in or are dating, then analyse the results to see just how compatible you are based upon their theory or interpretation of what the coding tells them. Oh, and not forgetting proof that the premise that DNA matching works is based on a T-Shirt Test held in 1995 where women were asked to smell the sweat of similarly aged men and score the odour to back-up the claims that, Eureka, it works.

Gene Partner dating and a little more scepticism

Once you have ordered your spit-kit and took a scraping, and paid the $249 fee for the privilege, you then mail said sample of saliva back to the Swiss company. In a little more than a fortnight, you’re given your results across five compatibility regions, including several analyses of attraction and how likely you are to have a happy and successful pregnancy with other singles they have in their database who have parted with their cash to take said test.

This practise has, obviously, drawn some less than convincing comments about its validity as a proven matchmaking service. Experts have suggested that there may well be DNA active in the initial process, but it is character that determines the longevity and success of a relationship. Whereas another boffin, in not so many words, has seen the two women behind the operation jump on new technology, know how to use and market it and, ’10 seconds’ after the new technology is available to the world, someone makes a dating site out of it.

The social shrink who passed that comment is a guy named Eli Finkel – if that’s not reason enough to believe him, I don’t know what is. Have you ever heard such a prof-etic name, since Einstein at least, in all of your born days? Me, neither.

Ten million dating site members – is it too many?

I’m almost convinced that there will be a time when online dating is compulsory, as will be further education. You’ll finish year eleven and, instead of trying to sneak into the nearest pub to get an under aged drink in the hope of meeting someone with whom you can pop your cherry, you’ll be using the dating site membership that you were given at the same time as you collected your exam results and college enrolment number.

I draw that conclusion based on the fact that White Label Dating, the company that hosts dating sites for individuals who would like to develop a brand in their own dating niche, whether that be mainstream or an aspect a little more tailored to an individual’s circumstances and/or sexual proclivity, have recently announced their ten millionth dating site member.

Keeping up with rising dating site numbers

Going back a few years, Matt Pitt,’s Director of Operations, may have been forgiven for thinking that the huge volume of singles recorded across their brands would be ten or fifteen years away. But, as he acknowledges in his summary in the announcement that they’d reached this milestone, social media has become such a big part of our lives in such a short space of time, people are a lot more accustomed and trusting of ‘social interaction’ than could ever have been predicted, even as short a time ago as fix or six years hence.

Also in his summary, he was quick to acknowledge the variety of personals sites that have sprung up in more recent times.

It is not only your ‘lonely housewives’ types of sites that have grown in stature, but it seems that for every type of passion away from dating, their will be someone who finds a way of getting people of similar interests together to see if a deeper meaning can be brought to the relationship.

Some surprising names amongst the clientele

You only have to look at the corporations that use WLD as their base platform for hosting their own online dating sites to realise exactly where he’s coming from.

Jazz FM, the radio station for lovers of that swinging beat and Jongleurs, the comedy club, have both chosen to host their dating sites with WLD. But there are, no offence to either of those, much bigger household names who have chosen this option.

The Independent, Bauer Media and Cosmopolitan media publications all entrust their reputation in the dating niche to WLD to look after their membership.

Is so much choice a good thing?

The issue is, with so many singles using online dating sites to deliberate over potential partners, the question has been asked if people are genuinely holding back on commitment because the ‘next best thing’ may be just a click away.

If you were single with so many other singles looking for – well, a bit of everything by all accounts – how readily would you want to sacrifice the freedom of choice on offer on these platforms? Okay, to gain access to the best features, there is usually a monthly fee, but that fee is often less than one night ‘up town on the pull‘ and you get up to 31 days (whilst sober, mainly) to choose without worrying that someone’s slipped a pair of beer goggles on you.

Matt also expressed that, having reached the ten million milestone, he cannot wait until the twentieth million member joins up. Something tells me, he’s not going to have to wait too long before WLD realises that goal.

Use ad space to make the right impression

There’s gold in tham thar hills, they used to say, at least in the black and white movies that graced our screens in the fifties and sixties every time there was a film shot about the gold-rush. Pointing the way was a Steptoe-like figure with a chin you could hang your coat on, a single tooth and the odd white whisker jutting from said unnaturally long facial protrusion making the character look a few nuggets short of a pan-full.

The gold in the hills may well have long since been excavated, but there is a modern-day mine which has seemingly bottomless reserves with ‘trending’ companies throwing their stashes at it to make the public at large aware of their presence and that the brand they purport is a must have. The hill is the Internet, the nuggets advertising space and the folks throwing money at it are, at least in Australia, dating sites.

Of the top three online display advertisers in Australia, two of them are the larger corporations behind several online dating sites, with only the National Australian Bank separating pole position and third. Strangely enough, weight watchers is fourth, so you can pretty much imagine the average Aussie’s night in –

  1. click on,
  2. see if I’ve got money in the bank for another dating site membership,
  3. yes I have, so click on be2,
  4. better lose some weight if I’m going to pull him/her, ah, good, there’s weightwatchers.

In the top ten, there were other holding companies behind other dating networks featuring strongly as well as other dieting sites, making up the 15.5M+ total of display ad impressions shown across Australian cyberspace for the month. The PPC/CPC rates must be horrendous to service advertising that is so popular. And these are not just displayed ads – these are results of people genuinely clicking through to see who could possibly be waiting for them behind an online dating portfolio or how they can best shift that annoying spare tyre.

comScore, who compiled the results, admitted that being able to implement the technology to break down which of the ads clicked on where hosted freely or which an affiliate had paid to position where they thought it may receive the most traffic was nigh on impossible. Their data represents only the fact that the ads deemed legitimate to qualify for the data gathering exercise had been ‘absolutely seen’, in other words physically clicked on to transfer the images and Alt text from the hosting server to the consumer’s PC. That is a lot of revenue generated by advertising in this manner.

According to the statistics that accompany this report, regular Internet users in Australia see in the region of 1,000 of these ads per month, displayed in search engine results, alongside e-mail inboxes (boy, that gets my goat – if your inbox isn’t safe from third parties, what next?) and on individual blogs and websites – every spare pixel, it seems, is taken up by an advertiser who wants to separate the consumer from their hard-earned cash. If you use free dating sites, you’ll know exactly what this feels like as the absolute majority of their income comes from advertising revenue.

So next time you log on to your dating site and it’s boasting ‘millions’ of members, they may just be telling the truth…

Dating sites – getting too quizzical?

MySpace never really took off in the UK as much as it did in the States. I did have an account and remember catching up with an old girlfriend – my childhood sweetheart, as it happens – on the US version of the site, the UK version was a little like a morgue. It was about then, what, six years ago, that it first dawned on me how big dating sites were going to grow, such was the explicit extent of the conversations and pictures that flew across cyberspace (although the Internet was still only orbiting the ionosphere, back then). My, she had filled out since we dated at school…

…but enough of my daydreaming. I stumbled across a blog today that sort of brought this all back to me. The usual tale, one that will be very familiar to writers who date, or daters that write, of course.

This blogger started a blog (funnily enough) about a year ago, met someone who she started dating, said relationship finished and now she’s back to blogging. It could be any one of a number of past-times that fill in those slots between lovers – for me, it was always the bar, but that usually ended up in dating a.n.other from said bar and things always cooled off when the hangover finally kicked in. So blogging between dating seems a safer bet, especially if you choose to start using dating sites to meet your next potential partner as this young graduate is just starting to do.

What picked this blog out from the rest of the crowd, apart from the fact that it was very well written, was the reference to MySpace and those natty little pop-quizzes you used to get in their not-so-well disguised way of trying to build up a profile of you without you knowing, which there is quote a big hoo-har going on about now in social media circles, whereby some platforms are collecting passive data about you from your IP address and most of your profile is already created when you join, you just have to confirm your credentials – very naughty, indeed.

But as they were deemed harmless fun and even provided a way of self-expression long before we ever saw the little blue bird we had no qualms whatsoever about taking part. Plus, they were, like sex when you’re younger, over in a flash. But the comparison drawn was how the ‘grown up’ version of that MySpace pop quiz is in fact the dating site questionnaire, which is not – for this new single lady, at least – fun.

She raises a very good point and one that dating sites ought to consider – when you first go online dating, you want to get straight into the action. At that point, you are not sure whether there is anyone on the personals site, even at the free dating site stage, with whom you’d want to share your most intimate bits.

As she said, the manner of intrusion is so blunt, the kneejerk reaction is to tell the PC screen hosting the question that the information it requires is none of [its] business. To honour at least a part of her contract with the rest of the singles, the young lady did admit to entering around twenty pearls of wisdom, which has prompted several responses from members who are ‘interested’. That curiosity may have been aroused by her liking of Ms Spears or a well-made Martini – the scant detail provided thus far – however, she’s perhaps a little more convinced that it is her dating profile photo doing the talking, hence rendering the matchmaking questionnaire pointless (there’s another hot potato for those who follow this blog).

It’s one I’m going to follow, so I’ll let you know when more angst arrives from the desert, the abode said young single lady has detailed as her current address.  Toodle-pip! x