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 not necessarily the key to dating down under

Last week, we concentrated solely on getting you up and running on your dating site for Valentine’s Day so this week we’re going to move away from the UK dating scene and have a look at what’s going on around the rest of this marble we’re on.

We’ll start off as far away as possible, if that’s okay? No, not Inverness – Australia. Specifically Queensland and how their dating world has changed since online dating lost its cloak of indecency but, more specifically, since 46% of Australians, according to one recent study, have Smartphones with Internet access.

It’s not just dating sites that are being utilised to find a perfect match in minutes, either, and those are very real-time turn-around estimates. As both sexes of the Queensland 18-34 populace turn on a more regular basis to online dating and social media for their technological courtship, Facebook status recognition is being used as a barometer to check out whether your friends are up for a night out or whether they’re officially off the market.

After just three dates, a third of the younger singles are changing their circumstances to ‘in a relationship’ and twenty percent are just as quick to announce their single status as soon as the relationship they’re in has ran its course.

However, there are all the usual warnings of dating online, specifically from residents of Queensland sceptical of the medium.  Between the lines, there is a pressing urge for global dating site security to become a legality rather than a recommendation, a view shared the world over. This may be one of the reasons why the same report found that many of the singles are playing hard to get, a wise move until you are assured of the identity of the person you meet (and fall for) on your dating platform.

Yet, there are still many signs that traditional dating is still very much en vogue, down under. Despite more singles opting for the dating sites to make initial contact, a Mills and Boon survey suggests that a whopping 91% of women still prefer their man to actually call them to ask them out on a date rather than rely on a text message to announce their official interest.

And the majority of Australian women still hold their love lives dear, looking for long term commitment rather than a quick fling. According to Michelle LaForest, MD of Harlequin Enterprises Australia, for the many women turning to dating sites, retaining that balance is proving to be a challenge; rather, her comments suggest that after the initial online dating experience, women still prefer the traditional dating methods of a ‘real life’ encounter.

Australia cracking down on fraudulent dating sites

It’s bad enough for the online dating community having to look out for scammers behind ordinary-looking profiles of their site without having to worry if the dating site itself is going to rip them off. But, following 186 separate complaints about just this type of practise, New South Wales Fair Trading are cracking down on dating sites that are offering substandard service, failing to issue due refunds and not cancelling memberships when requested to

Some of the dating sites in question are being accused of promising to find their members partners, charging them ‘thousands of dollars’ for the privilege, then failing to deliver on their promise. In the face of so much rising competition down under where the online dating is going through an explosion at the minute, both on the Internet and offline as large cities struggle to accommodate singles eager to give speed dating a fair crack of the whip, you would think that dating sites in it for the long haul would up their game, which doesn’t seem to be the case, as the Fair Trading Minister, Antony Roberts, explains.

Refering to Australia’s standing of being one of the world’s largest homes for big-sea fish cruising the country’s miles of reef, he stated that the only sharks he was concerned about at this moment were the human sort “swimming around the dating game.”

The minister also alikened the dating sites in question to the Hotel California, where once you check in, it becomes extremely difficult to finalise the bill, both in the way you are tempted to stay to give it one last shot because of the time and effort you’ve put in to date, which you don’t want to flush down the dunny without some recompense and also that the proprietors just will not stop charging you, even when you ask for the check.

There are two dozen dating sites under suspicion of trading with unfair contracts represented in their terms and conditions and with contracts that present false or misleading representations of what they actually deliver compared to what the customer is led to believe. Ten more are being investigated for unfair provisions in their contract terms.

Given that the Australian dating community reported losing AUS$17M in 2011, a rise of AUS$2M on 2010, The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission are drawing up stricter guidelines for issuing dating site licenses and pressing owners to post highly-visible warnings and guidelines to its members on awareness and reporting of scammers.

Due to the global volume of this recurrent problem, this ought to be adopted by anyone who launches their own dating site, to protect and keep its membership. We can but live in hope…

Aussie rules speed dating

Perth, Australia, not Scotland, has seen an unprecedented rise in speed dating gatherings, for all ages and backgrounds. To give the UK dating membership an insight into their protocol, here’s an overview of the down under view of speed dating, following on from our article, ‘Speed dating down under – well, to catch a kangaroo…’

Firstly, for many of these type of super speed dating gatherings, you have to register. It’s become that popular in Perth, that they hold sessions for different ages and varying experience, either gained or wanted. So, if you’re looking to date a farmhand in his early thirties, don’t turn up to a post-graduates event for the early twenties! Most speed dating centres do have an online dating presence, so book in advance for the event you want to attend.

Secondly, most speed dating hosts welcome you with a drop of the old amber nectar or Jacob’s Creek, just to settle you down – some even advertise the night as with ‘free-flowing champagne’, but not all serve alcohol. So if it’s essential, this Dutch courage, do have one before hand, but you do not want to approach anyone whilst you’re totally under the influence; here’s why:-

Once you get started, keep your objective in mind. Try to rehearse the questions in your head before you arrive and any possible answers to their questions that may be thrown your way by your target audience (a lot of the better speed dating organisations have a decent enough FAQ section to help you stand out from the crowd – well worth a peep to get the upper hand on the competition!). You may only have seven or ten minutes to make an impression and get the relevant information from the potential partner sitting opposite you – make every second count.

Once you have been through the field – not in the Biblical sense, mind, just the speed dating bit – do step back and think about it before you plunge in, but not too long! If there is only one beefcake or princess there, everyone will be gathering like flies around bees around honey. Try and pick out those who you may want to hone in on whilst you’re at the beverage stage, so that you can anticipate who’s left, enabling you to cut down the field as you approach the final one or two candidates.

This is why you must leave the beer goggles at home – everyone will seem fanciable after one too many and you’ll just go bounding from one to the next at the end, becoming more desperate after each rejection, putting off anyone who may be genuinely interested in dating you.

If your dating site doesn’t do it for you, or if you genuinely do not have the inclination to go speed dating, choose from our hand picked dating sites, to find your perfect partner in minutes.

Speed dating down under – well, to catch a kangaroo…

It’s great having an online dating relationship but, let’s face it, that’s getting you no actual action, whatsoever. There comes a time when you have to take that leap of faith and actually go and meet someone, especially if you’re paying a monthly subscription, otherwise, well, you may as well just donate that money to chastity charity.

In Australia, namely Perth, they seem to have this concept of dating sussed – the offline type, not the online. The city has seen an unprecedented rise in the number of speed dating events, recently, and they’re becoming ever more popular.

Typically of Australians, there’s no beating about the bush (the size of the Australian bush [hey, careful!], it’s no wonder]). If you’re sitting there looking at your online dating site but worried that you wouldn’t be able to support a conversation for a whole evening with any one of a whole number of singles who look as if they’re in your target bracket, based on age, income, background, education, etc., then why not try a speed dating event local to you?

You’re not expected to talk very long and if the person you’re interested in is just not into you, there’s no hanging about for days wondering if they’re ever going to get in touch via a private message or e-mail from your dating site. If they are, however, keen and you meet no one better and neither do they (than you, obviously, not themselves), then bingo, dingo! – you can be on your way before the clock strikes one and, at last, you can get that bit of dating action, which has been sorely missing from your life.

To give you an insight a little more about what an event like this entails, bearing in mind this is Australian rules – if you’ve ever watched Aussie rules football compared to the Premier League poseurs, you’ll know how vast a difference there is between us and our Antipodean cousins – we’ll give you an overview in our next article, ‘Aussie rules speed dating’.  So, keeping an open mind being very much the order of the day, we’ll see you there.

It’s simple – never give money to your online date!

We bring to a conclusion our analysis of Action Fraud’s report on how to spot a dating site fraudster and how to protect yourself from being duped in this post. By the time you’ve read and digested this information you will be armed and able to spot a scam before you’ve read past the ‘Dear Sweetest Sweetheart’.

To the crunch – these conmen who target singles on dating sites across the world are after your money, pure and simple. Often, in order to entice you to donate to whichever mythical cause they have invented that needs your money to tide them over, they will mention the vast wealth they own that, for an equally untrue reason, they cannot get their hands on in time.

There will often be the promise that you will be paid back double, once the ‘plant’, the third party interjected into the tale of woe to instil confidence in their targeted dating site member, can get their money back to them. As Michael Stipe once crooned ‘if you believe they put a man on the moon, nothing is real, nothing is cool.’

Following investigations made by Australian fraud departments, as well as other crime fighting departments across the globe, the root of this evil is very often buried deep in African soil. There are crime syndicates who train many, many people to adopt multiple personas across singles and matchmaking sites in the US, Europe and particularly UK dating sites.

Wherever there is perceived wealth, you will find false dating profiles; often alluding to respected professions to gain your trust, they will groom you until your trust is believable and complete. Whether it be a high-ranking member of the armed forces, lawyers or doctors – all of whom will have had a back-story created to justify why they are where they are – you will be asked to send your money to Africa, more often than not.

And it will not be through PayPal or bank transfer – because of how difficult it is to trace once sent, your fraudulent online dating partner will ask you to send the cash by wire transfer. They will never ask you to pay it into their bank account, as that would mean revealing a name – this name would not match the moniker on the dating site profile, that’s for sure! Of course, this last aspect should not even arise; if you have picked up on any of the details in this series, you will not be considering sending money, full stop.

And that really is what it boils down to. Regardless of anything mentioned this week, or if your date is begging you for money in their barrage of letters before you’ve ever even met them, remember: DO NOT SEND MONEY TO ANYONE YOU HAVE MET ON A DATING SITE!