Online dating – you are front page news!

You’ve signed up for your brand new dating site, your re-shot, just-so new photo is ‘synced’ with your PC, ready to upload to your profile and you are excited. Something in your water tells you that this is the one, the last time you’ll ever have to fill in a profile and sign up to a matchmaking site again!

All goes well, but then you get to the ‘about me’ snippet – the ‘alt text’ of your photo that’s going to grab a prospective partner’s eye whilst they eagerly await your .jpeg to load – and you grind to a miserable halt.

More than anything, this one- or two-sentence overview is the difference between you getting clicks through to your profile or whether your hyperlink will just be used as a stepping stone to an online dating résumé that is more creative in its introduction than yours, a real headline maker!

Your snippet is your welcome mat and can potentially communicate more about you than anything else in your dating profile. There are many ways you can say hello to your new dating site community – how you convey your greeting will be the difference between being greeted with a cheery smile and swift, chirpy response or simply being flipped the bird. It is pointless having a professionally crafted dating site profile if your headline dissuades members from reading any further than the introduction.

keep your dating site profile light and upbeat

It is very important to stay true to yourself, but accentuate the positives – a negative vibe will put prospective partners on a downer even if they are dogged and proceed to read the rest of your detail. Do not lead with phrases such as ‘I am only here because the divorce has just come through’ or ‘I didn’t want to do this, but…’ – this type of phrase only suggests that your heart’s not in it and you’re here to satisfy someone else’s ill-advised intentions, not for your own reward.

Another mistake people make is quoting a lyric from a film or TV series. There are a couple of issues with this type of approach. Firstly, catchy it may be, but it was written for a certain script in a specific setting – you may dig the reference, but it could be totally lost on other dating site members. Also, if an association is made by someone checking you out, what does the film say about you regarding age, taste and style? You may be unnecessarily alienating yourself with your choice. This train of thought can also apply to an inappropriate literary reference or song lyric. Okay, Shirley Bassey has a great voice, but she does tend to have an overtly ‘sweet’ following.

To greatly improve your chances of a response – this may sound backwards – make your opening gambit less about you. Ask an indirect question, one that invites explanation rather than a blunt ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Oh – and avoid politics and religion; really, more people are likely to admit to having had an affair than reveal their preferred party or deity!

And make the answer not so blindingly obvious that you come across as uneducated; invite answers that will help you build rapport, understand the schematic and encourage a broad section of the dating site community to contribute. But make the question appropriate to you, with some end design in mind; you will still want to be involved, even if the ‘clique’ dating site members try to muscle in on the thread. After all, it’s your headline and you want to attract potential partners to you, not the competition.

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid…

Dating site getting better by degree?

In the interest of fair competition, it’s unusual for us here on dating.org.uk to mention other online dating sites by name. We are, after all, a dating comparison site – or will be when we’re fully up and functional – so would otherwise refrain from influencing your decision.

However, we will make an exception tonight by mentioning a site specifically set up to help harried New Yorkers find love interests online, following a hard day’s graft in the city that never sleeps. You’d hardly think they’d need assistance, with a slogan like that but, apparently, the residents of The Big Apple rely upon matchmaking sites, too.

In these days of instant gratification, whereby if we can afford the technology or manpower to hire a machine or someone else to do something for us to save us bothering, perhaps today’s announcement by Sparkology.com shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

The site, which is extremely top-end of the market, and who’s membership is by invitation only, has announced it has enlisted the services of “dating Concierges Donna Barnes, Laurie Davis, and Jojo Yang to their team.” Yep – you read it correctly – people who are ‘specialists’ in online dating.

Donna even has a graduate certificate to prove it, being an NYU-certified Dating and Relationship coach. Well, it was either that or Molecular Science – must have been a close call.

The theory behind hiring these online dating site assistants is to give the top-notch dating site membership holders a hand if they are struggling to create a profile or plan a date. The belief being that if someone can help the NY singles set create their dating profile and help them organise their liaisons, it will allow them more time to be themselves. And they don’t see the irony…
…Laurie Davies, on the other hand, as well as having input to the mentally challenging tasks of picking out the selling points of your profile, is “…an expert in navigating the vast and often confusing intersection of dating and technology.”

Oh, my head! I have a vision of T. C. wearing a pair of Sparkology shades, reprising the Kindergarten Cop role and it won’t go away.

Jojo takes the bull by the horns and helps members, based on profile information, plan the first off-screen date.

Furthermore, “She interprets members’ interests and preferences to help them plan highly customized and creative dates.” No danger of square pegs in round holes there, then. Pig-tail pulling and making fart sounds with your armpit are also banished.

Alex Furmansky, the dating website’s founder, pontificates over what makes Sparkology different. And, yep, hiring concierges to tell the dating site members what any self-respecting adult should know about themselves anyway is about the top and tail of it.

Oh, and there are differing levels of packages available, which presumably attract relative price tags. You can get in-depth feedback from ‘Doctor Donna’, as well as image advice, following a ‘face-to-face’ session (via web-cam, presumably). And Laurie will give your profile a DigiReview, if you really are struggling to see what’s wrong with it.

You can read the full article, here; if you do get an invite to join, please send me feedback – I think I’ve probably blown my chance of a DigiReview or invitation by special request and I’d soooo love to see the before and afters…

…but, let’s face it – if someone did need that level of help with their dating site profile, would they make that interesting a date?

White men can’t jump; black women don’t date often, either…

report reveals black women are biggest losers on dating sites

There’s no disputing the facts, but, if you’re a black woman trying to attract a potential partner on a non-specific dating site, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Following the latest study of over 1,000,000 dating site members, the message is harsh, but plain: unless a black woman initiates contact, her inbox and dating journal are likely to be untroubled by romantic prospects.

Although few psychological insights were drawn as to why this was the case, the orchestrators concluded, in hindsight, that “…black women were the least likely group [based upon results] to be contacted…”

Professor Mendelsohn, one of the collaborators on the assignment, suggested that one of the possible reasons why this continues to be the case, as a similar 2009 study by a different, free dating site also concluded: ‘black women get the cold shoulder from everyone, including their black male counterparts’, is because of the prominence of white women in the portrayal of beauty in the US media.

No matter what race you are, social conditioning primes you to believe that female beauty = white lady.
(ed – !? – one word: Rhianna!)

26 year Aja Worthy-Davis, a political figure operating out of NYC, has experienced this ignorance first hand.

On her experience of another prolific matchmaking site, she empathised with the findings from the recent report. Of the three men she met up with off-line during her membership, she initiated contact in all instances; one of those liaisons, with an unnamed Russian gentleman, flourished into a relationship that lasted almost two years. Now in a long-term relationship with a former high-school classmate, she still feels that the time spent with the dating website worthwhile, adding “…it is a good way to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people.”

On the other side of the coin is the argument that perhaps many black women who join a dating community tailor their profiles so as to not attract unwarranted attention from outside of their race. Whether a sub-conscious psychological force comes into play, whereby many black women strive to sustain the heritage of the black family is undecided.

Ron Worthy, a spokesman for Blackpeoplemeet, acknowledges this burden. He, goes as far as to concede that many educated black women, in order to maintain thoroughbred roots, will “marry down” to a black guy who is not their socioeconomic equal.

This theory was also backed up by Professor Mendelsohn’s study of 1,000,000 dating site users, which observed that ‘although black women were much more likely than their white counterparts to contact someone of another race, they still primarily sought to contact black men.’

So, if you’re a black lady joining a run-of-the-mill dating site, be prepared to start firing out those invitations to get that ball rolling. As per Aja’s experience, it is worth making that all-important first move, nyet?

NYPD? DYP App polices dating prospects for you

With countless new dating sites eternally hitting the internet, it’s no surprise that security is a growing concern. The real worry, especially with many free dating site ventures that rely purely on advertising or sponsorship for revenue, is that countless new sign-ups are being allowed to register with appropriate scrutiny.

Following on from the beta launch of the tru.ly app in the US, which double-checks new singles dating site registrations against governmental records, there is yet another security-conscious app, this time which can check a potential date’s criminal records.

Available for both iPhones and Android devices, the new instantly-downloadable application, called the ‘Docket in Your Pocket’ is currently available only in Pennsylvania.  However, it may well catch on quickly across the internet dating global community.

For a one-time price of $2.99, once installed the app searches through over 32 million court records, stretching back to the start of this millenium. Few crimes are exempt, which is good news for the dating community at large. If a potential date has commited a jaywalking offence, that may even be considered an ice-breaker after striking up your online relationship.

However, if the crime is as serious as robbery, or even rape, for the sake of $2.99, this application could be one of the best investmants for the online dating community in a long while. And it may be worth getting now, as the cost to keep the records up-to-date as it deletes older records to make way for the latest week’s new ones is running at around $600. This may mean that for future downloads, a subscription may be required in order to make it profitable for the creator.

Matt Haindfield, who developed the application affectionately christened the ‘DYP’, did so after drawing up blanks for every platform available to mobile devices for researching criminal records.

Mr Haindfield, a lawyer from Iowa, was looking into the dubious criminal past of a witness but could find nothing whatsoever available; subsequently, he has no qualms about the legitimacy or moral debate about the records which many online dating services could eventually endorse.

It is Mr Haindfield’s reasoning that, as these records are held by the state, ownership transfers to the public, because people’s taxes fund that state.

The one concern that has been raised, however, is the possible impact this device can have on existing relationships, on- or off-line, or in the workplace. It is quite possible to see how, ‘for a laugh’, a group of workmates or friends could put their names through this app. If one of the group has a record that they have worked hard to leave in the past, it may lead to them being ostracised for something that is irrelevant to the person they are now.

But, for the purposes of online dating, it is nothing but a plus – prevention, as they say, is better thn cure.