The sweet truth about sugar daddies

As online dating sites cast off the dementors of their past and come well and truly into the light, so too the stigma is shed like an outgrown basilisk skin. As such, many dating site members become the brand’s best advocates when they meet someone online, fall in love and enter into an offline relationship, even marriage. Should you find your perfect partner online the monthly subscription fee you will have paid will certainly have provided a great return on your investment.

Using the US as an example, where matchmaking sites as we know them now have blossomed more than anywhere, compared to the somewhat dubious forefathers which earned the industry its distinctly tawdry reputation in the early days of the internet, between 2007-2009 20% of straight couples there met using online dating facilities. That’s a lot of free advertising and recommendation is perhaps the most successful and trustworthy form of marketing that there is.

The world of online dating is a vast marketplace with many niches; willingness to share one’s experience is not true, however, across the entire medium. Certainly, many members of the adult dating site niche may have professional or family-oriented interests that they wish to protect, hence play their cards very close to their chest when it comes to revealing where they have met their latest beau.

Well, that’s what one adult dating site host thought, but found a very different reason as to why he was not building brand recognition as he had hoped.

Seeking Arrangement is a site for Sugar Daddies and their younger, female relationship partners, Sugar Babies (you learn something new every day). The Sugar Daddy dating site has its roots in a yahoo discussion group but has developed, over time, into a stand-alone site for the young lady looking for the older lucrative male to share good times with.

Unlike other dating sites, given the clientele and the presupposition of the site, this is one community where, other than dating and (presumably) sex, a third prerequisite comes in to play. One in no way suggests that a frugal gentleman could not join in the fun, but one suspects that his pick-up rate would be considerably less than other members who are prepared to splash the cash.

What is troubling the webmaster is that almost 40% of his membership is keeping the details to itself; almost a half of that sector admitted to wanting to keep the fact that they were sugar daddies under wraps completely, no great surprise there. But what upset Brandon most, and, from his tone, he feels this on a very personal level, is that the mature men are keeping schtum because they want to ensure that the well of sugar babies never runs dry.

This level of ‘sugar selfishness’ personifies the genre, in dating site terms. If you are looking for long-term relationships, perhaps this is not the site for you. If the Daddies are looking for a bit of eye-candy to impress at social and professionals levels and are happy to lavish the lovelies from their considerable personal or expense accounts, this is more like it. And if the Babies are not looking for a serious relationship, just a good time moving in perhaps higher circles, this is an opportunity to get in at the deep end.

Surprised that the dating site membership comes across as selfish? Who are you trying to kid?

The money pit of online dating fraud

There seems so much to take in when someone new approaches you on your dating site, it is easy to see why many members miss the glaring signs that should be telling you ‘you’re being set up for a fall’.

However, as Action Fraud have recently reported, backed by Soca and many other leading crime and academic investigations, there are indicators that should draw your attention to the fact that your new online love may not be the real deal.

Grooming is a massive part of the process. If some of the signs reported in this series so far have pricked your conscience somewhat, but you think you are safe because you have a long-term relationship with your distant partner, take heed!

These dating site confidence tricksters are in it for the long haul. The investigations have recorded relationships lasting for five years before the final sting, all the while gently building up confidence via flattery and character history, altogether plausible in the eyes of the smitten dating site member.

Along the way, there may be requests for small gifts, such as replacement phones to stay in touch, or bolder requests for more up to date pc equipment so that they can prolong their long-distance dating site relationship. By submitting to these requests you’re confirming to the conman that you have disposable income; they will not relent until they have fleeced you up to the point you evetually realise what is happening. You may have spent £1,000’s before you even realise that Sonia the carer from Singapore is actually Mattheu from Nigeria.

Once they have your confidence, they may even ask for money to enable travel – this could be to meet you to develop the relationship, visit a relative who has the money repay you for what they have leant so far or a job interview so they can start to earn the money to give you back your kind, heartfelt donations. They may even give you a number to contact their UK relative whom your funds will facilitate visiting – it is a number set up to transfer to Africa, or wherever the operation is based, yet assures the infatuated dating site member, who needs little further convincing, that the story holds water.

The fraudulent love letter

As reported yesterday, this week we will be running a special series highlighting the telltale signs that could indicate you are being targeted by a fraudster on your dating site.

Many dating site members who have been targeted and subsequently succumbed to the temptation of giving money to someone whose plight seems oh so real across these platforms do not report the violation after they grasp the concept that they have been conned; if they ever do realise, that is.

Those feelings of guilt and shame, that gut-wrenching sense of despair in the moment you ask yourself ‘How could I have been so stupid?’ stop you from coming forward and reporting the crime. Not only is it difficult to know who to approach, but that sense of pride kicks in and we do not want to publicise our naïvity for fear of reproach. This is playing further into the criminals’ hands.

You are not, however, alone. If you have been conned, you are no different from the other estimated 200,000 UK dating site members and social media fans who have caved in, likewise – that is the estimated figure based upon the findings of the first real investigation into this crime in the UK by the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

If you’re unsure that you are being targeted through your dating site profile, here we start the breakdown of a typical letter sent by the gangsters, either e-mailed as an attachment or its embodiment via your online dating platform.

the signature of a dating site fraudster’s letter

Based upon SOCA’s findings, working with Leicester & Westminster Universities, if any of these signs ring alarm bells, stop what you’re doing and alert the relevant admin department or report the misdemeanour to action fraud, immediately.

They don’t waste any time relaxing you and putting you off your guard. The opening address will be overtly sickly sweet, like ‘my sweetest sweetheart’, in an attempt to endear you to them from the outset. The term also may not be one you are used to seeing. If you saw: “hiya, m’ darlin”’, you’d think nothing of it; but ‘Dearest darling’ or ‘sweetest sweetheart’ – these are clues that the letter is from someone on the dating website whose mother tongue may not be English.

Somewhere in the opening paragraphs, they will try to get you to contact them off the domain hosting your dating website. Online dating has done much to improve their targeting of anyone who can do their reputation damage and are making great strides to wheedle out the miscreants.

If you are being asked to talk on Skype, GTalk, IM or other instant messenger services, your online partner does not want the dating site picking up the conversation on their radar. Tell them to blip off, in the nicest possible way, of course – no need to stoop to their level.

Dating males produce more than singles

According to a recent dating site survey, being in a settled, happy relationship has a more positive effect on productivity at work for men than it does for women. Almost two thirds of the male dating site members who participated in the poll believed that there bosses got more for the pound when they were seeing someone than when left to their own devices.

Women will, of course, claim that this all down to their positive influence. And there may well be an element of truth in that statement.

When you move from the vibrant, but sometimes lonely, singles world and become one half of a couple, after a while you do start taking on responsibility for your partner, as well as looking out for yourself.

This, for men at least, transfers into the office as they knuckle down to their tasks with more purpose, upping their output. Psychologists point to the fact that once the male of the species takes on a mate, a basic instinct kicks in and they become the hunter/gatherer, as did our ancestors 65,000 years ago.

There is, perhaps, a remnant of this instinct nudging the psyche of those males who took part in the matchmaking site’s survey. True or not, you can bet that their employer’s are not complaining.

There are always the naysayers, and this argument also draws opinion from opponents to that theory, who reflect on the simple differences between the single and coupled male. Compared with a single guy’s lifestyle, the habits of men in relationships become more sedentary as that pairing developments.

Gone are the Saturday afternoons (that would oft stretch into nights) with the other Neanderthals in the local bar. And instead of staying up until 3 or 4am checking out the ‘talent’ on their dating site they’re tucked up in bed, safe and warm with their partner, long before the dawn chorus even starts exercising it vocals.

So, yes; indirectly, the effect of women in a relationship does have a positive effect on the man in as much as that rip-roaring socialite is shelved, making way for the more responsible male.

In contrast, only slightly more than a half of the women who took part in the same online dating poll reflected that their productivity increased when they became embroiled with a member of the opposite sex.

Perhaps finding ways to keep that male monster safely in its jar, out of reach up with the bookends, is far more interesting than any spreadsheet or sales report could ever be. Either way, men or IT, women know how easy they are to fix by turning them off, then turning them back on again.

Is online dating a real relationship?

If you were to really think about the terminology, ‘online dating’ isn’t. According to the freedictionary.com, the definition of dating is: ‘An engagement to go out socially with another person, often out of romantic interest.

I mean, I know times have changed and we now have fantastic touch-screen computers and mobile interfaces, but even they cannot replicate the feeling of holding hands underneath L’Arc de Triomphe on a chill, November midnight.

So, how do we cross that Champs Elysee of a road to get your new online partner to leave the comfort of their home and actually come out on a date with you? And if you have ever been unfortunate enough to have to cross that road between 7am and 10pm, you’ll know that’s no mean feat! Give me the online dating challenge every time.

a quick recap on the basics of online dating

First and foremost, you must start building bridges, and the keystone that binds any relationship has to be trust.

This can be difficult, given that any potential blossoming is still in the virtual zone and needs terra firma to really take root. Honesty is the best policy from the outset. Okay, if you’re a recovering alcoholic or have got twelve children, these are things you may want to introduce at a later stage.

But the basics like age, weight, career, ambition and what you are looking for from the dating website and any future long-term relationship you have to be straight down the line from the outset.

Do not, repeat: not, try and jazz up your profile with some ludicrous tale like you’re 6’2” and 15st, when you’re 5’4” and 9st wringing wet; or that you ‘head up the IT department’ at work, when you’ve only just figured out how to launch the internet on your 7-year old PC that the kids left behind when your partner walked out just before the divorce. Sounds harsh, but desperation leads to all of the wrong decisions.

And, if you are on a bit of a downer, do not let that dullen your profile. By all means mention that you are separated, heck – how many dating site members aren’t?, but try to keep the majority of what you’re saying about yourself upbeat, in order to attract more invitations to date. As in ‘real’ date, off-screen, where the clammy, nervous hand is a real, tangible entity, not a dream across 1,000 miles of cyber-space.

To instil confidence further, ensure that you suggest the first date be in a public place. No matter how convincing or genuinely trustworthy you are, your new online dating friend cannot really start to trust you until after a few liaisons.

And remember, people may look slightly different to their profile pic, if you’ve not had access to a web-cam date prior to your first meeting. In a recent survey, it was discovered that men’s dating site profile photos were 6 months old, on average, whereas women’s were from 18 months ago. However different your partner looks off-screen, be sure to compliment them, to set them at ease.

Okay – that’s you set, and ready to give your partner an Eiffel, when you meet and make the date a date. All of this virtual relationship malarkey – it’s enough to drive you in Seine!

A whole lotta love, oh my!

the lies that top the dating site charts

Given that misrepresenting yourself on any type of website, especially dating sites, may soon lead to a criminal record, it seems that many adult contact site members may soon need to polish up their acts.

According to a recent survey of 1,000 singles, men are slightly more prone to stretching the truth, but neither sex is whiter than white when it comes to spinning yarns to attract potential partners via their personals profile.

Ironically, the dating website that commissioned the survey, and subsequently managed to compile a top-ten of lies it’s members told in their dating profiles, went on to state “…we’re the only dating website with an authenticity app that verifies members look as they have represented themselves in their photos.”

I just can’t imagine the tales, then, that dating sites which don’t have such rigid security measures members may tell; The Little Match-Up Girl’s site, perhaps, or Pinocchio’s Pin-Ups.

Anyway, in no particular order, here are the porkies that the global participants admitted to fibbing about in a attempt to attract more beautiful people to them.

Men’s highest consideration was about how their career was perceived, by stating that they actually held down a better job than they did. Women also hinted about a fictitious glamorous profession, but it only appeared seventh in their top ten, with the number 10 spot being filled by ‘working in entertainment’ the only other time women considered their career worth lying about.

In contrast, imaginary jobs represented a recurring theme throughout the male top ten: number 6 in the poll was the pretence that their role was more senior than in actuality; number 7, they made their job ‘interesting’, whilst the number 10 spot in the lie-list saw men claiming to work in the film industry.

The top pitfall for women was lying about their weight, where their dating profile was regularly slimmer than the off-line version; however, that buxomness rarely left the upper torso as the bra-size was regularly inflated and appeared at number 6 in the women’s fib-folio.

Weight was also in the top three for men, although their weight differentiate could go either way; for those either lacking in testosterone-boosted muscles or over-burdened by too many beers saw them choosing to lose or gain pounds to suit the target market. Physique followed next, with both slim-jims and podgy people claiming falsely to be athletic.

Age was the second biggest concern for women, as their online self rolled back the years from the real them. A toned physique was the third most popular porky, with height appearing fourth.

There were categories that held equal import for both men and women; having money appeared at number 5 in both lists; numbers 8 & 9 were similarly ‘knowing celebrities’ and having a PA’, respectively.

So, one thing we do know for certain about the dating site members who’d successfully hood-winked the truth app and took part in the survey is, if the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act does have its powers expanded to prosecute anyone who misrepresents themselves online, the next form they’ll be filling in is app-lication for bail…

Sittin’ in the dock of e-bay

Stretching dating site truths could earn you a stretch

Social media, dating sites, online auctions – all of these internet-based platforms require you to have a ‘user-name’. All also have ‘terms of service’, which you must agree to abide before you can complete your membership.

But does anyone signing up to join online dating communities, in particular, actually read these rules and regulations? Given the bill that The White House is attempting to force through, now may be a good time to print off a copy of your matchmaking guidelines as, by not adhering to them, you could very soon be breaking the law, with the penalty quite possibly culminating in a custodial sentence.

But Obama’s party are pushing to make these lengthy transcripts, which are largely ignored by the majority of singles looking for love online, legally binding. So how is this especially bad for dating websites?

If you care to open your dating site’s terms and conditions, scroll through them as you did when you signed up, but this time stop at the key phrase applicable to this bill, which will read something like: “by accepting the terms of service of [x dating site], you agree not to provide inaccurate, misleading or false information.”

How this is going to be policed, and how any subsequent prosecutions are going to prioritised, we are yet to see. Certainly, the catalyst for this move to increase the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was the unsuccessful prosecution of evil mom Lori Drew. Her constant diatribe, under an assumed name, against a 13-yr old who went on to kill herself as a result was unable to be brought to trial under a criminal act and also failed to secure a conviction for violating MySpace’s terms of service under restricting impersonation, although they clearly did.

Many people who communicate, do business or provide relevant information for others across these mediums share the same name. There must be thousands of people across the globe who, by not being able to submit their real name as their dating site identity (as it will not be unique) will be breaking this law the moment they sign up under a pseudonym. Whether the name they choose instead of their own duplicates another’s is intentional or not, they may be risking prosecution from the outset.

How disastrous would it be if all of the John Smith’s were instructed to use their real name as their user id on their matchmaking site, with only their password the differentiate, for someone to subsequently arrange a date with the wrong John Smith!?

This passes the burden of responsibility onto the dating site involved and what they authorise as permissible on their platform. If they relax their terms to a degree which allows some deviation, then the gates are re-opened for impersonators, once more.

This surely calls for apps like the tru.ly app, which draws upon government records for verification, to be part and parcel of the sign up process for dating websites across the globe. Job done.

Does your dating profile bite?

Dating survey provides profile hints you can’t ig-gnaw

What do you consider to be your best feature? And how do you portray that to the masses viewing your dating site profile?

Eagerly awaited survey results from one of the leading global dating sites have now been published revealing what over 30,000 of its members regard as key aspects, and timewasters, when it comes to getting your dating profile ‘just so’.

It can be agonising, getting your profile to mirror you in a way that appeals to would be online dating partners, especially if it’s the first time you’ve had a craic at it. You’ve accepted the invitation to ‘browse your matches for free’, drank in every word dripping from the glitzy, well crafted profiles that, to borrow a one-liner from Sid Waddell (get well, soon, son!), have your “eyes bulging like the belly of a hungry chaffinch” and now you have to spin a piece of artistry to entice them to start, at the very least, discourse in an online relationship.

So what do you include, leave out and, let’s face it, make up to get that snowboarding buff young fellow from Newquay to even acknowledge that you exist, tucked up in the North of England nearby the afore-mentioned legend of darts commentary?

The results are in from the dating site community, and, in no particular order, are as follows:
A great profile picture is not as important as you may think, which vindicates the information in our earlier article ‘Pretty as your picture’ from earlier in the week, with only 4 out of 10 men stating that it’s the first thing they look for and 5 out of 10 women saying the same.

What is true of your chosen portfolio portrait again may not be so obvious to the layman.  For men, the most off-putting aspect of a lady’s dating site profile picture was one that looked as if it had been taken in a studio, specifically for the purpose of heading up their profile. Not only does such a photo look contrived, but it does not let any real personality shine through.

The women’s biggest chagrin was bad teeth, with 4 out of 10 citing that as their biggest turn off.  And both sexes agree that using a photo that has obviously had an ex chopped out of it is a definite no-no!

Location was another key factor when considering initiating an online relationship. For the thirty-somethings and above, approximately 8 out of 10 both male and female dating site members ruled out travelling over any great distance to build an off-screen relationship.

Another difference between the age-ranges was chat-up lines. If you’re targeting a potential partner who’s eligible for club 18-30, then 3 out of 10 of them will appreciate a classic, like ‘If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?’, whereas anyone who’s been around a little longer will not be impressed if that’s your opening line.

So, in summary, guys, make sure you get those choppers checked regularly; gals, look natural to attract more suitors.

For the more mature dating crowd, drop the punch line and keep it local; for the younger singles looking for love online, a cheesy chat up line will have them coming from far and wide!

Happy hunting, folks – keep it real!