Online dating bill passed but ducking some responsibility

An interesting piece came up earlier this week about the laws governing online dating. For those of us who have been hanging around dating sites long enough to be given a ticket for it, we know that just because someone comes across as gentile or kind in their profile or sounds cute in their private messages, it doesn’t necessarily mean that what they’re saying’s gonna pass any lie-detector test.

And to be honest, anyone who familiarises themselves with the ‘dating site safety’ pages, for those credible sites that take the time to post them irrespective of whether it’s the law or not, should have a good idea of what not to do, even if they don’t recognise the intent by a fraudulent ne’er-do-well hiding behind a ‘borrowed’ dating site profile.

However, some dating sites’ proclamations of adhering to laws may be misleading, even though the intention is to ensure the prospective member that theirs is a safe haven to look for their one true love online.

In Illinois last week a dating site safety bill (HB4083, if anyone’s collecting bill numbers like train-spotting) passed through the house by a huge 83-26 majority in favour of forcing all dating sites in the state to categorically state on their pages whether or not their members are vetted and background checked. Great – this is an advancement in online security that the dating community has been seeking for some time. But then some bright spark has only gone and spoilt the party!

The bill itself is, in essence, the same one that passed through New Jersey and New York four and two years ago respectively. And some of the more conscientious dating site owners already comply to all the legislation held within the document. For those sites that wish to attract singles who want and expect to do their online thang in 100% assuredness that everything’s kosher, they will have to follow a similar lead.

So, that’s it, then? Sign up, check that the single has been thoroughly checked out and away you go, you’re certain your prospect is safe to date, right? Nuh-uh. Wrong.

The problem, as highlighted by many a US dating review site, is that there is no industry standard as to what is acceptable as a background check. Okay, the dating site may state that a background check has been carried out, but is that just confirming who the prospective single is who they say they are or does it involve a criminal check, which in their own rite vary from state to state?

Or, has there indeed been a criminal check carried out and the single been given a clean bill of health because the registered name doesn’t match one found on any arrest or charge sheet? Let’s face it, if a scammer was going to choose to steal someone’s identity, they’re hardly going to steal one that appeared on Crimewatch UK, are they?

So, yes, we applaud Illinois for stating its intent; all we need now is for a definitive code that constitutes what a verified background check is, and we’ll all be happy bunnies this Easter, won’t we? What will come first – the checking or the egg?

Asking right questions will prompt a dating e-mail response

Well, the weekend’s here, you’ve got your first dating site membership under your belt, spent an elaborate amount of time getting your dating profile looking just so and have probably browsed some of the other singles profiles to see if any of them catch your eye. Heck, you may even have a shortlist, already.

How you approach the other members on your chosen dating site(s) is key to you getting the best experience from online dating. There are a lot of people who have been using the Internet to find partners for an inordinate amount of time. They love it, may not want to commit to anything serious and enjoy the flirtatious nature of being in a public chat room where everyone has got the same aim. But to take your online relationship to the next level, you’re going to have to show a little more interest than commenting on a comment they have made in a thread of conversation in view of the masses.

Private e-mail is the key to success in online dating. Having ‘listened’ in or chatted in the forums you may have got an idea of a potential victim’s partner’s personality and want to risk giving it a shot.

Dating advice is only a guide – the final ingredient is your personality

 

We are all unique – many of those questions in the chat-rooms will have resonated with you at some level. But there will be more you want to know; different dating profiles will throw up dissimilar sets of questions you need to ask to get to know the wide-ranging personalities on your dating site – some questions you will have thought of, the majority will never have crossed your mind until you start filtering down the many thousands of men and women all concentrated in one area looking for some action.

You have to decide what level of action you’re looking for.  Be prepared to have your ideas change once you’ve been using a dating platform for a while.  Dating sites are great places to let your hair down and exercise the extrovert in you, who you usually keep under lock and key. By letting yourself go, you’ll discover what you really want. The only way you’re going to find what a perfect match wants is by asking them directly.

Unless you’re on an out and out casual dating site, you need to be a bit more subtle than ask other singles if they want to meet up and start a no-strings, (new) FWB relationship. No doubt mainstream dating does have members not averse to a little casual fun but, especially on matchmaking sites where there a 1,001 compatibility questions, members do try to build up a relationship online first before going out on a date and even then there is etiquette to follow – like definitely not sleeping with someone you’ve met online on a first date. They’re big communities, everyone talks, reputations can spread very quickly. Make sure the word gets out about your reputation, for sure – it will attract more potential dates – but make sure its for the reasons you signed up in the first place.

The other reason for asking lots of questions, other than to ensure the single is not all flannel and had someone write their dating site profile for them (you wouldn’t believe!), is that talking about yourself too much in your opening communiqué will give your potential partner the impression you’re conceited or boastful – that your whole world revolves around you and you’ve done everything that everyone else has with a yak on your back. Nothing will distance you from others more than being so far up your own xxxx self that you show no interest in others, rather, give the impression that it’s all about you.

So there endeth lesson one – asking the right questions will give you a better view of other singles and make them more willing to respond, if it seems someone else is showing genuine interest in them.

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

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

Illinois considers mandatory dating site check-ups

For a long time here on dating.org.uk, we have supported calls for a minimum regulatory standard for background checks on all new dating site sign-ups around the globe.

According to one recent survey, three people out of every ten who browse the Internet are members of one online dating facility or another. This is causing major concerns for politicians and security bureaus who are in charge of tracking down online fraudsters. The organised gangs behind online scamming, adept at hiding beyond dating site profiles, are growing in number in relation to the increased numbers of singles flocking to personals sites; many states are now moving to ensure a minimum regulation on dating sites exists to protect its unsuspecting membership from their criminal activities.

Illinois is the latest US state considering passing a bill that enforces dating sites to disclose whether or not they run any security checks on its membership. This could include any number of criminal activities that potential sign-ups may have been involved in over the years being displayed alongside their dating profile so that other singles are fully aware of who it is they may be opening up an online relationship with.

It will not be the first US state to adopt such stringent regulatory procedures, with Texas and New Jersey already administering such programs; New York, possibly the capital of online dating, categorically insists that registered dating sites within its boundaries have a clear checklist of dating safety tips that are accessible and clearly understandable to ensure browsing is undertaken with complete peace of mind.

With recent activities across cyberspace – and the offline world – showing concerns for how much politics and the authorities are restricting online freedoms, the Springfield House is concerned not to be seen as a Big Brother authoritarian, however, it acknowledges its responsibilities to its citizens and as such, the House Consumer Protection Committee have passed the bill for further deliberation in The House, proper.

Whilst the bill awaits approval, State Rep. Michelle Mussman has reminded all Illinoisans that anyone can access the online sex offender or murderer databases available to the public. That may well protect the offline activities of online dating members, but, until mandatory checks are set in stone for all, scammers will still be able to operate, picking off vulnerable singles for their money and ruining what should be one of the most joyous activities of modern day living.

Wax lyrical on your dating site profile for greater exposure

The art of creating the perfect dating site profile takes time, patience, constant tweaking and hard work. Certainly for it to work in a way that attracts the type of person you want to get to know, on and off line, from your online dating experience, anyway. And it’s an aspect that many singles overlook in their desperation to be swiftly online and actively chatting in the forums.

But let me ask you this: Once you have started chatting to someone on the dating site forum, or perhaps even before, what do you do? You check out their profile to ensure this is the type of partner you could envision yourself with. Do you not think that the majority of the singles on your dating site do exactly the same before they open conversations with you? Of course they do.

The temptation for many singles who have not taken the time out to craft a dating site profile that they can simply cut and paste, after tweaking their base document to suit the mood on the dating site they’re joining, is to get straight into browsing without providing enough information about themselves that the other members can appraise.

But even that step may be one too soon, as singles rush like the Pamplona Bulls to check out the talent after final taking the plunge to start online dating. Before you upload any personal information about yourself, you have to create a user name, again something that is oft overlooked. But user names are important, even more so if using European dating sites, where as much weight is attributed to the written word, including the user id, as is the profile photograph.

There have been many studies looking into dating site names that do and don’t work, both in the northern and southern hemispheres. So choosing a name that will illicit responses is imperative; tying that name up with incidental data in your profile is an even better.

Julia Spira, she of much dating site renown, recently wrote of her experience choosing a user name from a song she’d heard on the radio; she then set the lead in to her profile as a query to anyone who clicked through in relation to the song from which she derived her dating site id.

The results were astounding. Even if people were not necessarily coming on to her for a date, it did inspire fans of the musician, someone who saw fit to change his name from Reg Dwight – that ought to tell you something about the power of choosing a suitable public moniker – the other dating site members were contacting her to answer the profile query. In fact, her inbox was full of winkers.

So the moral really is, choose a user name that reflects your personality but other members can also identify with and respond to. Pair that with a well-prepared profile, and you, too, can hope to be poked by a whole host of winkers, wanting to get to know you better.

Figures for mobile dating are on the up…and then some!

Two years ago, mobile dating was very much in its infancy and prototypes were having limited success, and even fewer take ups. Mobile handset security was in question, as was the whole concept, querying whether or not dating sites would make safe enough havens for such platforms. As Phil Collins once warbled: Well take a look at me now!

No empty spaces here any longer – mobile dating is the ‘app-ening trend amongst savvy singles out for a night on the pull. No longer is there the need to trawl thousands of dating site profiles at home before enticing a potential partner to hook up for those with Smartphones, Androids or Blackberries. Simply make sure it’s switched on whilst you’re out on the town and wait to be pinged by another member of the dating site when they’re in your vicinity and see where it leads.

For proof of this growing phenomenon, one of the leading franchisers of dating sites, who have only recently adopted dating applications for mobile devices, have seen some stunning results since launching their platform.

This is how fast the take up of mobile daters has been, the developers have not yet found a way of handling individuals’ request to send their dating site mobile en masse and are having to literally take the framework for each website, de- and re-code it, and issue them in batches to their franchise managers every few weeks. It’s all a bit techy for me, but this involves redirecting users once they land on their traditional dating home page by some javascript snippet and then, after the server deciphers the type of device the dating site member is viewing the website with, will transmit the signal so that it’s functional on their device. See what I mean?  It may as well be in the icloud, it’s that far over my head, but the punters seem to like it as the following sets of figures will amaze and astound you.

Singles like mobile dating. After just the second full month live, the dating site sign-ups have increased by nearly a half, registering a 44% increase. That represents almost 20% of the whole of the new business (and the company I’m talking about, that’s some big numbers).

And this is the truly amazing figure. Like most dating sites, there’s has both a free and paid for facility. True to many models, a lot of members try the free aspect initially and then go on to sign up for the full monty, some with considerabubble monthly fees. The increase in upgrades via mobile technology has escalated 133%. Or simply put, for every three people who were upgrading their dating site membership prior to the mobile platform, there are now seven people doing the same.

Mmm, it does kindle one’s interest, doesn’t it?

Dating sites – here endeth the Valentine’s Day lesson

When you first sign up to a dating site, there can be a lot of information to take in. One of the best recent innovations in the world of online dating is that the newer dating sites appearing on the market are tailored towards users of existing social media sites. The features are getting more familiar as the line between the two platforms gets thinner with every passing month. So it may all look slightly different but the functionality should be similar.

Most dating sites have an intranet, whereby there is a network for the site by the site on the site, where your inbox is within your dashboard, along with the control over your dating site profile information, such as your likes, dislikes and photo galleries for paid dating sites. Likewise, upgrading to a paid membership now often gives you access to one-on-one video-cam, where you can check out for real that you’re dating a real person and see if they are like their profile photo and personality.

And don’t be nervous about using these features. Everyone on your new dating site has had to get used to the web-cam or the ‘wink‘ feature or the one specific aspect of the dating site which makes it unique. Your blissful ignorance and lack of experience with these features is a sure-fire way to attract interest by asking for help on the forum or chatroom! With all this technology to hand, there is no excuse in being backwards at coming forwards.

When you do say ‘hi’ to someone, be a bit specific about why you have approached them. There are some drop-dead gorgeous profile galleries on show in dating land, which attract literally hundreds of these little ‘hi, I like your photo’ one line introductions – they are mostly ignored. The whole point of making contact with someone on a dating site is because you feel as if you could connect with the person who’s caught your eye. Tell them why (briefly – you can expand, later) you felt moved to contact them and end your introduction with an indirect question. They may be genuinely shy and not know what to say in their response – give them that angle to get back in touch. Even if it’s just because you like someone’s write-up, but they’ve not included a photo – ask them for one. They may be willing to send one privately, but have a genuine reason for their anonymity in the public domain.

And lastly, a UK dating site is a dynamic thing, a beast subject to metamorphosis as new members sign up, offers on membership deals arise and new innovations in technology enhance existing or introduce new features. It’s not a set and forget platform for you to just activate, sit back and hope for the best. Like everything in life, you’ll get out of your dating experience what you put in. Keep your information fresh, update your profile to match offline achievements to invite a whole new audience, keep safe, but, most of all, dating should be fun!

Enjoy. Have a great Valentine’s Day and we hope you’ve enjoyed this week and the crash course in getting the best from your dating site! Love, one and all, from dating.org.uk. xxx

p.s. Send us an e-mail if you’ve had a success story or tale of woe or if there’s anything you’d like us to cover in the news – we’d be only too happy to check it out. xxx

Read between the lines of your dating site profile

Over this last week we’ve looked at the mechanics behind choosing the right dating site, membership type, user name and profile photo in an attempt at giving you a crash course in dating site etiquette so you have a viable presence in time for Valentine’s Day.

Today, we shift the emphasis from the physicalities to the subtleties of dating site profile creation, concentrating on what your profile says about you, between the lines as much as it does in the syntax itself. We will then move on to your first introductory messages and what to do in the event of a response.

By browsing other profiles, you should have some idea of what you want to say about yourself and have a rough draft somewhere on your PC in a word processing document of your forthcoming online dating persona. Before you take this spectacular new you to dating land, re-read it, check that it conveys what you want it to, using the images you’ve gleaned from other profiles as your yardstick and make sure you’re not inviting contact from the wrong audience. ‘Adult dating‘ in the world of cyberspace, for example, does not mean going to an 18+ flick then on to a bar or restaurant afterwards. Oh no.

This aspect should not be entered into lightly and you should have a complete profile ready to copy and paste into your new dating site. Do run the spellchecker over it in your word processing program and do ensure that, whichever Internet dating platform you are considering using, you have a topic for each section of the initial profile sign-up stage.

Nothing conveys the message more that you’re not taking online dating seriously than a profile full of spelling mistakes and punctuation errors and areas ‘about you’ that are left completely blank. Serious daters who prefer to browse profiles themselves rather than rely on matchmaking algorithms do like to see the full picture and will follow up (or not) accordingly.

Set aside the time to do the sign-up process properly; with matchmaking sites, it can be slightly different as there are a whole host of multiple choice questions to get through before your dating site profile goes live, but that doesn’t mean you can just fly through them to get that bit out the way. Refer back to your crafted dating site persona, think about the message and choose your answers accordingly. If you’re using this new era in dating to perhaps go about things differently to how you’ve approached relationships in the past, use these multiple choice answers to reflect the new you, not the old one you’re trying to ditch, otherwise you’ll be back at square one.

One last tip about dating site profiles – if you have a friend, a real close buddy who you can stand being totally honest with you, ask them to read through your profile <i>before</i> broadcasting it to all and sundry. Gauge their reaction – there may be something glaringly obvious that you’ve missed about yourself that you take for granted but they see as a positive; get that included, and you’re ready to post your profile.

Let your dating profile picture tell its own story

In the UK dating arena, unlike many other global dating site platforms, profile pictures are critical to the amount of click-throughs and e-mails you get from your prospective audience. Certainly on the Continent, it is the words that matter, even your name can be the difference between whether you’re a dating site genius or utter online dating disaster.

Filtering this aspect of your dating site profile further, there are profile pics that work and those that don’t.

Before we go into the whys and wherefores, when you’re choosing your photograph, think about why you joined the dating site in the first place. Did you just want a quick fling then drop your partner like a ton of bricks come February 15th? Is a fling not your thing? Is it a long-term partner you’re after, a sugar daddy, a cougar, a toy-boy or sugar baby? Your photograph, like the old adage goes, paints a thousand words and it will determine the type of character that visits your profile.

Needless to say, if you’ve followed this week’s articles and set about finding the perfect dating site, choosing the aspects from other peoples profiles that suit you (and turned them into your own words, of course!) and found a membership package that’s ideal, do not let your picture spoil all of the rest of your hard work.

A couple if tips gleaned from past studies: guys, look smart, comb your hair, shave and brush your teeth – yes, even for your photo. You may well have had sixteen pints the night before you’ve asked your mate to come around to take a decent photo, but that cannot show through in your image. A good quality digital camera image that you can crop and resize, depending upon your dating sites perameters and storage limits, is what you need.

And ladies, a similar message applies. One golden rule – do NOT wear too much make up – guys genuinely like to see the real you, the one that they’ll wake up to every morning. They do not want to see a Beatties make-up assistant whose skin resembles that of the Tango Man and whose eye-lashes and -lids are that thick with mascara and shadow, it could be anyone hiding beneath the war paint.

And, ladies, if you do use a professionally shot photograph, beware that it doesn’t look too contrived. It will convey the message that you and you alone are the most important thing in your life; if a shot looks too polished and you will attract no one if your image is too domineering or ma suggest ‘high maintenance’ from the outset.

Of course, the more up to date the better, but recent studies have shown that women’s photos tended to be from eighteen months ago, whilst men’s are half a year old. But keep them fresh. Remember, non-paying members may only have access to that one single profile picture and not your entire gallery. And singles, to entice them to sign up to dating sites, like an array of different images – your perfect partner may have passed over your image a dozen times but then homes in on a you taken from another angle!

There’s much more on site about dating site profiles if you put that term in the search box. More about profile creation, next.

There may be two or three also-rans before you meet The One

In the previous article we alluded to the fact that rushing a date is not the recommended way of going about online dating, but, with Valentine’s so close, there is little other option than to go for it. In reality, however, you may have to prepare yourself for the fact that this just might not happen in so short a time-span. Softly, softly catchee monkey, as the old saying goes, are the bywords for dating site success.

If you’ve ever been to a singles bar, you know that you may have to go countless times before you see anyone who you’d even consider sharing a cab home with, let alone any part of your mind or body. dating sites are similar in that aspect. Some sites charge a minimum of a three month subscription anyway but, if you’re serious about meeting the one, you’re best off taking out three months as a minimum term (read the next article about payment before you pay!).

You may get additional features for that level of commitment, but that’s not the real reason you should opt for three months as a minimum membership. As much as you want to find a date online, it’s unlikely that you’ll spend every hour of every night as soon as you’re back home from work browsing dating site profiles or chatting to singles in the forums. When are you going to fit Emmerdale in if you do?

More likely, you’ll start enthused and the first few nights you may well be on your dating site every night, granted. But you’ll be amazed at how quickly you filter out those who fall outside your requirements and, even for dating sites that boast millions of members, you may only find two or three potential dates who are a close enough match to your must have traits to warrant special attention.

People are creatures of habit and you’ll start to know when those people who you’d consider dating appear on the site and, other than at times when you genuinely have nothing better to do, will coincide your frequenting of the dating site with theirs. So, out of your three month package, you may only spend eight or twelve nights chatting to a prospective partner at best.

And, just because you’ve had the chance to vet your partner before meeting them doesn’t equate to a perfect match offline. You may have to get through a few dating site members (not physically, unless you want to earn a reputation) before you begin to see the results you hoped for when you first signed up and began your online dating journey.

Learn to love ‘copy and paste’ for your dating site profiles

One of the things that you soon get to learn about paid dating sites is that the information they ask you for at sign up can be a lot more than you’ve been used to filling in on the free dating sites. This is even moreso the case when you join a matchmaking site – those that compare your personal information with its other membership and, based on a scientific algorithm or other compatibility method, will pair you up with whom ever their calculations see fit.

A quick word, here. You may have read about dating sites that employ relationship experts and dating coaches. These are very real and are growing in popularity for the lovelorn single who’s working hard building up their nest-egg and doesn’t necessarily have time to do all the searching themselves for a date, but has the money to pay someone else, namely your dating coach, to do the groundwork on their behalf.

If you have the cash to hand to accommodate this facility, then great, but we’re talking serious wedge for that personal touch where you get a one-on-one session with the site’s resident expert. It does take the algorithmic guesswork out of the equation, as they will have spoken to all of the members on their dating site in the same confidential manner. We’ll discuss those at then end of the week, but if you want to find out a little more in the meantime, just enter ‘relationship experts‘ in the onsite search facility on the home page and it will bring up all the relevant articles on our site out of the 200+ posts, to date.

Going back to the Mental note article, this is where you need your notepad that you wrote down all of the good stuff from the other members’ profiles you browsed, earlier. Only this time, re-write your profile based on the key issues that define you in your word processing software (MS Word, notepad, roughdraft, NoteTab, etc.) and save the file somewhere you can access it easily. Also, you can set your browser to remember your ‘autofill‘ information – this will save a lot of time when filling out the basics of your membership application. But never store your card payment details – most browsers allow you to deselect that information when indicating what you want storing in your cache.

You can then copy and paste this information for every dating site you sign up to. Every site has a theme, so you may just need to tweak the odd word or ten, but it’s better than writing 1,000 words every time you sign up to a new dating site. Okay, that’s it for today. Back tomorrow with more about dating sites and what you need to know to get you that date for Valentine’s Day!

Mental note: what stands out in their dating site profile?

As we touched on in yesterday’s articles, one of the very real downsides of free dating is the fraudulent aspect of dating site profiles that are scam artists looking to put a wedge between you and your wallet. Paid dating sites present stumbling blocks that will keep the opportunist scammer at bay. The more hurdles a dating site places in the way, the less inclined any one other than genuine love-seekers are to jump them. The obvious downside to that is, as you’re starting out online dating, do you really want the headache of filling in form after form, profile after profile?

Well, here’s a tip that you can implement before you start filling in any dating site profiles. Take a notepad (the offline kind – real paper and pencil [yeah, I know – shock, horror! – actually write?!?!?]) and, as you’re browsing, start making notes about all of the things that really stand out about other members’ posted information that either makes you step back, smile or shudder. If you’re having that reaction, you can bet so will many others who view your profile.

Online dating is all about selling yourself, one-upmanship over the competition. Don’t try to be someone else – you’ll soon be found out by the older hands – but learn to emphasise your good points. More about that when we look at dating site profiles in more depth.

Besides that, even though you may think you have a better chance of attracting a higher class of dating prospect, if you exaggerate too much, one of two things will happen.

First, your date could be a great success, but the person with whom you’ve connected may be looking for the persona you’ve created, not the real you. Down the line, you both may become disheartened with the relationship and back at square one, all your time and money wasted.

Or secondly, the date could be a disaster. Dating sites have chatrooms and e-mail; any faux pas or outright lies that you tell can be all around your site before you’ve even put the key back in your front door, if your unsatisfied partner has done their duty by the other members and shown you up for what you really are: a charlatan and a fraud!

Paid membership dating sites help screen you from scams

Yesterday we looked at the benefits and down sides of choosing a free dating site to get you a date in time for Valentine’s Day. Today, we’ll continue looking at which dating site is right for you by looking at the two main types of paid online dating facilities.

There’s an old adage: there’s no such thing as a free lunch. I’m yet to meet anyone in a business sense that’s proved that theory wrong. Even if you think your dating site is free, someone somewhere will be making a buck out of you down the line, even if it’s just on their PPC (pay per click) advertising that runs alongside the ‘portfolios you can check out for free’ from another, more well-known dating site,your free dating site webmaster will be earning off your presence, even moreso if you buy a product such as an online dating guide that they’re an affiliate for.

With paid dating sites, you get little or no advertising from the more reputable brands. However, some are more equal than others and the only way you’ll ever really find out which paid service definitively suits your needs is by signing up to them. But we hope to outline a few benefits int the following articles that will help you differentiate which ones are worth throwing a few bob at if you’re serious about finding a compatible partner online.

The keyword in paid online dating membership is the word ‘paid’. You have to place a value, per month, on what you feel is worth paying to find your perfect partner online. There tends to be a bit of a jump from zip to around the £15-£30/month mark. You may soon find that, although free sites are good for a giggle, the advertising does get infuriating after a while. More of that than profiles.

Be realistic about what you can afford. If you push the boat out for a £50/month membership, bearing in mind that many dating sites may only offer you a subscription in blocks of three, six or twelve months, are you going to leave yourself short? The last thing you need, come Valentine’s Day, is that you’ve connected with a potential partner online, but you’ve blew all of your dating money on the membership fee to meet them in the first place! By setting a fee that you’re comfortable with, you will already have started to narrow down the search for potential Internet dating sites that you’ll end up signing up to.

Blue Monday let down on UK Dating sites

You’d think that, with so many millions now populating UK dating sites, finding your perfect partner would be an absolute piece of cake, and it should be. Then why, whilst browsing the multitudes of smiling faces of my target audience, is it proving to be such a hardship?

A for instance: the other night, got in from work, logged on to the old lappy, checked out the correspondence (to be fair, most of my GMail I’d either responded to at work, not that there was anything groundbreaking worth getting copped for by my boss, but you’ve just gotta check if you’ve had any dating site e-mails or PMs, innit?) and decided I wasn’t going to shift until I’d made contact with at least three new possibilities, which is not many, considering the dating site in question boasted in excess of a 7-figure membership.

I don’t know what you’re like when you first log on to your dating sites, but do you always start at the ‘new members’ bit, first? Then filter by age, sex (obviously – why else would we be on there?!?) and locality. And then, if there’s nothing in that ‘saved search’, expand it to the next one, with slightly wider parameters, no?

Brilliant feature, the ‘saved search’, which I must admit I’ve only found on paid dating sites, thus far, but it does save a hell of a lot of time, time that could be spent checking out the results, not creating the search itself. It’s a bit like going to a new town and not having to check out all of the bars before you decide which one to go into; if you know where your target audience is going to congregate, you waste less time (and money, especially in Birmingham, or other big cities) roaming the January streets date-less and can get straight to the action!

Anyway, back to the dating site dilemma of Monday evening – I don’t know whether it was just a slack night due to any potential new members saving the last of their cash for the last weekend before payday (Gosh, how long does it feel since we’ve been paid?) or whether Blue Monday just dashed the spirits of hopeful romantics nationwide, but it was slow.

Six hours later, with two empty bottles of Shiraz at my side, nothing. You can tell how bad it was: normally after one bottle, I’m sending invites to literally all new dating site members, but Monday, zip! Ah, well; let’s hope tonight brings a few more newbies, and this time, see if they spend a little more time over their dating site profiles to entice me to get in touch with them, without having to submit my liver to any more 13.5%ABV plonk! Happy dating!