Dating site figures get more impressive each time you log on

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been online dating, but a report will come out and the figures will simply astound you. When you see a snippet of a suggestion that one dating site alludes to and then hear another report about the latest influx of new members from another, you can get so used to seeing and hearing about how popular looking for love online has become, that the numbers simply pass you by.

Then one report, or rather article, pops up in your feeds and all of a sudden you have three snippets making up the basis of said article and you suddenly start to realise the volume that goes into creating a $2.1bn industry like online dating has become. As if that’s not a scary enough figure on its own, this recent report suggests an increase of 7% on that figure this year alone!?!? When will it ever stop?

In today’s two articles we’ll analyse those figures, look at how accurate they are and, with reference to claims made by some dating sites, see if there is actually any credibility in their claims that the algorithms they use to pair couples in the first instance do actually count for anything or rather, as one recent scientific research has suggested, are random and that, given so many people being in one boat, the law of averages would couple as many people as the dating sites claim that their algorithms do.

Do dating site questionnaires just pay lip service to the marketing?

And that’s as good a place as any to start. One of the single, biggest online dating sites is eHarmony. They are a matchmaking site and they ask a lot of questions to get to the bottom of a person’s psyche. But are all those questions just paying lip service to the marketing that has a single sold on the idea that they will meet the spouse they’ve been looking for, it’s just that the eHarmony marketing team have positioned themselves to make that lovelorn single one half of the 542 marriages per day the dating site claims to be responsible for in the US?

According to one single who became one of the success statistics, she responded to over 1,000 questions in order to meet the match of her dreams, which she thought acceptable. The man she married dated her for nine months after they met up on the site – my guess is it would have been sooner if he hadn’t had to respond to so many queries. No wonder they won’t reveal their algorithms if they incorporate that many logical yes, no and if gates – you’d need somewhere the size of Wembley to lay the flowchart out…[read more]

Can we just stay friends?

If, like many of the UK dating population, you are members of more than one dating site, you are inevitably going to have to let some of the budding singles who contact you down. A lot of people take this slight on their advances for granted, forget about it and move on to their next target.

For the one doing the letting down, in this instance you, it can be just as painful as it is for those who don’t take rejection well, especially if you’re addressing an online relationship that has run any course of time. On social media platforms, you have no issue with yourself about blocking someone or rolling a circle out of existence, so why does it feel different on dating sites?

If you’re not careful, it’s very easy to blur that line between “friendship only” and . Although many of the newer dating sites have the feel of your facebook or google plus networking site, the dating site community on there have signed up for a completely different reason.

Let’s just flip the coin, taking you as the ever-hopeful single looking for romance on your laptop screen, as the example.

You must understand that some singles never have the intention of actually meeting up with a date, instead just like the idea of cyberspace penpals with whom they can flirt all night, bottle of wine or beer at their side and they feel like they’ve had a night in on the pull, but the majority do, at some point in the future, want to meet that special someone on the dating site platform(s) of their choosing.

As long as that individual discloses that information in the first instance, then, if you start to fall in love with that person – yep, it can happen – then the onus of responsibility not to let your feelings muddy the issue falls directly on your shoulders.

And that really is the crux of the issue – be totally honest about what you want from your dating site membership when you’re filling in your profile at the outset. Many dating sites have a drop-down menu when you sign up. In order to protect yours and others feelings, choose the healthy option, which is often ‘romance’, rather than anything that points to long term commitment.

If you don’t want to be in the position of asking the ‘can we still be friends’ question, take heed from The Wonderstuff song, from way back in the day: Don’t let me down, gently, ah, don’t let me down at all

Dating – not like it used to be

Online dating – to some a mystery but to the millions of dating site members across the globe, a lifeline to the outside world.

It has proved a perfect platform for those who would be otherwise unsure when it comes to approaching new friends, as well as purely for the purpose of dating.

For those not used to using such a facility, there are many out there to choose from and they all provide something a little different.

Whether you’re a teenager taking the first tentative steps in the world of dating, a seasoned dater looking for your next conquest or one of the baby-boomers looking for the chance to go around again, there will be a whole host of dating sites for you.

Gone is the mystique surrounding these types of platforms. Whether you’re just using online dating for a bit of flirting or practising relationship building on the free dating sites or are willing to commit to 3- or 6-month sign-ups if you’re serious about finding your one true love ‘until death do us part’, you won’t be disappointed with the choices we’ve put together for you here at

It’s no wonder dating sites are gathering such huge client bases – there are the mainstream dating sites which match you based on an algorithmic function using personality traits that you enter into your dating site profile about yourself and the type of single you’re looking to start dating – or rather, think you are; many of us don’t know what our true match is until we start building relationships online.

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, there are sites for that, too. Many college girls, rather than get a job to see them through the last years in education become Sugar Babies and hook up with older, wealthy gentlemen who furnish them with gifts to see them through, often in return just for going out with them to lunch and functions as a trophy girlfriend, or other times a little bit more is expected in return – I’ll leave that to your imagination!

You can even get dating sites as an app, via which you can utilise your phone’s GPS system to get a date in your local vicinity once you’re out and about.

And for those who have a lot of money to spend and want to ensure they have the right level of service or work long hours and just don’t have the time to date, there are the high-end dating sites which, after a one-to-one assessment, can take all the hassle out of dating for you and organise an initial introduction – after coaching you – before you get to take that special someone out for the first time.

Yes, the way we’re dating is changing, of that make no mistake; check out our dating sites, to see which type is right for you. Happy hunting!

Stay in control of your online relationships

Whatever dating site platform you choose and however you opt to use its facilities, always remember this one thing: you’re in charge of the relationship!

Most dating sites will ask for a certain amount of information from you when you sign up. If they are asking you for details about yourself you’d rather keep private, then don’t go with them – there are thousands more on the Internet from which you can choose, the best five, according to our specific algorithms, you can find on our home page,

There are, in essence, two types of dating site: those that let you search for your perfect match online and those that matchmake based on the data you input on their sign-up form, which is generally longer and more in depth and personal, for obvious reasons.

A lot of the top dating sites, usually those that require a paid membership to utilise their best features, recognise a new single’s rite to a certain amount of privacy; they will give you the choice of what information you want to share and that which you don’t.

As dating numbers continue to rise, the owners of long-established sites recognise that there is more and more competition every day. Many of the newer sites springing up combine the best features of social media with the basic software that runs the traditional dating site.

Not that the multi-domain, million-plus membership sites see the newer ones as competition – there are the odd one or two, such as Badoo that do take the world by storm but they are the exception that proves the rule, the rule being that it takes massive, concerted effort and time to build a reputation and customer base to put you in the premier league – but what keeps those at the top ahead of the game is moving with the competition and filtering their innovations into their own sites.

Again, there are exceptions. Some sites know what they’re out to achieve, have a golden rule an stick to it, no matter what. It is these businesses that are genuinely surprised by the newcomers but, with the added finance of being well established, are expert in launching advertising campaigns to retain and even grow the membership that they have set out to capture.

The upshot of knowing what each and every dating site you check out does is paramount to your online dating success. As reported in our article earlier today, every successful dating site is only judged by its membership as successful by what that actual member is looking for by joining it.

If it’s long term relationships you’re looking for, let that be your guide. Only respond to members who are looking for the same.

Should you just be looking for a fling or want to get to know people in a new town and have no consideration for marriage or anything like as committal, use a dating site that perhaps doesn’t profess to rate marriage as its primary function. Use that type of site for what you’re looking for and don’t be persuaded otherwise.

Social media and dating sites, or a combination of both, have become a very real part of singles every day lives. Just make sure that you’re fitting them into your life when you need to, not let them be running your life for you.

The golden rule – when it comes to finding your perfect partner, you do the choosing, no one else!

Single parents rush to start dating in 2012

Like many dating sites, eagerly anticipates an influx of new member sign ups early in 2012.

Many dating sites have reported huge surges in people flocking to start the new year with a new relationship by looking for love online. Some have even drafted in extra staff to cope with the rise in demand for the online singles services that they offer.

We’ve taken the view of the mainstream and reported on why they think that singles in their thousands flood to their sites so soon after the festivities are out of the way, but why should single parents feel the need so urgently?

Penny Russell, a spokeswoman for the site, which offers a free trial, gold (paid) and featured (only with a gold membership) service has gone to some lengths to give us an explanation as to how they interpret the annual stampede.

Stay resolute: give up giving up

The first insight from Penny will be familiar to all of you singles out there who’ve had ear-bashings from your nearest and dearest this Christmas and New Year.

She believes that, when the resolutions are made at new year, many singles look to shift that monkey off their back, prove the naysayers wrong and actively seek to do something about being single. The hope that is ushered in with January 1st is perhaps the kick-start that many single parents need to ensure it’s not another year spent alone.

Be my Valentine, Mommy?

Looming around the corner, so soon after we’ve welcomed in the new year, but not quite settled into it, is Valentine’s Day.

Penny reckons that many singles face this date with “dread” – more than any other day – if they think they’re going to be the one left on the shelf without at least a card on the mantelpiece, other than the one Little Johnny has made for his mother at school. Again, the thought alone is better than any marketing campaign as single parents flock to join such niche dating sites, especially if the mainstream ones have not worked for them, with children in tow.

However, this by no means is meant to suggest that this type of dating site is a last resort; with 13 million member profiles on alone, how could it be?

With a limited matchmaking site facility, profile set up and default photo viewer, as well as being able to give out regular winks – careful! – the free entry level offers many of the facilities that online dating members are used to.

The gold, paid service lifts restrictions on the number of messages you can send and also exposes other members full galleries to you and allows unrestricted video-chat and text facilities so it’s the real deal, alright.

For single parents looking to be not so single by Feb 14th and beyond, tip these guys the wink and see if you can get a winker, back.

New year, new start, new love?

Okay, by now your hangover should have cleared up (if not, I’m partying with you, next New Year), you’re back at work and the memory of that guy or girl you picked up to get you through the festive season is just a ghost of Christmas past.

It’s the first week of January and it’s time to put a stake in the ground and take stock of your life up to this point. Now, this is not ground-breaking stuff that we’re going to be covering in the next couple of articles but they should serve as timely reminders to prove to be a springboard for what 2012 can hold if you make the best use of your dating sites. Use what you’ve learnt to date – the bad gunky as well as the happier lessons – and dive right in. If you’ve done your homework, you’ll find that the water’s lovely. You won’t even need a rubber ring!

Set realistic goals for your love life – there’s no rushing Mr or Mrs Right

Failure. It’s such a disheartening word but one many people connect with come the second week of the year. That’s because so many people set resolutions that are, frankly, unrealistic.

Falling in love by Valentine’s Day is perhaps a good example, but there are many others.

Weightloss is another classic that millions of people plump for as one year ends and another begins. What happens? Lack of planning, unrealistic goals and a lack of support from others often sees ‘dieting’ hopefuls bingeing before you can say Twelfth Night.

What people fail to appreciate – sticking with the weightloss example for a moment – is that it’s taken perhaps a lifetime of bad habits to get to the point where you’ve decided you’ve got to do something about it. That is a lot to change without professional help, which is why so many people fail before they even start.  Diets – like online dating sites – are not one size fits all, but are successful if you play them to your strengths.

Your love life is really no different to failed diets. If you have a succession of failure, always tripping up over the same hurdles but not learning from the mistakes, you are only kidding yourself by telling yourself you’re going to snare a partner in six weeks, or less if you’ve just decided that February 14th is your cut-off date for kindling that new, special relationship.

My guess is that, if you’re the type of person who got together with someone to get you through Christmas, you’re also the most likely candidate to be looking desperately for someone you can smother on Valentine’s Day purely in the hope of being spoilt, back. Even to the extent that you may already be considering that bod who got you through the last week of 2011, although you were glad to see the back of them come January 2nd?

Don’t do it! You’re just wasting your time and theirs. Instead, take a long, hard look in the mirror and be honest with the person looking back at you. Remember that stake in the ground – remember the bad gunky scars, but do not re-open the wound and bleed all over again – all that stuff’s the other side of your new marker.

From now on, it’s ‘Onwards and upwards’.

We all have to start somewhere

Online dating – wow! Where do you start with so much choice? Thousands of dating sites, millions of potential partners…
…if this is your first time checking out the myriad singles looking for love online, you may just need a few pointers to help you get started.

Here on, we aim to bring you the best dating sites, the freshest news and the handiest of advice, for newbies and seasoned online daters, alike.

As we’ve just launched our site proper, here are a few pointers for those who are new to us and, more importantly, new to online dating.

Get the balance right in your profile

As you peruse the ocean of dating sites, a few will glisten on the surface and tempt you to sign up. There is no telling at this stage which ones they’ll be – different singles want different results from their online dating experience.

Believe me, there are dating sites for just about every love-story, every type of relationship and even any fetish you can think of without losing your sanity – there is a home on the Internet for it all.

Whichever sites attract you, whether they’re forum-based sites, comparison sites (yep – they’re not just for insurance) or matchmaking sites, i.e. taking your details and using scientific algorithms to match your personality with a similar match, they’ll have one thing in common: they’ll all promise you ‘Love at first site’.

Before you sign up to any one dating site, take a look at a few of the different types available, if for no other reason than to see what members are writing about themselves.

Yes, you will want to weigh up the calibre of other singles looking for love online, whom you may pencil in as potential partners (or bookmark) but more importantly to check out the way they are filling out their dating site profiles.

What you will soon learn about dating sites the world over, especially the free dating sites, is that they will position their ‘most viewed’ member profiles on their landing page – the first page that you see when you click through a link for the first time. All dating sites need success stories – those at the top of the industry have based entire marketing campaigns around their matchmaking prowess – therefore see the quickest way to get people together is highlight its members that are attracting the most interest.

A well written profile is as important as the photograph you choose (more on that, later). By ‘well written’, I don’t mean contrived. If it is too polished, it will not read right to other, more seasoned dating site members and may get passed over.

The single best advice is to answer all questions posed when filling in your dating profile – if you don’t answer them all, others may think you have something to hide – as honestly as possible without over-thinking your answer, always with the goal of finding your perfect partner online at the forefront of your mind.

Next up, Patience is a virtue – and a prerequisite (11/01/03).

Truckloads of men learning how to pick up

Online dating can be a daunting place when you have never done it before. It is one of the most competitive marketplaces online, with millions of new users signing up every month, in all the different variants, in many, many countries. How do you make yourself stand out in the crowd, in the face of possibly millions of other men competing for the same woman?

For a start, that is highly unlikely to happen. Especially on matchmaking sites, where you are aligned with other singles looking for love online based on information you have input about yourself in your dating site profile. Many members stretch the truth about themselves, but there is a degree of enhancing your image that is tolerated, expected even, in the world of online dating.

Despite the volumes of potential partners online, many men still struggle to land that first date. It can be a frustrating time, especially if you are paying for the privilege of being turned down and not just trying your luck on a free dating site. There is help at hand, however. As well as a multitude of (hopefully) helpful articles posted here, there is a new breed of dating site springing up online designed to give men the upper hand when setting out on that tortuos, and torturous, road of finding that elusive long-term relationship on your chosen dating site(s).

One of the rising stars in this genre, featured recently as part of a BBC article looking at how diverse the £2bn a year online dating industry has become, is the site Pick Up Artist Training. Although based in the US, it has ‘boot camps’ on both sides of the pond to help us limey’s new to UK dating approach, talk to and secure a date from women both off- and online.

First look at the site and it would appear to be like the title suggests, a pick-up site. But it is a little more subtle, especially when you start reading the blog.

Richard La Ruina, aka The Gambler, explained to the BBC earlier in the year that not everyone who attends the bootcamp is looking to make conquests of every woman they meet. Rather, many men genuinely struggle to find a comfort zone when attempting to approach a desired member of the opposite sex and the intensive course helps men who “…want to just meet the right person”.

The boot camps are run regularly, once or twice a month, in the UK.  If you’ve got £779* spare and would like expert advise on how to pick up women, then perhaps this is the course you’ve been looking for.
*price correct as at time of writing

Dystopian dating sites being analysed – two

To conclude our who’s who of contributors to the studies we’re looking at over the next couple of days to determine how the scientists are collating our dating site information to try and get a fresh handle on love is Helen Fisher PhD. An authority on human nature, specifically regarding the differences between men and women and the cranial rope they use in the tug-of-war of love, she has taken her knowledge further to create one of the most successful matchmaking sites on the web,

One of the most difficult concepts that these voyeurs of human nature failed to get their heads around is why, when the average dating sitee may be paying a substantial monthly subscription fee to attract Mr or Mrs Right, would they then lie about their own personality and risk potentially attracting someone less suited to their true nature?

The whole point of a ‘matchmaking’ site is to take your specific details and match them with an appropriate other using the information they have input to make a couple. If both halves of the same couple stretch their particulars too far, it is likely that the pairing will find no common ground, so why do it?

what gave me away, your honour?

But many, many do, so much so that the Big Brother scientists have determined patterns about both sexes propensities to fib.

Women stretched the truth about their weight by stripping a considerable eight and a half pounds off their online dating self – if they could bottle that formula and bring it into the real world they’d be millionaires overnight! Men were a lot more realistic, only setting the bar two pounds below what they truly weighed in at. They did, however, make up for that by adding on a half inch to their height (yes, height – only adult dating sites may ask for that much detail) to their online dating persona in an attempt to make them appear more burly.

Surprisingly, most singles who took part, either anonymously or having volunteered their information, were straight up about their age. The photos the dating site members used though weren’t so on the mark, with many women choosing to use an image that was approximately eighteen months old and men proffering a six-month’s younger portrayal of themselves.

The conclusion made by the researchers was that many of those looking for love online are not deliberately trying to mislead potential partners with the media they use, but want to coax other dating hopefuls to them who they believe will see them as their target market.

Well, there is some bull involved if that’s your aim, but surely it’s the bull’s-eye you should have in your sights.

Dating sites look to unlock love’s lost links

If you look online for case studies into the behaviour of singles looking for love online, you will find a plethora of information on the subject. It would seem that everyone in the media, tabloid to social, is conducting their own Freudian research into what makes us tick when we approach someone on a dating site, how far we will go to betray our own true nature to get people to approach us and why, when the online world of matchmaking offers potential partners of so many varied cultures and backgrounds, as a species we tend to “stick to [our] own kind”.

The New York Times – in my humble opinion, having now written dozens of articles about online dating, based in hub central of the matchmaking world – has recently conducted a study on the studies conducted thus far. In a 1,600+ word piece, so concise it could be presented as a thesis on the subject of dating online, the NYT researchers have combined the results and produced an overview of the personalities and traits that categorise your typical online dating site member.

Some of the results are what you would expect in any walk of life when two people are hoping to attract each other – fibbing about their age, casually losing a few pounds when the situation merits or claiming to be a leading automotive distribution magnate when, in truth, they own a second-hand car dealership in Guildford.

the results were like opening Pandora’s box

Many of the other findings though, considering the enlightened age in which we are supposed to live, are nothing short of shocking. In the UK, we tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves when it comes to political bias – simply red, true blue, mellow yellow or going green. Across the pond, however, your alignment to your favoured member of congress can be as closely guarded a secret as the last time you went to the gynaecologist or had to take a trip to the clinic to be privately pubicly deloused.

Another trait that stood out like a banana in a bowl of cherries was how much people of race went for people with the same coloured skin. Whether there remains a deep-seated racist streak or a genuine fear of the unknown that people feel they are not allowed to show in public remains a mystery but what is fact is that, when dating site members choose their ‘match who [they] would most like to see results of’, a huge majority will only enter values for their own race.

Over the course of this week, we will drill down into each of the sectors highlighted in the study, what it means for UK dating (as much testing was carried out stateside) and, moreover, what the results mean for the average single, looking for love on line.

‘Net’s net nett dating effect – part two

how one dating website is dealing with scammers

From a team of four back in February 2010, monitoring their not so insignificant chunk of cyber space for scammers, the number of employees looking out for ‘scammer-ish’ dating site behaviour has trebled to twelve, in less than two years, for one online dating agency.

Yes, the membership has grown in that time but so has the activity level and stealth of scammers world-wide-web-wide.

Rather than make like an ostrich and ignore the severity of risk, one particular adult dating site has realised that repeat business comes from loyal customers who feel safe in their domain and have therefore took proactive steps to prevent further intrusion by these heartless crooks.

Not only are they now monitoring dating profiles that contain the tell-tale signs of scammer-ish behaviour, like ‘my friend has a great investment opportunity’ or ‘my cousin will lose his house if he doesn’t get £20,000 by next week’, but also of those that say very little. Let’s face it, if you’re looking for love on line, your profile is going to paint a vivid picture. The dating site in question has now recognised that profiles that say little are perhaps also a mask for something not so pretty, beneath.

There are more usual tell-tale signs that admin of dating sites have visibility to, but not the unsuspecting user, unfortunately. They can see how many times a specific profile has been blocked by other members; if several profiles have been uploaded from the same IP address (and constantly get blocked), IT can look into it, once they have turned off their laptop and then back on again; and they also have visibility to both failed debit and credit card payments and, where necessary, credit history, too.

Should this activity be published next to someone’s profile?

The problem lies herein: one or all of those issues can befall genuine dating site members. We all have tight months where perhaps the dating website fee takes a lesser priority; we all sometimes want to scrap our profile and start again; and, if we have logged on after a few too many sherbets, we can ‘flame’ people who reject our advances.

In reality, the dating site administration can only do so much. It is up to us, the hopeless romantic, to determine whether the single we are reaching out to is genuine or false.

One simple message rings true, and we emphasis it, yet again: never give money to anyone you meet on an online dating website. It is the only sure-fire way of protecting your heart, your integrity and, most importantly, your bank balance.

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 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.

Captain’s log – Virgin star date

Millionaire launches search for a date in space

Everyone who uses online dating sites has an inkling of what their first date is going to be incorporate. More than likely, the liaison is planned down to the town, the restaurant -probably even the meal itself (goodbye, garlic).

To ensure that first impression is nothing less than memorable success, you‘ve acknowledged already that the budget may have to be stretched a little. But does anyone looking for love on line ever really dream that the hunt for their perfect partner will find them ready to lavish out $200,000 – per head – on the first date to ensure that the foundation for building a long-term relationship is well and truly laid?

Mm, perhaps not. But that money is already in the bag for one lucky lady on one of the more upmarket adult dating sites,

Bryan Christopher, a 38-year old millionaire from Ohio, has already splashed out for two tickets on board Sir Richard Branson’s scheduled adventures into space, but is yet to secure a partner for the jaunt Via the exclusive singles site, Christopher is looking for an ‘…adventurous, beautiful woman” to accompany him onboard Virgin Galactic’s Space Ship Two, when the first flights are confirmed, provisionally set for 2012.

Christopher will hope to join Branson and his wife, Joan, on the flight; he was inspired by a recoding made by the Virgin founder, who expressed his desire to run the gauntlet of emotions with his wife that is experienced by the thrust of G-force, floating weightlessly in space and sharing the once-in-a-lifetime experience of looking down on Earth, from space.

If the first date is successful, Mr Christopher is not ruling out a repeat performance.

When asked if his eventual online date will be expected to share a 2suit, a garment that unravels to accommodate two people, and then re-fastens using zips and Velcro for any couple looking to diminish space between them in orbit, he admitted that this tactic might be stretching the boundaries for a Virgin date.

Sir Branson himself has had experience in this field, admitting that he joined the mile-high club as a teenager. However, it is unlikely he would have imagined back then that he would be presenting the opportunity to entrepreneurs of the future on his own fleet of bed-lined aircraft at the time.

So, the moral of this story is: don’t under-sell yourself when setting yourself up for your first online date. If you’re lucky enough to land a millionaire, the sky really needn’t be the limit.

Prolific dating skills

One of the many tactics dating sites use to encourage women to sign up to their services is by offering them a free membership. The theory being that men are more likely to pay for a personals service; however, even they are not so frivolent to splash out if there are no members of the opposite sex to woo once they arrive.

This works well, and keeps the male/female ratio appropriate, especially as you move into Eastern Europe, and beyond.

Therefore, it is perhaps a little unusual when you come across a headline that includes the words ‘men’s’, ‘free’ and ‘dating’ all in one hit. But that is exactly the case with a how-to guide that has been collated by one such website, 100% dedicated to men’s advice on getting the best from their online dating service, whichever one that may be.

However, you will have to be quick – the five-day, online course is only open to the first 150 sign-ups, then it is being taken down forever, according to Alex Hitchens, the Online Dating Consultant who was the brainchild behind the project for the host company, Hitch-Up.

The site itself focuses on the younger end of the market, predominantly targeting the 18-38 age bracket (bugger!). Unlike many other online dating advice services, it not only caters for young singles looking for love online, but also caters for the married man, too.  Though, how many of the latter would be brave enough to tell their other halves that they were enrolling on a five-day course for getting the best out of internet dating sites, free or otherwise, we’ve yet to see.

Whilst explaining a little further about the ‘masterclass’ he has put together, Alex is keen to underline that the market for men for dating websites is still extremely buoyant. With communications, and life in general, so frantic, having a remote relationship is perhaps all that busy, young professionals (why am I seeing Del-Boy with a mac and filofax?) have time for, and bridges the gap between off-line love interests whilst they concentrate on their careers.

But the research has not been done purely targeting the upper-end of the online dating market.  In order to get an all-round perspective, Alex scraped the bottom of the barrel, visiting some extremely dodgy adult dating sites, whilst also incorporating free and paid memberships.

In summary, the course has been designed for men who have little or no success with online dating and will help to identify sites “…that will leave you with a good taste in your mouth.”

Bon appétit, gents! Enjoy the main course.