Dating site content held in question. Pish!

I know I may be jumping in at the deep end or guilty of a knee jerk reaction but there’s a comment in the press – specific to dating sites – that says that we don’t blog enough content. Pish!

Alright, the guy who’s posted the article freely admits that, in his role checking out what dating sites actually offer their membership he doesn’t spend all of his working hours trawling their blogs to see what they’re writing. But for us dating sites that put a helluva lot of work into crafting our posts and trying to develop a theme and a purpose, you can see why we’d perhaps take offence at such a comment.

It is our strong conviction that words are the very essence of the Internet and healthy, enjoyable content serves two very distinct purposes. One is to satisfy the search engines in order to make our online dating facility visible to you, the singles public, to put the very best dating facilities firmly within your grasp.

And secondly, more importantly, the online dating industry is now a $2bn global industry – innovations, new technology, dating events such as iDate Miami – if it wasn’t for us bloggers writing about them here on our dating sites, how would you, avid reader, ever get to hear of the advances that are taking place?  And I’m not even going to start about the dating site security issues we’ve regularly covered in the interests of keeping the millions of singles safe from fraudsters who are only after one thing, and it’s not your modesty!

Matchmaking sites, for instance, are always tweaking their coupling algorithms and using new methods to bring singles together – hundreds of men and women with letters after their names scratching their heads in underground laboratories in order to help you meet Mr or Mrs Right. Their work would go unnoticed if we didn’t bring their amazing feats to your attention.

Would you, for example, be even aware that a relationship could be started by a dating site that matches you with a potential partner based upon your DNA? Okay, it’s not been scientifically proven that this method works any better than other scientific formulae applied to parship but it does have its own success stories, like any of the other mainstream dating sites.

See – you probably didn’t even know that a sample of your spit could do so much for you, did you? And this gentleman has the gall to say we don’t big up the content enough on our blogs! The very nerve of the man.

Please, show your appreciation – drop us a comment about our dating site content, or if there’s something you would like to see us write about that we’ve not covered already (use the search box, below – there’s not much we haven’t covered over the last six months, to be fair). Other than that, join me again tomorrow, where we’ll have some more riveting content to share with you, dear reader. Until then, adieu. And you won’t have come across that word anywhere else today, I’ll bet. x

Genetic dating – find a match using your spit

We’re very used to talking about the dating pool here on dating.org.uk. But when it comes to the gene pool – especially when the subject matter also talks about diving into the birthing pool with any potential match from a a dating site – that’s perhaps one pool too many for us to comprehend, especially before one has even met their potential partner.

For those of you who’ve followed our blog, it will come as no surprise that, when it comes to online dating at least, what’s not someone’s cup of tea, another will slurp the saucer dry. So it is with the latest news from Gene Partner, a company from Switzerland who claim to be able to matchmake you with your perfect partner using a scraping you send to them from the inside of your cheek, give you the optimum chance of producing eine kleine Wunderkind, and all through a simple biological algorithm and their interpretation of the results.

Ah, the results of what? I hear you ask. Well, this is perhaps the most unromantic act of courtship imaginable, although birds have been known to partake, and that’s to take a swab of your DNA from the inside of your cheek and despatch it, forthwith, to the professors waiting to test and assess your spit. Told you it wasn’t pleasant.

The firm is not the only company out there in dating land to offer a match based on your genetic coding. Scientific Match will offer you a lifetime of cheek scratching and comparing for a four-figure fee whilst Eventful dating will take your saliva and that of someone you are interested in or are dating, then analyse the results to see just how compatible you are based upon their theory or interpretation of what the coding tells them. Oh, and not forgetting proof that the premise that DNA matching works is based on a T-Shirt Test held in 1995 where women were asked to smell the sweat of similarly aged men and score the odour to back-up the claims that, Eureka, it works.

Gene Partner dating and a little more scepticism

Once you have ordered your spit-kit and took a scraping, and paid the $249 fee for the privilege, you then mail said sample of saliva back to the Swiss company. In a little more than a fortnight, you’re given your results across five compatibility regions, including several analyses of attraction and how likely you are to have a happy and successful pregnancy with other singles they have in their database who have parted with their cash to take said test.

This practise has, obviously, drawn some less than convincing comments about its validity as a proven matchmaking service. Experts have suggested that there may well be DNA active in the initial process, but it is character that determines the longevity and success of a relationship. Whereas another boffin, in not so many words, has seen the two women behind the operation jump on new technology, know how to use and market it and, ’10 seconds’ after the new technology is available to the world, someone makes a dating site out of it.

The social shrink who passed that comment is a guy named Eli Finkel – if that’s not reason enough to believe him, I don’t know what is. Have you ever heard such a prof-etic name, since Einstein at least, in all of your born days? Me, neither.

Like Pro-Wrestling, online dating is not a con

The argument is raging thick and fast between the scientists in the logical world and the owners of dating sites who claim to use strings of logic – algorithms – to pair individuals on matchmaking personals sites. But are the scientists who are ranting against the calculations missing the point entirely, and just playing into the mainstream big-hitters marketing plan even more by giving these algorithms credibility by even warranting that they exist, at all?

The simple point of fact is that, if a single believes they have an element on their side to help them find love online where they have failed to do so in the real world, they are more likely to be open to committing to someone who they believe is a scientific match, even though they have proven to themselves, by getting their online relationship to the stage of dating offline, that there is a chemistry there between them with these huge strings of logic to testify the fact.

Any businessman knows that it is easier to sell to a qualified lead than to cold call and expect the same return. Singles join for the dream – there is no selling involved; they already want your product and are prepared to pay handsomely monthly for it – and the expectation is that they’ll end up getting married through one dating site facility or another. Okay, it might not be to the single they hooked up with as a result of a string of calculations on a server in deepest Texas, but you can bet, being so sold on the idea and having the chance to ‘get to know that person’ through the medium of chat is perhaps half of the courtship battle done and dusted.

But the wording of the marketing is very cleverly put together. It doesn’t actually come out and say that: 542 couples per day get married who met on eHarmony because of a string of useless data. It states that so many people tied the knot because of the dating site. With there so many people in the US, the chances of two singles meeting otherwise would be very slim without this facility.

So, you have to ask yourself: Is algorithmic online dating a con?

Or rather, like Pro-Wrestling, nothing but show? Excellently choreographed to provide entertainment of the highest level, and fit enough to run with the best? I think it probably is. A con, no. But if you go into it with your eyes wide open, you’ll probably have a better experience for it. The scientists can argue about the algorithms all day, but, the bottom line is, do dating sites bring two people together into a loving relationship? You bet your candied ass it does.

Improved technology not the be all and end all of dating

It’s no surprise that, following iDate 2012 Miami, there is a huge amount of excitement about what the year holds for the industry. For those at the top of the online dating tree, they have set their targets and gleaned from the scientists and competition where their dating sites can make inroads and how to do just that.

It’s one thing the dating industry knowing what technology can do for them but what do the dating site members expect?

Great strides have been made in technology in social media and Internet users have now come to expect a level of unparalleled browsing and ease of use that may have many ‘dating site in a box’ website owners speaking frantically to their coders to ensure that their facility can keep up to date with the latest that the industry has to offer.

Finding a dating site that suits your skill level and personality is key to success

That’s certainly the state of play in New Zealand, where details in one recent report suggest singles have expectations of a certain level of service, but have learnt not to expect miracles when it comes to the physical result without having to put a bit of effort in themselves.

More there than perhaps in other countries they know that finding the right dating site can be the very real difference in experience between success and failure. As the sites mature, the users do so with them; as such, there has been a recent leaning towards matchmaking facilities whose questions can put everyone on a level playing field, at least as the search for the perfect partner gets under way.

Rather than head off and go gung-ho into dating site profiles that may be a match or have a nice picture as the younger generation do, the more mature dater has had time to assess what’s become important to them. With set questions applicable to the right type of dating site to suit the more mature dater’s requirement, they can be a lot more selective of the dates that algorithms throw up and use the potential partners as a guide. However, whereas the inexperienced dating site memeber have been known to expect the search results to be definitive, dating site algorithms are no Google or Yahoo web-search; although the principal and the aspiration beyond the facility may be similar, the targets are not a distinct as a set of keywords. That’s not to say that keywords don’t play a part in achieving accurate results; they most certainly do.

So, if you do know what you’re looking for in a dating site and a partner, it may be well worth considering a matchmaking site; as long as you’re prepared to put in a little work after your e-mails with your ‘best match’ singles comes through and don’t expect them to be definitive or exclusive to your search, they could very well get you on the way to finding that all-elusive dating site partner.

Dating site dementors officially vanquished

The stigma that surrounds the world of online dating has officially been put to bed, according to recent reports coming out of the US, following both scientific research and the success of iDate Miami 2012.

No sooner has dating land shed its undesirable cloak, however, than matchmaking sites are finding themselves coming under attack from some corners of the scientific world on two counts.

At the recent iDate Miami conference – the first of three meetings by the giants of online dating scheduled for this year – there was a heated panel discussion surrounding the merits of calculations and algorithms that were used to select potential partners based on information provided by the individual single when he/she signs up.

The doubt has been cast upon the relevance of how this information is used to couple the dating site members, especially when the volumes of singles looking to fall in love online are so immense. According to Julie Spira in a recent article she wrote for the Huffington Post, everyone now knows a couple who got together via on online dating site or another.

Furthermore, she went on to add in the article that, whilst attending a recent Super Bowl bash, two of the three couples she became engaged with were together thanks to two of the more niche dating sites, namely Jdate and Fitness Singles.

The crux of the current debate, as far as one can make out, is that the professors are now viewing matchmaking sites, who present a range of probable complimentary suitors to any given single based on the information they enter on their hit-list requirement, as a supermarket sweep rather than a way to find ‘the one’, which is how it all began. To be fair, I don’t think anyone in their wildest dreams, when dating sites started to go mainstream, ever hoped for a global $2bn turnover, but that’s where we are with it, now.

Of course, there is objection from those who claim to have dreamt up the strings of logic to produce the matches, both from the CEO’s trying to deflect harm from their brand and the dating site scientists who have achieved prominence on the back of algorithmic love.

There’s an absolute ton of stuff on this topic, so join me for the rest of the week when we’ll be dissecting the frogging life out of all the mumbo jumbo and see what it means for you, the dater.

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.

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 dating.org.uk.

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!

Help! Which dating site?

When you’re new to the world of online dating, it can seem a daunting place. So many faces to see on so many differing types of dating site that you pass by some of the best ones, just because one member is showing his ass on a photo and you want nothing to do with sites like that, thank you very much!

Here are a few helpful guidelines that, whether you’re new to online dating or are a seasoned pro, are worth taking a look at, if only to refresh your memory if your existing one has gone a bit lame, or you’ve filtered out the types of sites you’re not interested in and are looking for more of those that you are.

If you’ve never played about with dating sites before and are not really sure what to expect, you’ll maybe want to try out all of the different sorts of free dating sites first, to assess the different facilities that you can expect from these types of social interaction sites.  Like everything, you get what you pay for – free is okay, but tends to be full of less serious daters; if you’re looking for long-term relationships and security, you’re best choosing the paid option, from the off.

But don’t run before you can walk – certain types of dating sites tend to stick with what they know, either because their methods are tried and tested or you are playing on a free dating site that’s been created from a simple template and has just the basic features to help you find your love online.

What you will find, as you trudge from page to page, is that many sites offer a free level of membership, which offers just enough interaction with the other dating site profiles or members to get you interested. Then, if you want to take the relationship further, it will cost you to ‘see’ whoever it is you’re looking to date offline.

Some dating sites will actually let you search for members, as well as letting their community search for you. You may or may not fall into a category as an ‘exact’ or ‘closest match‘ against searches aligned to the terms you enter in your profile.

Matchmaking sites tend to ask a little bit more about you and they run predetermined algorithms that hope to give you a computerised personality which will, hopefully, match with a like-minded single in your target group.

And not that there’s much of a difference these days but there are dating sites that are more akin to a social network than the serious dating alchemy used by the matchmaking sites.

If you’re new, it’s worth having a dabble at a few of the free ones. If you enter ‘dating site for’ into your google search box and you have the ‘suggested’ box ticked, there will be a ‘dating site for…’ every letter of the alphabet, I’ll wager. Whether you’re new to online dating or your existing site’s no longer doing it for you, shake it up a bit. Write down your interests and just go for it.

There has to be a dating site for everything, as there are even dating sites for writers
…so I’ve heard, of course.

Economy fears brushed aside for loaded daters

It’s not only the monotony of Christmas spent with the family that’s driving singles to the dating sites, as their volumes reach record figures, week on week.

A fear of being alone as the recession strikes is driving singles with more money than sense to high-end dating sites in the metropolis that is New York.

Being able to seek out and afford that latest little number from Gucci appears to be no qualification for being able (or willing) to find love for those who can afford to sign up to the growing number of dating sites willing to relieve you of $1,000 per month or more for the privilege of searching their database for your suitable match.

In a recent interview with Crains New York, one such proprietor has reported that they have doubled their client base in the last two years and how, during that time, the number of exclusive dating sites of this nature has trebled.

Based in Manhattan (where else), Lisa Clampett’s ‘VIP Life’ is a high-profile dating agency which serves the male population only in their quest for the perfect partner.

In order to preserve that personal touch that is demanded by a $12,000/per annum membership fee, she restricts the client base to a maximum of 30 persons at any given time. Okay, it probably doesn’t pan out this way but, that’s one man per day in an average month, each paying $1,000/month for that one day’s service…
…money for old rope, you may think, if you’re a seasoned dating site user.

But this is where the similarities between your mainstream dating site and this level of service end.

According to the report in Crains, for that monthly dating membership fee, dating sites and agencies of this nature do not only match you based on an algorithm they’ve created against a set of pre-defined search terms, oh no.

These niche sites serve businessmen who have not come by the money to afford this service by clocking on 9-5 but rather have thrown themselves into their respective industries and dating has sort of passed them by.

As such, the relationship experts who work for these sort of dating sites can be expected to teach their clients across a whole range of aspects relating to courting a new beau.

This can mean that the dating site professional chooses the date for the member, picks the setting and the time, grooms the gentleman in the art of wooing, picks out suitable attire to attend the liaison and may even have to educate on keeping a conversation going at the dinner table and provide instruction (theoretical, one assumes) on the elements of what may come to pass in the bedroom if the date is an absolute success.

Needless to say, usual rules of first dates do not apply when there’s this much cash and this level of vetting of clientele involved, a marked difference from some of the more suspect advances one receives on free dating sites.

I wonder if they’d give me a discount for a one-month membership if I gave them a glowing review…?

In basic terms: people are people

No, I’m not whipping you back to a 1984 computer studies class, learning Beginners All-purpose Symbollic Instruction Code or even your 45 RPM turntable with the Depeche Mode single whizzing around on it when you got back from school. Thankfully, I was thirteen then and the scars have healed; well, almost.

Rather, I’m asking you your opinion of matchmaking sites and the algorithms they use to pair you with a shortlist of prospective partners. Are they any good? Do they work, other than to discount the physical aspects you enter in your likes and dislkes, such as height, age, weight, nationality and location?

Well, one person who believes not is a Dr Dan Ariely who has proffered that they are a waste of time. He himself being a professor in behavioural economics, which, according to Wikipedia (no, I’d never heard of it, either) is: “primarily concerned with the bounds of rationality of economic agents.”

Still none the wiser? Me neither.

Having given several interviews on the subject matter, here is a summary of his belief that the dating site algorithms don’t work; you can decide whether any of it makes sense or you get the feeling that he was once a dating site regular, but has been let down just once too often…

Are algorithms ineffectual remedies?

In one interview, given to PC World concerning dating site algorithms (?), Dr Dan, having admitted that he had not actually been privy to the actual algorithm configurations due to their confidential nature, suggests that, although his argument is ‘unsupported’, they are nothing but ‘placebos’.

Online dating like a round trip for a coffee?

During another interview for Big Think, Prof Ariely surmises that the results derived from time spent online dating are not worth the effort that the member puts in.

Allegedly, the professor has been involved in surveys which monitor online dating activity. The results of which suggest that, from the hours of searching for, initiation of and responding to contacts – which absolutely ‘no one enjoys’, according to him – just to get to meet up with someone for a coffee is simply not worth the effort.

The timescale he apportions to reaching this metaphoric cup of coffee is six hours on any given dating site and refers to that ‘trade off’ as ‘unsatisfactory’.

Can I be honest? I can think of few places where I could sit about in my underwear, unkempt and unshaven, other than behind my laptop and, in six hours, pull off a date. If I could do that three nights a week, that would be my weekend sorted, week in, week out.

If Dr Dan has a better method for attracting the opposite sex, he ought to stop giving interviews and start selling it online – he’d be a millionaire overnight.

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 dating.org.uk, 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).

Single all the way

Is that the sound of Santa’s sleigh I hear jingling to a halt on the roof? No, it’s Aunt Jeanie’s two-thousand bracelets rattling on the wrist that she’ll no doubt be shaking in my direction whilst reprimanding me for still being single after she’s had a few too many QC’s. Judgement by the family is, like mulled wine, one of the things I could do without at Christmas.

There are plenty of comebacks in my repertoire, many thanks to insights from fellow dating site members. Depending upon how well I like the relative (or dislike the nosey neighbour) in question will dictate by what degree I temper the response.

Don’t get me wrong, many are expressing genuine concern that I’ve not yet found the perfect partner; others are simply reinforcing their ‘holier than thou’ viewpoint, more for the benefit, I always feel, of themselves (and others listening) than due to any real interest in my relationship status. It is my opinion that those who want to point score in this manner perhaps have their own ounce of trouble in paradise and ought to be sorting their own love life out before poking their noses into mine.

There are surveys on dating sites across the globe but, in true matchmaking fashion, the questions seem constructed to produce a set of responses from their members so that they can be neatly pigeon-holed.

The problem, I’ve often found, when asking a specific set of singles what appear random questions is that those queries can be phrased in a manner that will produce predictable results guaranteed to endorse the questionnaire’s stance on the chosen topic. Or, indeed, a different argument, totally unrelated to the survey, to which the quizmaster can reference to back up what, to the uneducated eye, appears an altogether unconnected subject.

So taking a few ‘sample’ questions, here a some witty responses from the book of Zebedeerox to either a. allay the fears of your family, or b. put your inquisitive neighbour’s nose completely out of joint:

Q1. Isn’t it about time you found someone, yet?

a. [Aunt], when I find someone like you, then maybe I’ll think about it
b. [Neighbour], every time I do, they do something that reminds me of you

Q2. By the time I was your age, we were married and had children…

a. I know, [Aunt], but who’d knowingly bring kids into this world?
b. I know – it’s looking at your brats that’s stopping me having kids of my own

Q3. You’re not getting any younger, y’know – isn’t it about time you tied the knot?

a. Nah, [Aunt]; I’m sorting my career before considering wedlock
b. Get married? With all that spare on my dating site – you’re kidding, aren’t you?

So, next time you’re at that Christmas party and you just know that the ‘single’ question is a-coming, you have your set of answers to hand.

Dating site getting better by degree?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dating sites viewed with trepidation in Southern Asia

Survey reveals 60% of United Arab Emirates see internet dating as untrustworthy

An investigation undertaken in UAE of almost 800 people reported that tradition is holding firm over the global rise in dating site numbers.

A professor from UAE University attributed the attitude towards online dating communities as suspicious due to the sanctity of marriage being a life commitment, not just something you can buy on the web and return it if it doesn’t suit.

In other areas, the survey did show the populace as active on the internet, with 7 in 10 respondents trusting the platform to pay bills and 6 out of 10 see it as a viable medium to air their views on society as a whole.

In further reflection, Dr Al Oraimi acknowledged that, although the region was going through a transitional period, given that it is only 40 years old long-standing customs show no signs of changing any time soon; therefore searching for a partner online is, more often than not, ruled out as an option.

Another insight, from a Palestinian living in Dubai, added that family units have become extremely protective of their own, sometimes overly so, since the second world war. Indeed, anyone from outside of that unit is viewed as a stranger; that would include anyone introduced to the family via a dating site platform, regardless if they had been invited by someone within.

Following on in that vein, Dr Al Oraimi reminded us that parental vetting is still very much a part of the courtship process, including knowledge of the background of anyone entering a long-term relationship with their children. However, given the lack of support any offspring would receive should the potential marriage fail, many do not even consider searching online dating profiles as a viable option in the first instance.

Shaadi, which means marriage, is one of South Asia’s more prominent ‘introduction’ sites. Gauruv Rakshit, the contact site’s business brain, is of an opinion that underlines another aspect foreign to the Western World.

He understands that the custom still favours arranged marriages, where families meet to discuss their compatibility and that of the intended life-partners; if the two parties are agreed, the wedding will happen, regardless of any objections by bride or groom.

His attempt at reversing this trend via the personals site has several options for singles wishing to meet outside this tradition, attracting 70,000 members to date, with a further 8,000 new members joining, month on month.

So, although tradition holds firm in most regions, there are signs that individuals are starting to grip their futures by the horns, and step outside the practises held dear for so long.

Desperation deadline date defunct

Buried deep in the mythology of dating land is the ‘three-day rule’ – the supposed time a gentleman is expected to wait before approaching a lady following their first date. There are quarters that believe this is an outdated prerequisite, if it was ever valid at all.

Whether you agree with the rule or not, one thing is for certain – the three day dating waiting rule has been bisected, according to a new study of 200,000 singles interviewed after their first online match-up.

Admittedly, the rule was conceived in a time when suitors were restricted to land-lines and Royal Mail post if you wanted to follow-up in writing and was embedded into folklore by reference in the film ‘Swingers’.

How times have changed – with dating sites coming from beneath the shadow that dogged their image for years and social media moving at such a pace, both with its advance in technology and the speed with which it allows communication, the mythical three day rule has been banished to legend forever.

So, what is the new accepted follow-up waiting time, following your first date, whether you have met via a matchmaking site or, shock, horror, actually met without using online dating as your medium?

The precise time is 1.52 days, but we’re splitting hairs by not calling it one and a half days. This comes as a relief for so many men who have adhered to the rule with amazing regularity, it seems. The news also brings with it a breath of fresh air with it, as it transpires most women set no stall by the old yardstick and have often wanted men to get in touch sooner, rather than later, if that first date went well.

With so many platforms to get in touch with a potential partner outside of the dating site arena, it may be somewhat surprising that over a half of first-time daters prefer to be contacted by text. The traditional phone call also still fares well, with 3 in 10 men opting for actually talking the other half of their new found relationship their preferred choice.

However, the best advice, regardless of polls and opinions is to follow up when you thin the time is right. If you have made a real connection on that first date, you will instinctively know when to make that call, send that text, PM on your dating site, share, like or tweet.

Boy, am I glad I’m married? I wouldn’t know my Harris Poll from my Spanish Archer…