The sweet truth about sugar daddies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

A date in a place but just no time

In my duties as writer for dating.org.uk, I see a lot of information fizzing through my feeds and alerts relating to the online dating industry. Much of it, no, the majority of it, gets trashed as soon as I open it up . There are two main reasons, namely:

1. it’s indecipherable ‘English’ pumped out by article mills in an attempt by a webmaster to dubiously ‘build [their] rank’, ie issue fresh content stuffed with keywords so that Google thinks it looks good but anyone with a minimum grasp of English will wonder what language the article is supposed to be written in, or,
2. the post is just crammed with figures and statistics that only perhaps accountants or mathematicians would have the faintest interest in.

However, one headline statistic did get me thinking, but only after I’d despatched it to the recycle bin; now I’m using the example, I wished I hadn’t, but the gist of it was that one woman, using her dating site membership, had managed to clock up $120,000 of free meals, all paid for by people she’d approached online on dating sites. Talk about your meal-ticket, or what?!

Whatever the membership fee was, she sure was getting her money’s worth.

What got me thinking was: how come this woman didn’t get a reputation so other members stayed well clear? Then I started considering the other numbers I’d seen flashing up on my screen after opening a ‘UK dating‘ feed or ‘online dating‘ alert. Some of the larger matchmaking sites boast membership numbers, globally and across the group brand, in the millions.

For argument’s sake, the hotbed of discussion being ‘how did one woman stay under the radar by scamming so many men into taking her out for a meal?’ let’s just say we’re talking about one site – the phenomenon of 2011 online dating, Badoo. Recent reports suggest that over 1.4 million new users are joining every day. Yep – that’s right. 1,400,000 new profiles, pics and life stories to crunch every day of the week.

Okay – this site is out of the ordinary, like I say. If it was purely in the social media category, it would already rank number 4 in the world, but there will be an independent review of that site another day. Back to the number crunching I absolutely abhor, but it has its place in this post.

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Home of 419 fraud to host dating site

Talk about the lonely Christian walking unarmed into a pit of Gladiators, but that was the first image that sprang to mind when I heard that a new online dating site is in prelaunch mode – in Nigeria. My secondary image was of being smothered in honey and walking naked into the forest where bears doze in anticipation of hibernation, but then that thought started to stray in more adult dating territory so nipped it in the bud before, well, before I was lost in the blizzard of a fantasy winter woodland.

Bolanle Olayinka has identified a specific need in the African country for introducing like-minded singles in typical matchmaking fashion, however, there are additional filters which enhance the search facility in conjunction with the user’s culture, history and background. It is hoped that the depth of information input in the first instance will nurture friendships and closer relationships that will last a lifetime

The dating site, BestD8, as well as the in-depth profile assessment, will provide many features that you’d expect to find on a dedicated contact site plus a selection of other mediums that allow all possible mediums of online communication within its domain.

Using features such as private messaging, online chat and webcam video conferencing onsite will provide some level of security as long as the website admin monitor and verify its members. Alongside all of the dating tips and notifications, given the website’s location, we would strongly advise checking out exactly what verification methods the dating site is using. You could even ask one of the one-to-one advisors about it, if you take up the site’s offer of chatting to ‘relationship experts’.

dating site hoping to connect singles across the web

Although the site is aimed at connecting African singles by matching their cultural preferences, it is hoped that the site will attract a global audience by connecting its membership to a  world-wide dating community. Given the millions of dollars that are illegally elicited from US and UK dating sites, however, and the awareness of the problem being hammered home here by publishing up-to-the-minute online dating news via sites like dating.org.uk, we would have to say: “Yeah, right – good luck with that!”

No doubt there will be the odd fly that will accept the invitation to join the spider in their intricate web, but we would have to remind dating site members that the moment you leave the security of the dating site’s domain when you are asked to, you are exposing a soft underbelly which predators on the internet can smell from the thousands of miles away, deep in the heart of the African continent, where they reside.

Getting the hang off dating

In order for the human race to carry on as a species, our young adults must start to learn how to date sooner or later, otherwise they’ll be hanging around until the Grim Reaper is finally made unemployed.

So, it’s time to scrap the app, waste your wi-fi and get down to some serious one-on-one, back-to-basics good old fashioned lovin’!

For all of you guys and girls who don’t remember Sergio Tachinni from the first time around, this is how we used to do it, when Frankie was saying Relax, and chillax was twenty years away (too soon).

The female half of the prospective partnership would never ask the guy out. It was just not the accepted thing to do. At the risk of sounding desperate, a young lady may ask one of her closest friends to do it, if they were sick of waiting and had a big enough crush, but many a love’s young dream died in a pair of patiently clasped hands sitting in the lap of a puff-ball skirt, because asking out was a ‘man-thing’.

And on the subject of asking, the only thought of ‘poking’ a potential date was way, way down the line, certainly not something you would consider in advance. A guy and a girl were considered ‘an item’ when the man took the bull by the horns and strode up to the target and asked her our, direct. The tactic either worked, or it didn’t; no waiting around for the object of your desire to log onto their dating site or social media platform. You had your answer there and then. Or, the man sent the answer back with the go-between friend, who, in this analogy would be the e-mail or private message facility you would have in the dashboard of your online dating profile.

Some things have not changed. And this one, whatever social media or ways of matchmaking dating websites throw at us next, will always remain the same: don’t expect too much from your first date and you won’t be disappointed.

First dates should be all about getting to know your new partner. In our day, it was pretty much a blank canvas. For the Generation Y of today, it will getting to know what is not on their dating site profile or social media wall.

If you raise the bar too high first time around, you will not only make a fool of yourself if you don’t make the jump, but even if you do, to carry on in the same way is simply leading your partner down the path. Above all be yourself and keep it real.

So, here’s hoping for the title of grandparent, soon, when the kids of today can taking dating, as Michael would have said, ‘Off The Wall’.

Dating in the noose as hanging is in

As reported earlier in the week, my nineteen year old step son has an aversion to dating. Not hat he has anything against women, and neither is he into men, but uncovering a romantic interest from his circle of friends, which is split more or less fifty-fifty male and female, is simply not on the cards.

There is plenty of documentary evidence on the internet to tell me that he is not on his own and this phenomenon is all too commonplace with ‘Generation Y’.

Online dating, once the provenance of the young and chic, has seen its most prominent increase in usage by those aged fifty-five plus in recent times, swiftly followed by the forty-five to fifty-four age group. Other than a true ‘matchmaking’ site, which takes ones characteristics, runs psychometric tests and analyses all other types of conundrums to pair couples, there is little to be gleaned from other types of online dating sites that you cannot get from other avenues of free social media.

The conclusion from this is, whereas in the past it would take weeks of seeing someone to get to know them by arranging dates with just the two of you outside your circle of friends, you can log onto their home page and discover everything instantly. The intrigue and mystique has all but gone, as you already have an opinion of a new friend before you have ever clapped eyes on them.

commitment is still a four-letter word

With such an array of talent available at the click of a mouse, flicking from one dating profile to the next, dropping PM’s or ‘crushing’ as many people who you think you may like on a dating site, the options are countless. What one dating site member has that a media socialite hasn’t can tempt you to leave as many doors of opportunity ajar as possible. Thus, the ‘C’ word, in this case ‘commitment’, never, ever gets a look in.

Even if two consenting young adults from the same group of friends do date, there is no longer the ‘taking sides’ when it all goes pear-shaped and the gang just returns to how it was before the ill-fated encounter. How times have changed! The retribution for letting ‘one of our down’ back in the day could last for weeks, if not permanently.

Industry, too, has backed this sentiment of lack of commitment from the younger generation up. However, it is job agencies and not online dating agencies who have taken the wrap in this instance.

Under recent financial constraints, the growth of the job agency has been unprecedented, with firms taking on staff on an ‘as needed’ basis. This has created something of a monster, as youngsters, now, are getting used to short-term stints with any one employer. With an emphasis returning to three and four year apprenticeships for school-leavers, we wish them luck, there.

What this will accomplish for the institute of marriage in years to come? Well, with fewer ‘Generation Y’ adults going on to get married, at least the divorce rate may eventually see a reversal in trend.

Dates are traditional at Christmas

Dusted rose and lemon Turkish Delight, Brussels sprouts and chocolate coins wrapped in golden foil – along with a tin of dates – those are the things that spring to mind when I recall my nan’s house on Christmas Day in childhood days of yore. Oh, and the sneaky glass of sherry I used to get when ‘the men’ disappeared for two hours down the White Rose to leave the women to the hard graft. And more sherry, of course.

But the guys and gals over at uniformdating.com have put a whole new spin on dates this Christmas, not to mention the revised concept of what you can hope to find in your Christmas stocking.

The dating site, which provides an opportunity for all of the hardworking emergency service and armed forces staff to showcase their profiles to other serving members (and civilians who just like men and women in uniform – traffic wardens, for me!), has joined forces with Cancer Research UK in a drive to raise £150,000 for the charity.

They have already started the ball rolling – for every new sign up for free dating site membership, uniformdating.com automatically donate £1 to the Tonne of Love campaign.

£7.50 from your dating site gift goes straight to Cancer Research UK

This new drive is slightly different and is aimed at the paid membership facility. Usually £19.99/month, the matchmaking site has slashed its rate in half to £10.00 in the run up to the festive season to coincide with its ‘Buy Your Mate A Date’ opportunity.

In effect, you are enrolling a friend into the online dating site for a whole month, where they get the chance to look for love online alongside privates on parade, the boys in blue, naughty nurses and those guys with the big helmets, the firemen.

The bequest can be totally personalised on the gift page of the site and payment is SSL certified secure (obviously) with visa or mastercard. You then have the choice of either printing off the certificate to give as a physical gift or you can send it digitally, by e-mail.

If your Secret Santa limit this year is a tenner and you pick someone who won’t get into trouble by being donated a month’s dating site membership, or could frankly just do with one, not only could you be putting them on the road to true love and happiness, but you will also be contributing £7.50 to Cancer Research UK from the £10 that it costs for the gift membership.

And, you never know, if you’ve been very, very good this year, your Secret Santa may have the odd pilot, lance-corporal or a few sea men in their sack at the Christmas Party for you, this Yuletide!

Online dating industry to hold annual awards

The online dating industry’s largest annual awards ceremony is scheduled to take place in Miami early in the new year. However, the nominations for the twelve categories to be recognosed closes this Friday, 4th November.

This year’s ‘early’ event, there are two others later in the year in the US and Europe, will be a joint venture between The Internet Dating Conference and Online Personals Watch. Attendees at the Miami Beach Convention Centre, hosting the conference between January 24th and 25th, have the additional bonus of sharing the venue with the Social Networking Industry, who will be in the exhibition hall next to the internet dating industry’s hall.

Those registering for the dating and matchmaking event will have their invitations extended to the coincidental convention, too. It is perhaps not so much of a surprise that the two industries should be hosting their conferences under the same roof.

There is no doubt that the recent explosion in social media popularity has played its part in helping dating websites eradicate their once dubious image and enhanced their profile to the status of being the en vogue way to meet people, as it is now perceived.

There are very few secrets on the surface of the online dating industry; everything a company has to offer is up front and in your browser as soon as you enter any individual singles or dating website.

The types of service, paid fees and levels of membership entry can differ considerably, however, but the mechanics and target market place are similar: taking a single person, matching them to another and hoping it is the beginning of another new love story.

What the conference sets out to achieve is to bring the CEOs and the website designers, the affiliates and networkers together.  The combination of this input helps the dating industry’s biggest players bring you, the member, the most professional and enjoyable experience each and every time you log on to your online matchaking service.

The feedback is invaluable right the way down the chain, providing online dating comparison websites insights into the best established and start-up companies to promote and partner, in turn offering their clients genuine and proven tactics in the search for love on line.

The ‘best’ categories, those recognised as the dating industry’s key performance indicators, developed over time with members and internet business professionals alike, are as follows:-

  • Dating Site
  • Matchmaker
  • Software Provider
  • Mobile Dating Site
  • Dating Site Design
  • Dating Coach
  • Most Innovative Company
  • New Technology
  • Payment System
  • Affiliate Program
  • Marketing Campaign
  • Up and Coming Dating Site

So, the next time you visit your preferred site, it’s worth considering all of these steps that have brought you ‘in-off-the-street’, as it were, and helped you get started on your journey to find Mr or Mrs Right, who may be hiding behind a profile, just waiting for you to discover them in deep in cyberspace.