Dating sites – if owners don’t invest in it, why should you?

The third installment of our four-thread article (it was going to be three and I apologise – there’s more updated info about the world of online dating than I had estimated; bit of a faux pas, je suis desolé, mes amis) looking back at guides in the early days of online dating and how much of what was said back then still impacts on today’s much larger market.

Back in 2005, Sarah Harris, CEO of planetsappho.com, gave the following advice – and I have to say, it’s the most savvy I’ve come across in my time writing for dating.org.uk – for all would be cyberspace lovers. Here, we condense what she had to say back then, with a today’s slant to update its relevance, only where necessary.

top of the tree for a reason

Anyone can buy a dating site in a box and literally be on line hosting their own dating site platform within an hour. It’s true.

Not that the ads are misleading, but to make these sites profitable and to deliver the dream of being a dot.com millionaire, takes time, effort, patience, further investment and true dedication to the cause.

Don’t believe the hype when you see an ad saying ‘set and forget‘. You most certainly can create a monster and leave it in its cave, but without constant maintenance, endeavour and understanding the market (something imperative to be a success and is extremely time consuming with research, even if you think you know ‘a bit’ about it), that creature will stay in hibernation and never make you a dime.

The dating sites that have the highest conversion rates have done this for you, making the dating site both user friendly and affordable.

The all-important factor that so many dating site members do not see yet take for granted is the ongoing man-power hours working ‘under the hood’ of the highest-rated dating sites to ensure that you, the avid online dater, have a constant influx of newbies to choose from.

Behind those pages of hopeful singles, dating site profiles and chat rooms are the Internet scientists and psychologists that deliver you smooth browsing, uninterrupted chat and the latest technology to keep them at the top of the dating industry.

But the single most important factor to any online dating agency is its visibility. By that, I mean being at the top of the search engine rankings for the keywords, and renewing fresh content that appeals to the likes of Google, Yahoo and Bing. Without those hundreds of people constantly refreshing the site’s content, reacting to surveys of its dating site membership and allowing the user to have a hassle-free experience, those dating sites would be nothing.

Free dating sites, in the main, cannot commit this many man-hours, which is why your membership fee is important to the continuity of the top dating sites; like Sarah says in that post going back to 2005, like everything in life, you get what you pay for.

The concluding article for this mini-series will be tomorrow, now; please come back and read it; it promises to be information no dating site user should be without. In the meantime, please feel free to search for your perfect partner online, here.

Social media and dating sites – what’s the difference?

The world has gone crazy for social media. It’s accessible from your mobile, your tablet and even the traditional way through your laptop or even older tower PC.

Whether it’s the facebook, Twitter or G+, it seems everyone has an account with one, two or all of them. Different friends, networks and, when you start filtering sites such as LinkedIn into the bargain, job opportunities, too.

Once the 9-5 is over, it’s straight onto your mobile to check your likes, +1’s or mentions and a night in peering over the top of the laptop catching bits and pieces of your favourite show while you catch up with all of your messages online.

All of the above, even the professional networking sites, allow you to display a profile, with pictures and your personal likes, dislkes and history. So what is the difference between sites like these and online dating sites?

It’s apparent, from the new dating sites that are springing up in cyberspace, that they are moving towards social media designs to help users find their feet more quickly.

So it’s only natural that people who already use social media would begin to use that platform to start dating.

facebook makeovers off the wall

Instead of family pets or two year old sons and daughters filling walls and pages, facebook users are beginning to post pouting profile pictures instead.

And, as well as old school friends and professional colleagues, their walls are being plastered with hopefuls who they’ve never met responding to teasing profiles, encouraging a response typically reserved for online dating sites.

extended networks of friends easily accessible

There are facilities that allow you to view, not only your friends, but your friends’ friends too.

A leapfrog over your own best mate to one of their buddies, deemed somewhat unacceptable offline without an introduction, is not only acceptable but almost expected. These sites are ways to meet friends, but you have to do the searching for someone who really interests you.

Hashtags are one way of searching, but they are in no way as filtered as the specific algorithms and scientific processes that dating sites use to pair couples based on the information they enter about themselves and what their ‘searchees’, or desired perfect partner, has entered about themselves.

Social Media has its place online and, as it continues to grow, will only continue to evolve. But into dating sites?

There may be similarities between free dating services and social media but they’ll never be able to produce the same results as the personal touch that a paid dating site membership can deliver.

Check out our choice of the top dating services based on our algorithms and see if you can tell the difference at a real dating site.

Online dating facing up to winkers

Social media and online dating are, inevitably, becoming more alike. More often than not, new dating sites are utilising the familiar aspects of social media in an attempt to help new singles site sign-ups get around their online platform in a manner they’re used to.

FaceDating.com has incorporated both aspects with the launch of their new dating site, which offers a free membership only and a whole host of extra services for those who wish to upgrade to ‘subscribers’ level with their dating site membership.

As social media is, for the most, free, you would think that there is little call for upgrading to a paid membership. However, the thousands of dating sites that are online prove that there is, explaining why there seems to be new dating sites springing up every week.

Facebook has its likes and G+ has its +1’s – it would appear that more and more dating sites are opting for winks as a way for one member to indicate to another that they’re interested in what they see in your profile. If, however, you’re not so keen when you receive such a notification, you can block the winkers, whether you have a paid or free membership on this dating site.

The site has a basic, simple to follow structure, allowing you to put in the most basic requirements for your search for your free membership, which you can customise and filter further with a paid package.

The subscriber plan allows you all of the basic benefits plus a whole host of extra services which increment the higher and longer the plan to which you subscribe.

For those serious about dating there is a choice of plans which range from a basic one-month upgrade for $35.99 to test the water up to the Best Value plan which is an all-singing and dancing membership for 6 months at $17.99/month.

The two 6-month packages they offer also include the FaceDating.com guarantee, not available with any other of the services you choose to subscribe to.

Do be careful, whichever plan you choose, if you wish to withdraw your paid membership. FaceDating.com have made it very clear that you will be charged at your existing membership rate automatically at the subscription level to which you have committed until you notify them to the contrary.  At least they have made this extremely clear, devoting a whole sidebar to the details which remains static as you flick through the choice of upgrades.

For the top five dating sites based on our market research, we have them at the click of a button to help you find your perfect partner in minutes.

Online dating without the hassle

Leaving the business world in which you have grown up professionally can be a daunting, if not altogether terrifying, decision; especially when the firm you work for is a world-renowned global debt, asset management and finance corporation. But for Alexandre Errera and Maxime Leufroy-Murat, that was the life-changing alternative they chose when leaving behind Morgan Stanley and its graduate program to set up exclusive online dating facility personaldatingagent.com.

For the two gents, who met on the graduate program, the instant connection they made would be the catalyst that eventually realised their early recognition that they wanted to work together on a project outside of the financial institution’s confines. It took them a while to get there, but the seed had been sown whilst working at the multi-national giant’s London headquarters – the dating site industry had a niche gap that needed filling, and these were the two guys to plug that hole.

Working in the city can generate an affluence of cash in your bank balance. However, the long hours and draining manner of handling some of the biggest funds in the world can leave you with little time or energy for anything else, let alone trying to incorporate a love life. It was here that Alex and Max realised they could provide a service: employing relationship experts to handle the monotonous side of dating whilst alleviating its members of some of their over-burdening bank balance. Kind lads, indeed; nay, almost saint-like.

leave it to the experts, for a price

This is not a free dating service, by any stretch of the imagination. The packages they provide range from $300-$1200 per month with an intermediate $525 deal. That may seem a staggering amount, but these guys, with the business acumen they acquired whilst working in the city , did their marketing on the spot. It was a while after they had decided to work together long term that they hit upon the idea of an online dating service; one that wasn’t right up there with the top end of the A-list dating market but could offer so much more than the multi-million membership sites who fight for the bulk of the global online dating membership.

The service they provide is , however, first class and tailored to the busy city slicker lifestyle.  Upon joining, you will get a personalised call from one of their ‘agents’. They will literally take the headache of filling in a dating portfolio from you, use humans, not algorithms, to filter the matchmaking search to find you a ‘guaranteed number of dates each month’ and finally arrange the meeting offline on our behalf. All you have to do is turn up.

After initially having trouble hiring dating experts and writers, they are now ready to rumble; whether you are a resident of the capital or not, PDA is looking to serve a global audience. And, really, the high end package not only guarantees you 4+ dates per month but also picks your clothes, gives advice and includes a pro photo-shoot. Wow.

As Stevie V once warbled ‘money talks, dirty cash I want you, dirty cash I need you, whoa-oa!

A kick up your masquerade balls

There are better ways of instigating an online dating relationship than sending your correspondent a private message which goes along the lines of ‘I like the look of you, but I’m not sure whether you’re a scammer, a stalker or a pervert so I’m gonna get you’re background checked before I give you the time of day.’

However, that is the very real prospect facing dating site members the world over, if you’re not joining an exclusive dating site where members are individually interviewed as part of the service fee. Quite usually, with free dating sites, the revenue comes purely from sponsorship and advertising, so there is very little capital remaining to vet members at all; this is one of the down sides of using this sector of the market over the generally more secure paid dating site niche.

For some years, internet fraud has been recognised by the authorities for what it is: serious, organised crime. As online dating site numbers grow, so do the fraudsters, trained to expert level to engender trust in gullible singles before duping them into sending cash, predominantly to Africa where the majority of these gangsters are based. Some of the volumes are staggering and it is only by working with the dating site community that investigative authorities can hope to put an end to this practise, which has blighted the industry for too long.

verification apps offering more dating site protection than ever

There are state-specific applications available in the US to help combat this issue; providing you are dating an American citizen, some sites are now supporting the program which allows you to double check a potential partner’s credentials against US government records.

In the UK, things are gathering pace even faster. Already we have Trusted Faces – a membership which not only confirms your identity against a snap taken at an official UK post office but also allows you to include other forms of your internet presence and contact details, such as your Twitter user name and e-mail address, respectively. It is very much your online passport.

New, exclusive matchmaking site PDA are very excited about the advent of a ‘Clare’s Law’. This will protect women against an even greater fear – the threat of physical abuse. It is hoped that, once this legislation passes the regulatory standards necessary, it will provide a window into any dating prospect’s criminal past. If there is a history of any sort, it will be there for all to see, so that dating site profiles cannot provide a mask for something altogether more unsavoury, beyond.

It is in everyone’s interest to make the world of online dating a safe and fun place to (hopefully) meet your Mr. or Mrs. Right without fear of any sort; it looks like we’re getting there, albeit one step at a time.