It’s never been easier to find a date

Recent reports are suggesting that, in today’s modern society, there are more singles (of dating age) in the world than couples in long-term relationships. And, with the abundance of dating sites cluttering up cyberspace, that fact seems in no way likely to change any time, soon.

In years gone by, there has been a stigma attached to being single, especially for the womenfolk of the world. Up until recently, you were almost a social leper if you let it slip that you’d been using a dating site to find your latest beau.

How times – and perceptions – have changed.

Not only are dating sites now an accepted way of meeting potential partners, they have become an expected way of hooking up with other singles – or those not so single, looking for extra-curricular activity – and are wholly accepted by one and all for the range of opportunities they present to anyone looking to find love online.

The whole arena of online dating that opens up inside your browser can, sometimes, be breathtaking – a plethora of choice to suit every whim. Many sites offer free online dating for those who want to gain a little experience before committing to parting with some of their hard earned cash – that’s wholly understandable; looking to find a long-term partner is a big commitment.

The mistake many singles make, however, is that other individuals who use free dating sites are perhaps not in it for the long-haul, and therefore the new user can be off-put by the initial experience. Like everything in life, you get what you pay for; the same is true in the world of online dating – don’t be dazzled by the stars when you’re only shooting for the moon!

Sometimes, you can look at a profile photo and think: ‘Why would someone like that need to use a dating site?’, if there image is nothing less than stunning you wonder.

If you’re looking for a long-term partner and someone like that, who you would generally consider ‘out of your league’, approaches you, begging you to befriend them or strike up contact, do beware – there can be a reason. Or three.

One – the person getting in contact is not who they say they are and are after your money, nothing else, using flattery, affection and building up trust to do it
Two – the person is only after a fling; in which case, you have a tough decision to make: stick to your guns and hold out for that long term partner, or go with it, have that elicit affair and enjoy the experience
Three – you have struck it lucky and the single of your dreams is there, the other side of your PC Screen on your dating site, and it’s time to say thank you, take your dating site profile down and get on with, well, everything else…

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

A whole lotta love, oh my!

the lies that top the dating site charts

Given that misrepresenting yourself on any type of website, especially dating sites, may soon lead to a criminal record, it seems that many adult contact site members may soon need to polish up their acts.

According to a recent survey of 1,000 singles, men are slightly more prone to stretching the truth, but neither sex is whiter than white when it comes to spinning yarns to attract potential partners via their personals profile.

Ironically, the dating website that commissioned the survey, and subsequently managed to compile a top-ten of lies it’s members told in their dating profiles, went on to state “…we’re the only dating website with an authenticity app that verifies members look as they have represented themselves in their photos.”

I just can’t imagine the tales, then, that dating sites which don’t have such rigid security measures members may tell; The Little Match-Up Girl’s site, perhaps, or Pinocchio’s Pin-Ups.

Anyway, in no particular order, here are the porkies that the global participants admitted to fibbing about in a attempt to attract more beautiful people to them.

Men’s highest consideration was about how their career was perceived, by stating that they actually held down a better job than they did. Women also hinted about a fictitious glamorous profession, but it only appeared seventh in their top ten, with the number 10 spot being filled by ‘working in entertainment’ the only other time women considered their career worth lying about.

In contrast, imaginary jobs represented a recurring theme throughout the male top ten: number 6 in the poll was the pretence that their role was more senior than in actuality; number 7, they made their job ‘interesting’, whilst the number 10 spot in the lie-list saw men claiming to work in the film industry.

The top pitfall for women was lying about their weight, where their dating profile was regularly slimmer than the off-line version; however, that buxomness rarely left the upper torso as the bra-size was regularly inflated and appeared at number 6 in the women’s fib-folio.

Weight was also in the top three for men, although their weight differentiate could go either way; for those either lacking in testosterone-boosted muscles or over-burdened by too many beers saw them choosing to lose or gain pounds to suit the target market. Physique followed next, with both slim-jims and podgy people claiming falsely to be athletic.

Age was the second biggest concern for women, as their online self rolled back the years from the real them. A toned physique was the third most popular porky, with height appearing fourth.

There were categories that held equal import for both men and women; having money appeared at number 5 in both lists; numbers 8 & 9 were similarly ‘knowing celebrities’ and having a PA’, respectively.

So, one thing we do know for certain about the dating site members who’d successfully hood-winked the truth app and took part in the survey is, if the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act does have its powers expanded to prosecute anyone who misrepresents themselves online, the next form they’ll be filling in is app-lication for bail…

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.

Dating site to the rescue

Calls for internet access levels on schools’ browers to be increased may soon be voiced, despite one teenage girl’s registration on a dating site via her homework laptop lead to her discovery after going missing.

When fourteen year-old Hanna Snider disappeared in Sorrento, Maine earlier this week, it was only through the dating site membership on her hard-drive and browsing history that her discovery at a boy’s home in Thomaston was effected so swiftly.

There is only so much protection any school can provide to control what their students access online, even if they do adhere to the CIPA* guidelines to the letter. As it stands, in order for schools and libraries to qualify for certain funding, they have to ensure browsing filters recommended under The Children’s Internet Protection Act are installed and implemented. However, once the student gets home, there are no such governance implications. If there are any limits, they are those imposed by the parents, not any school board.

This is where the onus really passes back to social media platforms and online dating sites to vet sign-ups with more scrutiny. Questions have got to be asked, ‘How did a minor manage to become a member of an internet-based dating community? and ‘What levels of control can social media platforms, singles dating sites, parents and schools enforce to limit minors access, and volumes of contacts once registered, thereon?

In circumstances such as Miss Snider’s, where potentially hundreds of contacts may need to be searched through in case of disappearance, critical time may be lost with so many individuals, be they schoolmates, social media buddies or potential partners on a contact site.
RSU 24, Maine’s appointed regional schoolboard, is aware of the importance of computer safety and its incorporation into the curriculuum, and beyond. As such, it stresses to its pupils’ parents to keep tabs on what they are browsing whilst using the internet at home, especially the more adult contact service or online dating agencies, where the filters applied in the classroom cannot be enforced.

With apps being developed which double-check registrations, and pressure being applied from all areas of society regarding accessibility and exposure on multiple levels of the internet, it could be time that internet dating sites set the precedent by introducing more stringent sign-up methods.