Global dating sites and askew dating numbers

Welcome back, and thanks for joining us for the fourth – and definitely final, this time – part in this enthralling look into the relevance of today’s dating sites compared to how they were viewed by Sarah Harris, CEO of and, back in 2005. Click the tag ‘prophetic words’ at the bottom of this article to bring up the other three articles.

In conclusion, we look at why the multi-national, million-plus membership dating sites are little more than a contact site and the imbalance of men to women that existed then and is still prevalent, now.

When Sarah wrote the article, she referred to the global dating sites at the top of the tree as having ‘hundreds of thousands of members’; obviously, you can add at least one zero onto the biggest sites, these days, and then some! However, the sentiment expressed then – that they are little more than sites for people who like to chat to other singles online in a type of instantaneous, cyberspace pen-pal relationship – remains the same.

Admittedly, Sarah did have a vested interest when she advised the dating populous to stick to dating sites that had a concentration of singles ‘in your region’ as is a dating site for Londoners only.

There are two issues with this, if you live outside the capital:
1. you can’t assess what percentage of members will be local until you have signed up and, if we go back to the point of ‘you get what you pay for‘, paid your membership fee, which may prove to be fruitless
2. search Google for free dating sites in your area with the tag #[your town] – I’ve just searched for Wolverhampton and Black Country dating sites and the results, considering the urban density of the population(s), wouldn’t entice me to sign up if they were paying me.

My advice, if you are determined to stay local and only want pen-pals for anyone who lives further than the end of your street, is get to know a few people on the free dating sites at first, and see if they can point you to a great paid service, like those on our matchmaker here at, which has members local enough to cure you of your agoraphobia.

Sarah’s last point refers to the askew dating figures, where the guys outnumber the gals 60/40. You think it’s bad in the West? Go East, where males are the preferred offspring and there are limits to the amount of children permitted per couple – then you really see the books unbalanced.

The key for lads on dating sites that are imbalanced is to get your profile bang on so that you stand out head and shoulders above the competition. As well as your dating site profile, there is other dating etiquette that should be followed.

Answer all e-mails promptly and courteously; if you are not into someone, tell them straight and don’t leave them hanging on – but let them down gently. If you are interested, do not bombard your potential partner, but be restrained, totally honest and let them know that you’re interested without smothering them with winks and smiles, building up their confidence gradually until they are ready to date offline. Do not pressure the girls – it won’t work and you will soon get a reputation which will put off other singles who may have otherwise shown an interest in you.

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, gave the following advice – and I have to say, it’s the most savvy I’ve come across in my time writing for – 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 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.

Dating site expectations are often too high

We continue today’s thread looking back at an appraisal that Sarah Harris, CEO of, made of dating sites and their members seven years ago, when the online dating world had a very different, rather desolate and shady landscape opposed to the one we see today.

The figures have grown massively over the short period since the article was posted, but the percentages, for the next two topics at least, are surprisingly similar. So, on we go: advice from a dating site CEO about the errors many dating site members make and why blaming your dating platform is not the right thing to do.

dating site success

When Sarah wrote the article, the figures showed that only 5% of all new members end up as a success story as a result of meeting another single they’ve met via their dating platform.

Today, with one dating site claiming to be responsible for 5% of all US marriages not so long ago, you would think that has changed, but that depends on what you class as a successful experience on your dating site.

A recent survey highlighted the fact that marriage is not the be and all for many, many dating site users. In fact, those results rather indicated that singles will register with a dating site already knowing what they want from their time spent online dating. Marriage was indeed the yardstick members of one matchmaking site measured their success by, whereas another was simply a promise of commitment and the third was purely any type of regular relationship; these were all well known, branded sites who took part in the survey.

Apathetic daters a waste of space

Another of source of Sarah’s chagrin was the amount of users who just could not be bothered to make the effort. In fact, she carries on to state that, the ten percent of dating site members who do get ‘smiles’ or ‘winks’ aside, the other 90% who berate the service after sign up just “don’t deserve any success.”

And it’s true. Much as she likens those ‘success’ stories to real life figures, the same can be said of dating site members who just do not put the effort in to attract their target audience.

Successful online dating is all about personifying your dating site profile to portray an upbeat, honest you that people want to contact and be with.  Look at your profile, now, and ask yourself who’s to blame for not enough traffic responding to your profile.  Go on, now!

If you went to your local bar with your hair a bedraggled mess, without brushing your teeth, applying make up or deodorising, what chances would your stand of pulling? None, other than the drunk in the corner.

Dating site profiles are no different. They represent you – you may be the catch of the decade, but if your profile doesn’t say that, how on earth are the millions of other dating site members outside your little bubble going to know?

The gravity of success your time spent online dating will be comensurate to the time and effort you put in to crafting and maintaining your online profile.

We conclude today’s thread in the next article with an overview of dating sites in general and why going for a paid membership will always beat a free dating site on levels of service hands down, every time.

A prophetic view of dating sites from before Wii knew them

Back in 2005, a certain Sarah Harris posted an article about ‘The whole truth about online dating‘; as chief executive officer of her own dating website, she spoke as an authority on the subject. That UK dating site is still going, as is its sister, dedicated to helping find lesbians find their one true love online. More on those sites later.

Upon reading the article, although it can certainly be termed as dated on the basis of how long ago it was written, the messages therein still hold true, perhaps even more-so now than they did back then. Given the backdrop that online dating was viewed against seven years ago, still very much with a stigma hanging above its head (long since banished, thankfully), the article can be considered, I believe, as quite brave and groundbreaking.

Today’s three articles will take those still-valid points, embellish on them where possible to suit today’s online dating market and, of course, amend any quoted figures to reflect the $2bn industry that online dating is today, compared to the wafer-thin cousin it was before Labour released the reigns of UK government, way before the US had its first black President and even before Nintendo released the Wii console!

Giving it that huge drum-roll, I only hope I can do the original article justice, so, here goes; a dating site CEO’s top 6 guide of getting the very best out of online dating.

One – dating site usage figures

The stigma attached to dating sites only seven years ago is very much in evidence in Sarah’s first point. She alludes to the fact that, although 40% of all singles were, or had, used a dating site at one time or another, most would have rather stated, at the time, that they had met their latest beau in a club or a bar.

How times have changed! Firstly, that demographic almost totally excludes the fastest growing sector of Internet dating online in 2011, the ‘baby boomers’ of yesteryear, categorised as those in the 55+ age bracket. Latest figures report that the current percentage of dating or matchmaking site users in the US is a little over 10% of the entire population, let alone singles.*

And not admit to using a dating site? Now, many singles (and, to be fair, married folk) would rather meet someone online and get to know them in more depth first by having a quiet night in on the pull, rather than traipse around bars, fuelled with alcohol leading to who-knows-where? on a first date.

Thankfully, for Sarah’s business, the interpretation of the term dating site has become a lot more wholesome since she posted that first point; admittedly, the platform still has a way to go before becoming the safest way to date, due to the recurring ‘scamming‘ problem, but that is coming under more scrutiny as the authorities have joined forces with dating site owners to enforce technology that has come on leaps and bounds, even just in this last year.

Please follow us to the next two topics, which address success rates and positive contact figures. I’m sure those figures have changed beyond all recognition, too…