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PLAYING THE INTERNET DATING GAME - FAQs

by Erika Lawal

Just some of the questions that come my way every day from surfers thinking about using internet dating sites....

- DO DATING SITES WORK?



The short answer is "yes". The long answer is that you need to be smart in your approach to using dating sites. You have to be selective in just the same way you would offline. If your chances of finding a down home spouse in a lap dancing club are slim, they'll also be pretty slight if you go looking for your true love on a site with a strong "adult" flavor. Tailor your search to what you want…and most of all, be patient - there are thousands of people online, but it may take a little time to find the one who's just for you!

- ARE THE ADS AND PROFILES GENUINE?

Visit the average site on the internet. Even the smallest will have tens of profiles, the most successful like Friendfinder or Udate have several hundreds of thousands. Site owners don't need to invent profiles, there are people just queuing up to meet others, so it's very easy for owners to build a client database.

While the individuals may exist, what they actually write is beyond the control of dating sites. Sites like Kiss, Udate and Match.com are very hot on prohibiting the use of profanity or offensive language in ads, but they can't check on the veracity of what people say about themselves. That's down to you (see our upcoming article in "Dating Tips" on the site).



Friendsation Internet Dating

FRIENDSATION is a new internet dating and social blogging network for people who are looking for a quality dating service, free personals, free online dating, adult dating, and many more!



- WHAT SHOULD I JOIN - A DATING AGENCY OR A DATING SITE?

Offline dating agencies have the edge over online dating sites in several areas;

- They usually attract a local clientele;

- They may undertake to "match" you with suitable dates based on their knowledge of the individuals;

- They may organise social events which you can attend without the pressure of a formal date with a stranger;

- They may undertake a degree of checking of personal credentials to ensure people are who they say they are.

Online dating sites steal the light from offline agencies in the following areas;

- They are usually far cheaper to join - the most expensive agencies can cost several thousand dollars.

- They usually win hands down when it comes to membership numbers and therefore choice - the biggest sites often have membership lists which are in the hundreds of thousands.

- The best sites appeal to our desire for immediacy and encourage high participation because they are such fun - it might take a couple of weeks to arrange a date via a traditional dating agency - you can be chatting to someone you're interested in within five minutes on a site with chat facilities.

- If you're reticient about "exposing" yourself in a phone call or meeting, you can hide behind the relative anonymity of chat or e-mail.

ALL THE SITES ASK MEMBERS TO WRITE A PROFILE. DO I REALLY NEED TO BOTHER WITH THIS?

- Our answer would be yes, yes and YES! Time and time again, the reports we receive from users of dating sites suggest that it's the profile that separates the wheat from the chaff. In other words, users look to your profile to find things that set you apart from the crowd. Remember, there are probably many thousands of people with your age, height, geographical and other characteristics. You need to give the reader something that will make the reader think you're a cut above the rest.

OK, OK, SO I NEED TO WRITE A PROFILE! WHAT ON EARTH DO I WRITE?

- That's up to you of course. If you're stuck, take time out and go look at the other ads written by people of the same gender as you. Find the ones you loathe and love and consider why - are they inventive, funny, searching or are they dull, bland and desperate? Decide on the image you'd like to project and go for it. Tell your reader what you're really like and what you're looking for in a partner. Be truthful. Try to avoid using abbreviations - not only do they suggest you've been on the dating scene so long you've acquired a new language, there will also be people who have no idea what gsoh wlm swf means!

DO I NEED A PHOTO?

- We'd strongly advise you to. Like a profile, it's what sets you apart, and it's true what the dating sites say - ads with photos attract 5-7 times more responses than those without. Let's face it; YOU prefer to see you you're responding to, don't you?

Use a snap that looks like you today - we've come across more than one user who established a correspondence with someone whose phot attracted them, only to discover they were 15 years older and 50 pounds heavier when they actually met! Even if they like you, people are often annoyed by these seemingly innocent deceptions, and will terminate a relationship…it's you that gets hurt in the end....

I'VE CONTACTED LOADS OF PEOPLE, AND NO-ONE EVER RESPONDS - WHY?

- Have you written comprehensive profile? Got a decent photo?

If you've answered yes to these questions, you need to consider a number of other factors, like your geographical location, age, and who you're seeking. If you're a fifty year-old male living in a remote location seeking a woman who lives nearby, you're probably going to find it rough. Broaden your horizons a little.

Write a compelling initial e-mail or instant message. Remember that the person you're sending to may receive many such messages - yours needs to stand out. Make it original - it's easy to spot a cut-and-paste job - no-one wants to be spun a line. If you're looking to form a relationship, try to avoid messages which are overly sexually overt in the first instance - you may offend. If things take off, you can get as suggestive as you like!

Sites mentioned;
Udate
http://www.connectionzone.com/welcome.asp?R=6030

Kiss.com
http://www.connectionzone.com/welcome.asp?R=5898

Friendfinder
http://www.friendfinder.com/go/f31730

For more information and tips about dating and dating sites, including links to the top sites, visit http://www.theonlinedatingshop.com

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About the Author
Erika Lawal runs TheOnlineDatingShop.com and describes it as "like having a know-it-all best friend to hold your hand through the dating minefield", with reviews, dating site links, tips and individualised relationship counselling. A straight talking and qualified psychotherapist, she decided to take her skills onto the Internet after realizing that singles need solid information more often than they need therapy!

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