Clare’s law – important safety procedure or another dangerous populist piece of legislative crap?

Clare Wood was killed by a man she met online. A tragic case, no doubts about it. Now Clare’s father and Hazel Blears MP are working to bring in a law that would make it possible for women to learn about their new partner’s history of domestic / relationship abuse. This is one of those proposals that appeals to the most primal of gut instincts – the Internet is a big scary place, women know nothing about who they meet, now they can find out. That is, by the way, what makes it a populist law. It’s not hard to see why Clare’s father would want to bring this law in, to supposedly stop other people’s daughters from becoming victims like his own.

But personally I believe more care should be taken before we open up people’s private police records to, well, the entire public. Now, I know the privacy implications of this law are pretty atrocious, but considering the fact that a woman was killed, I realise many would forsake the privacy of someone else (any man?) because they believe the safety of women comes first. To be fair, if I thought this was a workable solution, maybe I would tend to agree. If it went both ways, at least.

I don’t think the exact details of this proposal have been worked out yet but for now is no mention about whether men can find out the abuse history of women they meet online (domestic abuse by women of men may not be as common, but it certainly does exist and is a real problem). There is no mention of what violations would be enough to tarnish a man as an abuser.

But of course, there is also, as far as I can tell, no mention of the fact that many cases of domestic abuse remain unreported, thus unlisted in the police database. In fact, isn’t the nature of most domestic abuse that which only escalates to the police when the abused women get battered so badly, they can no longer hide it from those around them? With a bit of luck, a man can be dangerously abusive to a GF or spouse and still appear all squeaky clean on record. If this law comes into effect, such men could actually “benefit” from the new system – women would search, find nothing and conclude the man in question is absolutely fine, when otherwise they may have exercised more caution.

In many ways, this law is no different than match.com saying they’re going to background check members in the US. It’s not enough. Not only is it not enough, but it makes people think it is enough, thus making the situation worse. Short of sending the thoughtpolice to scan people’s brains and figure out if they’re prone to murderous thoughts, there is nothing you can do that’s foolproof. As always, it’s best to educate women (and men) to spot dangerous signs, rather than open the door to some really dangerous legalisation. After all, if we’ve got our hands in someone’s private data, wouldn’t we want to be sure he doesn’t have any drunk driving offences (dangerous for our future children), public order offences or drug problems?

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Online dating not a dream for 55 to 74 year olds

A recent survey by Age UK has shown how popular Internet usage has become for people in their 50s and older. Around 43% of the UK’s 55-74 year olds use the Internet on a regular basis. Although this rate is not the highest in Europe, it’s higher than the rate in Germany (33%) and France (40%).

With so many older people online, it’s clear that there is a need for the online dating industry to create accessible websites that will appeal to older daters. Age UK are running a campaign to encourage older people to use the Internet to connect with friends and family, but it can also be a wonderful way to find love and companionship again. There is no upper age limit for the basic human need to love and be loved.

Age UK are asking people with Internet skills to help teach the 6 million older people who have never used to Internet how to do so. But why stop there? If you know someone over 55 who is new to the Internet and is looking for love, why not teach them about dating sites?

Here are a few a few dating sites for the over 50s.

Also, it’s never too early or too late to read about the online dating safety rules. Scammers target older daters in particular, though they usually use the same stories, so are easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for.

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I am now writing for Parship.

I’ve recently started doing some freelance writing for Parship.co.uk , having been asked by them to provide content for their blog. You can read my dating advice and send your online dating questions to be answered by me at the Parship blog.

I’m usually very fussy about who I do this sort of work for, but Parship have impressed me with their level of customer care, plus, they’re nice people to work for. 🙂

You can read my review of Parship in my serious dating sites post.

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eHarmony starts new casual dating site

Not content with dominating the compatibility testing dating market, eHarmony.com have come up with a site that aims to compete with Match. This time, I think they mean it too, unlike their curiously bad launch campaign for “that gay serious relationship site” they were forced to create after a lawsuit.

Their credentials obviously speak for themselves, which may indeed encourage a lot of people to sign up and try the site (especially as this is now free for a while, as they want to get a critical mass of people going).

However, with so many dating sites out there using this formula and their company being known mostly for compatibility testing and serious relationship dating, there’s going to be some serious advertising and branding needed to get this site off the ground. Will it work?

Match is a major international brand name, so’s eHarmony. In the UK, Match have a lot of competition, but only DatingDirect.com comes close in terms of branding and style.
Perhaps the US is ready for another big brand dating site that isn’t a free for all. I’m looking forward to seeing the ad campaign.

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Gay Parship now worldwide

The fact that Parship, the dating site with the most comprehensive compatibility test, has a gay / lesbian offshoot may come as a surprise to you, especially if you live outside of the UK.

Well, now their gay dating site, gay-parship.com has gone international and is available in 9 (count them) different languages.

Check it out if you’re gay and looking for a serious relationship. The way this site handles things like communications and even viewing pictures is a bit different to most dating sites you’re likely to come across. Handy if you’re tired of the more meat-market sites.

If you’re not gay, you might want to give the straight Parship UK site a go. Or, if you’re in Ireland, you can try the local version for Dating in Ireland.

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New online dating forum to discuss online dating scammers

After posting about common online dating scams, this blog has become a bit of a hub of activity when it comes to exposing scammers. The blog posts regarding this issue have become very busy with comments and I think they are becoming difficult to read.

Because of this, I have started a basic forum where things will hopefully be easier. If you’ve come across a scammer, been a victim of online dating fraud or suspect the person you are falling for may in fact be a scammer, please go to the forum and post over there.

The link is:

http://www.onlinedatingbook.co.uk/forum

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BBC Radio Oxford

Well, if you tuned in to BBC Radio Oxford this morning you could have heard me speak about the merits of online dating on Louisa Hannan’s show.

I should have perhaps posted this before the event, but in the (unlikely) case you missed it and are interested in hearing me talk about the disappearing stigma, liars and the suitability of online dating for finding a long-term partner, you will soon be able to tune in online and listen to the show, where the first hour was all about finding love. I come in around 10 minutes before the end of the first hour.

Check out this link where I assume today’s show (28/6) will appear in the next couple of days.

I’m always happy to speak about online dating on the radio. Especially when reminded that the stigma is indeed disappearing and people are indeed realising that it’s actually a viable way to meet people.

I’ve met quite a few couples recently who’ve met online, including people in their 60s and 70s. The system works!

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An online dating sites for fans of Apple?

Niche dating sites are all the rage nowadays, aimed at people who value certain aspects of their lives and want to start off their search for love by looking for people who share their interests and hobbies.

Usually it’s stuff like common religious grounds, lifestyle choices like vegetarianism, cycling or motorbiking, belonging to a certain subculture (goth, rockabilly and such) or being into photography, bird watching or whatever.

Now there is a site dedicated to fans of Apple, the company and its products. The new site, Cupidtino requires all its users to be owners of an Apple device and to be enamoured with it.

As far as I know, this is the first dating site of its kind – linking people not by hobbies, interests and lifestyles but by their consumer habits and love for a single commercial entity.

I guess you could argue that loving Apple products is a lifestyle choice and in many ways it is, but Apple is still a major commercial entity and the whole thing is therefore somewhat
Gibsonesque as far as I’m concerned.

I guess if people on the site are so into their Apple devices, they will really welcome a place where such fanboyism is welcomed and not ridiculed. I’m interested in seeing how many people find love on there.

You can read more about the new site here.

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Online dating better for marriage than meeting in bars

Here’s a bit of interesting news – online dating apparently yields more marriages than meeting people in bars. It’s now the third most common method of meeting people for marriage.

This is the result of a survey comissioned by match.com, so obviously there’s a slight bias there. Still, it’s an interesting thing to ponder and one that makes sense to me as an online dating industry person.

online dating lends itself better to finding out more about the person before actually going out on a date with them. You can easily find out about a person’s life goals, political views, likes and dislikes and other such compatibility related issues before you decide whether or not you have chemistry. In a way, it’s a seemingly more “sensible” approach to dating and one that is more attractive to people looking for a serious relationship, rather than a short, casual one.

Meeting people in bars usually means letting your body do the thinking and following that chemistry without knowing whether or not you are long-term compatible.

I’m not actually one to fault what I consider to be the traditional methods of meeting people (and yes, hooking up in bars is one of them). Saying that, we all know that when people chat each other up in bars they don’t always have marriage in mind.

The people who’d bother frequenting sites like match.com and eHarmony are likely to be more
marriage-minded to begin with, so the results of this survey could signify a gradual shift in people’s understanding of the various methods of meeting people and a move towards methods to suit each type of demand.

Of course, like everything else in this industry, it could also be an attempt by match.com to associate its name with serious relationships / marriage in order to get more serious daters onto its site.

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Ashley Madison to open in the UK

US cheaters’ dating website, Ashley Madison is apparently going to expand to the UK market. I can’t wait to see the response their incredibly annoying ads will get in the UK. Apparently UK cheaters looking to have affairs can already register on the site, but there hasn’t been any marketing done yet in the UK.

For the record, I think cheating is a complex issue and you can’t (or shouldn’t) judge everyone who cheats and condemn them to hell. I find it sad, more than anything else. Sad that people can be so bad at communicating, they’d go behind people’s backs rather than be open about their own needs with themselves or each other. It’s also sad that in the 21st century there are still people trapped in loveless marriages without being able to legally or safely leave.

On the other hand, I’m not entirely keen on so-called “lifestyle cheaters” – people who knowingly choose to cheat on their spouses / partners because they enjoy the thrill of the forbidden. I’m certainly not keen on sites such as Ashley Madison that actively encourage people to cheat on their partners and then pocket the cash.

Still, I’d rather people who want to cheat go somewhere like that and leave the normal dating sites to actual singles.

What do you think? Will this site get a good reception in the UK? Will ads encouraging people to cheat go down well with the British public?

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Online dating scams on the rise in Australia

The Australian consumer watchdog reports a rise of 30% in online dating related scams. Could it be because people in Australia are becoming more exposed to online dating and are throwing caution to the wind a little bit too much?

With online dating becoming more and more mainstream, there should be more information available about the potential dangers.
People often put their trust in their dating site, sometimes blindly, and no dating site likes to admit that some scammers may have gotten through.
Having worked as a moderator on a dating site I know how hard it is to catch everyone who’s up to no good. We were always aware of how important it is to catch these people before they fleece innocent daters and steal their money, but even with all the hard work we put in, sometimes these scammers managed to con people before we got to them.

Never assume the site you’re on is 100% safe. No site is. You need to arm yourself with information and learn how to spot a scammer, so you can avoid their nasty plots.

Now’s a good time as ever to brush up on your online dating safety knowledge. Here are some handy online dating safety tips from my book.

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Thinking of going speed dating? You’re in good company.

The next episode of House will see the team going speed dating, with apparently hilarious results.

It’s always good to see trends becoming mainstream enough to be featured on top TV shows, isn’t it?

You can watch the trailer for the episode here

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge yourself, you can take a look at my reviews of speed dating and singles’ events companies.

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Please help my friend

A very close friend of mine has been wrongfully arrested and detained in Dubai since the 26th of January. So far, without being officially charged.

31-year-old Cat Le-Huy, Head of Technology at Endemol UK, was detained and arrested during a tourist visit to Dubai for carrying melatonin, an over-the-counter jet lag aid. Though once in custody Le-Huy tested negative for drugs and his melatonin was cleared by officials, he is still in Dubai jail with no charges and no release date.

Full story can be found on the Free Diz page where you can also donate to his mounting legal defense fund. Talk about Dubai being a tourist trap…

All of his family and friends (myself included) are shocked and worried.

Please pass this on to friends and family. Also, please spread the word around that Dubai is NOT a safe place for Western tourists, regardless of what their advertising campaigns say.

More information about this and other similarly horrible cases can be found on the BBC news site.

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Away again

I have decided to take a break from my 7-day weeks over the last few weeks and have actually been getting out of London a bit and trying to enjoy “summer”.

This weekend I will be out of town and away from phones/emails until Monday at the very earliest.

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Good morning Humberside!

My interview has finally been rescheduled. I will be on BBC Radio Humberside tomorrow at 9.40am UK time.

Am still unclear as to exactly what they want to talk about, but I am guessing it’s something to do with online dating and the book 🙂

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Radio Appearances & latest book news

I was on U105 in Belfast this Tuesday on the lunchtime show, which was cool. My mom listened in from Israel via their website and I was being interviewed from my bedroom in London (it’s the most quiet room in the house). I felt very 21st century.

We talked about the book, online dating safety, how it can help people’s love lives: all the usual stuff.

Next week I will be on a late morning show on BBC Radio Humberside on Tuesday and possibly on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire as well.

Things are slowly starting to pick up. The book is selling and seems to be picking up on Amazon. It’s all getting quite exciting 🙂

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The book is officially out!

Copies should be with the retailers within a week or so. The Amazon buying links on the right should actually work now 🙂
I am back from holiday and am trying to sort out things such as press releases and publicity.
Hopefully, things are about to get busy!

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Leaving Allegran

After 2 years and a few months, I am leaving Allegran. Things have been getting too busy and I forsee a couple of busy months ahead where I will need to concentrate on some serious self-promotion. After that, I will most likely be looking for part time/freelance work so that I can continue working on my writing. I’ve had some great times at Allegran and learned a hell of a lot. I never would have written the book if it weren’t for some of the great people there. It’s hard to leave all my friends behind, but I am quite excited about being able to take the time to do my own thing. Onwards and upwards!

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Buy my book!

I am introducing a news section so I can advertise things to do with the book.
Today’s exciting news is that I’ve added Amazon sales links to the site. The book is available for pre-order from Amazon (and a few other places) already.
I get more money per sale if people click on to Amazon through my site rather than going direct, so if you’re going to buy a copy, please do it via this site.

Thanks 🙂

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