How long should you stay on a dating site before I give up?

Online dating is not for everyone and it can be a slow, frustrating experience. But what I find is that many people tend to make life more difficult for themselves, by putting much money, time and effort into dating sites that are wrong for them. I’ve written before about how to choose the right dating site for you, but let’s face it – even sites that looked good to us to begin with, may not be right for us in the long run.

Your relationship with your dating site is just that – a relationship. If you’ve made what you think is a good choice, you try and make it work the best you can — by putting on a good dating profile and actively messaging people on the site — but sometimes you just have to admit to yourself that the relationship isn’t working.

Some people will react to this realisation by blaming themselves and others will blame the whole of online dating. In reality, it’s often the site itself that is simply inappropriate. By this, I don’t mean that it’s necessarily a bad site, just not the right site for you and your needs.

Yes, most dating sites have a lot in common (including the common flaws of the whole online dating system), but each one is slightly different. It’s these small differences that can make a big difference to your chances of success.

I have had many clients for my online dating profile help service who came to me thinking their profiles must be incredibly bad, because they’ve had no success.
In reality, some of these people had profiles I would consider above average. In some cases, I believe their bad dating “luck” was as much to blame on their dating site choices as their profiles, if not more (which is why I always include some dating site advice as part of the service as well). A profile that is good enough for a certain dating site may not get any responses on another.

match.com , for example, while a good site that works for a lot of people, is also extremely competitive. I’ve found that men in particular seem to sometimes struggle to get anywhere on this site, but these same men can do very well on similar sites, like DatingDirect.com. Does this mean I think DatingDirect is better than Match? Not as a general rule, no. I think they are both good sites. For some individuals, though, the choice is clear.

So before you give up on online dating completely, maybe consider letting your membership on your current site lapse and go on to try another.
3-6 months should be enough for you to assess a website and see if it’s delivering. By that, I don’t mean delivering the love of your life, but you should be making contact and going out on dates with people who may not be your perfect match but are also not entirely revolting to you.

If you’re very active – running searches and messaging people on the site almost every day — then closer to the 3 month period is probably enough to tell if it’s working. If you’re a bit more casual about things, then I suggest 6 months.

For sites that deliver you matches themselves like eHarmony and Parship.co.uk , I’d say 6 months is the minimum.

Remember, also, that the busiest time of the year for online dating is from around December – January, where a lot of new people tend to join. Sites you seem to have “exhausted” may well turn up some interesting new blood around that time.

Online dating may well not be for you, but before you switch off the PC and go down a different route, do make sure you gave it a good and varied go.

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Fake profiles – why are they there?

Q: I’ve been dating online for about a month or so on a couple of different dating sites. When I search, I keep seeing profiles that are obviously fake. Are these put there by the websites to try and get people to join? Does this mean I should find better dating sites that are more honest?

A: While I can’t say for certain that there are no dodgy sites out there who use fake profiles to fool unsuspecting daters into signing up, my own experience tells me that more often than not these profiles are not put up by the sites themselves but by Internet scammers intent on making a quick buck.

Even sites that are heavily moderated to remove such unwanted criminals occasionally fail to catch them all. This is especially true of the bigger sites where thousands of profiles can be added every day. Most dating sites nowadays give you the option to report such profiles to their moderating team so that they can be removed. It’s good practice to do this when you come across a fake profile, especially on the free and cheaper dating sites, where such practice is essential for the smooth running of the site. Unfortunately, it can take time for dodgy profiles to be removed, as the moderating teams can get quite busy (or be quite small to begin with, especially on free sites). If this bothers you, you may want to find a site that’s a bit quicker at removing problem users. On the other hand, if you can spot the fake profiles so easily, they are obviously not a threat to you but more of a harmless nuisance.

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What should the first date be like?

Q: I’ve met someone I like on a dating site and I think we are ready to meet up in person. What is the best thing to do on a first date? Is a romantic dinner the way to go?

A: Personally, I’m not a fan of overly romanticising the first date. For one thing, first dates can be really nervewrecking for many people, so there is no need to make it into a big deal and make it even more scary. Remember that you won’t really know for sure whether or not you have chemistry with another person until you’ve met them in real life. No amount of talking online can tell you whether or not you will find someone attractive, no dating expert can tell you this and there is no personality test in existence that could answer that question. Only you can answer that question and only when you’ve seen your date in person.

So until you know whether you actually *want* to get romantic with someone, there’s no point arranging a date that may end up making you feel awkward.
Instead, I suggest you opt for something non-threatening and non-committal: a pub or bar (popular choice in the UK) or a cafe for the non-drinkers are always good, as long as they’re not too noisy. You can always continue to a romantic restaurant later, if the mood takes you, but don’t put yourself in a situation where it’s expected, before you’ve seen the goods.

Remember to always opt to meet in a public place and, women especially, read up on the safety rules before meeting anyone in person.

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Does online dating work?

Happy new year, everyone!

If you’re looking for love and have made it your resolution for this year, I wish you all the best. As this is a time of new beginnings, I thought I’d tackle the question so many people ask when considering whether to use online dating for the first time: does online dating work?

The quick answer is yes, it does. People all over the world meet and fall in love online all the time. Right now, somewhere, there are probably two people communicating on a dating site somewhere who will end up together. actually, there’s probably more than two people.

Unfortunately, there are also online dating horror stories and many people do find that online dating is not for them. The truth is, it’s not for everyone, though most people will get something out of it.

If you’re thinking of trying Internet dating – do. There is no other way to find out whether or not it’s your thing. Here are some things to keep in mind before you start:

  1. Dating sites are not all the same.
  2. Sure, there are some similarities, but there are also differences. Take the time to look at a few different sites before deciding which one to sign up with. Most sites will let you sign up for free so you can look around, so make use of that. Also, even sites that have exactly the same price structure or features can have dramatically different membership, so if one site fails to deliver people you find interesting, don’t be afraid of moving on.

  3. You need to put some effort in if you want it to work.
  4. Unless you upload a good photo and spend time working on your profile, you’re not likely to get anywhere. You will also need to spend time actually contacting people, speaking to them online and on the phone and then meeting up. The more you do it, the more likely you are to be successful.

  5. It might take time.
  6. Let’s face it, you’re not likely to meet the perfect person straight away. The higher your standards, the more likely you are to have to go through the motions quite a few times before meeting someone even remotely suitable. Online dating is now mainstream, though, so it’s not just freaks and losers who use dating sites anymore. If you find the right dating site and keep at it, you will find someone someone sooner or later, be it on or offline. If you’re looking to sign up to a dating site and are wondering how long a subscription to buy, you can take my online dating quiz to find out.

  7. Beware of the scammers
  8. There are some dodgy sites out there and some dodgy scammers who use dating sites to scam people out of money. I don’t want to put you off online dating, because all in all it’s a good thing, but do keep your wits about you. Watch out for people who ask you for money after meeting you online. Many of those will try to lure you away from the dating site ASAP so there is no record of their crime on the dating site and then hit you up with some sort of sob story. There are also sites out there that use fake profiles to lure people in, but that is an illegal practice, so if you stick with large, reputable sites, you should be fine.

Check out my article section for more tips on how to make online dating work for you.

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Question: How do I find advertisers for my new dating site?

Advertising can be an important source of revenue and, for free sites, the only source of revenue. We all know about Markus and his plentyoffish Adwords empire (we do, don’t we?) but we also know that things are usually not as straightforward as that.

Placing Google ads (adsense) on your dating site can seem like the easiest answer, but it’s not always the best one. There can well be better options on both big and small sites.

New sites with a little amount of traffic have a harder time trying to sell advertising, as most advertising networks would require a minimum amount of monthly impressions before taking on a site. There are a few ways of getting started with advertising.

Tenancy

If you don’t have a lot of traffic, then view and click based advertising may not be the best thing for you. Your best bet is to try and get small sums of money from people in return for displaying their ad on the site for a set period of time. This works like a newspaper or magazine ad, which is not going to suit web-savvy advertisers but is perfectly fine for small businesses. Local restaurants and bars where your customers could potentially meet up, beauty salons where they could pamper up for the date, professional photographers, date coaches, etc. could all be suitable for this type of advertising. If you are short of traffic and want to start getting some money in anyway, this could be a good place to start.

Affiliate networks

Joining an affiliate network as a publisher is free and if you find a product that gels well with your audience and pays well then you could potentially make some good money. Of course, with most affiliate programmes only paying comission per sale, this method is riskier.

Adsense

Although easy to sign up to, Adsense and their Yahoo/MSN equivalents are not always profitable on low-traffic sites and can be rather intrusive, compared to banner advertising. Their contextual nature means you would likely be advertising other dating sites, which may not be what you want. Some people have done pretty well from these (see above) do they may well be worth a try, especially in conjunction with other forms of advertising.

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New questions and answers section

Since I started this blog, I’ve had a few people email me with some online dating problems/questions, so I thought it may be a good idea to invite more people to do the same. I’ll post them on here with the answers but obviously won’t include any personal information. So if anyone out there has any burning online dating questions, don’t be afraid to ask!

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