Marketing online dating sites – little things matter

While editing my biography on this site recently, I noticed that the Google ad block in the middle of the page had an ad about “senior dating”. Google obviously knows my age (it’s not mentioned on this site), so I rather took offence at what it was insinuating.  Senior? I’m  not a pensioner! Looking closer at the ad I noticed that the rest of the text refers to “people over 40”. People over 40? Senior? Surely they mean “mature”. And then it hit me – the ad text was for a website aimed at Israelis. Could it be that whoever wrote the ad text obviously thought it up in Hebrew and then translated it into English (possibly using a dictionary or even Google Translate)?  In Hebrew, the word “senior”  is almost interchangeable with “mature” when it comes to being the opposite of “minor”.

So there are two options:

 

Whoever wrote this ad text got the translation wrong, using a word that is technically right but culturally inaccurate.

Whoever wrote this ad text believes that lumping people in their 40s and 50s in with those in their 60s and 70s is a good business strategy for a dating site.

Either way, the result is an alienating ad that made me (a potential customer, obviously, as I’ve recently gone into my “senior” years) less interested in the product.

How could this have been prevented? Better research into cultural implications of words in the language you’re advertising in, better demographic research about what people in their 40s and 50s are looking for (hint: probably not being thought of as being as old as our parents / grandparents when we’re trying to put ourselves out there). While it’s true that many older daters are looking to date younger ones and may be encouraged to see a significantly younger age range listed on a site, I doubt that many people in their 40s would want to date specifically on a senior dating site.

 

Chat up line fail – why being yourself is better than trying to be clever

I was at a summer festival once, hanging out in the back of a marquee by myself, having just watched a band play. I sat down with my programme to look and see where I should go next when a guy approached me. I was single and the guy was fairly attractive. Had he simply sat down next to me and said “Hi” or asked if I was having a good time at the festival (or anything else within the realm of normal conversation) maybe things would have ended up differently. But he didn’t say any such thing. He said “Who are you and what do you stand for?” I looked at him incredulously. I may have even repeated what he said in that “did you really just say that?”  tone I reserve for people who deserve extra contempt. Shortly afterwards I excused myself and left. To this day, I’m kinda sad I didn’t use this opportunity to educate a guy who seemed pretty harmless on the whole and, as I said, not unattractive.

So what was so wrong with what he said? I mean, it wasn’t rude or sleazy in any way, was it? Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “what the hell is this woman on about?” So here’s the thing. Coming up to a woman and pulling out some whacky chat up line / schtick reeks of effort. Surely if this guy had any confidence in himself and his ability to communicate with people, he wouldn’t feel the need to come up with something like that. He’d simply say hello and start a conversation. The fact that he thinks he need some sort of flashy “hook” to get a girl chatting to him says to me he must not think very highly of himself at all. Maybe he thinks so little of himself and his ability to get girls he even went as far as learning some pick up “artist” tricks, thinking that would get him laid. Either way  – eeewww. Plus – what sort of stupid chat up line is that anyway?

Let this be a lesson to you. Looks have very little to do with whether women will like you or not. This guy was blonde, he had a nice face, he was tall and fairly well built. Yet I was instantly put off by his cheesy line and what it implies about his character to the point where I found him completely unattractive. I much prefer men who are confident enough in themselves to…you know, just have a conversation with me like a normal human being.

So remember: the real world is not like online dating where you need some snazzy first message to get someone’s attention enough so they click on your profile. The classics still work – say hello or give a (non-sleazy) compliment to get the conversation going and you stand a far better chance of getting a good response.

Five ways to survive long distance relationships

The Internet is full of fluff pieces nowadays, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at this recent piece in the Metro (looking more and more like Buzzfeed), giving 10 reasons why long distance relationships are “secretly the best”.

Having been in a few long distance relationships, I can vouch for them not being “the best” at all, as I’m sure many would agree. Ultimately, long distance relationships, if they are monogamous, are tough. For most people, there is only so much to be gained by phone calls, letters, chat and Skype. Unless you’re asexual or too busy to have a libido, you’ll be missing the sex. Intimacy, physical contact – even if not sexual but just affectionate – is also something most of us need. Jealousy can arise, which is often the cause of many over the top displays of affection outsiders see as so romantic. At the end of the day, though, most people would prefer the physical presence of another human being. For most people, long stretches of being alone interspersed with short bouts of relationship-lite is something that can only be tolerated short term.

Long distance relationships are also problematic when embarked upon after only a short acquaintance. For example, if you met someone in a foreign country, fell in love and decided to keep the relationship going. This is because the relationship pattern is usually indication to what life together would actually be. When you are together, it’s like a holiday, because your time together is so short, you’re likely to put everything else on hold. You’ll be on your best behaviour, you’ll tolerate changes in your environment, because you know your partner will leave soon and you can get your own space back.

Here are five ways to deal with long distance relationships.

1. Keep it open

This may seem like an abomination to many people, but as open relationships are becoming more popular, it’s worth mentioning this option. You can make a decision to keep your relationship going while still sleeping with other people. It’s up to you and your partner to discuss the rules of how this would work. You could agree to ask permission before getting off with anyone or you could even agree not to discuss it. If your love is really that strong then having the occasional shag should not come between you, as long as you are both clear on the nature of your relationship and its rules.

2. Keep it short

While I wouldn’t advise selling all your stuff and moving away at a moment’s notice to be with someone you just met, I do advise keeping long distance relationships as short as possible. If you’re in an established relationship, being away for too long can hasten the end. If it’s someone you’ve just met, then meet a few times for as long as possible and then start making arrangements as soon as possible. Don’t let the relationship gets stuck in this limbo stage if you’re planning on one day making it into a proper co-habiting one.

3. Try it out first

If you’ve decided you want to take things further, don’t just drop everything and move. Sublet or rent your place (or have your partner rent out theirs) for a few months if possible and try to spend a few months with your partner to see if you can tolerate actually living together. If you like your own space or are more cautious, getting a place in the same town and dating for a bit before moving in together can actually be very helpful and less overwhelming. If you’re moving to your partner’s town, remember they have a life there. Don’t expect to get the same amount of attention you got when you were there for a week or a weekend and don’t get all huffy if they want to hangout with their friends every once in a while. Take steps to make your own friends and get your own life.

4. Make time for each other

Some long distance couples talk every day. Others have busy lives or other circumstances that prevent them from having this much time. But unless you’re away in the jungle on an expedition with no means to contact your partner, having at least one long conversation a week is pretty much a must for keeping your relationship relevant to your life.

For some people, this might also mean phone sex or Skype sex, so that you still have a sex life. If, like me, you find that’s somewhat of a poor, depressing substitute for the real thing, there are other ways you can keep each other involved in your day to day life while you’re apart. This could be anything from talking about your work day to consulting each other about everyday dilemmas. If this begins to feel like a chore – maybe it’s time to consider what that might mean.

5. Know when to move in and when to move on

What I learned about long distance relationships is that with the physical contact element removed, you can really get to know a lot about the person because you’re always talking. I also learned that it can get dull real quick. This can be a good thing in a way, because you can learn about a person’s political views, tastes, etc. quicker when you’re not spending your whole time in bed. If the person is right for you, this will strengthen your bond. If you learn that the person is radically different from your ideal partner, well, it’s easier to break up with someone when they’re far away.

Match.com launch Date Explorer competition

If you’re in the UK, are single and want to travel the world on Match.com‘s buck, I have some good news for you. Just have a look at this info I got sent and, if this is you, follow their instructions for your chance to win what sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

 

For 6 weeks this June/July one lucky single could be travelling to Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Stockholm and NYC with flights, hotels + generous travel money all courtesy of Match.com.

 

All the lucky single needs to do is apply to be a Date Explorer, have an outgoing personality, and send us Brits back any dating tips they find.

 

The deadline for applications is the 30th April 2015.

 

For further details please check out http://advice.uk.match.com/date-explorer/apply-be-our-date-explorer

Online Chat on Dating Sites

Recently there has been an explosion in chat rooms dedicated to online dating and there are dozens, nay, hundreds to choose from. One of the biggest advantages of using the chat room technique to find a special someone is that you can draw from an extremely large user base. There has to be someone, out there, online, that you can forge an attraction with, surely? There are chat rooms for every possible sexual persuasion and flavour combination that you can dream up. LGBT? No problem. Over 40? Absolutely fine. Christian? God yes. Only fancy men wearing aprons? You got it. Just Google what you’re after and you’ll find something. (OK, I may have lied about the men in aprons website).
First off, you’re going to need balls of steel to find the chat room that is right for you. If you try out some of the free ones you are instantly going to be put off by the number of eleven year old boys practicing their swear words and using what they perceive to be seriously arousing chat. Ugh! Just close that tab and head on over to somewhere else. If you are registered with any of the larger and more established dating sites then their chat rooms are going to be a much better place to start, so I would recommend using their facilities for chatting. There are some good free sites, but one I visited used a pop up the second I went into chat offering me soft porn. Goodbye!
Once you have found somewhere that is relaxed and offers a more mature and reasonable level of online conversation then you’ll probably find that you’ll enjoy it. In a decent online chat room you are going to be able to mingle, chat and flirt with singles from across the globe. Feel free to join in the flirting and innuendo – it’s expected!
What is really interesting about online chat on dating sites is that if you meet someone who uses words well, then that in itself can raise their attraction for you. You may fall in love, just a little bit, with their writing and language. And why not? Someone who expresses themselves well through their language may well express themselves well elsewhere. Just saying!
One of the real advantages of chatting on an online dating website is that if you’re shy, out of practice or notoriously bad at talking to, or flirting with, the opposite sex then an online chat room can provide you with the perfect forum in which to practice your skills. You can go at your own pace and take risks. You’ll grow in confidence and if you spend a while chatting with someone and then meet them later, at least the ice is already broken. If you’re not confident about your looks, online chat allows people to get to know you first and like you for whom you genuinely are.
There are of course, a number of challenges for you to look out for. Online chat is easy to use and you cannot trust everyone. Some people cruise from chat room to chat room and they may have something to hide; they may be married, they may be crazy. Take everything with a pinch of salt until you know better.
Some of the biggest advantages of chatting online are: that you do it in the comfort of your own home; it’s easy; and it’s safe as long as you protect your personal information. Plus you can flirt as much as you like; be daring or demure, a goblin or a princess. You get instant replies to questions and can build a great rapport with someone who sparks that initial attraction.
Online dating using chat rooms can be genuinely exciting and great fun. You may have to shovel a lot of muck before you find your diamond but you’ll laugh a lot in the process. Be prepared for the frustration of immature users cramping your style and people telling great big porky pies! Schedule an evening of chat as an entertaining treat when there is nothing on the TV. Relax with a cup of tea or glass of wine and your favourite snack and just join in the fun. You never know who you might meet!

Here are some popular dating sites that offer chat and video chat and often have special offers and free trials:

match.com – still the most popular dating site in the UK. Use chat to set up dates and get a quick idea of who you’re talking to, but beware of people who want to use it for online sex.

Cupid – a big UK site which has also branched out into other countries: Ireland
The US
Canada

Australia
New Zealand

Like on match – you’ll find some users are keen to use the chat system for more than just getting to know people, but it’s useful nonetheless.

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DateTheUK – another big UK site where chat is a very popular feature.

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DatingDirect.com – a long established site with an active chat community.

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OKCupid – a popular free dating site.

Posted by ODB Staff

Online dating, you’re doing it wrong

I’ve written a lot about which pictures not to pick for your online dating profile, but if you need any more proof as to why people might think you’re a little bit off, then I have some fine examples for you right here. The word on everyone’s lips is “why?!”

First up, here’s a little page from Buzzfeed, collecting 27 cases of men most ladies would not want to meet dating online. The sad thing is, some of these guys don’t actually look half bad. If only they’d not chosen their words and pictures so damn poorly…

But before you start talking to be about how sad and clueless straight guys can be, I give you another recent discovery. This one’s a blog by an anthropology student collecting pictures from gay dating sites and apps where the subjects are posing in front of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. Why? I hear you ask. I don’t know. But it happens often enough to feed a whole blog and makes you wonder whether these people are ignorant, want to appear cool or just don’t care.