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Dating Mating Sex and Reproduction

Dating Sites Don’t Work

For several months now, I’ve had a profile on OkCupid.com.  No, I will not tell you the profile name, and no, you could not guess it from information off of this blog.  And anyway, I’m honestly not there to find a date.  I am, however, very interested in their matching algorithm, and have spent hours answering questions and looking at the public answers given by other singles all over the country.

You see, I have had a theory for several years now that dating sites are inherently flawed on a lot of levels.  To put it simply, I think they are less effective than going out and meeting people face to face — even for the incredibly awkward or unattractive.  I haven’t really done much research into the topic, though, so I was pleased to see that OkCupid has done some of the work for me.  But more on that later.

In a nutshell, here’s why I intuitively believe dating sites don’t work:

  • Too much information.  I know… we’ve all been burned by discovering that someone we loved or were growing to love was really just not right for us.   But I don’t believe more information is helpful.  In fact, I think it reduces our chances of finding a match.  Just as an example, here’s a small sampling of my own dating profile:  Divorced, atheist, doesn’t want children, doesn’t want marriage.  With just those four criteria, as many as 94% of available women on some dating sites would rule me out as a potential match.  And yet, three out of the last four women I’ve dated seriously have known all that about me, and dated me even though they said they wanted marriage and kids, and even though they said they “weren’t sure” about God. The fact is, most of us know what we think we want, but when it comes right down to it, who we end up falling in love with is entirely different.  Too much information closes off too many avenues too soon.
  • Chemistry.  There’s no denying it.  Sometimes, you get within ten feet of a person, and for no good reason, your body goes ape-shit.  You don’t know anything about them.  They’re attractive, but not the most attractive you’ve ever seen.  There’s just… something. This just can’t happen on dating sites.  To put it another way, dating sites do it backwards.  They get us all worked up because someone is a great match for us “on paper,” and then hope that we’re also genetically differentiated enough to have a chemical spark in person.  Sadly, when I did try a few internet dates a couple of years ago, that was the norm, not the exception.  Looked good on paper, and no chemistry in person.
  • People can lie on dating sites as easily as in person.  Except for the really exclusive sites that insist on background checks, referrals, and personal interviews, it’s easy to lie.*  Women lie about their figures.  Men lie about their income figures.  Oh, and being married.  And having kids.  People lie on the internet, and there’s not much to keep them from lying.  Sure, people can lie in person, but savvy observers of human nature can spot lies relatively easily in person.  Online, it’s much harder.

So in a nutshell, that’s why I think dating sites are a waste of time.  It’s not that nobody ever meets and falls in love, but it seems set up to increase failure, not success.  Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, OkCupid has done some of their own stat-gathering, and come up with some more reasons why pay sites in particular don’t work.

  • Most of the profiles are dead.   “After some dickery with a legal pad we discover, in the best case for eHarmony, 1/13 of their users are on the yearly plan, and the rest subscribe 6 months at a time. Thus the minimum average monthly fee is $29.18. They have at most 719,652 subscribers.” That’s the real number… not 20,000,000, like the ads claim.  That means that 92% of EHarmony subscribers are ghosts. When we break that number down across the whole country, we see that for most people, there are only a handful of real, active, compatible people in their city.  By comparison, in an average night club, there are probably at least twenty or so genuinely single people who are actively looking.
  • Pay sites want you to message ghosts.  As you can see from this flowchart, pay sites make money in any case except when subscribers message subscribers.  In terms of marketing, dating sites want you to be the bait that entices someone into pulling out their credit card.  You are paying to advertise for them.

  • The desperation feedback loop.  It’s hard enough for a man to entice a woman into responding on a pay site.  Depending on the estimates, most men face about a 1 in 10 chance of getting any reply at all.  And that includes replies such as “Thanks for the nice letter, but I’m seeing someone, and just haven’t taken my profile down yet.  Good luck.”   So, what do most guys do?  They write more letters.  They get frustrated with the lack of responses, so they spend less time writing more letters.  Less time means more impersonal means less chance of a response.
  • Being overwhelmed.  On the other hand, women receive dozens, sometimes hundreds of letters, and as many as 90% of them do not fall within her specified criteria.  (See above — too much information.)  Whether they’re pricing themselves out of the market or not, most women have high expectations from a dating site.  So they filter out guys who aren’t “Mr. Perfect,” and then get frustrated when no guys are “Mr. Perfect.”  Then, they stop reading their email, and there’s another dead (and sometimes still subscribing) customer for guys to write to and not get a response.

Get Out There

I just don’t believe there’s a better alternative than putting your happy face in front of people.  Here’s a personal example.  When I was in my mid 20s, I was in a local coffee shop and saw a girl with fantastic eyes.  I stared for a minute, realized I was staring, and then looked away.  But I was hooked.  Every few minutes, I caught myself staring absentmindedly in her direction.  Rather than doing the brave thing and going up to her, I did the wuss thing and left the coffee shop.

And it was a good thing, too.  Several months later, I was dropping a casual acquaintance off at her new apartment, and who do you think was her new roommate?  Yep.  The girl with the eyes.  I accepted the invitation to stay for a while, and within three months, she and I were dating.  We dated for nearly five wonderful years, and have stayed friends since.  The kicker?  If I had gone up to her when I first saw her, she’d have turned me away.  She was in the middle of a divorce.  But she saw me looking, and remembered me when I walked into her apartment.  Crazy, huh?

The point I’m trying to make is that chemistry happens in person, and regardless of how much Game you have or don’t have, good things happen to people who get out there.  It’s not always about trying, either.  It’s just about being human — putting yourself in proximity to other humans and letting biology take its course.  Sure, Game helps, and being confident, fit, and attractive helps, and you should do everything you can to make yourself as attractive as possible.  But in the end, being attractive doesn’t help if you’re sitting at home typing to a ghost on the internet.

Getting a date isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it’s not the hardest either.   The longer I live, the more I come to believe that dating sites are a way for people to avoid going out and talking to strangers.   Especially in the world of FOX Scary News at 11, we have grown to fear other people, and that’s a shame.  Most people are really awesome in their own way, and most single people would love to have someone in their life.

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* Forgive me for being politically incorrect here, but what is it about a person who’s seriously obese that makes them think their date isn’t going to notice?  I recall one date in particular where I was under the impression (from the profile picture) that the girl weighed around 140 pounds.  When I met her, it was more like 250.   I’m probably setting myself up for hate, but I’ll tell you that I ended the date early.  She asked me if it was because she was fat, and I said, “No.  It’s because you lied about being fat.  What was I supposed to do?  Say, “Oh… Gee… the first thing you told me about yourself was a lie, but I’m sure you’ll never lie to me again?”  Yeah.  Right.  It goes the same way for men, of course.  But we all know, internet profiles are largely lies.

Discussion

45 thoughts on “Dating Sites Don’t Work

  1. I was under the impression (from the profile picture) that the girl weighed around 140 pounds. When I met her, it was more like 250.

    I honestly do not see how people can lie like that and think people won’t notice. Sure I can see lying about ex girlfriends or sexual activites. But physical apperance?

    It’s relatively easy to hide a former boyfriend or girlfriend, but it’s far harder to hide that fact you weigh 250 pounds.

    I mean if I lie about my height and say it’s 5’8 because the guy I like likes tall girls, what am I going to do when I meet him? Stand on a milk crate the whole time?

    Posted by Cpt_pineapple | April 20, 2010, 4:15 pm
  2. …Alright – I’m going to swap-out raging psychotic Kevin in exchange for fun Kevin for this topic:

    First, I totally agree – electronic dating is not (unlike what you – and by you, I mean me – might intuitively think) for shy / anxious dating newbies. It *is* great for one dating demographic (but we’ll get to that later), and I don’t think that it’s a fault of Internet dating sites themselves as much as it is with how people tend to behave in anonymous environments, but nobody should hit-up OkC or PlentyofFish expecting either to be a cure for approach phobia (…because a) You have to do a *lot* of approaching, to the point where it gets exhausting, while trying to set-up electronic dates, and b) Your first few message salvos aren’t going to yield any responses at all, and that can be discouraging for anyone – much less people with low self-confidence).

    My profile on OkC has delivered just about 1,000 approach messages and landed me exactly 1 date – and it was a real doozy (the lady lied about her age & her weight, and had some major personality problems – what I refer to as a ‘neg’, someone who is constantly negative about everything and tries to encourage you to be just as negative as they are; and no, my & Hamby’s experiences aren’t isolated. They’re typical) – and 1 arrangement that I was stood-up on. There seems to be little consensus on what your profile picture should look like or what your profile info should read like (some people suggest going out and getting professionally done photos, some people suggest going for an amateur look; tons of people insist you smile, but OkC’s own data mining shows that people who don’t smile actually get more hits), which makes it tough to sell yourself… which, in my own opinion, is why people start to turn to lying.

    I honestly do not see how people can lie like that and think people won’t notice. Sure I can see lying about ex girlfriends or sexual activites. But physical apperance?

    Oh, they’re probably not so deluded that they think you won’t notice (just like guys aren’t so deluded that they think you won’t realize they don’t rake in $3,000,000,000.00 a year) – they just start with a few little white lies that snowball into something ridiculous. I mean, everyone knows that young & attractive girls will get more hits than older & obese girls, so they pick out a picture of themselves that’s a few years younger, back when they were still taking some care of themselves. ‘Well, it’s still me,’ ‘Well, I can always go *back* to looking like that again,’ ‘Well, I’ll just turn it into a joke,’ ‘Well, I’ll just try extra hard to win him over with my personality,’ etc.

    Like Hamby said, guys do it too – and frankly, we often don’t have the excuses the women do. It’s just straight-up salesmanship bullshit. Take a look at what most of the men profiles in your area look like; it’s a bunch of half-millionaires wearing tuxedos, right? Well, guess what – those are photos from the last wedding they went to. Or the Wal Mart Christmas party (nothing wrong with working at Wal Mart, mind you). The income figure you’re looking at is their income ‘after all considerations’ – including considerations like, ‘Well, I’ll be getting that pay raise in a year anyway,’ ‘Well, after I really start to cash-in on this MLM scam I got myself into, I’ll be rich! The spokesman says so right on their website!’ ‘Well, I’ll have that better career down the road, so my ambition is worth a million bucks on it’s own,’ etc.

    I can already anticipate your objection (as I had the same one):

    “Hey, hold just a damn minute there, fun Kevin – if online dating sites don’t work, how do they keep making money? Their customer bases & visitors should dry up pretty quickly, and people caught in the loop of frustration messaging ghosts should cancel their subscriptions, right?”

    Well, two things to understand: free (or ‘semi-free’) dating sites like OkC & PlentyofFish make most of their revenue from ads, with a tertiary stream of cashflow from account ‘upgrade’ subscriptions. Pay sites like eHarmony make their revenue strictly from subscriptions.

    These two different methods for generating revenue have produced two very distinct business models; the free sites have lots of community & networking features (on-site forums, games, optional surveys, quizzes, etc) to get people clicking around & interacting with each other & the site itself (thus generating lots of incidental ad clickthroughs), while the pay sites are about as unhelpful, sterile & abusive as you should expect (eHarmony does not allow you to even browse for your own matches – you only see who the website sends you), given that (as Hamby & OkC already demonstrated) they actually stand to lose revenue if they’re successful in landing you a relationship.

    Remember how I said I’d get around to telling you about one specific demographic that really profits from online dating? Well, I meant one demographic that does really well on the free, commmunity & networking based dating sites:

    Swingers.

    I hope the reason is obvious enough – it’s just so damn easy to arrange for hook-ups in populated areas using OkC in particular. If you browse the message boards, you’ll see what I mean – there’s quite a significant swinger population there (and, frankly, they’re some pretty awesome ladies & gentlemen to talk to).

    Restrictive pay sites keep their own model up & running by being opaque to their customers, presenting fake profiles in advertisements & outsourcing call & e-mail centers to prevent customer churn. Some even go as far as getting in bed with cold calling companies (though I don’t know if eHarmony specifically does this; I’ve never heard them being accused of it) to send clients fake ‘interest’ messages from fake profiles with the sole intention of harvesting personal information, which is then sold to marketing companies (…which is just another reason why Net Neutrality is an important issue, but that’ll be something for raging psychotic Kevin to deal with on another day).

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | April 20, 2010, 7:16 pm
  3. I wish I had read this on Sunday before I signed up for that wonderful site that bombards us with commercials about beginnings. I have been a dating site veteran on and off for a few years now and I 100% agree with you. I join on and off just to liven up dating. I mix this up with getting out there. I’ve meet people at coffee shops and on the subway, but still I turn to the dating site. I don’t know why the dates are usual awful and when they are good I get another two dates before I find out they were just looking to sleep with me.

    The main point that I really agree with you on is that there is just too much information. I had a wonderful two month relationship with someone via email and phone and when we meet nothing. It is such a let down. Another guy I meet after only a few emails but I felt that I knew him and our first date was really more like our second since we already knew all the basic information. It was a great date, but online makes everything go so fast and courtship is pretty much thrown out the window. It would be nice if people learned how to get out from behind the computer and talk to each other.

    Posted by Megan | April 20, 2010, 8:03 pm
  4. Having met a great partner on OKC I disagree.

    Your first point applies to you, and you can’t rule out the explanation that your properties aren’t suited for securing a relationship by throwing it all out there initially.* Perhaps other people with different traits find better success on internet dating. However, if your profile with its current information isn’t working for you, you could test your hypothesis that too much information is a bad thing by putting less of it. Don’t put your lack of religion, or your lack of desire for children and marriage. You can still use OKC as a resource for finding people that you can ask questions about on the first date, and let that be the primary means of gathering and providing information.

    * Most women want to marry, have kids, and are theists. However, don’t despair I was dating from a much smaller pool than you. Looking for an out gay man, atheist, rational, masculine, interested in a long-term relationship, and kids. Being cute, was definitely a plus. Love ya Bobby ;)

    Your second point can be easily rectified by going on a date sooner than later. My boyfriend and I had maybe two or three messages back and forth before he asked to go on a date with me. Since he’s with me now, he said his reason was some people are very good at talking online, but not face-to-face. You can also learn a lot more this way. So, we do agree with you here, but don’t think it’s something that can’t be addressed in online dating.

    Your last point, as you acknowledge, applies to both.

    Perhaps it’s because I’m gay, and since people don’t wear little flags identifying their sexuality (at least not the gay men I’ve been interested in), I have found the internet to be very successful in finding people to at least meet initially, and develop a relationship. I preferred OKC over other gay themed sites since it was free, and other gay sites give a hook-up vibe. I’m interested in the long-term. I sympathize with your frustration, but I don’t think you have the data to support your conclusion that they don’t work. I acknowledge I am merely an anecdote though, so it would be interesting to see how many success stories there are.

    Posted by MKandefer | April 20, 2010, 9:33 pm
  5. Great post, Hamby. I had a friend who actually had the experience of setting up a date in a coffee bar with a man who talked about being fit and active in his profile. When he entered the shop, he was using braces on both arms, and having great difficulty walking. (If you’ve seen There’s Something About Mary, think the phony architect friend.) She was livid about the deception. How could a person with a real disability fail to mention that? She demanded and received a refund from the site. I don’t understand how people can deceive themselves, much less someone else, into thinking that kind of subterfuge can work.

    However, I do know about half a dozen happy couples who met on Match or JDate. It definitely pans out for some people.

    Re Too Much Information – maybe it’s good to close off avenues soon. If a woman wants to marry or have children, then you are probably not a good match. Online she can see that immediately. If she meets you out and about, she will be swayed by your charm and sexy vibe and perhaps spend time dating you when you are essentially a dead end. Personally, I would think it useful to have someone say up front: Here Is What I Will Never Do. If that rules out 94% of women, so be it. You can date women who won’t be pressuring you and hoping for something that won’t ever happen.

    Posted by susanawalsh | April 20, 2010, 11:25 pm
  6. They are what they are. Pay sites are mostly a scam, particularly for guys. Free sites require a lot of time and effort, but can yield some results.

    I had a bumpy ride online dating, but I’d do it again. I don’t go to bars or clubs and it’s really the only way I’d meet people outside of my own circle. At first, it seemed like an all-you-can-eat buffet of people. Over time, you rapidly realize that, just like those buffets, quality varies quite a bit.

    My advice?

    - Don’t take anything about online dating personally. It’s not for the faint of heart and (most of it) is really not about you.
    - Trust but verify.
    - If you want to waste some time, feel free to chat/email all you want with people from all over the world. If you want a real relationship, restrict yourself to a reasonable geographic distance. Even just friendly chatting with people takes up time and energy better spent elsewhere.
    - If you can’t set up a date within a week or two of talking, give up and move on. The person isn’t serious about meeting you, period.
    - If a profile seems too good to be true…it is.
    - If a profile has been on the site forever…there’s a reason.
    - Not everyone on dating sites are looking for relationships. In fact, I’d say most people are looking for friends, sex, or just plain entertainment rather than something real.
    - Never trust a profile without clear pictures. Online dating isn’t stigmatized anymore. I don’t care how private someone is, if he/she’s hiding, there’s a reason.
    - Ignore most of the “data” and read what someone says in the text and emails.
    - Bait your own hook appropriately. Use accurate but flattering pictures and an entertaining description. Show sense of humor and intelligence instead of telling someone you’re “smart and funny.”
    - If you’re advertising sex or money, don’t be surprised if you attract players or golddiggers.
    - Know what you’re looking for. Cast a wide net, but don’t waste time on what you know you aren’t looking for.
    - Keep your sense of humor handy. Even bad dates make great stories to tell to future dates.

    Posted by Aldonza | April 21, 2010, 4:16 pm
  7. Never trust a profile without clear pictures. Online dating isn’t stigmatized anymore. I don’t care how private someone is, if he/she’s hiding, there’s a reason.

    …I would add, “Don’t trust a profile’s photos anymore than you would trust a UFOologist’s photos of alien spaceships.”

    Seriously – either brace for the worst or make it a requirement that the other person confirm their identity / appearance via Webcam chat. With webcams as abundant as they are these days, it’s hardly an unreasonable request.

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | April 22, 2010, 2:22 am
  8. Posted by Cpt_pineapple | April 22, 2010, 4:06 am
  9. Great advice, Aldonza. I tend to agree with you that good free sites are probably going to be less stacked against guys, but even so, my own feeling is that meeting people out is still better than online — percentage wise, that is.

    Granted, I’m good at starting conversations in person, so my own experience will be better than really shy or awkward men, but I feel like if I’m really trying to meet someone new, I’ll get at least three or four phone numbers and at least one date out of every ten women I approach. All in all, that’s not a bad percentage. When I tried online dating, I would guess I got one response for every ten emails I sent, and one date out of maybe fifty or so.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that online dating isn’t a total scam. Yes, it can work, but especially for a guy, if he’s got any excuse whatsoever to go out and meet people, it’s a better percentage play. (And for guys like me who like going out, I probably wouldn’t want to date a girl who was online because she never goes out.

    Posted by hambydammit | April 22, 2010, 1:55 pm
  10. However, if your profile with its current information isn’t working for you, you could test your hypothesis that too much information is a bad thing by putting less of it.

    I’m way ahead of you. When I was trying to date online for real, my profile had almost no useful information at all, and I got a pretty good number of responses. Not many dates, mind you, but enough responses to keep me ponying up the money every month. Right now, I’m mainly interested in how the matching works, so I’ve been brutally honest with my profile. I’m not really sending out any emails, so I can’t say how it’s working.

    Don’t put your lack of religion, or your lack of desire for children and marriage.

    I didn’t. And I felt vaguely guilty about it, too. I’ve dated girls who figured they were going to “change me” and that once I saw how awesome they were, I’d magically decide that being a daddy was the best thing in the world. I always felt resentful that they were dating who they wanted me to be, not who I really was. I never did quite feel right about lying, so I just put undecided/don’t know on everything. That was closer to the truth, since I can’t promise with a hundred percent certainty that I won’t want a child in the future.

    Your second point can be easily rectified by going on a date sooner than later. My boyfriend and I had maybe two or three messages back and forth before he asked to go on a date with me. Since he’s with me now, he said his reason was some people are very good at talking online, but not face-to-face. You can also learn a lot more this way. So, we do agree with you here, but don’t think it’s something that can’t be addressed in online dating.

    I suppose if the people you’re meeting are willing, that’s true. From where I sit, there seems to be a lot of hesitation on a lot of girls’ parts to meet. I’m not saying that from my own experience, either. I’m talking about girls I know personally who have tried online dating. When I was doing it, I’d ask to meet within a week. If she said no, I moved on.

    I sympathize with your frustration, but I don’t think you have the data to support your conclusion that they don’t work. I acknowledge I am merely an anecdote though, so it would be interesting to see how many success stories there are.

    That’s why I linked to OKC, and the blog with the data showing that they don’t work. Again, it’s not that they can’t work, it’s that percentage-wise, most people would be better spending their $30 on a night of socializing than an online dating subscription. That’s assuming, of course, that they have good enough social skills to start a conversation. And if they don’t… well… online dating still won’t work because they’ll get rejected in person once their date realizes they have no social skills.

    I do tend to agree with you (intuitively) that online is probably a little better for gays, since the dating pool is substantially thinner in “real life”, and there’s the whole problem of figuring out who’s gay and who’s not. Online, you know that everybody you’re looking at (for the most part) is really gay.

    Thanks for the anecdote and comments!

    Posted by hambydammit | April 22, 2010, 2:07 pm
  11. I mean, everyone knows that young & attractive girls will get more hits than older & obese girls, so they pick out a picture of themselves that’s a few years younger, back when they were still taking some care of themselves. ‘Well, it’s still me,’ ‘Well, I can always go *back* to looking like that again,’ ‘Well, I’ll just turn it into a joke,’ ‘Well, I’ll just try extra hard to win him over with my personality,’ etc.

    I think the last thing is spot on. In my one and only foray into Craigslist dating about two years ago, I met a girl who was substantially larger than she had let on, by which I mean she was e-fucking-normous. Granted, she’d told me she was a bigger girl, but she said “bigger,” not grossly obese. I met her because I was bored, and admittedly, she had a fun personality. She even said at one point that she gets a lot of dates because of her personality. (I didn’t have the heart to say what I was thinking at that point. Score one for tact.)

    Also, sad but true, there is one other thing really big girls seem to believe about getting dates after lying about their size. There’s a locker-room joke about how to get married and still get head whenever you want it — marry a fat girl. To put it another way, very obese women tend to say yes earlier and more often than very attractive girls, and will pretty much do whatever they’re asked.

    Remember how I said I’d get around to telling you about one specific demographic that really profits from online dating? Well, I meant one demographic that does really well on the free, commmunity & networking based dating sites:

    Swingers.

    I almost brought this up, but decided against it for length considerations. I actually did a fair amount of research into Adultfriendfinder.com, which seems to be one of the biggest swinger/casual sex sites around. If you do some digging, you’ll find several nasty allegations about them. For one, there are lots of rumors of women getting paid to respond to ads. In other words, they send out responses to hundreds of guys and then never bother to meet them. It keeps the guys paying… one girl can probably generate a couple hundred subscriptions a month if she’s diligent.

    Furthermore, there are apparently bots that randomly wink at people, which gives the illusion of much more activity than is really going on. Finally, even among couples seeking couples, there’s apparently a huge list of “subscribers” that’s really just a lot of ghosts compiled from multiple adult dating sites.

    In other words, it’s probably true that it’s easier to find swingers online. (How do you bring that up at the Walmart Christmas Party? Hey, Patti, your husband’s got a nice ass. Want to come home and have group sex?) But there are still plenty of ways to waste your money.

    Posted by hambydammit | April 22, 2010, 2:25 pm
  12. I had a friend who actually had the experience of setting up a date in a coffee bar with a man who talked about being fit and active in his profile. When he entered the shop, he was using braces on both arms, and having great difficulty walking. (If you’ve seen There’s Something About Mary, think the phony architect friend.)

    Oh my! That’s crazy! Talk about a deal-breaker. How would you ever trust someone who’d lied about something that big?

    However, I do know about half a dozen happy couples who met on Match or JDate. It definitely pans out for some people.

    Sure. It definitely works for some people, but the percentages are just not there. Especially in smaller areas. Even where I live, there are very few real profiles — even on OKC — worth looking at. My experience with Match.com was discouraging. At first, it seemed like a lot to choose from, but once you get through the first batch of matches, you realize that they’re trickling in after that, maybe one or two good ones a month. On the other hand, one night at a pub can typically lead to three or four phone numbers for a guy with decent confidence and a little Game. Granted, not every phone number turns into a date, but the point I’m making is that socializing creates social networks, which often leads to dates. Online dating skips that step entirely and just gives you one shot at a time. So not only are you not getting dates, you’re not forming the social networks and bonds that will give you the social proof to attract women.

    Re Too Much Information – maybe it’s good to close off avenues soon. If a woman wants to marry or have children, then you are probably not a good match. Online she can see that immediately. If she meets you out and about, she will be swayed by your charm and sexy vibe and perhaps spend time dating you when you are essentially a dead end. Personally, I would think it useful to have someone say up front: Here Is What I Will Never Do. If that rules out 94% of women, so be it. You can date women who won’t be pressuring you and hoping for something that won’t ever happen.

    In the case of an absolute dealbreaker sure. It’s better to know up front. However, as you and I have both said many times, women especially need to stop having so many absolute dealbreakers. Childbearing often feels like an absolute dealbreaker, but it’s not necessarily. I know several couples who just “never got around to it” and are perfectly happy. Granted, none of them was decorating baby rooms while looking for a first date, but the broad point that I’m making is that most people can be happy in a wide variety of relationships, and as important as children are to a lot of people, it would probably come as a great shock how fulfilling life can be without them.

    To put that into personal terms, when I’ve dated girls who either wanted or thought they might want children, I’ve basically said the same kind of thing — life without kids can be fulfilling, and there are a lot of very fun things you can do while childless that you won’t have money or time for once you’re a parent. That idea resonated with them enough that they were willing to try it on for size. If, in the end, they decided they needed kids to be happy, that’s not time wasted. It’s an avenue explored, and knowledge gained.

    Posted by hambydammit | April 22, 2010, 2:44 pm
  13. Seriously – either brace for the worst or make it a requirement that the other person confirm their identity / appearance via Webcam chat. With webcams as abundant as they are these days, it’s hardly an unreasonable request.

    Good advice! It’s hard to lie over a webcam.

    Posted by hambydammit | April 22, 2010, 2:45 pm
  14. Just wanted to address the main point of your post, which I agree with 100% – get out and meet people. I encourage single people to get out and about every single day as much as they can and interact with strangers. Random encounters are the fourth most common way that couples meet (after school, work and friends), but most people don’t make themselves as available as they should for random encounters. A smile, three seconds of eye contact (the threshold attraction), and you’re interacting.

    Yesterday I was at Trader Joe’s in the afternoon, and there were half a dozen different guys in there, wearing shorts and backwards baseball caps. They were all really cute. And there were no single girls there! I thought, I really should go home and post about this issue of getting out and meeting people face to face. I was between two cute guys in line, and a young woman could have easily struck up a conversation with either one. Seriously, an hour doing errands on foot is a much better investment of your time than an hour checking out online profiles, IMO.

    Posted by Susan Walsh | April 22, 2010, 6:15 pm
  15. Furthermore, there are apparently bots that randomly wink at people, which gives the illusion of much more activity than is really going on

    Yeah, this was a huge scandal on Match.com a few years back; the company claimed that their database had fallen victim to scammers (which isn’t entirely out of the question), and I don’t recall what happened in the ensuing lawsuits.

    Basically there were profiles with composite photos of professional models & actresses that automatically winked at guys & sent probing messages their way. The victim then sent the ‘girl’ their contact information… and a few weeks later, they’d be up to their chins in spam & telemarketing calls from companies that had purchased the info.

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | April 23, 2010, 5:32 pm
  16. Yes that is exactley what I believe when it comes to dating woman. Nothing cane realy beat face to face experience not even a telephone and a webcame. I am trying to use the Internet ase less ase possible, fore my private life i am so involed with it in my business that i prefer to see real people wen i want to talk to friends ore get to know girls. Even though I know that online dating works realy well it is just another excuse to stay at home instead of going out

    Posted by George | May 17, 2010, 9:30 am
  17. The attempt at lying, or even stretching the truth, is so futile, I don’t know why people bother anymore.

    Case in point, but you may need to be a low level web-stalker for this one, so be warned:
    Interesting guy and I start chatting on OkCupid, and once we exchange first names, I poke around a little. He has an unusual first name, so I plug it into facebook with the city we live in as a search filter, and VOILA! I recognize a photo. Then, with his full name, I also check out myspace. Goldmine. No one bothers to keep those private much anymore… So, it turns out that this supposedly 32 year old guy (with dated photos that raised my suspicions anyway) graduated from high school in 1980. Really? He got a diploma when he was 2 years old? Wow. More like this creep is actually 48. He graduated from high school the year I was born. (Shudder…)
    My question is, no matter how difficult it becomes to guess a person’a age, as a 30 year old woman I think I would know the difference between a 32 and 48 year old man. How did he expect to keep up this ruse?
    I probably won’t ever know the answer to that question since we did not (and will not) have a date. What else could he be lying about? Oh yeah, I saw on his business website that he has a child. Didn’t say anything about that on OKC either. Ugh.

    Posted by Sarah | July 15, 2010, 3:16 am
  18. They work, but they are a lot of work,lol. I had success on singlesnet but it took a while

    Posted by singlesnet | July 31, 2010, 4:01 am
  19. I totally agree, i have been online dating going on 2 years, most photos are fake this goes without saying.
    Lies, lies, lies, example: This divorced man, was still married, oh but of course “she does not live with me anymore!” wink wink…
    Non smoker to this date I had, meant” sometimes”, the sometimes turned out to be 1 pack a day…
    And the list goes on and on. Now, I am certain i am able to pick all “players”.
    Number 1 rule to them is absolutely charming, no matter what…
    2/ They are either stuck in Mexico on business or Bahamas and after getting your trust requests money sent to get them back home, and “I will pay you as soon as I get back”.
    I cannot fathom the amount of gullible people there are on these dating sites. I suppose that is why I am an atheist also, we see right through reality. Nothing pompous meant here at all, but we all agree the church closes many eyes and ears , which results in many naive individuals about the real world.
    Good luck to us all on finding the “right” person…

    Posted by dee | August 15, 2010, 11:22 am
  20. Plenty of Fish should be exposed for what it is a complete waste of time.
    The owner lives in Canada and sources tell me he is earning 10,000 dollars a month on peoples desperation to find someone.
    Lonely people hoping to find love and companionship.
    This site is linked in with other paying sites such as cupid,tagged and many more.
    Women in photos that just are not there GHOSTS or one person operating many profiles this site should be banned from the internet

    Posted by DAVID WIlson | September 19, 2010, 12:12 pm
  21. I agree with most of this blog
    I smoke and have been out with lots of women that dont

    Dating sites are like ordering perfume and not smelling it first,somebody tells its good when you get it and try it smells like bleach as profiles do
    You have more chance walking the hound in the park

    Posted by DAVID WIlson | September 19, 2010, 12:38 pm
  22. Ya, dating sites don’t work. They are good for cases where maybe you are new or want to visit an area. Or maybe you are in a rural area. Overall, dating sites at littered with these kinds of people. They have such high expectations for others but not themselves. They are overly out of shape but want you to have a six pack. They are really attractive and make no effort on their part to date. It’s pretty much a waste of time.

    Posted by drew | March 11, 2011, 5:08 pm
  23. These sites (and social networking sites) can be like an emotional video game for women that know they are not that fit or attractive or have their lives together – here they can still get lots of attention. The woman who was 110 over her stated weight, prime example of galling, needy behavior to actually show on the date. Some even post up a false picture just to get lots of online interactions, but never actually meet the fellow in the end.

    It’s fair to say in advance “do you look like your picture” or other direct questions before meeting. A great, fit, emotionally healthy woman won’t get offended if you ask if that’s an old picture or if she weighs twice as much these days (done in a playful way). If you insist on so working hard on a computer for uncertain results, be very cagey and screen people rigorously.

    Dating sites attract “the walking wounded.” Better to work those real-world social skills, doing this often & in as many new places as possible.

    Posted by jonasOfToronto | September 21, 2011, 1:49 am
  24. Your article on this is very astute and there isn’t anything on there I don’t agree with. Women are attracted to personality, charm, sense of humor and charisma, as well as physical appearance. How can you possibly be charismatic over the net with words. Its not possible. And it makes me laugh that some women put down on their profiles – “Make me laugh, I’m looking for a man with a good sense of humor” – People who naturally have a good sense of humor express that through their personality, its not possible to do that through words, all you can do is send her a bloody knock, knock joke. Michael McIntyre could not make people laugh at his stand-up show if his audience read his script from a laptop, his script has to be expressed through his personality in order to make people laugh. Thats what these women are asking men to do over these dating sites!

    Women are far more complex in what they see as a attractive. But these dating sites seem to simplify that by using these stupid percentage statistical questionnaire systems to find the right match for you. When you think about it, its madness!

    In a lot of ways I am so glad that dating sites do not work for the majority of people (like myself). Because if they did, people would never go out and meet each other in the natural way again. And that is a very depressing thought.

    Posted by Allen | January 30, 2012, 5:57 pm
  25. Ok cupid, Plenty of fish. they are free but no results women chicken out.

    Posted by Richard | February 9, 2012, 11:07 am
  26. Having read this I believed it was rather informative. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

    Posted by oasis dating site | March 16, 2012, 11:01 am
  27. I agree that dating websites don’t work. I’ve been using dating websites since 2004…no…earlier than that since 2002…and suffice to say that my luck with women is very low to the point that tells me dating websites is a bunch of bull. I guess girls are VERY PICKY the most…I mean I introduce myself in a simple matter, ain’t trying to be mister macho man, but in a casual matter and I guess these days girls only care about LOOKS than brains. They’re nothing but fake attention getters, they say they’ll reply to almost anything in their pseudo profile, but all of it is just a plain lie. All these girls want is there dreams of their favorite actors they see on television, but shit we don’t live in a perfect world…they live in their little dream world, but in reality you gotta accept on what you got or you’ll be single forever…like beggars can’t be choosers. People just wasting their precious life one minute at a time that I’m saying dating websites don’t work for shit and whatever they tell you over the net or even on television right now is nothing but advertisement nothing more…its a bunch of hodge podge…get out there and find someone…if that doesn’t work…hell I already have my family members looking down on me already…so you always have your hands to do the job and you’ll forget about the fantasy world you call love.

    Posted by Andrew | April 4, 2012, 3:33 pm
  28. You gotta try, because when it’s good it can be very good.

    Posted by Fred | August 26, 2012, 1:08 am
  29. There are reasons, ya know. And there are better ways to make a dating site, it’s just some of us have all the creativity and vision but stuck on how to get the website going.

    And about women not responding. Most men reply with about as much care as it takes to say Hello. They don’t even take the time to respond with a conversation about something the woman has written. And then they offer a gmail spam email to reach them. creepy, not reassuring.

    Posted by Mary | October 23, 2012, 10:36 pm
  30. A lot of gay dating sites are taken over by fake gay Christians pretending to be gay but are really there to sell you the Je$u$ $aves you nonsense. Then there are the anti-gay Christian cops who look for suckers to bust. You are right just get out there and find somebody.

    Posted by Mike | November 27, 2012, 2:03 pm
  31. Dating sites are a waste of time and a complete con designed to get your money at any cost,most of the time you never get a response,I have been on them for 15 years and have never met a single women from any of the many sites I have been on and the ones that do right to your for friendship have their personal contact details edited out by the site so as to keep you as a customer because if you can make contact through emails or the phone you won’t need them anymore,another site sent me a notification saying I had dozen of messages from single women and wouldn’t let me read them until I paid up then I discovered they weren’t messages aimed at me at all but icebreakers sent to all men in general and even if some were genuine I could only chat to them on the site and never meet because they edit out all contact info,so keep your money leave these sites and you may get lucky and meet a nice lady in real life although it hasn’t happened to me yet and I am 45.

    Posted by Karl | December 31, 2012, 9:20 am
  32. I think it’s grossly unfair to assume that women are the ones who get all the attention on these sites or are just playing around with mens’ hearts and never responding. I’ve done the online dating thing for about 4 months, and I’m pretty much ready to throw in the towel. The number of messages I get are abysmal, and I’ve been complimented SEVERAL times that I am a smart, attractive, kind, and witty person. Of the messages I do receive, they are from men who have clearly never read my profile, and have no clue that we have nothing in common! This is it, I’m done. I’ll be going back out into the real world to meet real men.

    Posted by Marie | January 4, 2013, 3:30 pm
  33. As a user of dating sites such as POF for over a decade, I will add my experience, especially on POF.

    -Unless you are a 6ft muscle bound badboy with 20 tatooos, you’re wasting your time.The women there quite often are hypocritical (obese and saying no fat guys, 5ft tall saying that 5’10′ guys are too short) and are VERY demanding. They complain about guys getting abusive when the woman rejects the guy, but when a woman gets rejected….whoa hold the phone. It’s true, they only click on your photo.(yes men do too, but women more so).

    Basically, women use dating sites for the following:

    1.Ego boosting (girls have actually admitted this)
    2.Welfare moms looking for a “provider” to feed their 5 kids.
    3.Some even lead guys along as a “giggle”.

    Posted by Steve | January 16, 2013, 2:17 am
  34. SO VERY DAMN TRUE! WELL SAID. Been on the Internet for 15 years tried it all. What I had isn’t even worth mentioning(that pathetic). Datings sites makes you hate women and hate yourself and stops you from going out!! I AM FVCKN old now (age36)don’t waste your time with INTERNET SH1T it’s true and pardon my French. YOUNG people you are warned!

    Posted by Luc | February 15, 2013, 9:46 pm
  35. Thanks. I’m a theist myself but wouldn’t mind dating an atheist as long as we respected each other. Dating sites are a waste of time. You’ll meet someone real when the time is right. Don’t rush it. I was on Christiancafe.com and a guy winked at me and then told me I was incompatible with him because I didn’t want kids. I tried to explain it was because of an illness but he didn’t care. Anyway, whether you’re a theist or atheist, don’t rush it and there’s someone for everyone. If Britney Spears can find someone, we all can!

    Posted by ESH | February 22, 2013, 7:50 pm
  36. What is ironic is that when the internet first really got going with bulletin board services in the 1980′s, these actually connected people, though they were mostly all computer nerds, you were pre-qualified if you could use a modem and dial in and post messages using dos programs.

    Now, however, and probably since the late 1990′s, dating sites have become a super waste of time. I have tried from the most common sites to the adult sites, and it was all a waste of time. They call them Dating sites because you spend many dates just wasting time on the computer.

    So far, the only thing I find are people that are: Not attractive, don’t like sex, want to use men for money, and women that are so picky that they will be single forever. And yes, fat people that hide it. I was dumped by a local musician on the first hookup on “mis” match.com. I didn’t even know at first. I spent hours and hours on zoosk. Good photography is a must. There’s adult friend finder that took money but didn’t find me an adult friend. Hint, if you are gonna put naked pictures up there, again, good photography skills are a must.

    My mom was better at finding me dates. Unfortunately, she isn’t around anymore. There are too many shy ones and too many women that are looking for men just for money. I’m going to remain single. Save the money you waste on dating sites and give it to a stripper. I have a better chance at finding a date at a bar or a strip club. I don’t drink.

    Posted by single31 | April 6, 2013, 9:53 pm
  37. A dating website did work for me; I found a gf and we’re getting married soon. I think it all depends on mathematical probability. I had been on this website for 6 years until I found my future wife…

    Posted by RG | May 10, 2013, 2:28 am
  38. Dating sites don’t work simply because of the idiotic responses I read on here from most of the female viewers. One girl said “She wouldn’t lie about her height because some guy that might like tall girls” First off, guys arent that picky. Guys like pretty girls. Only girls date men because of the height and despite their appearances. I’m 5’8 and I get ditch by girls on dating sites simply because they think they can always “Do Better”. Another girl said “She gets lots of responses but don’t go on alot of dates” Most guys give up because they are tired of girls again “Thinking they can do better “. To girls dating sites are candy stores. To guys, its a means to find a date that is almost impossible unless your appearance is what majority women want. That goes for real life, and 3x online. This is a good guys confession coming from trying to find a good girl online. And I am a pretty good looking guy.

    Posted by Anthony | June 9, 2013, 6:18 am
  39. I also get responses but mainly from girls that are way out of my league. I am talking BIG girls. I am athletic. So I know girls my physical category is looking for guys with my physique, but only taller. I’ve been on dating sites too long and I understand it all perfectly well. Thats why I am going back to hold fashion dating.

    Posted by Anthony | June 9, 2013, 6:22 am
  40. Ha! I agree that dating sites are a waste of time. However, your nice story about how you met this girl when you were in your 20′s does NOT apply to me. I am in my late 40′s, highly educated, good looking and physically fit…where do YOU suggest I “get myself out there” to find men?

    Posted by Lynn | July 15, 2013, 12:14 am
  41. I am a 40 year old bachelor with an ample dating experience who has been doing a research on dating sites for a while, and I have come to the conclusion that dating sites are fundumentally flawed. Why is that? Unswer is simple – men and women are fundamentally different. What is cyber space to begin with – it is a fantasy land, and it will remain so until the cupid swaps the keyboard for flesh. And here is the
    problem – a man’s fantasy is poles apart from a woman’s fantasy, period. In fact men’s and women’s fanasies are incompatible. Bottom line is that, on dating sites, men and women are looking for entirely different things. Women who join have high expectations, on the other hand, men, being extremely visual scan through profiles looking for centerfolds! It is not because men are shallow, it’s just how we are made. The truth is that men and women value personality above looks in a serious relationships but dating sites strip us of that arsenal that are indespensible in real life dating.

    Posted by George | August 26, 2013, 1:56 pm
  42. I agree with what you’re saying but I don’t understand your anecdote about the girl with the eyes. You mention that she would have rejected you since she was in the middle of a divorce. But then, by luck, you met her months later and you clicked. Why would you not have clicked anyway if she turned you down in the coffee shop earlier? Your initial nervousness that caused you to run off instead of approaching her didn’t help you have a relationship with her months later. What it was was the fact that she was over the guy she broke up with and was ready to date again. If you had gone up to her, she might have talked to you but turned you down for her personal reasons but it wouldn’t have closed you off forever. Why should it?

    My point is that if you see a nice girl with pretty eyes, you should go up to her and talk. If she turns you down for whatever reason, so be it. Just move on to the next one. Finding a mate is all based on luck anyway. What if that girl never became your friend’s roommate? Or what if you arrive five minutes after a good match leaves the coffee shop? It’s all luck but running away from even just one opportunity just makes it harder to find that right person.

    And going online to find someone is the biggest waste of time of all.

    Posted by tony | October 5, 2013, 3:48 pm
  43. I have found dating sites with the same profiles in different locations. I live in one place in the winter and another in the summer. where I live in the winter is kind of remote. It snows a lot. Not may woman to begin with. It is hard to believe that 20 woman are living in the same 2 places I am. Freelifetimeflirts I don’t know how many sites they have but I found 2 that had the same profiles at different locations on different sites. All they want is the money. They will lie to get it. Match.com has done it too. When I first tried match 13 years ago I found the same thing. I don’t think they need to do that any more. My last try there this summer I would get email say someone made me a favorite. I would go to the site and “Profile not found” what is that. Not even 30 seconds. Winks are just stupid. These web sites are so greedy. Is there really a free online dating web site?. Its all POS. Once you see this all the trust is gone.
    Now I waste my time writing stuff in the profile like. “I’m not real. I did not pay for this so don’t try to contact me I will not respond”. They still do. The sites warn me my messages are about to be deleted. Some sites don’t like what I write. Some sites are run by bots and as long as you don’t write “.com” you can write what ever you want. I don’t care I know I will never meet anyone online with the way these sites work. These sites are for “entertainment only” That is what they wrote when I complained. I would post the email but yahoo is sucking too. If you are still going to give this a try set up a email address for dating only.

    Posted by Bob | January 14, 2014, 7:35 pm

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