What I feel about dating is, that looks really aren’t everything. I’m not saying they dont matter, just that you would rather date someone interesting and who understands you, than a really good looking asshole. I’ve had girlfriends in my life but never even had a match online. I wonder why.
You are right on all accounts. It’s because of a few things all working together in the perfect storm to cause an epic fail.
When I built Completely Free Dating Tool it was only after I was immersed in dating sites for a year or so, I pretty much tried them all. I then went and compared all the sites to real life, to see how they all performed.
Real Life won every single time, in every comparison, except for one thing: a web site’s theoretical ability to organize the proper group of people all together in one place.
All dating sites are backwards. They shove two people together, anonymously in a way that causes them to be pretty rude to each other. You’re not going to walk up to a woman without your shirt on, or worse, or show her a picture of your snowmobile or a dead animal instead of your smile – but that’s exactly how the dating sites work. And you’re not going to just walk up to someone you haven’t even said hi to and go into a big long tirade about how interesting she is and talk about the things you have in common, or how cute she looked on New Years in that picture and oh you’re an atheist too and love 10,000 Emerald Pools by B0RNS, but that’s exactly how the dating sites work.
Well, except mine.
In real life you say hi, check body language, make some nice clever charming small talk and then go from there.
But a head shot, in a gallery of 1,000s of head shorts, on a platform that gives women a false sense of choice is not going to get you anywhere. And all your charm, and personality, and depth and wit are lost.
So, three choices –
Play the game. Make your pics stand out, highlight something good about yourself. Attraction is about status, and this game minimizes your ability to leverage the statuses besides looks (power, wealth, attractiveness to others, kindness, intelligence, height, etc – I wrote about all this in detail in another post)
Screw all the sites and only use real life. Your connections are limited then, as thats the only thing Real Life isn’t as good at as dating sites are. But at least you can show off all the other wonderful stuff about you.
Five secrets dating sites don’t want you to know, read on.
When I created Only A Glance it was with altruistic intentions of making something that actually worked.
When you log in you’ll see, there aren’t any secret gotchas, no special levels, no tricks of trying to get you to upgrade your membership. There’s just one – the free one.
This radical way of approaching things is not by accident, it’s because of the ways the other sites do it. And when you look closely you’ll see their secrets – secrets they don’t want you to know. Below are the secrets, and the full disclosure on how OnlyAGlance.com handles them.
Here are the top five secrets dating sites don’t want you to know.
Secret #1: Free Communication is useless.
Sites like eHarmony offer “free communication weekends.” You’re supposed to log in, spend all that time making a profile, and then interact with people without seeing them. Yep, no pictures at all, just like the olden days. This simply does not work. You will not make a connection with someone that you consider attractive, and you will spend a huge amount of time connecting with people and having many back and forth messages. You will gain many pen pals and generate a lost of frustration for yourself. Why do they do this? Because it increases their numbers. You will become discouraged, or you will end up upgrading to the paid membership. Its win-win for them because either they get your money, or they get another Zombie Account that inflates their numbers and keeps the false choice feeling there for you. See the Warm Bodies area below.
Full disclosure: Technically OnlyAGlance offers “free communication” but its a complete full blown membership with pictures. Just being clear.
Secret #2: You’re Just a Warm Body.
Dating sites need you. It’s a thing called critical mass. It’s the same reason so many people use Facebook but secretly hate Facebook – everyone is on Facebook because everyone is on Facebook. So the main goal of dating sites is to gain as many people as possible, get them to create accounts, and then use that to get more accounts. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Profit. The secret is that so many of the accounts are fake, or scraped, or abandoned. It’s why so many sites have the create-a-profile form right on their front door, and also put the search right in your face. It’s all about numbers to them, not you meeting someone. In fact meeting someone is the last thing they want to happen. See #5 below.
Full disclosure: OnlyAGlance puts the sign-up form on the front door too, but we don’t hint at or show matches to you to get you to create an account. Account information and pictures are more private here, and we don’t stick those pics on the front of the web site.
Secret #3: Fake Profiles Abound.
Some dating sites have been caught scouring other dating sites (and Facebook) to gather information to create fake profiles. As I said before, numbers are important and the more people the better. If you aren’t getting people to sign up fast enough, why not just create the profiles for them? Because of this horrible practice some people have started placing a warning text in their profiles. All sites have the problem of fake profiles from scammers. Obviously both are a problem as at the least they slow down your search and at worst can pose identity and security risks. Both of these fake kinds of profiles help the dating sites inflate their numbers, which is very important for reaching critical mass. In addition there are many many inactive accounts from members. People normally don’t take the time to log back in and say, “Yay I found someone, delete my account!”
Dating sites as a rule make it hard to remove your account completely. Try removing your account on POF – you’ll be presented with more than one opportunity to not really leave and reconsider, like a door man who follows and keeps begging you, “Please don’t leave… Maybe it’s you? Maybe you’re using it wrong.” When you finally do reach that page, you’ll be presented with the option to simply hide your profile. They know most people will choose that and then just re-enable it later. You will come back again, defeated with a glimmer of unfounded hope.
Full disclosure: OnlyAGlance, with the help of members, does it’s best to remove fake profiles. We are not perfect, but as of this writing we have less than 1% unverifiable profiles. We have a link to remove your profile right on the FAQ, and when we remove it, it’s gone, and you can’t make another one with the same email address. There’s no ‘hide/disable’ function. Also, the highest level of interaction on OnlyAGlance is the opportunity to mark a connection as “we have met.” Because that’s what we’re here for, to help you meet, and stop using the site.
Secret #4: Matching doesn’t work.
All the dimensions, all the questions, all the % matching isn’t going to help you. Almost all dating sites use some sort of matching. Some of them make a great big deal out of it (eHarmony) while others actually suggest that they are connected to a deity (Christian Mingle – Find God’s match for you) while others have you answer a LOT of questions (OKCupid), still others have you take “tests” that really reveal some inner workings of your psyche that may be dangerous to publicly post to strangers (POF).
There is a lot of merit to things like The Five Love Languages, and research that suggests that perhaps Builders like other Builders, Explorers like to be with other Explorers, but that’s not enough. And those kind of matches are diminished by our own massive filtering ability to find someone ‘attractive’ to us.
And that’s the key: attractive first, then sort out the rest. They got it backwards.
The problem is that we are much more than our likes and dislikes, and someone you match with on many levels may not be someone you’re attracted to, and vice versa. Nature has built into us the ability to select those we find visually attractive, first and foremost, and quickly. Then we go from there. Though you certainly can find someone the other way, it is extremely rare that it works and you end up clicking. I’m sure you can go to a large group of people and find someone that has hobbies and interests that match yours, but then you have to find someone you’re attracted to out of that group. Its much easier and natural to do it the other way – find the attractive person, see what you have in common.
As someone who is not into sports (I like being active, I just don’t watch any major sports stuff), I used to wonder about a certain group of women’s inability to find the right guy: sports chicks. You’ve seen them – women who are really into sports, go to lots of football games, have all the Local Sports Team jerseys, have their hair pulled back and wear the Local Sports Team Caps. They seem to have it made. I wondered why they couldn’t just go to a football game instead of going to a dating site? And some of them even reached out to me, when my profile said I didn’t like sports.
Because a football game is filled with married men, boys, women, girls, even babies, so you have to filter that down to single age appropriate men, then find one you are attracted to. That’s a lot of filters and sub filters, especially when you’re trying to watch the damn game. And 2) Most of the single men there are there because the value of a sporting event is greater than the value of finding a mate at that moment. And, 3) Just because someone likes the same thing doesn’t mean you’re going to be attracted to them, quite the contrary – if you are a sports chick you may not want a big sports guy – which accounts for why they sometimes reach out to a non sports guy like me. Maybe they find me attractive? There’s no accounting for taste.
There is truth to the old adage “opposites attract.” What does your Advanced Matching Algorithm say about that?
Full disclosure: OnlyAGlance creates your glance page based on three things, 1) your zip code, 2) an age range of plus or minus 10 years and 3) the gender you are currently looking for. So, in a very minimal way you could say we are matching you. But we aren’t, we are just filtering. And we’re filtering in the right order.
Secret #5: Dating sites don’t want you to find anyone.
Yes, that’s right: they don’t want you to find that special person. If you did that, you’d stop using the site. And if you stopped using the site they’d no longer receive your hard earned money as a membership fee, their numbers would drop, and they wouldn’t generate any ad revenue. They are in business to make money you know. By keeping you as active and interactive as possible, they are creating 1) a lot of false choices for you (especially for women), 2) a lot of page views that generate ad revenue and 3) a larger group of people to choose from. Instead they want you to keep coming back, again and again. They want you to be interested, enticed, intrigued, or just bored enough to keep writing messages, keep interacting with other people.
If you write a message on a dating site, they immediately present you with other candidates that are similar to the lovely woman or handsome man you just wrote to. If I just tried to make a connection, why can’t I see where that goes first? In real life if you sat next to a potential date, struck up a conversation, and then when done immediately got up and talked to someone else that wouldn’t bode well for you. There’d be a lot of slapping, and not the fun Las Vegas kind either.
Why? Because they have to keep you interacting, keep your kid-in-a-candy-store euphoria going. This creates an environment of hundreds of men forced to bombard women, and women perceiving a false sense of choice, then becoming jaded, and overwhelmed.
Your frustration level and the way you treat other people is completely irrelevant. All that matters is that you keep coming back. It’s like they run a grocery store with little or no food in it, as long as you keep going in and out the door they make money.
Full disclosure: The business model of OnlyAGlance is to generate some income from ads that are part of the pages. You will notice that there aren’t many ads – we don’t max them out like other sites do. Just a few ads here and there to hopefully do a little more than offset the costs of maintaining the site along with paying web development costs to keep the site a smart dating tool. Our philosophy is the opposite of the other sites – we don’t want you spending all your time on the site – get in, glance, or avert your eyes and try to make a connection or two. In fact we help you by making it clear what connections you have going, and we prevent the bombarding with our clever methods. That’s why it’s a tool and not a dating site. Everything about Only A Glance was structured to allow you to make a connection as quickly and naturally as possible, with the assumption that you’re not trying to amass a harem.
These secrets may be very bad news, but also explains why so many people are frustrated doing something that should be so simple. “Why is online dating so hard?!” “This should be easy!” “No games!” and “No players” and “No serial daters!” are very common tag lines and headlines and profile shouts.
It’s because the Dirty Secrets of Online Dating are in play.
Who am I? I’m the new guy, the guy with the altruistic goal of creating a safe, fast tool to connect with someone with the presumable desire to have a relationship with them. I’m the guy that doesn’t make a lot of money, but provides a tool far better than the other dating sites. The guy that hasn’t given in to the game. And I still won’t take your money, so stop offering. But do make a profile if you want to try it.
Once you’ve both decided it is a good idea to chat, you can start chatting on onlyaglance.com.
Like everything on onlyaglance.com, chatting is a means to an end, that end being meeting a potential mate and seeing if there is chemistry there.
Remember these simple tips…
When chatting on line, always treat the potential date with respect, and kindness. That’s another human being on the other end, with feelings and emotions. The golden rule applies here.
Be clear Text sucks for conveying emotion. Simple, harmless fun in text or chat can come across as snarkiness and cruelty. Your humor may be awesome as far as you are concerned, but it just may not translate well across text, especially to someone who has yet to ‘get’ you.
Don’t just go for it Expect some back and forth first. Some people want to see how good you are at bantering. Once they are comfortable you can then ask to meet for coffee, etc.
Don’t use AOLspeak Meaning, don’t use texting slang when communicating. Don’t use “U” instead of “you.” It may not bother some people, but it’s best not to risk it. Better to at least give the impression you are not a knuckle dragger, in chat, at least.
Remember the escape hatch On onlyaglance you can always choose to lose interest in a person, even after you’ve been chatting. This can be useful for someone who has suddenly become vulgar, or just wasn’t who you thought they were. Or, the original reason for this, they’re just not being responsive.
Messaging is not real time As with any form of communication other than in person and a phone call, messaging is not real time. Texts may seem like real time, and some chats may seem like that as well, but they are not. So, don’t fall into the trap of worrying about a delay that you perceive. Treat each chat on onlyaglance.com as an email – make it worthwhile to read.