Kathryn's Blog

No, No, and More No’s

I stumbled on an article the other day that wasn’t about singles or dating at all, but you wouldn’t know it by the headline: “Know the reasons behind no.” The “Ask an Expert” column by Steve Strauss speaks to people in sales, but the points Strauss made apply well to singles too.

As Strauss points out, anyone in sales is going to get a lot more “no’s” than “yes’s.” All singles need to get is one “Yes” from the right candidate. EXPECT that looking for mate is all about collecting those “no’s” in search of the one “yes” you crave. And the more “no’s” you collect, the closer you will be to the “yes.”  “No’s” mean you are actually doing something right, because you are taking the necessary risks to get the no’s AND the yes’s.

Then Strauss points out two corrective actions you can take:

First, learn from the “no.” No can mean lots of things. First figure out if it comes FROM them or BECAUSE of you. The “no” may be all about them and not have a thing to do with you at all.

I met one guy who had the misfortune of walking just like my ex-husband. That was by no means his fault, but reminded me so much of my ex that I know right off it was a no-go.

Then again, it just might have something to do with you. If so, you’d better find out what that is. You can’t do anything about it if you don’t know what the turn-off is. Take a risk and ASK what was behind the “no.” You can email the question. Then be ready to hear what the person says.

Then, turn the “no” around. You could ask, “What could I do that would make being with me a 10?” Maybe you can do it, maybe you can’t. But at least you’d know what their “10” is.

You can use the “no” to energize you. There’s lots of folks out there who will say yes to you, but where are they? Where are you not looking? How can you expand or refine your search?

A “no” is feedback. Use it that way. What can you do to improve your package? Do you need to change direction?

How you define the “no” is up to you. It can mean that this person is not right for you and they know it. Thank goodness they were able to tell and to tell you. No wasted time. Do you really want to be with someone who isn’t certain they want to be with you?

A “no” is just a “no.” Do not make a “no” more than that. It is not the end of the world or a comment on your right to exist. It’s no big deal.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


My Thoughts on the Match.com and Yahoo! Personals Suits

The big news in the Internet dating field over the past couple of weeks has been that both Match.com and Yahoo! Personals are being sued separately by dissatisfied customers. While dozens of stories have been printed about the certainly newsworthy legal happenings, most say exactly the same thing. And of course, what the real truth is remains to be seen. But here are summaries of the information I have been able to glean:

Matthew Evans is suing Match.com for racketeering. (I’ve always wondered what “racketeering” really means. Here’s the Random House Dictionary’s definition of racketeer: “a person engaged in an organized illegal activity, as extortion.”) Evans alleges that Match.com sent a Match.com employee (Autumn Marzec) out on date(s) with him to get him to keep him signed up as a paying customer. Evans also accuses the site of using fake profiles and phony “winks” from women to keep him interested and subscribed. Autumn Marzec has signed an affidavit stating that she has never been employed by or contracted with Match.com or its parent company InterActive Corp. Match.com vigorously denies the allegations.

Robert Anthony is suing Yahoo! Personals, alleging that the dating site post fake profiles on its site “to generate interest, public trust, and give the site a much more attractive and functional appearance.” Anthony also says that Yahoo! Personals also sent him fake “new match” messages when his subscription was coming up for renewal. “After months of failing to meet a potential match, he became suspicious and discovered the same picture of a woman being posted for different cities under different names.”

Here’s what I think:  These suits and others like them (see myblog posting “Disappointed Singles Go To Court “) say something about the maturing ofInternet dating as a whole.  First, looking for love on theInternet or through matchmakers or dating services is becoming more and more mainstream and “normal” rather than fringe practice.  People are ready to go public when they are disappointed or feel mistreated and look to the courts for remedy.

Second, we are seeing more and more stories of successful pairings of couple who have met online. I met my Sweetie Drew on Match.com in 1998, and I post stories on my blog all the time of people who have met and married via cyberspace. My own clients are making their own success stories, and you have read about them here. With stories of success come heightened and sometimes unrealistic expectations of what the dating sites will “do.“And frankly, many of the dating sites encourage those fantasies. When expectations rise and results cannot be guaranteed, people get disappointed.

Third, particularly in the cases of the suits against the two giants of online dating, Match.com and Yahoo! Personals, this is a recognition about the lucrativeness of cyber romance. BothMatch.com and Yahoo! Personals are pulling in big bucks and therefore have deep pockets, always a lure for people with too much time on their hands and not enough principles. There’s money to be made, right? Even if the cases have no basis, businesses will often offer settlements just to get rid of the negative publicity.

Fourth, I have a very hard time swallowing that either Match.com or Yahoo! Personals would engage in such petty deceptions. These esites are HUGE, with millions of profiles listed. And the fees are tiny compared with the opportunities offered - around $20 to $35 per month for access to thousands, even millions, of eligible singles. The charge that seems particularly ludicrous is that Match.com sends employees out on dates with customers. If true, hat practice would seem incredibly cost-inefficient. Pay an employee to correspond and go out on dates for a paltry $20 - $35 per month subscription fee? I don’t believe it. Match.com in particular has been pretty meticulous about its squeaky clean appearance. I can’t believe that it would put its well-deserved reputation in jeopardy with such silly deceptive practices.

Here’s what is believable: Smaller start-dating sites very well may post fake profiles. I’ve known of a few sites myself who have done so in an attempt to look like things were happening when they weren’t. Dating or matchmaking services that are also very small AND charge high fees (a thousand dollars and up for a set number of introductions) would find sending staff out on dates with clients more tempting. But Match.com or Yahoo!Personals? Why bother? They don’t have to, and it’s not worth the time and effort. Or the potential grief.

There are a number of possible explanations for Matthew Evans’ and Robert Anthony’s distress (beyond greed). For the same picture with different names in other parts of the country?There’s nothing to stop the same person from using several different zip codes (that’s how the dating sites locate you geographically, by the zip code you enter) and posting all over everywhere. Also, computers make it all too easy for an individual to simply “steal” a photo, either from another’s profile or somewhere else online, and use it on their own profile.

Trish McDermott (a part of the Match.com start up team and Vice President of Romance there for ten years) offers another explanation in several of the articles. McDermott states that she never saw any type of deception or fraud while she was at Match.com. But McDermott says that both Match.com and Yahoo! Personals have as a part of their business model a structure that can be quite disappointing to customers: both sites allow people to join and post profiles for free, but singles can only communicate with others if they pay to subscribe.

I have written about this practice before in my blog. I have yet to find a single person who understands this before I explain it. What this translates out to is that everyone posting looks the same and it’s easy to assume that everyone is equally a member and able to communicate freely. But in actuality, as few as one in ten or even less maybe paid members. So a response rate of 30% is actually very good. But that is a non-response rate of 70% or more, and that leads to lots of disappointment and hard feelings.

Rest assured that I will be following this story closely. And you will be the first to hear whatever comes to light. But keep in mind the old journalism adage: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Horror stories sell more papers than happy ones. And these suits are news precisely because Internet dating works, and dating sites are now big, lucrative businesses.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Match.com and Yahoo! Personals Go to Court

Eeeow! It’s all over the CyberWires today about the suits recently filed against Yahoo! Personals and Match.com. Here are a few of the articles: The Independent, The Telegraph, USA Today. The suit against Match.com alleges that company employees sent bogus romantic emails to members so that they would resubscribe, and even went out on dates with members.

The Yahoo! Personals suit alleges that the dating site posted profiles of ficticious singles to make it appear that there were more members on the site than in actuality.

I wonder what the truth is here. What’s been your experience? Granted, it was 1998 when I met my Sweetie on Match.com, and he is very much for real. And neither of us were ever employed by Match.com. Or approached by anyone who might have been.

We are seeing more legal action lately (see my previous posting). Does it have to do with the “maturing of the field” or perceived deep pockets of the dating sites. Or could this somehow be based in reality? While I have no problem believing that some small sites or dating agencies migh have less than ideal business ethics, Match.com and Yahoo! Personals??? Why would such big guys need to be deceptive? Worry about deception between members is bad enough.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Depressing Dating Stories From Abroad

Here are three different and dreary stories I saw recently:

From Asia—A 20 year old woman emailed her then-boyfriend topless photos of herself. When she later tried to end the relationship, he demanded money or he would post the photos on the Net. Evidently, this is not uncommon, that men will later use compromising photos to get women to meet them or give them money.

Young men in Somaliland are worried. Young Somaliland women have learned about the Internet and use it regularly in Internet cafes to meet men in other countries. Fellows closer to home do not have as much to offer materially, and the women are probably making the best deals they can. In an odd response, they are being encouraged to marry local men (and get pregnant) earlier, forgoing their education (and probably Internet cafes). I wonder why no one seems to be thinking of how to improve the marketability of the Somaliland men?

In an odd reversal of the American men and Russian or Fillipina brides, Janet Masters (40) of Australia married Emmanuel Ochola (28) of Uganda. Even Ochola’s village neighbors were happy about the match: They think that Masters will invest in the area and improved the impoverished conditions. Ms. Masters (Mrs. Ochola?) plans to take her husband to Australia and get him a job, then come back to Uganda and build him a house. Ochola is pleased with the deal, too, which included a cell phone, all the wedding expenses, and new clothes.

To balance this whole business off, keep in mind that there are far more stories of successful matches that started online.  Just check out any of my postings titled “We Love Love Stories” or similar.  Remember the journalism rule: “If it bleeds, it leads.”  Horror stories sell papers, that’s why they get printed.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


The Yahoo! Personals Connection and More Blog Successes

I’ve had some great leads come directly from this blog, and one was an editor from Yahoo! Personals. He found me via my blog, liked my writing, and asked me to consider writing for Yahoo! Personals online magazine. Lots of places would like me to do so, and I have articles posted all over the web. But Yahoo! Personals is THE largest online dating site, period, bigger than Match.com or eHarmony. That’s a lot of eyeballs. He got my attention. Yahoo!‘s editor wanted new material, nothing that has appeared before. We worked together easily, and finally (his timing, not mine—I had my part done in a day or two), my first article is now available. , the writing around it all new. Each question is taken from the theme of a chapter in my book “Find a Sweetheart Soon!” which is of course available for purchase. Note on the Yahoo! page that on the bottom are links to my website and the book web page. Click on the picutre of the book and you go right how to buy it. Tah-dah!

Most recent blog prize: Husband Drew and I are in the middle of a move to Tallahasse. A reporter for the local paper found my blog by doing a search on"Tallahassee+blog”. Since “Romance Coach” is such an attention-getter, he contacted me for an interview, and an article is now in progress and due to be published in the next few days. I’d been in town less than a week. That’s some introduction to town!

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Too Good To Be True? The FBI Can Help

The G-Men and G-Women are coming to the rescue of gullible singles.

LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com is a cooperative effort with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, the postal inspection service, and private firms. You’ve got to read the stories there: one is a duplicate of the scam run on the Maine woman I wrote about earlier. Yet again, the fraud was based in Nigeria.

Another site that’s started to help consumers is sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission: OnGuardOnLine.gov. Just as the Internet works so well to hook up singles with each other, it also works for nefarious purposes, hooking up scammers with victims.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Maine and the Nigerian Connection

I’m always on the look-out for stories about my native Maine, and when one comes up about Internet dating, too, I pay attention. Unfortunately, this story also included fraud, based in Nigeria, as I have written about before.

A story by Colin Hickey in the Kennebec Journal told of a Waterville woman who was scammed by a pro. And she now has to pay the bank $2,500. Then right around the same time, came out in the Los Angeles Times that describes, in chilling detail, just how those Nigerians do it. This article is REALLY a must-read for all online daters. Or anyone who gets email, for that matter. I get scam emails all the time—don’t you?

Be sure to read to the end of the article, where there is a side box listing various types of scams, like the “next of kin” scam, the “winning lottery” that you never entered scam, and the “laundering crooked money” scam. Some will sound pretty familiar, for sure.

Now remember, most of the folks out there are legitimate, honest people just like you are. But a few are out to get you. Just like anyone you meet on the street. Pay attention and learn how to pick up the signs. Protect yourself, just as you would walking at night.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


If the Union Leader Says So, It Must Be Right…

The New Hampshire paper Union Leader is infamous as a conservative rag. So imagine my surprise when my brother (who lives in New Hampshire but is part of the liberal minority there) sent me links to a series of articles about Internet dating that appeared in the Union Leader recently.

The stories spanned the usual range: The successful experience —Sue Butler’s romance story and wedding picture; The “I tried it once and that was enough” story—Melissa Kelley abandoned the Net after one boring date, and then the story prints the usual quotes from others, like “I’m not that desperate”; The “What’s next?” story on social networking sites like Facebook.com; The “Multiple bad dates” story—Deborah Gauthier, who sounds as if, from her stories, she is doing a very poor job of screening potentials, and engages in some pretty risky behavior; The “Niche site” story about sites like DateMyPet.com for pet lovers, or LittlePeopleMeet.com, whose niche seems obvious.

Nothing special here, except that they are printed in the Union Leader at all. As far as I am concerned, this is the strongest indication I have seen yet that Internet dating is now squarely integrated into middle America. And even the Far Far Right.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

PS Thanks, bro!


Internet Dating Sites Increasingly Specialize

When I was single and looking for a mate online, way back in 1998, the sites had not evolved like they have now. Match.com designed the site to appeal to women, figuring the men would come if the women were there, and they were right. But back then, site administrators did not police the sites as rigorously as they do now, and I stumbled occasionally on real crud. Like the guy who’s picture showed him nude on a bed with just a pillow over vital parts. He was no male model and it was not a pretty picture.

More and more, dating sites are popping up that cater to guys like that one, gals, and more. Read this interesting quote from Andrew Conru, the founder of FriendFinder.com:

“When we started FriendFinder early in 1996, we found a lot of guys were posting profiles that were more risque than we wanted on the site. We started out deleting them, but then we recognized the opportunity and started AdultFriendFinder.”

Now AdultFriendFinder far out draws its parent FriendFinder. This blatantly sexy site is a gold mine.

Thank goodness. If you want whips and chains, you are much more likely to find a willing partner on a site that specializes in such. Leave the mainline sites to mainstream folks. Keep ‘em clean.

BTW, if you are looking for some kind of site that caters to the “naughty niches,” a good way to find them is to do a good old Google search, using your interest, “whips and chains” for example, and “dating sites” for your search.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


We Love Love Stories—The Silver Set

If you want to read, step by step, how a nurse in Pennsylvania and a soft-hearted man in North Dakota met through eHarmony and then built a romance and relationship, this is the story for you. Reporter Carla Kelly charts the course meticulously in the Times Record.

Then, one of my favorite dating columnists Tom Blake wrote about about 50 something’s Mike and Carolyn. Mike, completely out of character, wrote Blake about his equally out-of-character romance—fast and long distance. Want different results??? Do something different!!!

And both of these couples span the miles—don’t be afraid to search folks who live farther than 5 miles from your doorstep, even if you don’t want to move.  Maybe Mr. or Ms. Right will move to you!

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Disappointed Singles Go To Court

A Manhattan court awarded return of fees paid two women who signed contracts with Great Expectations. While I’m not crystal clear on all the details, it sounds as if Great Expectations defended itself as strictly an Internet dating site where people post profiles and then contact each other, but the women joined thinking that they would be introduced to up to up to 12 people. Regardless of the initial expectations, one woman paid $1,000 for a six month membership and the other paid $3,790 for a 54 month membership.

FYI, most dating sites charge around $25 per month, less when they offer specials or multiple month deals. $25 a month or less is a great deal, but $1,000 for a year is way overpriced.

For a more “frivolous” legal tiff involving a dating site, see this story: Soheil Dawood sued jDate and an unnamed woman, saying he suffered “serious psychological injury” in an interchange he had with the unnamed woman through jDate. While this is a good example of how anyone can sue for anything practically, it’s also a good warning to be scrupulous, honest, and kind in your Internet dating behavior.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Okay, I Give Up…

I did it.  I deleted a whole posting from July 18.  I’ve gotten about a zillion comments on the posting, mostly nasty fighting from what appears to be the person I mentioned in the posting and her friends and enemies.  I’ve been deleting the most obnoxious comments, but yick.  I’ve had enough.  So beware, if you are one of those commenters, and You Know Who You Are.  No more.  And I will continue to delete as necessary.


Stats from Match.com

In an interview in 11/06/05’s New York Times, Match.com’s CEO Jim Safka dropped some interesting stats. In the intro paragraph, writer William J. Holstein stated that Match.com has 1.1 million subscribers. Safka said that Match.com’s research of American singles indicates that there are 90 million singles over 18, of which 33 million are currently looking for a serious relationship. Match.com’s typical customer is in their mid 30’s, 55% are men, and 45% women. Interestingly, Safka says their customers fall into three groups, and not by age or gender: The “broaden my options” group, who were early adopters of Internet dating and Match.com’s core group; The “find my match” group who evidently want the site to do the matching for them; And the “give me help” segment. The delineator is how confident they are with computers and the Internet, and how much help they want from the site.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Online Dating Search Techniques

After you get your profile in perfect shape and posted on one or two dating sites, then comes the task of searching for likely mate candidates and sorting through the responses and results. Laura Gilbert of Match.com’s online magazine “Happen” has written an excellent article full of suggestions that will help singles in their search techniques. The fact that Gilbert quotes me in the article makes it no less fantastic. (You need to read through to end—I’m quoted in section #5).

Read the whole article for her in-depth discussion, but here are the points she made that I particularly liked:

#2 Go easy on height and weight constraints.
#3 Expand your age and location limits.
#5 Don’t get discouraged.

So may people are now listing online that it can be easy to get overwhelmed by so many choices. It’s all too easy to cut down the numbers by going for your ideal, ie: Tall, dark, and handsome, rich, and lives within a five minute walk. But every parameter you set ELIMINATES many wonderful candidates. The very best thing about online dating is that you have so many choices! Don’t eliminate the variety in an attempt to simplify your search. Take the time to thoroughly consider all types of potentials.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



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