Kathryn's Blog: News About Dating Sites and Types

Not truth, not a lie, but something inbetween

A few weeks ago, there was a short article in the New York Times’ Style section called “I’m not real, but neither are you.”  It was about a new dating site (sort of) called cloudgirlfriend.com The site helps you build a fantasy profile, complete with photos they provide (which were rather spooky— the women’s ones were all gorgeous, young, and with huge unworldly photo shopped eyes), then matches you with other fantasy profiles. I joined (not without trepidation) and was immediately sent matches to scroll through. In the first ten, three of the photos were exactly the same, though the written material was different, which was pretty eerie.

Anyway, the premise is to allow someone to build a fantasy self, similar to people joining Second Life, then meet others in cyberspace doing the exact same thing. It’s a fabulous idea, melding dating sites with fantasy, having the fantasy be open and above board . Interestingly, quite a number of folks who have met on Second Life have met up in real life and gone on to form real relationships and even marriages. In the documentary I was a consultant for “When Strangers Click,” the last story was about such a couple. Click here to see a film clip.

This kind of site has a blatant acknowledgement that the individual presentations are not “real.” There is an up-front agreement between members that nothing in the profiles should be taken as “true.” The fantasy characters (as in Second Life) do have some aspects of “truth” to them, though: fantasy allows members to express parts of themselves that otherwise are hidden or negated by “true circumstances” like physical appearances.

I’d like to see this idea taken a step beyond. I regularly work with singles who really worry about being recognized on dating sites. Usually these folks are not married, not worrying about being found out. They tend to be prominent people in their communities who would be easily recognized. They feel both exposed in a private matter, and are concerned that it would seem rather unseemly for someone in their position to be on a dating site.

A dating site built on the premise of fantasy profiles, that everyone going in KNOWS that the picture is not “real,” but that there would be a blend of reality from the written words, could be of real service to these folks. As well, a fantasy photo that is “me, though better,” would cut through the 90% of us who are not the 10’s getting all the attention.


Who is marrying whom?

I’ve had a clipping from the New York Times sitting on my desk for months now, yellowing. It is too good to throw away, but too complicated for me to summarize in any meaningful way.  So I am going to put a link here and hope it stays active so that you can see it too.

The graph presents census data on interracial and interethnic marriages, spelling out graphically who is doing what to whom, or at least marrying. Regardless of what individuals say (indicating openness to matches with other racial or ethnic groups), more than 91% marry the same as they are. That almost 9% who cross racial and ethnic lines is more than double that of 30 years ago.  And the accompanying artcle suggests that we are heading for more and more loosening.

According to the graph, white men (5.3%) and women (4.4%) “marry out” at the lowest rate, while American Indians “marry out” at the highest rates, around 55% for both genders.

But take a look at the graph.  You’ll find it very interesting, I’ll bet.


Match.com is starting to screen for sex offenders

Looks like Match.com is jumping in on screening sign ups on the site.  True.com started that a few years ago and has been behind pushing for screening on dating sites (or posting prominently that the site does not).  True.com’s “movement” was pretty clearly self-serving, a way to get publicity by getting politicians to stump for what True.com was already doing.  It does seem that if some of the danger in online dating can be caught in a screening, then why not? 

The negatives have been the costs, whether the screenings would be comprehensive and meaningful, and whether the customers on dating sites would get a false reassurance of safety and relax their due diligence in screening date partners.

Do not let any claims of safety—anywhere—give you a false sense of security.  See what Match.com says in its own “Terms of Use Agreement”:

7. Your Interactions with Other Members. You are solely responsible for your interactions with other Members. You understand that Match.com does not in any way screen its Members, nor does Match.com inquire into the backgrounds of its Members or attempt to verify the statements of its Members. Match.com makes no representations or warranties as to the conduct of Members or their compatibility with any current or future Members. In no event shall Match.com be liable for any damages whatsoever, whether direct, indirect, general, special, compensatory, consequential, and/or incidental, arising out of or relating to the conduct of you or anyone else in connection with the use of the Service, including without limitation, bodily injury, emotional distress, and/or any other damages resulting from communications or meetings with other registered users of this Service or persons you meet through this Service. You agree to take reasonable precautions in all interactions with other Members of the Service, particularly if you decide to meet offline or in person. In addition, you agree to review Match.com’s Dating Safety Tips prior to using the Service. You understand that Match.com makes no guarantees, either express or implied, regarding your ultimate compatibility with individuals you meet through the Service. You should not provide your financial information (for example, your credit card or bank account information) to other Members.

So proceed with caution, on Match.com or any other site.  You are responsible for your own safety.


SAQ#2 Why shouldn’t I use a free dating site?

Many people swear by free dating sites.  “Why should you pay when you can get the same thing for free?” is the argument.  Seems to make sense, doesn’t it?  But what you get is really not the same thing, some of the ways obvious, some not so obvious.  Basically, it comes down to two old truisms: “you get what you pay for,” and “you are known by the company you keep.”

PlentyofFish.com and OKCupid.com are two of the biggest free sites, with PlentyofFish and Match.com duking it out for first place in traffic month after month.  Go to the home pages of all three for a dramatic look at the differences.

PlentyofFish is plenty stark, no frill here.  The biggest problem I see with Plentyoffish is that the profile photos seem even worse than the usual poor pictures people post: distorted, and that must be the fault of the site.  Photos are SO important.  The site just seems so minimal, even trashy.  I wouldn’t want to be seen there, frankly.  I also think that the general allover look cheapens those who are listed.  Do you want that?  There is also a “free-for-all” feeling about the site, freewheeling as well as free.  I suspect a serious single could waste a lot of time here with inappropriate people interested in anything but a serious relationship.

OKCupid’s home page – which looks considerably better than Plentyoffish—doesn’t tip its hand by showing any singles, or at least more than one or two on the left side.  You need to do a sign up first to gawk.  OK does do a better job on the profile photos – they at least aren’t distorted.  I did a quick scan through the guys in my area – seem to be the usual bad photos, minimal writings in the “My self-summary” sections.  In general, though, the individuals seemed a bit scruffier and marginal than those on Match.

What’s the big deal in paying a little at a paid site like Match.com and cutting out the guff that you get on the unpaid sites?  I just checked, and you can join Match with the best package at just $17.99 per month with a six month membership!  That’s PEANUTS!  Even buying one month at a time is only $34.99, just over $1 a DAY!  Match has consistently kept its site clean and upscale.  Since Yahoo! Personals merged with Match, Match has become the biggest – and really only – show in town, other than eHarmony, which is in a class by itself.  If you are a serious dater, that’s what Match is known for: people who are seriously looking.  The pay feature cuts out a lot of the casual (and marginal) folks.

Remember, you get what you pay for, and you are known by the company you keep.  Plus, putting some money on the line in your search for love is its own investment and a real sign of commitment.


FAQ #6 Shouldn’t I try eHarmony?

Well, maybe. It depends. On a lot.

I have to admit a personal prejudice towards Match.com. After all, Match is where I met my husband Drew, way back in 1998. Match was the first computer/Internet dating site, starting up in 1995. Match has successfully built a brand and service to singles that really can’t be matched. There are other big dating sites, some expensive like eHarmony, some even free like PlentyofFish.com, but Match has held the center for a clean, stylish, appealing site for normal folks, middle of the road of all ages.

But back to eHarmony.  eHarmony is a bit of a latecomer, starting up in 2000.  eHarmony is a more passive site, doing the “matching” for you, after you answer hundreds of questions that establishes, by eHarmony’s formula, with whom you would be best suited.

Most other dating sites are more like catalogues or phone books, where you browse the listings and pick for yourself. Some sites send you matches, too, as eHarmony does, but basically the whole membership is open to your perusal once you join.

Not so with eHarmony. You only see who eHarmony sends you, and remember, who they send is based on the eHarmony formula and how you and your matches answered the eHarmony questions.  How well did you answer the questions, and how well did others? I know that when I tried it out, I got very impatient as the questions kept popping up.  I started rushing and did not answer the questions carefully.  How much do you want to bet that others are careless with their answers, too?

Keep in mind too that it is a MACHINE that is doing the matching, not a live person. Ergo, lots and lots of entirely inappropriate matches that you have to sort through.  And what about those sloppy responses to all those questions?

Don’t like motorcycles? eHarmony does not sift out the bikers. You want someone close by geographically? eHarmony will tend to send you matches from all over everywhere. My clients consistently report their frustrations with the numerous and poor quality of their eHarmony matches.

Because of the more passive nature of eHarmony, women like it and have signed up in droves.  eHarmony does not release the gender ratio stats, but they have admitted to around a 2:1 imbalance, two women to every one man.  Since demographics skew the numbers as we age (more and more single women compared with the single men), we can assume that the 2:1 imbalance gets more dramatic and worse for women in the upper age categories.

eHarmony also has been plagued since its start by its conservative Christian roots. eHarmony founder Neil Clark Warren was closely associated with James Dobson and Focus on the Family, and eHarmony, from the start, refused to match same sex couples. eHarmony has been sued, has evaded and half-heartedly offered lame separate dating site solutions, but essentially still refuses to match gays and lesbian. So if you want to patronize businesses in line with your personal convictions, eHarmony’s may or may not be in alignment with you and yours.

Because of those factors, I just can’t recommend eHarmony with good conscience. Plus, I am firmly convinced that you are much more likely to get your best Sweetheart if you do the picking. Why fight the site that consistently seems to do the best? Go to Match.  Match.com now even runs the former Yahoo! Personals since mid-2010, making the Match.com numbers simply huge.

Here’s the one kind of person I would suggest eHarmony to: white, Christian, conservative men, the older, the better.  The eHarmony numbers will work for you, if you can get past the hundreds of questions (men tend to lack the patience), and if you can stand the slow “getting to know you” process that most eHarmony singles use. Caveat: it’s more questions.


10 FAQ: 3. What is the best dating site for me?

What’s your pressing question about dating online?  Here’s my 10 FAQ, then my answer to 3. What is the best dating site for me? below.  I’ve already answered the first two, and you can see what I had to say by clicking the link after 1 and 2.

1. I am so scared I don’t know where to start.  What can I do?  For my answer, click here.
2. Does Internet dating work? For my answer, click here.
3. What is the best dating site for me? 
4.  Why don’t they answer my emails?
5. I don’t want to be recognized on a dating site by my family/friends/clients/co-workers/students.  What can I do to prevent that?
6. Shouldn’t I try eHarmony?
7. Is it okay to lie about my age?
8. How do I tell my date about xyz?
9. There are no good men/women where I live.  Should I even try?
10. This shouldn’t be so hard.  Why does Internet dating take so much time?  Shouldn’t love “just happen”?

Everyone wants to know what the best dating site is for their search. It’s a good question, because there are hundreds if not thousands of dating sites out there at any one time.  For good reason: Internet dating sites – the big ones, anyway – make a lot of money.  So lots of folks are trying to get in on the game by starting a dating site with some new angle.  And most of them fade away.  As appealing as it may seem to be on a site that caters to vegetarians, dog-lovers, or the tattooed, the name of this mating game is numbers: the higher the numbers, the more choice you have, and the more likely it is that you will find just the right mate.

The biggest site, actually, is free: PlentyofFish.com, but I do not recommend it, ever. First, you get what you pay for. Free sites attract people who can’t pay or don’t want to, folks who are there to play or for all sorts of reasons other than to look for serious love. PlentyofFish wastes no money on frills like good resolution so that your pictures won’t get distorted. In short, don’t got there.

eHarmony advertizes a lot, and usually comes to mind for people thinking about looking for love online.  eHarmony has appeal, sending you matches based on your own answers to hundreds of questions.  But eHarmony has a number of serious flaws, the biggest of which are the matches that they do send. How do you (or they) know what is the best match for you, and what about the people that they do NOT send you, those you never see? Most of my clients report frustration with the process, how long it takes, and the huge numbers of inappropriate candidates they are sent.  If you want to know more about my gripes with eHarmony, go to my blog and click eHarmony (listed in the categories on the lower left) My advice: avoid eHarmony. 

Why waste your time and money? Match.com is really the best place to go. Not only is Match.com about the oldest of the dating sites, but also, they now run Yahoo! Personals, which was Match’s biggest competitor. It’s hard to get real figures on dating sites, and even Match’s own numbers conflict (Match variously claims 20,000 and 60,000 new registrants daily), but suffice it to say, Match is where the best action is. Match has also worked hard to keep the site “clean” (no crotch shot photos or erotic essays) and stylish. Yes, the numbers are big, but really, that’s what you want.  Match will send you suggestions for matches.  But you will have the best results if you search and contact potentials yourself.  You just need to figure out how to wade through and sort.  Remember, you only have to get lucky once. Go to Match.com and get started. Now.


10 FAQ: 2. Does Internet dating work?

I’m working on answers to my 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions.  This entry is my response to question 2. Does Internet dating work? Here’s the list of the full 10, then my answer to 2. Does Internet dating work? below. Probably one or two are questions that you have too.  I’ve already answered 1., and you can find those responses by clicking the link.

1. I am so scared I don’t know where to start.  What can I do?  For my answer, click here.
2. Does Internet dating work?
3. What is the best dating site for me? 
4.  Why don’t they answer my emails?
5. I don’t want to be recognized on a dating site by my family/friends/clients/co-workers/students.  What can I do to prevent that?
6. Shouldn’t I try eHarmony?
7. Is it okay to lie about my age?
8. How do I tell my date about xyz?
9. There are no good men/women where I live.  Should I even try?
10. This shouldn’t be so hard.  Why does Internet dating take so much time?  Shouldn’t love “just happen”?

2. Does Internet dating work?

Now, on the surface, this sounds like a dumb question to a Romance Coach who met her husband on Match.com.  Of course!  We are living evidence that Internet dating does indeed work, and work well.  And it is not just Drew and me.  Internet dating is working so well now that 17% of newly marrieds over the last three years say they met online, 30% of those on Match.com.  Particularly since 9/11, online dating has gone mainstream.  If it wasn’t working, people wouldn’t be saying so.

The important thing to recognize is that Internet dating sites are not really the matchmakers some would like you to think.  It’s better to realize that they are like glorified telephone books or catalogs.

Everyone listed is looking for someone.  You can’t be sure what they are looking FOR, or how available they really are, but they are looking.

It’s up to you, though, to do the work and make your luck.  The phone book won’t make the call for you, but will help you find the phone number for an individual or business.  The catalogue won’t order a shirt or dress for you that is the right size and looks great.  You have to do the picking and choosing yourself.

A better question would be “Does hiring a Romance Coach work?” For that, the answer is an unqualified “Yes!”  At least, hiring THIS Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord.

Every one of the singles who have hired me to help them find love, have taken my advice, and have stuck with the process has found a loving partner. Every single one.  And by the way, I have NEVER advised anyone to stop looking.  Very occasionally, there will be someone who, for whatever reason, I simply cannot work with.  We may agree to disagree.  But never have I given up working with someone who really wants to find love and is willing to keep going until they do.

So here’s the secret: Internet dating works, and works very well, IF you know how to work it and are willing to keep at it until you succeed.  Part of the success may be hiring a coach to help you with what you don’t know.  But if you find yourself saying “Internet dating doesn’t work,” the real reason is that you haven’t figured out how to make it work for you.  That’s where I can help.  Because Internet dating DOES work.


Twitter meets Sweethearts

I’ve been experimenting with Twitter a few months now, and I’d have to say I am semi-hooked.  How’s that for ambivalence?  It’s fun watching the Tweets of the people I am following scroll down the left side of my screen (I use Twitbin to do it).  And I like the quick, immediate way Twitter allows me to communicate with MY followers, which are accumulating every day.  That part is fun to watch too, those folks who find me somehow and sign on for the ride. 

People get hooked on Twitter.  Interesting as well as useless applications turn up every day.  But here is one that really floored me: Leave it to the Twitterites to come up with a DATING SITE base on Twitter:  http://www.mytweetheart.com/  You’ve got all the standard dating match-up possibilities, men seeking women, women seeking men, men for men and women for women, as well as men seeking men/women and women seeking men/women.  I just saw a posting by a man seeking men/women and the picture he had posted was with his wife and kids!  Lordy. 

But it is free, and it would be a real challenge to write a profile in less than 140 characters.


Advertising stats and eHarmony

eHarmony is well financed, for sure.  In nine months last year, it spent almost double what Match.com spent on ads. 


eHarmony spends $93.3 million in advertising in 9 months, almost twice as much as Match.com—see chart below, figures in the $100,000’s”

Rank   Site               Jan 07 to Sep 07   Jan 08 to Sep 08
1       eHarmony           79,019.631         93,255.171
2       Match.com           51,170.580         47,607.049
3       Chemistry.com       12,125.655         28,282.073
4       Cupid.com             1,067.142           847.231
5       Nocheatersdate.com       0.000           822.042
6       Blacksingles.com       272.964           510.251
7       AdultFriendFinder.com     0.000           243.553
8       AshleyMadison.com       59.977           243.420
9       Ciaorossano.com           0.000           212.750
10     ChristianMingle.com       0.000           201.213
Source: The Nielsen Company (2009)


Match.com scores big in new members!

According to Online Dating Insider, Match.com gets 25,000 new members a DAY!  Match is always the top dating site that I recommend.  Yes, you’ll see the same old profiles that get posted by non-paying members and then never taken down.  What’s the risk if you are not paying anything?  But a serious dater needs to check Match daily to see who is new.  Do not fall into the trap of “there’s no one here that I like today, so Match.com is no good.”  Keep looking!  Match is the best show in town.


Cat Lovers Unite!

I checked out this new niche dating site for cat lovers and was in for a treat, maybe you too.  I normally don’t cover or recommend small niche dating sites, but this one caught my eye. If you go to Purrsonals.com and wait just a few seconds, what look like a live avatar comes out of the left margin, a woman holding a cat, and both look real.  She talks about the dating site, but I couldn’t help but see that she had hired our very own TJ to work with her to promote the site.  You can see him relaxing here.

A site like this will probably have a very low sign-up rate and many more women than men, even though it’s a cute idea.

What do you think of avatar?  Do you like them or do they turn you off?


Green dating?

I don’t tend to suggest niche dating sites, green or otherwise.  Internet dating is about numbers, and niche sites are, by definition, about small slices of the singles community.  This article below struck me as pretty west coast, Seattle in particular, but I went ahead and took a look at the GreenSingles.com site anyway.  I did a search on Florida, men looking for women, and a surprising 224 guys came up.  And most seem to be the over-40 crowd.  However, there were 379 ladies looking for men in Florida too.  That’s about 50% more women than men.  (Always check the gender ratios and go for the sites that you have an advantage in)  I checked Maine, too, and while the numbers were smaller, they were respectable.  Though the ladies outnumbered the men 2 to 1. 

A niche site that appeals to a part of you might be worth some time and investment, but pick on IN ADDITION to your big name, big membership site.

Single Shot: The eco-dating game Special green services want to help you find a sustainable soul mate


Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if everybody’s trying to out-green one another these days. A woman I was talking to at a restaurant the other night said she’s even using Seventh Generation diapers for her baby. I don’t know about you, but that seems like one really old diaper.

But such is the pressure to reduce, reuse and recycle.

As an apartment-dwelling single with nary a dependent, I can’t brag about how I use cardboard diapers for my kids. Nor can I point to the energy-efficient appliances I’ve purchased for my solar-powered yurt, or wax sanctimonious about my backyard worm bin (I’d install one in the kitchen but my lease says no pets).

But I can do one thing to keep from being completely left in the eco-dust. It’s called green dating.

Green dating officially got its start about five years ago, around the same time niche sites like LargeFriends.com and EquestrianSingles.com began cropping up faster than recycling ordinances in the city of Seattle.

GreenSingles.com, a personal-connection site for people in the environmental, vegetarian and animal-rights communities, probably has been around the longest, hooking up singles who share a “global consciousness influenced by holistic philosophies, green politics and a willingness to explore the mind, body and spirit” (i.e., tree-huggers looking for love) since 1985.

A quick search through the site - “made with 100 percent recycled electrons!” - yielded me 71 potential dates in the greater Seattle area (I’m thinking global, but dating local), including a marine biologist, a musical gardener and some guy who lives on a permaculture farm in the woods. (Does that mean he grows pot?)

Over at Green-Passions.com, brought to you by the same folks who created StachePassions, MulletPassions and TruckerPassions (what, no TrailerParkPassions?), I didn’t have nearly as much luck. My search netted only four eco-friendly singles in my area, plus the site kept crashing every time I tried to check out the guys’ profiles.

Not that it really mattered. Butted up next to each match was a large ad for a hot pink waterless composting toilet. I’m all for saving water and everything, but talk about a buzz kill (not to mention a not-so-subtle reminder that my love life was in the crapper).

Undaunted, I plowed ahead and soon found a handful of other sites where a green - or even celery-colored - single could find a sustainable soul mate.

DemocraticSingles.net ponied up 86 matches from a pool of more than 25,000 environmentally and politically aware mates, including one guy interested in “trees, mountains, sex, wild birds and conversation” (or was that conservation?). Earth Wise Singles (ewsingles.com) gave me 21 candidates, among them a tall slender sensualist into environmental design and another guy hoping to find someone who likes to garden naked.

Let’s hope he doesn’t keep raspberries.

EthicalSingles.com is a matchmaking portal for people concerned about human rights, animal rights, pollution, global warming, genetic engineering, organic farming, timber sourcing, circus animals and a slew of other topics you’ll never hear discussed on Fox News.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single ethical date in my area. At least not until I widened my search criteria by 60 years, lied about my home state and switched my sexual preference. None of which felt exactly, well, ethical.

Dateless but undampened, I surfed over to GreenSpeedDating.com, which touts itself as a new way for singles to find “carbon neutral love.” Only around for a matter of months, the L.A.-based Web site recently held its first event in Santa Monica in which 16 singles hiked, biked, bused and (gasp!) drove to a bar for complimentary fruits and veggies and a raft of three-minute minidates.

Although there was nothing on the calendar for Seattle, singles across the country are encouraged to set up their own GSD events (just go to the site and click on the appropriate link). Not only will you up your chances of finding the low-impact love of your life, your $25 fee will go into a fund designed to take solar energy to rural Nicaragua.

And there are greener pastures yet.

In June, Portland’s Pedalpalooza sponsored a “bicycle speed dating” event, drawing 40 single cyclists in all their helmet-haired glory. Here at home, there’s SeattleGreenDrinks.org, a big green monster of a gathering held the second Tuesday of each month (for those who don’t like crowds, there’s the more intimate Green Lunches).

Although the group isn’t a singles organization per se, there’s plenty of environmentally savvy eye candy plus lots of opportunity for, if you’ll pardon the expression, icebreakers (“Soooo � are you as concerned about toxic sex toys as I am?”)

As for me, I may decide to join one of the eco-dating sites (many offer free or discounted memberships to those who donate to green causes) or spend some quality time discussing all things organic over a biodegradable cup of green beer.

Then again I may decide to simply stick to the basics: reduce, reuse, recycle.

Surely I have to have at least one old boyfriend I can ease back into the dating picture. Heck, I’ve recycled before; why quibble about doing it now when resources are so tight?

Or maybe I’ll ask around to see if anyone in my circle of friends has discarded some perfectly good soul mate. Instead of letting him just go to waste, I can pick him up, dust him off and see if he wants to get eco-friendly. The two of us can ditch the car (relatively easy for me since I don’t have one), skip the wasteful wining and dining and go for a nice long (trash-collecting) walk on the beach.

Who knows? If we like the cut of each other’s carbon footprint, we might even come back to my place for a quick game of spin the recyclable bottle.


Me in a Men’s Magazine? NOT the centerfold…

I got a request a few weeks back for comments about AshleyMadison.com and similar sites which are set up to help married folks who want to have extramarital affairs.  One would wonder: Do these folks really need help?  Well, yes, I think so, but not the kind of help these sites try to give.  That said, I do have comments and wrote them back to the article’s author.  Don’t know if or when my words will be in print (this has got to be a first for me, being quoted in a man’s mag), but I will let you know when and if the time comes.

Here are the writer’s questions (in red) and my response:

You’ve been critical of Ashley Madison and similar sites in the past. No sane person would “condone” infidelity, so beyond that, what’s your criticism? Do you not like how they do business? Do you find them dishonest? Do you think it allows people in unhappy relationships a too-easy way out?

I’m a Romance Coach now, working with singles to help them find a Sweetheart using online dating sites.  So married people who use sites set up for singles to find love are a real problem.  But also, I’ve been a psychotherapist for over 30 years, and my specialty as a therapist was helping married couples when one partner had had an affair.  So I have seen the devastation that occurs with infidelity, way too many times. 

Those prejudices aside, I am actually glad that these sites—like AshleyMadison, IllicitEncounters.com, AdultFriendFinder (not strictly promoting affairs, but certainly providing a venue for all sorts of fringe sexual behaviors), Philanderers.com (not a dating site but full of suggestions on how to successfully have an extramarital affair) – exist. 

Married folks looking for sex outside their marriage (mostly men) have been a problem on the mainstream dating sites like Match.com and Yahoo! Personals.  Speculation has been that as many as 30% of men listing were married (Jupiter Research reported 12% in 2005), though of course they stated otherwise.  Sites springing up like AshleyMadison.com give these people a place to go and act out their fantasies without contaminating the pool of singles who are honestly and straightforwardly looking for a legitimate, above-board monogamous relationship.  In the last couple of years, I have not heard as many complaints about married men on mainstream sites.  I suspect that they have migrated to AshleyMadison and the like, either because the sites exist, or because of the fear of being found out, a real likelihood when profiles without pictures don’t get looked at.  Good riddance.

That said, joining one of these sites is does not signify one of life’s high points.  While the titillation of sex and “romance” are strong, just the premise of an affair – lying to and betraying one’s spouse – is the nadir of sleaze.  And everyone there is of similar character quality.  Yick. 

If you find yourself tempted to patronize sites set up to allow you to misbehave, you need to look back at yourself and question how you got here in the first place.  What does participating in lying and deceit say about you?  Is that what you want, to be a liar and a cheat?  Would you like to have people say, after you die, he was an enthusiastic player on infidelity websites?  He (she) really screwed over his (her) wife (or husband)?  That you were so self-absorbed and self-centered that you could justify all kinds of bad behavior to get what you wanted?  Don’t delude yourself: People can and do find out.  If this is what you have to do to get sex and a parody of romance, you need to do some character work, pronto. 

P. S.  Guys, your fantasy of finding a willing woman on one of these websites to have an affair with is probably destined for failure.  Men FAR outnumber women on these sites. 


How to marry a millionaire (a woman!)

Here you go, rich ladies and gorgeous men, a dating site just for you.  PocketChange.com hosts a speed dating section: Men 35 and under can apply, based solely on appearance.  They must submit 5 photos for judgment.  Women must be over 35 can apply,and must qualify (solely based on wealth) in one of four ways: Must make more than $500K, have liquid assets, entrusted assets, or a divorce settlement of $4MM+.  (I’ll show my ignorance: How much is $4MM?  I guess if I don’t know, I haven’t got it.)


eHarmony tricks of the trade

If you are an eHarmony fan and regular (and readers know that I have definite opinions about eHarmony— just read my postings to find out), you’ll love the resource I just found: A blog dedicated to the tricks, twists, and turns of eHarmony.  I certainly don’t have the time or dedication to figure out how to make eHarmony work better for you, but you may find what you need here. 


Millionaire Dating and the Yick Factor

I watched the first episode of Millionaire Matchmaker and I have to say that even though I have set the Tivo to tape the whole series, I dunno if I am going to be able to stomach watching.  The Yick Factor was VERY high.

I sorta liked last year’s Confessions of a Matchmaker.  Patti Novak in Buffalo worked with average folks and did what she could to pair them up.  I even sat next to Patti this last fall at a conference.  She’s “just plain folks” herself.  Doesn’t look like A&E has continued the show for another season.  Maybe later.

But Millionaire Matchmaker—oooeee!  These are not just plain folks at all.

Patti Stanger started The Millionaire’s Club in 2000. From the website:  Patti realized that busy, upscale men simply didn’t have the time to go looking for a relationship, weren’t meeting the kind of women that they dreamed about, or were looking for a certain “type” that they couldn’t currently find. These men needed a service where they could be introduced to exceptionally beautiful women in a relaxing, discreet and confidential manner.

The Millionaire Club is based in Los Angeles, and it shows.  Money money money— in exchange for looks looks looks.  The guys?  Puhleeze!  On the first show, one of them made his money selling sex toys online, and the other was in his mid 40’s and wanted to date women in their 20’s.  Even Patti thought the cradle robber was seriously deluded and told him so.  Mr. Sex Toy had to be told to hide the sex toys in his office, but couldn’t be convinced to move the stripping pole there too.

Now, the Millionaire Club staff got together a bevy of gorgeous women for these two to look over—and amazingly enough, none of the ladies left when they found out about the source of Mr. Sex Toy’s money.  They were all coiffed and made up to the 9’s, in teensy dresses that they hung out over on all edges, and were teetering around in high heels.

Both guys pick one for a date, both guys wanted to see the ladies again, and both ladies dropped out.  Glad to see that the girls at lease had some taste.  Mr. Sex Toy and date (Harvard educated, can you believe?) had a nice dinner in a restaurant, then HE TAKES HER BACK TO HIS PLACE AND DOES A DANCE ON THE POLE FOR HER.  At least he kept his clothes on.  Minus for her that it took her a couple of more dates to say “No thanks.”

Mr. Cradle Robber took his date out on what looked like a huge yacht with its own crew.  Even though she said she’s see him again, she didn’t return his calls to set up the date.  Bully for her.

I’d like to know what y’all think of these millionaire matching sites.  Do they creep you out like they do me?


Cupid or Fate? Nah!

Oh Lordy, if you want a giggle, trace down the leads in this short piece below.  I did, and GAWD, I love the British sense of humor!  Match.com in Britain has launched a series of ads about two characters called Fate and Cupid.  The main point is “Do you want to leave your chances of finding love to Fate and Cupid?”  And with these specimens, for goodness sake, NO! 

First, I went to and did a search using “Match.com+ads+Cupid” and got a whole line-up (8) ads featuring these precious inventions.  I can just imagine the sessions the writers had when they were thinking these commercials up.

Then I found that Cupid and Fate have their own website, which is even better.  All the videos are there, and they even have a game.

Why doesn’t Match.com launch this campaign in the USA?  Probably because we don’t have as good a sense of humor as the Brits.

Not only are the ads hysterical, they bring up the best point: Leaving your love life to Cupid and Fate?  Come ON!  Get real.

Best, Kathryn

Match.com unveils campaign for New Year push

Match.com, the online dating site, is encouraging people to “make love happen rather than leaving it to cupid and fate” in a new advertising campaign that breaks on New Year’s Eve.

The campaign introduces two “lazy, hapless” characters called Cupid and Fate, who spend their time doing their hair and filling in magazine quizzes rather than connecting two star-crossed lovers. It has the strapline: “Don’t wait for Cupid and Fate. Find love for yourself at Match.com”.


Matchmakers Meet

Last weekend, Drew and I were in New York City (or more precisely, Weehawken, NJ, which is right across the river from Manhattan) at the “Worldwide Conference” of Matchmakers.  This was the first one ever, or at least in recent memory, and what an interesting group of people to spend some time with!  Graciously, or perhaps to improve the attendance, the matchmakers also included dating coaches, which is why I was there.

I’ve written about matchmakers here in my blog before. Frankly, I am such a do-it-yourselfer that I just can’t see paying someone else to do the work for me.  It’s hard for me to take people seriously when they complain about how much Internet dating costs.  It’s CHEAP, particularly when you start looking around at matchmakers.  One guy at the conference was with a business that charges $60,000 to $120,000!!!  Yup, that’s the right number of zeros you are seeing.

Matchmakers have seen a surge in business by riding on the coattails of Internet dating.  While dating sites do take a chunk of business that matchmakers might have gotten before, Internet dating has paved the way for people to actually think about hiring someone to help them find love.  And the theme I heard over and over was the potential market for matchmakers in frustrated online daters.

Still, the fantasy that many may have about matchmakers being able to find you a mate when you can’t find one yourself has many limitations.  First, you still better be pretty marketable yourself: Attractive, in good health, not too old, and with something to offer.  Particularly if you are female.  ALL the matchmakers complained about the shortage of men, where do you find dates for these ladies?

And remember, matchmakers can only match you with people they have on their own roster.  What if your perfect mate lives outside the matchmaker’s area, or would never sign up?  Most matchmakers do not allow browsing through their roster either.  You are subject to who they pick for you.  Me?  Uh uh.

Matchmakers also remind me of eHarmony, in that they do not take on people they don’t think they can match.  Or the less ethical may take a client regardless of their match-ability, simply for the money.  Yick.  In fact, matchmakers used to routinely reject all women Over a Certain Age (like 40 or 45).  For sure, the older you are if you are female, the greater your chances of being turned down by the matchmaker.  Let alone a date.

So if you are male, have the bucks to spend, and no time to waste, you might do okay with matchmaking.  However if you are female and over 40, you’d do much better getting online and doing the work yourself.  That’s where the guys are. 


Is this something to be proud of or what???

Married folks lurking around on dating sites and trying to snag the unexpected has been a concern for online dating singles.  I haven’t heard so much aobut this being a problem lately, and maybe it’s because of sites like this one and AshleyMadison.com Yeesh.  Talk about yucky—sites that enable extramarital affairs.  Well, at least they may be doing a service and giving these folks a place to go rather that the mainline dating sites.  We should be thankful.

Best, Kathryn

100,000th member looks for an extra marital affair….

IllicitEncounters.com, the world’s biggest extra marital dating website, has signed up its 100,000th UK member . A site spokesman told us “With membership soaring by a couple of thousand a week, IllicitEncounters.com is a clear indication that the 34% of married people having an affair - now choose to look for one online”. There are now more than 10,000 members in Scotland, 6,000 in Wales, 2,500 in Northern Ireland, 500 in Southern Ireland, 2,500 non-UK and the remaining 78,500 are in England.


Facts About Boomer Singles

From a press release about LavaLifePrime—LavaLife’s new (and free for awhile) site for singles over 45:

A few interesting statistics on single Boomers:
* 30% of Boomers are single
* 70% of Boomers are internet savvy*
* 70% of single Boomers are dating regularly*
* Of those, 45% of men and 48% of women have sexual intercourse more than once per week*
* Only 14% of Boomer women and 22% of Boomer men are looking to get married or live with someone.* (For the younger groups these numbers are a significantly higher, ie. ages 30-39, 60%.) FULL ARTICLE @ PR LEAP

* AARP Study - American Association of Retired People

That’s SOME set of stats!  If you are a single “Boomer,” get out there and have some fun!

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Good News for Men: Women Catch Up

With computers and the Internet, men have traditionally outnumbered women, if you can call the history of the brief life of the Internet a tradition.

When Match.com first got going in 1995, they purposely made the site “clean and friendly” to attract women, figuring correctly, that if women came, so would the men.

Recent figures suggest that Match.com has done this very well: Match now has 55% female visitors to 45% male.  Some sites have done even better: eHarmony is 69% female, Catholic Match 72% women, SeniorPeopleMeet.com 80.8% ladies, and LoveAccess.com 87% women!!!  (figures according to Hitwise)

Yahoo! Personals still has a slight edge of more men: 51% to 49%, male to female.

What’s going on?  Women are finding out that online dating works and is safe (at least as safe as regular off line dating).  “The more monye and time involved in signing up to a dating site, the more the site the site would skew female.  And, the more free pictures were available the more the site would skew male.”

Women are also going where the money is: Sugar Daddie is 68% women.

Where do the men go?  Gay sites, of course.  And the Internet equivalent of mail-order brides from abroad.  While these articles don’t include the sexier sites, AdultFriendFinder is overwhelmingly male.

Good news for men, right.  Not so good for women.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Facts and More Facts

The numbers keep rising…

From an article on DailyVidette.com

Last year (2006?), more than 500,000 reported to Match.com that they had “found a relationship that had changed their lives.”

90 million people in the US are single, 60 million are online, and 33 million are open to meeting a romantic partner online.

60,000 people register on Match.com every day.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


How Many Find Love Online?

42% Find Love on the Net???

Market researchers Synovate found that 15% of Americans have used the Internet to find love, but of those, a whopping 42% have found what they were looking for: a spouse or life partner.


From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


STD’s and Internet dating

If you stick to cybersex, you shouldn’t have any problem avoiding giving or getting sexually transmitted diseases.  However, if you progress to face to face meetings, and eventually get to the point of having sex, you have to have The Safe Sex Talk and then decide if you are going to take the risk.

Interestingly, I have also read that STD’s are on the rise in retirement communities, since we entered the Viagra age.

If you do have an STD, it’s possible via the Net to find support and even dating groups.  Herpes, which 1 in 4 women have, and 1 in 5 men, has spawned clubs like Charlotteh.com (for people in the Charlotte area with herpes) and Atlantah for Atlantians.

Just like anyone on a dating site is identifying themselves as looking for love, someone at one of the STD sites is also self-identifying.  That takes a lot of guess work out, as well as the stress of having to tell about having an STD. 

So if you have a similar concern, go to Google and search on “whatever your STD”+“dating site” and see what gets listed.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


See My Views on True.com Sponsored Legislation

I’ve written extensively here on True.com’s efforts to essentially legislate their business model.  They are trying again here in Florida, and I have testified against the bill, as well as written this op ed piece which is in today’s local paper:

In the Tallahassee Democrat:

Article published Apr 20, 2007
Saturday My View: Law would promote careless online dating
By Kathryn Lord

I am a romance coach with an international Internet-based business here in Tallahassee. I work with singles to find partners using Internet dating sites. I’m concerned that our Legislature is considering a new law that could endanger Florida singles who use Internet dating services. House Bill 531 and Senate Bill 1224 would create a false sense of security by having the state endorse an outdated and ineffective way to keep convicted criminals off of online dating sites.

The main proponent of these bills is True.com. I have been watching and writing about True.com’s attempts to legislate its business model for more than two years (read more on my blog: https://find-a-sweetheart.com/blog/C37). True.com has come up with a clever strategy to get publicity and hamper its competition: True.com asks state legislators for a law that requires dating sites to disclose whether they screen members for previous felony convictions (True.com claims it does).

That sounds like a good idea, until you learn that True.com’s screening is based only on the name given by a potential member, without any serious attempt to verify the person’s true identity. That’s never going to identify a convicted criminal who simply uses another name.

What’s more, the True.com screen looks only for felony convictions, intentionally avoiding the cost of checking for misdemeanors, which would pick up convictions for assault, stalking and sexual violence.

True.com encourages a false promise of security in singles, and now it wants Florida’s Legislature to hold it up as an example for other dating services.

Not only does True.com’s screenings appear to be woefully inadequate, but also, any criminal or would-be criminal with some intelligence could easily figure out how to get past the screening. I worry more about the smart folks with bad intentions, rather than the ones who have already been caught at least once. This kind of legislation encourages singles to believe that they are safe and drop their normal and reasonable precautions.

In my work, I coach Florida singles to use online dating services that I believe are wonderful resources to find a partner. I met my now-husband nine years ago on Match.com. He lived in Mississippi, and because I had never been west of Pensacola, we never would have met otherwise. When I was Internet dating, I worried about safety, but I never had an experience where I felt threatened.

If Internet dating is really as dangerous as this legislation seems to suggest, then why would singles be flocking to online dating sites in such huge numbers? Internet dating sites are more profitable than just about any other online business. Singles talk to each other, and they are telling about what a wonderful - and reasonably safe - resource the Internet is in the all-too-human quest for love.

Online dating services are inherently safer than many other dating methods. Singles remain anonymous in their own homes while asking as many questions and learning about potential dates at their leisure.

Ineffective background screens such as the one True.com offers would remove the element of Internet dating that encourages proactivity and would falsely give people the impression that their correspondent is not a criminal. Currently, many existing online dating services provide safety guidelines to their customers that are common knowledge. As well, Internet dating is rapidly evolving its own safety guidelines and rules that ironically are making traditional dating safer, too.

No other dating venues that I am aware of perform or require notification of background checking. When was the last time you went to a bar or singles social at church where warnings about background checks were posted? Yet we all know that you can meet dangerous people in bars and in church.

Again, this legislation would falsely give Florida singles the impression that they are fully informed on the background of the person they are interested in dating and would eliminate singles’ initiative to ask questions and exercise caution. True.com should not need legislation to succeed in the online dating business.

All Floridians need to take a proactive role in their safety and security online and offline and stand against this legislation by informing our legislators that HB531 and SB1224 are the wrong way to protect Floridians.


For Aspiring Sugar Daddies, Mamas, and Babies

Is it about love or money?  Well, at least sites like SeekingArrangement.com make it absolutely clear, that on this site at least, it’s about money.  Here’s what the site says about itself:  “SeekingArrangement is the premier Sugar Daddy Dating site. We are a matchmaking website for wealthy benefactors, and attractive guys & gals.”  And “An Arrangement is short for “Mutually Beneficial Relationship” between two people. Such a relationship is usually between an older and wealthy individual who gives a young person expensive gifts or financial assistance in return for friendship, intimacy or sex.”

This site is certainly a step or so beyond the already obnoxious millionaire matching sites I have already written about.

Okay, in some ways I can see how this can be good.  Another route to get those who are not serious about looking for a long term, faithful, equal and honest relationship can go.  And it is surely capitalistic: if you’ve got the money, flaunt it and buy what you want.

One of the most popular postings on my blog comment-wise is a short one about sugar mamas  I have one guy after another (and at least one woman) who would love to find a woman to support them. 

It is hard to believe.  But look at the evidence.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Top Dating Sites in US by Usage

Top Dating Sites as measured by ‘Unique visitors”:

In December 2006—

Total Web users in the U. S. (age 15+)        152,350,000

Personals Total                                 20,555,000

Yahoo! Personals                               4,153,000

Match.com                                     3,970,000

True.com                                       3,086,000

Spark Networks                                 2,504,000

Singlesnet.com                                 2,173,000


Gender Ratios on Online Dating Sites

From The New York Times, 2/26/2007:

Drilling Down
On Niche Dating Sites, Many More Women

During the week of Feb. 5, men and women visited online dating Web sites in nearly equal numbers, according to Hitwise, which measures online traffic. And to look at the 10 most popular sites not directed toward gay people, you might think that every dating site on the Internet was rigorously gender-balanced. All but one of the 10 largest sites came within 10 percentage points of being evenly split.

But among the smaller dating Web sites, many were drastically skewed. SeniorPeopleMeet, the 41st most popular site, had 80.8 percent women. BBW Datefinder, for “big beautiful women and admirers,” was No. 63, and had 76.3 percent women; and Catholic Match, No. 81, had 72 percent.

“It is a problem for them,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise. “It’s like any market; you want an equal number of buyers and sellers.”

But Greg Waldorf, the chief executive of eHarmony, the sixth most popular site and one with 68.6 percent women visitors, begged to differ. “If you asked me would I rather have more women or men, I’d rather have more women. If you have a good healthy population of women, I think men are attracted to that.” ALEX MINDLIN

My comment about this article that I posted on Mark Brooks’ Online Personals Watch

“If you asked me would I rather have more women or men, I’d rather have more women. If you have a good healthy population of women, I think men are attracted to that.” Well, duh! Yes, it’s good news for dating sites who want to increase their memberships, and great for guys who want easier pickings. But it is disaster for women, particularly those in the older age ranges, when the numbers are skewed enough as it is.

It’s so important that this kind of information (the gender ratios on sites) becomes available. Sites like eHarmony and Chemistry appeal to women because the are more “passive,” in that the site does the work of the matching and women do not need to put themselves so much on the line. What women don’t understand is that the numbers are so bad for them.

Openness and transparency (big buzz words nowadays) would go a long ways with Internet dating. Keeping women happy and on dating sites will be key to success. If all singles understood the gender ratios and the paid vs. unpaid numbers, then they could pick sites that would be most likely to work for them. The gender ratios would balance out, singles would get more responses to their emails, more matches would be made, customers would be happier, which would be great advertising, and dating sites would get more business. What could be better?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Hard Data on Gender Ratios, Age Ranges, and Site Traffic

Very interesting figures from Mark Brooks’ Online Personals Watch:

Male/Female Quantcast Ratios of Top Dating Properties

MalefemaleOPW—Feb 26th—Here are the male/female ratios, most popular age range, and proportion of visits from ‘regulars’ and ‘addicts.’ Ranking courtesy of Hitwise. Ratios, age range and addiction levels courtesy of Quantcast. ‘100’ represents the ‘internet average.’

1 Singlesnet
Male 112, Female 88, age 45-54, 91% of visits from regulars and addicts
2 Yahoo Personals
Male 114, Female 85, age 45-54, 78% regulars and addicts
Male 116, Female 83, age 45-54, 77% regulars and addicts
4 Match
Male 100, Female 99, age 45-54, 94% regulars and addicts
5 eHarmony
Male 73, Female 125, age 25-34 and 35-44, 95% regulars and addicts
6 Plentyoffish
Male 112, Female 87, age 45-54, 98% regulars and addicts
7 Mate1
Male 97, Female 102, age 45-54, 74% regulars and addicts
8 Blackpeoplemeet
Male 94, Female 105, age 35-44, 96% regulars and addicts
9 Manhunt.net
Male 177, Female 24, age 35-44, 99% regulars and addicts
10 Adam4Adam
Male 170, Female 31, age 35-44, 99% regulars and addicts
11 American Singles
Male 120, Female 89, age 45-54, 82% regulars and addicts
12 Gay.com
Male 171, Female 30, age 35-45, 96% regulars and addicts
13 Hot or Not
Male 122, Female 78, age 18-24, 95% regulars and addicts
14 MSN Match
Male 103, Female 97, age 45-54, 71% regulars and addicts
15 Cupid
Male 110, Female 89, age 45-54, 95% regulars and addicts

How to read this information:

Note that the numbers following “Male” and “Female” add roughly up to 200 for each site.  I read that as meaning for Singlesnet, for instance, that for every 112 men on the site, there are 88 women.  Therefore, the numbers on Singlesnet favor women.

The age ranges are the sites’ most popular, so Yahoo! Personals and Match.com attract heavily from the 45-54 age group, while Hot or Not draws the kiddos at 18-24.

The percentage figures indicate regular visitors vs transients.  So Yahoo! at 78% has much more transient traffic than Match.com at 94%

The sites with very large numbers of men are gay male sites (like gay.com).  (What are those 30 ladies doing doing on gay.com?  Are they real ladies?)

What that means for you:  If you are a man, it would pay you to go to a site that is more heavily female dominated, like eHarmony (73 men to 125 women).  Not such a good site for the ladies.

Look for a site that has large numbers in your age range. 

A high percentage of “regulars” says to me that the site has a loyal and active membership.  With few browsers.  Good news.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



Women Outnumber Men on Chemistry.com

From Mark Brooks’ Online Personals Watch:

OPW—Feb 26—Chemistry.com has done a great job of reeling in the ladies. Possibly too good a job. Here’s an email that was sent to Match.com members today. - Mark Brooks

“We have too many women* and we need your help. We created a marketing campaign to attract as many of the most captivating women to our site as possible. And it worked! Actually, it worked so well that our ratio of women to men is way off. So men, come visit Chemistry.com and see what it’s like to have the odds in your favor!  *Disclaimer: We know you see a lot of disclaimers at the bottom filled with all kinds of legal mumbojumbo, however, we just want to use this space to reassure you, we really do have too many women and need your help.”

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



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