Dating sites are a maelstrom of crookery, fakery, exaggeration and much promise with little delivery. They probably base their business model on the House of Commons. Discuss.
Online dating sites no longer carry the stigma they once did. I rather suspect this is because human standards of discernment have plummeted dramatically in recent years; but rather than just moan about it, I thought I’d write a post Naming the Guilty Men & Women, as they used to say in the pre-Murdoch days of the News of the World.
The point of this is twofold: to rub dirty noses in their own snot; and offer practical advice for those who want nothing more than to enrich their lives with a genuine partner.
Caveat emptor was never more applicable than it is to contemporary “dating” sites. But there really is no need for it to be like this: the problem for hopefuls is, if site owners are out to attract advertisers based on hits, then people going to these cattle markets need to understand that.
In today’s goggle-eyed win-at-all-costs culture, the bottom line is that the site owners will do anything – and I mean anything – to up your click-rate. So herewith the first piece of advice:
Pay the extra for a site that lives or dies on the basis of its success rate with clients, not advertisers.
That is going to narrow your site choice by around 90% for starters. Then you’ll have to deal with sites like Elite Singles who – if your annual salary is lower than €50,000 – simply don’t reply to your registration questionnaire. Or others like Beautiful People, who ask the existing membership to vote on whether a new wannabe member should be IN or OUT based on their photo…a classic case if ever there was one of not wanting to be a member of any club that would want me as a member.
If you think this opening piece of advice to be a little too restrictive, then fair enough. But if you will jump into the raging Tiber, stand by for my second bit of guidance:
Ignore all the prompts given to you by the site owner about who likes you, rates you, would happily date you and so forth.
The three-word reason for this opinion is as follows: it’s all lies.
Sandrine thinks you’re a God! Jacquie is keen to date you! Mary wants to have your babies!
Sandrine has merely visited your profile, and expressed no opinion. Jacquie has said she might date you, in theory, perhaps. Mary is 63 and thus unlikely to conceive any babies.
But if you insist on swimming against the tide, here’s the third warning:
Approximately 15% of all the profiles on most sites are fake.
Naming names here, there is a French site called I like you. Many male or female profiles that immediately stir your loins will turn out to be a fake. Example 1:
This young lady rated my profile 10/10, and said she wanted to date me. There’s no fool like an old fool, but the oldest fool in Christendom would smell a rat here.
Example 2 is less extreme, but funnier because – as so often on the internet – the mendacity is liberally laced with incompetence:
This is allegedly Morgane aged 52 from Bordeaux. Cute for her age I think you’ll agree, and with an intriguing profile. She rated me 10/10 twice and seemed up for a date, but then for some reason didn’t respond to communication.
Two weeks later, she turned up again saying she liked my profile. Later in the day, however, she was recorded as saying she would ‘never’ date me. Either Morgane has a serious personality problem, or somebody in the fake-pumping department screwed up.
Moving on to the next caveat:
Beware those sites where a bias towards one or another nationality is obvious
The passports to look out for here are Ukrainian, Russian or Chinese. I sympathise with these ladies, I really do, but their sole objective is marriage to an EU citizen.
The reasons, I would’ve thought, are obvious.
And finally, perhaps the most obvious advice of all:
Go to the ‘Search’ button and trawl through the files yourself.
Believe me, if these dating site rascals knew the secret of putting together a perfect human relationship, they wouldn’t be involved in this grubby business.
Make your own judgements in your own way, and trust to luck.
All of that said, there are some sites worthy of attention. Whatever their failings are, I think Expatica and Meetic are worth a look: they do at least seem to me to be in possession of some ethics here and there.
And in 2018, this is a rarity.
Oh, and Happy Easter by the way.