Online Dating Pitfalls and Hazards
The hazards of Online Dating.
This industry has grown to be more accepted, and popular, from what was once considered taboo. Around 20 million unique visitors a month, with increasing popularity in Europe.In 2008 the Online Dating business revenue was projected to be around $1.18 billion, a change less than 1 percent from 2007. The industry is suffering a double hit: the economy downturn and market saturation.
But as with any industry there are problems.
We'll begin with safety first:
Safety and truth:
For the most part, most people stretch things about themselves. The white lies (so called innocent lies). For example the age of women: there are eight times as many 29 year olds as 30-34 year olds, according to one study. Another is people do tend to describe their ideal self. Like I love to exercise but really don't do it or seldom. Single and available but in reality has a girl/boy friend still, or worse married.
The above can be minor inconveniences to what can really happen. The Online Sites (the better ones do promise to be go betweens), may be a buffer, but sooner or later a real date has to happen. This means doing your homework, confining things locally, daylight public eyes (a lunch date being the safest). Getting full names and doing Internet searches on the individual (hey this person is a stranger do you know them, do they have a good reputation, or a bad track record).
It has happened recently in Alberta, a man through an Online Dating service got baited. It ended out costing him his life (the so called girl was a man ). Which brings up the next step to watch for.
Scammers and Con artists.
Like a lot of Internet ventures out there, these sites have a lot of people looking to make a quick buck at your expense. Nothing like a pretty face to add to the deception. The romance scam is the most prevalent on dating sites, and hardest to stop, they prey on our human emotions and weaknesses. The run down is an unusually attractive girl, from some distant location, hitting it off quickly with you. This seems to good to true (in likelihood that's right). So a meeting is needed and she'll meet you, but needs some money to do it. You provide the money and the date disappears. This twist is similar to email scams initiated by what looks like a beautiful woman.
Stay local, but they post as local too. But if the conversation shows otherwise, drop it while your ahead.
Summary Don't forward monies. Watch contradictions in where they claim to live and what's posted.
Extras – They cost.
As put forth the profit growth is hard, so the industry adds more features with extra charges or upgrades. Do you really need all those alerts, highlights, and background checks (good idea for safety, but why not reserve that to the committed date). All these may help you stand out, and be better noticed (here am I). But remember that only gets contacts not a real successful date. Are you after something meaningful or just to flirt around with?
So you tried and don't like it, good luck quiting.
Like the boy/girl friend who can't get the message that it's over these sites don't make it easy for you to cancel either. For that just check out the Better Business Bureau, is the charges that happen after you cancel the service. There is a class action suit going on against True.com in Texas over allegations of service fees even after those subscribers attempted to cancel their subscriptions.
What can you do for a supposed continue charge? Contact your credit card company, especially if the Internet dating service is giving you problems either refunding or canceling the charges. A word of advice here, some Credit Card companies handle those charges better than others.
As with anything read the fine print. What are the exemptions, what are they actually promising. If we go by the statistics for Online dating success, you stand the just the same chance to meet the right one down the grocery aisle ( So men go grocery shopping, the money spent for Online dating can get the extra classy food and who knows who will meet). Their fine print usually reads along the line: if you don't find someone during your six month subscription we'll just extend it, at our cost – no refunds..
Site seems to have a lot of members – Wrong
Most of the pay sites, are composed of largely non paying members. So you can maybe wink but not chat or email. Some sites do distinguish paid members, but it's a numbers game. More members paid or not the better they look. Experts say around 10-15 percent are paid members. So your odds are falling.
Still want to do it, am I going to get results?
As always the saying “results vary”.
Don't get your expectations high once you sign up with the $30-60 per month fee. There are too many variables people respond to. Bottomline no amount of Online talk can actually replace what happens face to face. If someone is really looking for Mr. Right or Ms Right, there is a right way of doing it and a wrong way, and finding that right person takes Hope and Patience (sorry but it is a game of patience). As with anything in this life, it may or may not work and nothing certain, there is no guarantees that could ever cover this.
As too the right way and wrong way I leave that to the individual and that is according to moral view.
Once you've signed the deal. You are basically on your own. Just like the real world, what you put in is what you get. Supposedly about 10% of the users get 90% of the messages. Why? They can communicate. Now some services do provide profiling and filling out questionnaires and giving a list of suggestions. But again you are responsible for the follow up, and initiating the contact.. eHarmony is making a claim that 2% of marriages in the U.S., are the result of a connection through them. (well how good are those matches? How long are those marriages going to last? Etc.).
Want that date now. Sorry. Reality check. As with life there are timings and rituals to follow.
First the less you say about yourself the more responses you are likely get. The mystery affect. Again effort is required, exchanging emails and chatting Online (for safety usually through the sites' features, or other avenue mutually agreed upon ). Once you're ready for the first meeting, preferably something laid back and easy like a cup of coffee (early in the day), or a lunch date. Why if it is flub, there is an easy out.
The So Called formulas. A few sites offer a barrage of questionnaires (like eHarmony) to try and place the best match for you. At best it just foggy.. It may or may not work. People of similar tastes should get along, but isn't always the case. One can even cough up thousands for a personal matchmaker and still fail, though you may stand a better chance. Plus the personal experts take responsibility for the mismatches.
It's still a real world, and Internet Dating is here to stay with it's flaws and pluses. I just wanted to point out some Pitfalls in Internet Dating. Sorry for the reality check on you dreamers out there, but knowing what to watch for and taking the appropriate actions can only be to your advantage.
A lot of the above can be applied just not for the dating scene but any aspect in dealing with the Internet, including Job Boards, Social sites,
On a personal note: For those of us who believe there is a God, than let the Great Matchmaker do His job, we just play our part.
Inspiration for this comes from Smart Money
- Online Investing: Stocks, Personal Finance & Mutual Funds at SmartMoney.com
Get online investing assistance and real time stock market quotes at SmartMoney.com. Do your online investing and get bond market updates and mutual fund quotes as well as the latest business and financial news from SmartMoney.com.
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