HIV Positive People Still Want Online Dating

HIV+ online dating website positive connectionOne of my most popular articles I’ve ever published on this blog is the website review of The Positive Connection, a website for those HIV Positive written in 2005. The website helps those with HIV find partners with the same condition for romantic relationships. While conducting my initial research into online industry 2004-2006 I met and interviewed the owners of most online dating websites.

Ben Sassman, the founder of The Positive Connection website, is the only one that eluded me. At some point we made contact but he was not willing to do an interview. At that point I was in a rush to publish my research findings, so I did not push to hard.

His website was offline for a period and I realised many of the people who found my 2005 blog post, simply could not find the website the review was about. People wanted to connect potential HIV positive partners, no matter what. At first the comments were requests for help. Eventually men began posting cellphone numbers and to protect the women, I deleted them. Women also began posting their cellphone numbers and locations across South Africa. There was no way for me to verify who was genuine or sincere, or who really was HIV positive.

The more I read the comments, it seemed a desperate attempt to find another HIV positive person because of a self-imposed loneliness. Most of these people were not trying to find a spouse, with cynical and resigned words they used. Even if you are diagnosed with HIV, it is possible to live a long life with the correct medical treatment and wellness program to boost your immune system.

In many ways this is a very personal matter for me because my best friend was in a relationship with a HIV+ woman for 3 years. He tested himself once a year, and remains negative even after they ended their relationship. Because of the seriousness of the condition, anyone looking for love online must take a reality check.

After 10 years of online dating and social networking, I now believe that the risks of meeting people online outweigh the perceived benefits. I am more pessimistic about online relationships because of the false sense of connection and security, the superficial nature of relationships based on social media. People who are HIV positive can increase their confidence by turning to speed dating and other forms of events to meet people form the opposite sex.

 

SMS' Can Relieve Stressed, Lonely People

SMS Text Messages Relieve Stressed, Lonely PeopleBERKELEY — Text messaging often gets a bad rap for contributing to illiteracy and high-risk behaviour such as reckless driving. But a social welfare professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has found an upside to texting, especially for people who feel stressed out, isolated and alone.

Text messages in cognitive behaviour therapy can make people feel less isolated

Adrian Aguilera, a clinical psychologist who treats many low-income Latinos for depression and other mental disorders, said his patients report feeling more connected and cared for when they receive text messages asking them to track their moods, reflect on positive interactions, and take their prescribed medications.

“When I was in a difficult situation and I received a message, I felt much better. I felt cared for and supported. My mood even improved,” reported one Spanish-speaking patient in Aguilera’s cognitive behavior therapy group at San Francisco General Hospital.

The project began in 2010 when Aguilera developed a customized “Short Message Service (SMS)” intervention program, with the help of UCSF psychologist Ricardo Munoz,  in which Aguilera’s patients were sent automated text messages prompting them to think and reply about their moods and responses to positive and negative daily interactions.

The psychologists published the results of the project last year in the journal, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Aguilera has since been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“We are harnessing a technology that people use in their everyday lives to improve mental health in low-income, under-served communities,” said Aguilera, whose passion for addressing mental health issues among the poor was sparked while growing up in a Mexican immigrant community in Chicago.

Recent statistics bear out Aguilera’s outreach strategy. The 2011 Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project survey found that African American and Latino mobile phone owners send and receive more text messages than do Caucasians.

Of the 2,277 adult cell phone users surveyed by the Pew Foundation, the most active senders and receivers of text messages (at least 50 messages a day) were non-whites, earned incomes below $30,000 and did not graduate from high school.

Aguilera came up with the texting idea when he realized that many of his patients had difficulty applying the skills they learned in therapy to their daily lives, possibly because of the many stressors they routinely faced. They could not afford laptops, electronic tablets or smart phones, but most had a basic cellular phone and a prepaid monthly plan.

“The people I wanted to impact directly didn’t have as much access to computers and the Internet,” Aguilera said. “So I thought about using mobile phones to send text messages to remind them to practice the skills covered in therapy sessions.”

The feedback from patients offers new insight into the human need for regular contact or check-ins for mental health professionals, even if only through automated technology, Aguilera said.

While the text-messaging sessions are designed to last only a certain number of weeks, about 75 percent of the patients requested that they continue receiving the messages. When the program stopped for a week due to technical problems, some really noticed the difference.

“When it stopped, I missed it,” the patient reported. “My life is so crazy, I need a reminder to think about how I feel.”

Adrian Aguilera, a UC Berkeley social welfare professor and clinical psychologist

Incoming search terms:

 

Lovemail dating website review

Lovemail online dating South AfricaThe website www.lovemail.co.za has been around since 1999 and started out as the online personals for Junk Mail. Two years later they totally revamped the website and it became a fully functional online dating website with matchmaking technology and SMS capability built in.

Unlike other websites, Love Mail offers the users a choice between chatting via SMS or via the website. The website rated 71% in the Webagility analysis performed in July 2004. It was the highest ranked site, along with LoveFinda, narrowly beating market leader DatingBuzz, however, it still has a lot of room for improvement.

First off, the website doesn’t function properly when using a non-Internet Explorer type web browser e.g. Mozilla Firefox. And with Internet Explorer’s continued security flaws more and more people are starting to use other web browsers. A person can register using a cell phone by sending “chatmeup” to 33244 (cost = R1.50 per SMS).

You can also register on www.lovemail.co.za website which allows for more comprehensive searching and matching, while still giving you the option to search and flirt via SMS. One month will set you back R50 going up to R480 for 12 months (an average of R40 per month) and you get 20 SMS per month. One of the coolest features on Love Mail is ‘how hot?’ and this allows you to rate photos of men or women out of five. It can become addictive, to say the least.

After registration on the website you have to complete your profile. When filling out the profile some people may be annoyed with the request for their cell phone number. The verification code is sent to your cell, therefore this request is valid. It’s also a good way of preventing fraud and pranks. You can also choose whether or not you want your profile to be of an explicit nature. Again this is very different from other websites which are either ‘normal’ dating websites (match making), or a adult oriented websites for swingers and people looking for casual sex.

Love Mail also provides a good selection of free content which can be accessed without registering on the website. Everything from horoscopes, success stories, frequently asked questions, the ‘how hot?’ section, to how to ‘say I love you’ in 22 different languages. Once logged onto the website you can do quick search or a more comprehensive search. Although it’s easy to use, I found a problem with the detailed information in the profiles in the search results. There just wasn’t enough information to make an informed decision on whether this person could be a match.

Junk Mail, the owners of Love Mail, did not promote this service actively for several months during 2003 and 2004 and therefore many of the users are dormant. If they were to adopt a renewed marketing push is bound to bring more activity and more interesting users onto this website. There is room for improving the matchmaking technology and the ease with which users can search for matches. It is nice that you have the option of using SMS technology, but the ultimate goal is to use the website to get much more information that is not currently possible via cell phones. Things could change in the near future as the 3G (the next generation of cell phone technology) enabled handsets become more common, but for now websites and the PC rule supreme.

 

Desperately seeking love online

BRYANSTON – Only 12% of South Africans have used the Internet to find love. This is compared to 29% of the French and 21% of Filipinos interviewed in a global survey about dating perceptions, use of the Internet to find a romantic partner and the level of success that they have had.

Synovate surveyed 4 368 people from South Africa, Brazil, France, Korea, the Phillipines, Singapore, Romania and the United States

Over one third of those interviewed who aren’t online daters believe only “desperate people” use the internet to look for love. The results reveal a fairly even match between those who think online dating is a great way to meet people (49 percent) and those who think it is a waste of time (48 percent) but show large disparities among levels of use and comfort between people of different nationalities.

Globally, 15% of respondents said they had used an online personal ad or online dating service to meet a potential romantic interest, with the French (29 percent), Filipinos (21 percent) and Americans (15 percent) being the biggest online daters.

Table One

68% of South Africans state that they would not even consider using an online personal ad or dating service.

Just looking

Entertainment is the main driver for 46 percent of online dating respondents, with many Brazilians (67 percent) and Americans (50 percent) trying online dating out of fun or curiosity, while one quarter of all online daters consider it simply a natural extension of their regular use of the internet.

Surprisingly, although a person’s photograph is the main factor determining whether someone will initiate communication for one quarter of online daters, 39% are more interested in the written description of their personality and 32% just want someone who meets basic criteria such as shared interests and hobbies. 50 % of Brazilians want a partner with personality.

Online daters across the globe vary in how long it takes them to move contact offline. Thirty two percent of Filipinos are in no hurry, waiting at least a month from the first correspondence to meet while one-third of the French, Americans and Brazilians tend to wait more than a week but less than a month. Many Romanians don’t waste their time – 16 percent said that they meet within a day!

The French report the most disasters when moving online correspondence offline, with 58 percent having had a terrible date with someone they met through the internet, although two-thirds said that they had had more good dates than bad ones. Americans are also familiar with online dating disasters. Over half indicated that they’ve had at least one disaster date with someone they met online, but 64 percent said that they’d had more good dates than bad ones.

Online daters who do end up meeting face-to-face have a remarkable success rate, with 25 percent of all respondents having met their spouse or life partner through online dating. Americans (42 percent) and the French (28 percent) are the most successful in taking online love offline.

Stranger danger

Despite the success of some, for many people online dating is still a concept they just aren’t comfortable with.

Ninety five percent of Koreans who haven’t dated online said they would not consider using the internet to find a romantic partner, along with 85 percent of Brazilians and 84 percent of Singaporeans.

Synovate also discovered many negative perceptions about internet dating globally, some of which may contribute to respondents’ online dating hesitation.

Almost one-third of those respondents who would not consider online dating believe that it could be dangerous, a perception that may be reinforced by the 77 percent of consumers globally who believe that most people lie in their online dating profile.

Most of the South African respondents (48%) state that the reason for not using the Internet is that they would just rather see someone in person first. 21% believed that it could be dangerous.

Americans are most convinced that people are dishonest in their online dating profiles (84 percent), followed closely by Brazilians and Filipinos at 82 percent each.

Table Two

But when it comes down to it, it may simply be a case of online dating being seen as the domain of the desperate and dateless.

With close to one-third of respondents globally stating that “only desperate people use online dating”, it may be a long time before many people can shake the desperado perception and start looking for love online.

CURIOSITIES

One-fifth of all those surveyed don’t think that the internet should be used to find a romantic partner.

Sixty seven percent of Brazilians have tried online dating “just for fun”, not necessarily to meet a partner.

 

Couples online dating website review

Two’s company, three’s a crowd. Truer words have never been spoken. Do you have a chronically single friend that you, grudgingly, bring along to your dates? Are you that friend? If so, you will find a solution for this at Couples. An eye-catching online dating website for South Africans – www.couples.co.za – is the destination. If you have any misconceptions about online dating services, such as “only desperate PC geeks date online”, then leave them at the door, because this website offers you thousands of funky men and women to chat up. The website’s auto matching system uses your age, religion and cultural factors with which to create your profile. Using this profile, potential matches are recommended to you.

This website now has over 20,000 users and is one of the cheapest websites around. A six month subscription will cost you R100 while a 12 month subscription will only cost R150. This is exceptionally great value for money if you think about how much you typically spend on a weekend out on the town.

One thing I do not like about Couples is that I cannot filter on some criteria. For example on most other webistes I can filter out women with children or I can select with check boxes multiple races. Not with Couples. The search and matchmaking system is very basic in this regard.

 

Another Year of Explosive Growth for Online Dating in South Africa

Black Online Dating Users Increased by 64% in 2005

The number of Black users of online dating services increased to 18% of total users in 2005, up from 11% in 2004. This represents a 64% year-on-year increase and is one of the key findings from a new research report, The NETucation Report – Online Dating in South Africa 2006, released today. “New partnerships by market leader DatingBuzz with media companies like Metro FM and Sowetan has allowed the online dating market to tap into new sources for potential new users,” says Ramon Thomas, Managing Director of NETucation, the leading internet research company in South Africa.

“The key indicator of growth in this industry is the number of new competitors. There are 10 new online dating websites that launched during last year,” Thomas explains.

This new study is the result of a survey conducted in August 2005. 5024 respondents completed a 33-page questionnaire on how the Internet is impacting on their sexual behavior. Most of these users are actively meeting and dating men and women found on more then 30 Internet and Web/ SMS-based dating services.

“The total number of profiles across all websites has exploded to 362 675 at the end of 2005,” says Thomas. “However, the actual number of unique users are 230 000 because of an overlap of users. Many people are hedging their bets by signing up to multiple websites, sometimes as many as three.”

Some of the key findings form this survey include:

  • Men younger than 30 outnumber women in the same age group; however, in the age group 30-60 women outnumber men
  • More women than men are signing up for online dating
  • Homosexual users have up to six times more internet-sourced sexual encounters then heterosexuals users.
  • On average, male users have three times as many internet-sourced sexual encounters then women users.

The Top 10 Online Dating Websites, based on use by South Africans respondents, are as follows:

  1. DatingBuzz
  2. Lovemail
  3. Gaydar
  4. Couples
  5. MSN Match
  6. Galaxy Singles
  7. Erotic Personals
  8. Matchmaker
  9. SexyIntro.com
  10. AllSingles

MEDIA CONTACTS

Ramon Thomas, Managing Director, NETucation

 

Dr Phil and Online Dating

Match.com the biggest online dating network of websites in the world has teamed up with Dr Phil. There is three hilarious tv commercials that have been produced and I was laughing my ass off with Dr Phil’s comments and they visual way in which the benefits of online dating is shown. It really can be a meat market and selection becomes so very important. Also checkout Dr Phil’s new book Love Smart with some great advice….

 

2005 Online Dating survey explores Sexual Behaviour of South Africans

The 2005 Online Dating Survey which launches today explores how the Internet is changing the sexual behaviour of South Africans. NETucation, the company behind the online dating research is the leading BEE Internet research company and studies the behaviour of South Africans using the Internet.

“Now that we understand the basics of how and why South Africans use the Internet to find potential partners it is important to dig deeper to understand the outcomes of online dating,” says Ramon Thomas, Managing Director of NETucation. “Last year we estimated the total online dating population to be approximately 250,000 which represents about 7% of the total internet population of 3.6 million.”

NETucation continued to track the amount of online dating services which has exploded and now totals 25 up from the 10 found in 2004. The privacy of respondents is protected because the 33 question survey is anonymous. Prizes have been lined up as an incentive to those who complete the online dating survey. First prize is an Apple iPod Shuffle, five subscriptions to Cosmopolitan by Associated Magazines and five subscriptions to Men’s Health magazines by Touchline Media. The major South African providers of online dating services, namely DatingBuzz, Couples, Galaxy Singles, Lovemail, SexyIntro and many others are all participating in this research project.

“Connecting with people. Meeting people that you have an instant connection with can be difficult. And even if you like the person you have met there is no guarantee that you will be sexually compatible with them,” says Dr Elna McIntosh, clinical sexologist and resident expert on M-Net’s SEX etc with Mark Pilgrim. “Cyber-sex allows us to get a birds-eye view into a potential partners sexual make-up. To see if you are actually thinking of the same types of fantasies we are. It tests whether there is sexual chemistry before you even touch them.”

The findings will be published in September 2005, and will emphasise the following:
* how many meaningful relations have developed from online dating
* how the Internet is changing the sexual behaviour of people
* the growth of total number of people using online dating
* the growth in number of providers of online dating services

The survey closes on 28 August 2005. Click here to complete the 2005 Online Dating Survey.
MEDIA CONTACTS

* Ramon Thomas, Managing Director, NETucation Internet Research

* Dr Elna McIntosh, Clinical Sexologist Tel. 011-787-1222 or disa@icon.co.za

 

Prim Reddy interview on 702

Prim Reddy Talkradio 702 interview with Ramon ThomasRamon Thomas joins us on the line, he is MD of NETucation and he is going to be chatting to us about online dating.

P: Hi Ramon
RT: Hi Prim, thanks for having me on the show.

P: Well thanks very much for taking the time, why online dating, why not the traditional way of meeting someone in the flesh at first go?
RT: Well it seems like the major reason people are using online dating is that they can get to know someone before they actually meet them in person. You know if you are in a mall, at a club or wherever you are and you meet somebody, you don’t really know. Okay yes maybe there is some chemistry but you don’t know if you have anything in common, and you don’t know if you will have a lasting, meaningful relationship with that person.

P: Is online dating becoming more popular now?
RT: It is becoming very popular in South Africa, last year I conducted a survey that found that 250 000 South Africans are using online dating, we expect it to grow to over 300000 by the end of this year. So there are a lot of people that are actually actively using the internet to meet and find potential partners.

P: Ramon is the process lengthy, I mean are there screenings, can people know who it is that they are dealing with?
RT: Okay, it’s quite easy, because you just go onto any of the websites and you register and fill out some basic information about yourself, your preferences, what you are looking for and you basically take it from there. Some people choose not to put photos on, I actually recommend that you use photos because it decreases the chances of people actually responding to you tremendously but in terms of it being complicated – it is not complicated, its just a different way of meeting people and it allows you to screen people before you make contact.

P: Does the company or Online service screen people? I mean what if it is a real weirdo?
RT: They don’t, anybody can register on any of these websites. A huge thing that we found is about 7% of the people that did our survey last year admitted to being married, About 45% of people were single, about 22% were divorced, a lesser amount were actually dating – I think about 12%.

P: So obviously there can be no control in that sense, its scary thinking you know that you could go online and sign up, and the person that you could find attractive could be a married person.
RT: One thing that I always stress is, people that lie online are possibly the same people that will lie offline as well, you know it’s the kind of person who goes to a bar and takes his wedding ring off, and it’s the same thing. You have to use common sense, and you got to take your time, don’t rush out and meet the first person who emails you through the website, email them for a week and speak to them on the telephone for two weeks. If you still feel after 2/3 weeks that you want to meet this person, that this person is possibly a match. By that time you should have sussed him/her out. And then yes go ahead and meet them, but I think the big debate is people rushing out for these quick half an hour coffee dates.

P: Now Ramon according to this report – 250 000 South Africans actively using online dating, is this number expected to grow?
RT: Yes as I mentioned we expect it to grow to over 300000 by the end of this year, by 2008 we should have about 500 000 actually using online dating, its growing phenomenally well I think because it is a new way of connecting. People are really finding that it works, and I think the exceptions are definitely in the minority. If you look at as well the number of online dating services available. When we started our research last year in June, we only spoke to about 8 people that were running these dating services, since then we have found another 10. So there are the online dating services that are out there, and then there is the speed dating services, and there are quite a lot of the flirt SMS type services available as well. A very nice example of one of the services is love mail, which is run by the Junk Mail guys. It allows you to connect to people through their website, that is through the matchmaking facility of their website as well as via SMS. You can flirt with someone over SMS and a lot of people like to do that, especially the younger people.

P: Ramon, online dating generated around 20 million rand in 2004, now when does the money exchange actually happen?
RT: Okay as I mentioned it is quite easy to go and register on any one of the websites, it’s free to register, you are free to look at the photos, to look at the profiles and read about the people. Where the money comes in is if you want to contact somebody that you fancy, you actually have to subscribe and the subscription ranges from R30 to R120 for some of the services on a monthly basis. And the money that is paid to the website for subscribing, that is where the 20 million comes in.

P: Now what happens if someone goes online & signs up, meets someone, and something unfortunate happens as a result, do you take responsibility for that?
RT: Well I think the person themselves takes responsibility, they can’t blame the website, I mean if you just think about the thousands and thousands of people registered on these websites, it will be very difficult to delete them, it’s the same with night clubs or with any public service, there is too many people to be controlled. What you can do is on the website there is a function that allows you to block someone, even before you meet if the person starts to get nasty over email or telephone – block them and inform the company/website that you are using, and ask them to take action, and what they would normally do is suspend the account of that user. Just a word of precaution, nothing prevents that person from signing up under a different name, so as a woman especially be careful!

P: Ramon how safe is it?
RT: It is really as safe as you make it; I mean if you rush to meet every single person you are bound to meet weirdoes.

P: Now is there some way for us to know say if you log on to the net and are looking for a dating site, is there some way of knowing which site is legit or isn’t?
RT: Well what people can do is, we have just launched a dating guide which is www.DatingCoach.co.za and we publish reviews of all the online dating services available to South Africans. So you can read about them and you can find out if they suit your needs, I mean there are some websites that focus specifically on the adult market, they cater for like the swingers etc…

P: So does it really take it that far?
RT: Yes they do, but most of the websites that we look at are generally people looking for dating, people looking to meet friends, you know something romantic. So they are in the vast majority. Something else interesting that came from the research is that 55% of people are looking for friendship and companionship, and a much lesser extent is looking for love – about 20% is actually looking for love. So it is interesting to see that I think people are lacking meaningful relationships, not necessarily romantic or sexual in nature, they just don’t seem to connect with people. And I think part of it is you know we are living in the 21st century, it’s quite a fast paced world that we live in, so this online dating allows you the opportunity to get to know people again and you can build on that relationship up to the point where you decide to meet the person.

P: Ramon, we have got Michelle on the line from Northmead, Hi Michelle –
M: Hi, I just wanted to say that I did meet my partner through a South African matchmaking sight, a friend of mine signed me up for it although I wasn’t very keen on it to begin with, I think I sounded a bit like a battle axe when completing my profile on the site as I wasn’t real keen on finding a man at that stage. But I found out it was a very good way to meet people, and I wasn’t necessarily looking for love, I do believe love is a good friendship basis first but the profiles are so detailed. There are a lot of the important questions that get put out of the way in the beginning like religious preferences, do you want children etc… Things that you wouldn’t normally ask on a first or second or even fifth or tenth date, and by the time that you have actually got to that stage when you are dating somebody you are already in a relationship, yet you might not be basically suited. So I think it saves a lot of trouble as long as everybody is honest about it.

P: Michelle why were you initially afraid to go on?
M: I think because there is a bit of a stigma attached to it first of all, you know you must be desperate or something and the second thing is that I had heard one or two bad stories about what can happen. And lets face it there are quite a lot of strange people out there, whether you meet them via the internet or not. But I think as long as you are discerning and you know what you are after and you watch out for those people who maybe try and pull wool over your eyes.

P: Now Michelle you used www.matchmaker.co.za, a local website. Would you sign any of your friends up?
M: I’ve recommended it to many of my friends

P: Michelle thank you very much for your call it was lovely chatting to you. Ramon is it a perception do you think that will be ongoing that people who sign up for online dating are the people that don’t have the confidence to go out there themselves?
RT: I think that is a perception that is changing very, very fast just in terms of the numbers I think they sort of speak for themselves. If you look deeper into the demographics of the people, most of the have a tertiary qualification, they between 24 and 33, they work in IT and finance and they seem to be very eligible people, with very busy lives, and that is the kind of description that I came up with. I also just want to comment on the friendship element and the whole thing of having something in common. Last year I interviewed Dr Andrew Thatcher from Wits University, a psychologist who does a lot of research on the internet as well and how it impacts on people, and he actually debunked a very common myth which is that opposites attract, yes opposites might attract but you will find that you can’t have a lasting meaningful relationship with someone who is an opposite. It will frustrate you over the long-term, so what the online dating allows you to do is to find people with similar interests to you and it really cuts through a lot of the fluff that you might otherwise experience.

P: Ramon what do women want?
RT: One thing that I found is, just in my personal experience I think a lot of people not just women but men too don’t know what they want. And again one of the benefits of online dating it allows you to be specific about what you want, allows screening and they can actually be pro-active and I encourage them to be and to go and look for the matches on the website, and to contact the men that they want to contact. Don’t just sit back and wait for the men to contact you

P: I think Simon from Woodmead wanted something and he found it. Hi Simon
S: Hi, I just want to bring to the listeners attention one thing that is good about internet dating which I never use, but I met somebody over the net, it was a business transaction (ICQ) and the best thing is you can communicate for hours and hours, and you get to know the person in so much detail. That you would not be able to do it if you were sitting across a table and talking, and I would imagine people can benefit really well and get to know the person before you meet and that is the beauty about the internet, you can really dig deep into the personality.

P: How long did you chat to your wife before you met?
S: We chatted for four months religiously for approximately four hours a day, and it was so nice to have an in detail conversation, with no interruptions! I have been married for five years with two children, very happily!

P: Now Simon, how long after did you guys send your pictures through?
S: It was within a month I think, I think that the benefit is you don’t have to worry about meeting someone and the body language that goes along with it.

P: Simon thank you very much for sharing that with us
S: You are welcome

P: Lee from Rivonia – Hi

L: Hi I just wanted to ask a question, this last caller made a comment that you might not get along with the person because the body language is wrong but isn’t that a sure indication that there will be nothing going between the two of you? Whereas you don’t see that on the internet and that is the one thing that I am concerned about, is that you get so intimately involved with each others lives while you are chatting on the internet, you don’t see each other physically, I know there are pictures but pictures lie, and I really think that would be the only that really concerns me is that you don’t get that chemistry…

R: yes that is something that comes up quite a lot on people that are sceptical about internet dating, and those are probably the people that prefer to do the speed dating. I still think there is a lot of merit in using the internet as a way to meet people because it allows you to screen people first of all, so if physical attraction is really important to you, yes maybe try something else but if you are looking for something maybe more substantial then the internet allows you to find that. And you should move from email onto telephone, and ask the person question and interact with them on that basis and kind of see how do they react to certain things; do they have the sense of humour the claim to have on the website?

P: Can you please give us a round-up of why you think online dating is absolutely fabulous?
RT: I think it is really a great way to meet people that share similar interests and that is why the friendship/companionship element comes through so strongly, you be very specific about what it is that you like, and you can be specific about what it is you are looking for, it helps you to connect with people that are like minded and that to me ensures that you will have a lasting relationship. Whether it is romantic or friendship. One of the things I want to recommend to people is to put more effort into writing their essays, a critical component of your online dating success comes from writing an essay which describes yourself and describes your ideal match. Be specific!

P: Ramon thank you so much for joining us
RT: Thank you very much Prim

 

Six million Britons sign up for singles bars in cyberspace

Up to three-quarters of single people could soon be finding new partners online – and many could form long-lasting relationships

By Steve Bloomfield

Online dating, once seen as a last resort for the desperate, has become mainstream, with new research suggesting as many as six million Britons are signed up to internet agencies.

To underline the internet’s emergence as a legitimate way of meeting a partner, a second academic study suggests relationships borne out of online dating are now likely to be as long lasting as those of couples who meet in more traditional ways.

There are now 150 online dating agencies in the UK alone, up 20 per cent in just 12 months, according to a report by Hitwise, the body that analyses levels of internet usage. It found that online agencies are growing at a rate of 30 a year, with people in London and the South-east making up a third of all UK users. Fifteen per cent are based in the Midlands and 11 per cent in the North-west.

People aged between 25 and 34 make up the largest group of users at 29 per cent, with 35- to 44-year-olds representing 26 per cent of the market. A significant number of online daters – 18.5 per cent – are aged 18 to 24, while one in 10 is aged over 55.

The 30-somethings tend to have been dating for more than a decade and are tired of looking for new people at work or in bars and clubs.

Academic research led by Richard Scase, professor of organisational behaviour at Kent University, shows dramatic year-on-year increases in the number of people turning to the internet to find new partners.

“Two-thirds to three-quarters of single men and women will be members soon,” Professor Scase said. “There are about six million using these services now and by 2005 there will be seven million.”

The three biggest online dating agencies, Dating-Direct.com, Udate and Match.com, all claim to have more than a million active members each.

Samantha Bedford, managing director of Udate, said: “There is this big pool of people to choose from online, instead of having to just settle for that new guy in your department. You don’t have to trawl the bars and you don’t have to go through the embarrassment of being turned down.”

Online dating is partly fuelled by the rise in the number of single people. There are currently around 11 million singletons under 55 in the UK; that figure is expected to rise to 16 million by 2010.

The boom has led to services springing up to cater for those who don’t like the idea of a mass-market agency. Last week saw the launch of Compa.co.uk, a group dating website that matches circles of single women with a similar group of men in an attempt to remove the potential for awkwardness on a normal one-to-one date.

The more confident single person can always join Gorgeous Networks – or they can at least try. Classing itself as an exclusive club, Gorgeous Networks asks prospective members to place a picture and profile of themselves on the site. Current members are then given the opportunity to decide whether they should be allowed to join.

Researchers at Bath University claim that couples whose eyes meet over a crowded chatroom will stay together for an average of seven months. The Bath report’s co-author, Dr Jeff Gavin, said: “It’s clearly now an everyday activity, and our research shows that the relationships it produces are no better or worse than traditional relationships.”

Source: The Independent Online