Category Archives: The Problems with Online Dating

Dating website TV ad found to be a big con

The advertising watchdog has found the eHarmony TV advert to be misleading. I always wondered how the dating website can substantiate its claim in the ad that 2% of the 4 million Americans who get married every year – that’s a highly unlikely 80,000 people – met on eHarmony.com. It turns out that they are unable to.

Following complaints from viewers, the Advertising Standards Authority investigated and ruled the advert as misleading because it claimed a “definitive figure” of marriages based on a 2007 online survey of 7,000 people (errrm, so they used the responses of just 7,000 to make a claim that 80,000 people met on their site, highly scientific – not!)

As a result of other complaints from the public the ASA also said that the ad failed to make clear that in 20% of all cases eHarmony is unable to find a match for those who have taken the time to register on the site.

Out of curiosity, and obviously rather bored one evening, I decided to register on eHarmony.co.uk to see how it is different from all the millions of other dating websites out there, and why it claims, rather bizarrely, to be a “relationship site” rather than a dating site – I mean, talk about meaningless marketing rubbish! That American voice-over is high on my list of the most irritating things ever.

I soon regretted it. The process of going through all the personality profiling questions takes well over an hour. At the end I was told I had just one match. ONE, in the whole of London, which apparently has around 4 million singletons. eHarmony.co.uk is clearly struggling to convince people to finish the registration. My match was a rather unattractive lanky kitchen assistant around five years younger than me. If that’s the best they can do, hopefully the irritating advert will disappear from our TV screens forever!

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Scams on match.com

A woman in the U.S. has lost thousands of dollars after she willingly sent the money to a man she’d never even met. Authorities say she “fell in love” with a man on a dating site who then duped her into sending him the cash. The two singles met on the dating site match.com.

‘Jason Miller’ and the woman began a relationship online. According to her, “He always talked nice, sweet, didn’t try to lure me into bed and that kind of stuff.” ‘Jason’ told her he was living in London as a model.

He said that his mother was in the hospital, business wasn’t good and he needed money so the victim wired him $5,000 several times to London.

A friend of the woman’s eventually spotted ‘Jason’s picture on two other profiles; he was using different names and stories altogether.

After two months and $20,000 later, she contacted police and wrote him a final e-mail to which – surprise, surprise – he never replied. ‘Jason,’ or whatever his name really is, then deleted all of his match.com accounts.

Authorities say the chances of catching the guy and recovering the money are close to zero.

I’m sorry but how can someone fall in love without meeting the person?! You can see why scammers use dating sites when there are so many vulnerable women, and I’m sure men, online who will believe whatever they are told in the hope that they have found ‘the one’.

Hippos and wart hogs

Like the quote from Robert Hintze, founder of that not-shallow-at-all dating website BeautifulPeople.com, where only those deemed good-looking enough by existing members are allowed to join, on the news that the site has launched worldwide. Describing the difference between the subscribers on his site, and those on other dating sites, he says,

“Other sites are jungles of hippos and wart hogs.  BeautifulPeople is a wonderful game reserve of leopards and gazelles.”

But maybe what looks like a gazelle is actually a wart hog with a LOT of make-up and the photo was taken in very flattering light, three years ago – before she put on two stone?!

The whole truth?

A good friend of mine is not having the best of luck meeting men through a dating website. The last man she went on a date with turned out to be a lot older than he had claimed.

There was me thinking that it’s just women who lie about their age in this increasingly youth and plastic surgery-obsessed society. No, it seems that men are often creative with their personal details on dating sites so that they don’t miss out when women search for potential dates within a certain age range.

Her date was a very ruddy cheeked farmer who had just sold his vast farm in Ireland, for a great profit, and was looking for both a farm in England and a wife to go with it (and to probably help out herding the sheep and delivering the calves). My friend noticed that his face looked a lot more lined than that of an average 39 year-old, the age on his profile, but she thought rather generously that he had spent most of his life battling the elements out with the animals and probably wasn’t the type to moisturise. During conversation on their first date at a cosy pub in Fulham he let it slip that he was 42 but she wasn’t that bothered, after all it was only a difference of a  few years.

When they met for a second time, for a Thai meal in South Kensington, however age came up again in conversation and he confessed that he was actually 50. At that point my friend lost all interest – I mean, how could she believe that he was 50 when he had already fibbed twice?! What else had he lied about?

I believe my friend and lots of others would benefit from a dating service where age and other personal details are checked – you would in effect have someone vetting potential dates for you. So much time and effort would be saved, and my friend could avoid unwittingly dating men who are close to retirement age. With more men using botox, especially in the city, this could become a bigger problem!

Sex attackers using online dating sites

Are women really aware of the dangers lurking online when it comes to meeting complete strangers through dating sites? Alarming reports of sex attackers using these sites seem to be increasing, as perverts realise that the ability to hide behind fake online profiles gives them the perfect way to meet and abuse women who are putting themselves in a very vulnerable position.

GP (that gives confidence in the NHS!) Anil Tangotra was this week jailed for 11 years after it was found that he drugged and raped women he met through the online dating site Shaadi.com.

He had portrayed himself as a successful young bachelor working in the City to attract young women. In reality he was a 53 year old violent sex attacker.

After wining and dining his victims, who were successful Asian women looking for a long-term relationship, the doctor spiked their drinks and subjected them to brutal sex attacks.

It is easy to portray oneself as far more attractive, successful, socially-skilled, interesting and educated online and in most cases, apart from disappointment and wasted time, people lying on dating sites doesn’t cause any harm. But in a few there is real danger and incidents like this will hopefully remind women to take precautions when meeting total strangers on first dates such as telling your friends where you are going and asking them to call you after half an hour or so to provide a quick get-out excuse if you’re feeling uneasy.

Dating site addiction

Often people who meet someone on a dating site find it difficult to then stop using it. There is so much choice online, how can we be sure that we have met ‘The One’?

This is the case with one Evening Standard reader who  wrote to the newspaper this week complaining that the guy she met online, who she now considers to be her boyfriend is still logging on to the site –http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/lifestyle/article-23744237-details/The+boyfriend+I+met+online+still+looks+at+dating+sites/article.do.

Resident ‘sexperts’ at the paper, Esther Walker and Nirpal Dhaliwal, warn her that some people choose to treat online dating sites like portals to an alternate universe in which they can behave like an arse, with no repercussions.

Nirpal, giving an enlightening male view of online dating, says,

“That you met this chap in the sexual bazaar of online dating only muddies the water further. When dating people via the internet always assume that they are juggling several people at once and are continuing their search even if you’ve seen them several times — after all, he might still have several months left on his subscription. Online dating provides a glut of sexual opportunities that most people don’t find elsewhere.”

This, I believe, is only of the biggest problems with online dating – guys see it as an easy way to get lots of no-strings s*x whilst women are using it to try to find a committed relationship. By dating through friends, or by using a matchmaking service, this confusing world where there are no real ‘rules of engagement’ is bypassed and a lot of time-wasting, disappointment and heartbreak is avoided.

You know what on the internet

My friend today received a classic example of why online dating can be a total waste of time for 30-something women looking for a relationship. She was sent the following message by a guy on the most widely-advertised dating site, which she joined a few weeks ago.  Who said romance was dead?!…

Hi,

You look pretty sexy!

I’ll be honest, I’m going through the divorce from hell at the moment and I’ve decided to come off this site until I get my head around that. However it’s been a while if you know what I mean so I thought I’d ask if you fancied maybe getting together for a bit of you know what?

Paul    x