SMART MONEY -- Feb 9 --
1. Keep your hopes high and your expectations low.
2. We've yet to meet two people who aren't a potential match. "No one knows if (personality profiling datin services) actually work," says author Robert Epstein. If you really want individualized matchmaking then consider a personal matchmaker.
3. Everyone's lying about something. Some users lie about their age to show up in more search results but most lies in the online dating universe are pretty small, says Nicole Ellison, an assistant professor at Michigan State.
4. We don't have as many members as it seems. Experts say that at best, subscriber services convert ~ 10 and 15% of browsers into members. That means 90% or more of the profiles at a subscriber site could belong to unreachable browsers. On free sites like Plentyoffish.com or OKCupid.com every profile belongs to an active member.
5. Fall in love too quickly and you could end up with an empty wallet. "The romance scam is the most prevalent on dating sites, and the hardest to stop", says Brian Erickson, director of operations at Mate1.com.
6. Our guarantees are only guaranteed to keep you here. Match.com and Yahoo Personals offer "guarantees" and six-month "promises". If you don't find the one during your six-month subscription, you'll get more time to keep trying. Dating sites do this because it's an easy, low-cost way to keep traffic up—and a great marketing tool, says David Evans, an industry consultant.
7. Don't expect quick results. "You can't just throw up a profile and expect to go on a date," says Mark Brooks, an industry consultant for online dating services. The world of online dating has its own rhythms and rituals, which often take some time. Keep that first date light. "You're going to know by the second sip of your latte if there's something there," says Trish McDermott, VP Love at Engage.com.
8. Once you log in, you're pretty much on your own. Some people could simply use more help than others, says Mark Brooks, but good luck getting it from the dating service you're using. "Online dating sites' biggest flaw is they don't offer service of any kind," he says. Rather, most of them function more like a giant virtual bar or nightclub.
9. You might not need all these extras—but we do. "Besides the overall dampening of consumer spending, the Internet dating market has simply become saturated", says Brooks. That means online dating services have had to start getting creative.
10. Good luck trying to break up with us.
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