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How Online Dating Works

In the minds of some, there’s still a stigma attached to Internet dating. The belief that it’s only for losers, for those who couldn’t get a date otherwise, persists. But the facts say otherwise.

Ten years after the Internet starting ramping up, online dating is still one of the most popular and lucrative Internet ventures.

Millions of attractive, well-adjusted, successful people visit such sites daily. That’s because it is designed to address a certain set of problems and it does fairly well.

It allows individuals who may otherwise never meet to get introduced. It makes it possible to find out a little about one another with a lower commitment of time and risk. People who use Internet dating are busy, tried the local scene and found it wanting, or just haven’t found that right someone.

Internet dating takes place in a safe, fairly anonymous setting, while providing a much wider variety of people to meet than ‘real life’ usually allows for.

The first step is to find a site that suits your goals. That means deciding whether you want a general service or one that, say, caters to ethnic or lifestyle preferences.

You may not think paying money is worth the introductions, since there are now other venues like MySpace where you can meet people. That means deciding on a free versus a paid site.

You can get a rough idea about those options by just looking around, perusing sites that differ along those lines. Many won’t allow you to get in-depth information, some won’t even show you a photo. But most will provide enough information before you sign up that you can decide whether you want to explore that site further.

Once that initial research is done and you’ve plunged ahead, you’ll need to create a profile that accurately says who you are and what you want. It’s true that many people are less than fully honest in their profiles. The immediate result may be more initial contacts. But the final result is fewer successful matches.

On most sites, you’ll fill out personal information about age, weight, height and some basic likes and dislikes. Photos are usually optional, but without one the odds of being contacted are much lower. At many sites, a video is the preferred way to get a much better view of the real person.

Numerous studies show that most people are initially attracted to a person’s looks. Though it takes a while to get to know someone well, most people will project a lot about who they are by their appearance. You can’t judge the whole book by its cover, but it does help you discover whether you want to start reading.

Providing contact information is necessary for the site, but many will provide a relay, so you don’t have to invent a new email address solely for online dating sites. It might not be a bad idea, though, just in case.

Once you’ve provided enough information about yourself, with a photo, to make it possible for others to be interested, you start looking too. Sooner or later, someone is going to come across your profile. From there, things get interesting…