OkCupid Takes On Ad-Blockers

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OkCupid has a reputation for being the hippest of the online dating sites, and after seeing the banners they recently put up for users using ad-blockers, I have to agree that it's a reputation well-deserved.

Ad-blockers are great for users...but they're not so great for ad-supported sites, like OkCupid, that rely on advertisements to stay in business. Now OkCupid is taking on the issue of ad-blockers in a creative, humorous way that I think has a real chance of swaying its users.

"So normally there would be an ad in this spot. But you're using an ad-blocker like a boss. Here's a solution: You donate $5 to us once, & we remove all ads from the site forever." That's part of the text from OkCupid's new banner that appears to members with ad-blocking software installed. It's not a premium service offered for an extra fee - OkCupid has that already - instead, it's a direct and clever appeal to those using ad-blockers to support the site they love.

The reality is that no site wants to bombard its users with off-putting ads, but in order to remain free, ads are necessary to make ends meet. "Imagine running a restaurant where 40% of the people who came and ate didn't pay," explains Ars Technica. "Most sites... are paid on a per view basis. If you have an ad blocker running, and you load 10 pages on the site, you consume resources...but provide...no revenue."

Hardly seems fair when it's put that way, does it?

OkCupid's new solution to the problem works like this:

So normally there would be an ad in this spot. But you're using an ad-blocker like a boss; like a boss who hates ads. & that's cool, except that OkCupid is ad-supported, & we need money to run this beast. Here's a solution: You donate $5 to us once, & we remove all ads from the site forever. You don't have to see garbage ads; we make a little of the money back that we're losing from the blocker. Everyone wins.

A plea like this could come off as desperate in the wrong hands, but in OkCupid's hands it works brilliantly. It's not asking users to put up with ads anyway, or pay an exorbitant fee for a package of (mostly useless) extra features that includes ad removal. It also doesn't feel like OkCupid is selling out or trying to overhaul its entire business model. Instead, the banner's direct, funny, and intelligent tone fits in perfectly with the attitude of the rest of the site, giving users a little bit more of what they love about OkCupid in the first place.

To find out more about this dating service please read our review of OkCupid.

OurTime.com: Dating Priorities Change With Age

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A lot changes as we get older, so it's no surprise that our dating habits change, too. OurTime.com, a popular dating site for mature singles, knows that the way we date when we're 20 is much different than the way we date when we're 50. And why shouldn't be? That's 30 extra years of experience - 30 more years of learning what you want, 30 more years of discovering what you don't want, 30 more years of heartbreak, and 30 more years of romance.

All that experience adds up to a much more knowledgeable dater, one who has a clear picture of Mr. or Mrs. Right. OurTime.com surveyed 2,200 singles to find out exactly how 50+ singles differed from their younger counterparts. Here's what they found:

  • Religion is more important to younger singles. 70% of men and 59% of women over 55 said they're willing to date people of other faiths, compared to only 56% of singles in the 18-34 age range.
  • Race is a different story. 2/3 of adults 18-34 said they're happy to date someone of a different race, compared to only 46% of adults 55+. Split by gender, 65% of men and 51% of women said they're open to interracial dating.
  • Politics was a much closer race. 60% of mature singles and 66% of younger singles said they'd date outside party lines.
  • Younger generations are more willing to snoop. I blame their familiarity with technology! 63% of people 18-34 said they think it's wrong to snoop through a significant others text messages, voicemails, and emails. The percentage rose as age rose: 60% of singles aged 35 to 44 and 75% of singles over 55 agreed that spying on an SO is a no-no.
  • Opinion was split on cheating. Older men are more willing to give cheaters a second chance than older women. 53% of women said they wouldn't try to work things out with someone who was unfaithful, compared to just 35% of men. That's compared to 42% of adults overall.
  • Appearances become less important with age. 68% of adults over 55 said they'd be willing to date someone they thought was less attractive, versus 59% of adults ages 18 to 34.
  • Health, however, becomes more important. 64% of singles over age 55 said they would not date someone with health problems, so eat right, exercise regularly, and take your vitamins!
  • Older singles might be more experimental than you think. 65% of the over 55 crowd are in support of dating more than one person at the same time. 41% of younger singles agreed, but the rest preferred to stick to monogamy.

To find out more about the dating site which conducted this survey you can read our OurTime.com review.

Do Facebook Status Updates Affect Your Dating Life?

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There's no denying that Facebook and other social media have become a big part of our lives. The vast majority of us have a Facebook page, (and many also have a Twitter or FourSquare account and a Pinterest page among others). So what does that mean for our dating lives?

Facebook has become a way for us to update our network of friends on everything that is going on in our lives, sometimes on a minute-by-minute basis, depending on how much time you spend on the site. It's also a way for us to check in on other peoples' lives. People use their status update tool to announce everything from a new baby to an engagement to what kind of coffee they had for breakfast. While it's great to keep updated on the lives of our friends, when is it too much?

Studies have been conducted recently on this topic, and whether too much time on Facebook can lead to jealousy or depression. While there are no definite links between clinical depression and social media use, there was a study from the University of Salford in the U.K. that indicates social media may cause anxiety and lower self-esteem.

While this study was not extensive - about 300 people participated - about half of them reported that using social media has made their lives worse. In particular, they noticed feelings of jealousy and low self-esteem when they started comparing their own lives to those of their Facebook friends.

For example, if your ex-boyfriend posts a new photo with a mysterious woman, or friends a member of the opposite sex, you might find yourself not only curious but jealous. And this might lead you to more stalker-like behavior, trying to figure out who this woman is and why she's in a photo with your ex.

Sometimes posts can seem insensitive to single men and women: posts announcing a couple's marriage, new engagement, a trip to Europe together (complete with pictures of the happy couple), or an announcement of the baby they are expecting. While these events are all wonderful, it can make single Facebook friends start dwelling on all the things they don't have.

While we can't prevent people from posting a million pictures of their new babies on Facebook or gushing about their new loves, we can take a step back and limit the time we spend on social media sites. We could also block certain people from our feeds, if they have a proclivity to gush. Regardless, it's important to keep perspective. Some people gush on Facebook in order to convince themselves of their own happiness. Others just want to share. Either way, don't take it personally - it's not about you. The more you can distance yourself from other people's status updates, the more secure and relaxed you'll be in your own life.

To find out more on how to use this social network as a dating tool and if it is worth doing so, please read our Facebook review.

POF.com Review Updated

POF (Plenty of Fish)
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Our review for the dating site Plenty of Fish has just received a major update and is now available online. Our last significant update to this review was completed under a year and a half ago. Beyond shortening there name from Plenty of Fish to POF this dating site has gone through a number of changes since May 2011.

So what has POF updated with their service since the last time we did a review? Here is a quick list of some of the more important changes:

  • Profile questions modified and added
  • Photo rating removed
  • Relationship chemistry predictor went from 28 to 73 questions
  • Profile themes now requires a paid membership
  • The ability to see who viewed your profile find out the date and time it was viewed now requires a paid membership
  • The amount of credits you get has changed for the 3 price points
  • Additional relationship statuses have been added
  • Some limits to what users can contact you via private messaging has been removed. You can no longer specify that the sender’s profile must have an image and that the message must be a certain size
  • New "Hottest Girls" feature that lists women who consistently reply to messages
  • New "Most Attracted" feature that lists men who have a high likelihood of being attracted to you
  • There are now 5 different Personality Tests

To find out more about this popular free dating site and the changes please read our updated POF.com review now.

myLovelyParent Lets Children Play Matchmaker

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The hippest parents turn to their kids for advice on up-and-coming bands and the hottest new fashion trends, but would you ask your kid for dating advice?

That's the premise behind the latest dating site to join the fray, myLovelyParent. myLovelyParent hopes to help single moms and dads find love online with the aid of the most important people in their lives: their children. The site is the brainchild of two brothers in the UK who hope to find their "very lovely single mum in her 60s" a few "handsome chaps" for friendship and companionship.

In their own words, the brothers describe their project as "trying to open up the world of online dating to our parents' generation." "They're a generation who, on the whole, are less digitally proficient, less accepting of social networking (in its most literal sense) and who are incredibly discrete when it comes to matters of the heart," they write on the site's blog. "There are plenty of people out there who don't want to be alone. And we believe, through digital, we can bring them together."

The process, as the brothers describe it, is simple:

  1. Sign yourself up.
  2. Recommend people to your mum/dad.
  3. Ask to be more involved OR sit back and know you've done a good thing.

Sons and daughters sign up their single moms and dads and create a profile for them, then search the site for people they think would be perfect companions for their parents. Emails are automatically sent to the parents when their child "recommends" someone for them, and from there they can take things into their own hands.

myLovelyParent seems to be taking a cue from mysinglefriend.com, another dating site based in the UK. My Single Friend lets third parties play matchmaker by asking your friends to write your profile for you, a concept that's similar to children finding dates for their parents. Other well-meaning relatives, like aunts and uncles, grandparents, and step-parents, are also welcome to help their loved ones find partners.

The goals for myLovelyParent are lofty - "I want to create something that can, once again, disrupt a saturated marketplace whilst delivering something that changes the world for the better," wrote one brother on the blog - but the site has already generated a lot of interest. myLovelyParent is currently only available in the UK, where it's in beta with plans to go live in September, but the brothers hope to bring the site to the US in January.

Can Men And Women Ever Be “Just Friends”?

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I will always be one of the first to insist that men and women can just be friends. I have great friendships with women. I have great friendships with men. And I don't see a difference...friends are just friends, right? If you get along with someone gender doesn't matter, does it?

A new study called "Benefit or burden? Attraction in cross-sex friendship" has examined the controversial issue of male-female friendships, and found that the answer is no...and yes. Inconclusive? Yup. Interesting anyway? Definitely. Here's how it worked and what they found...

Interested in examining how heterosexual, opposite-sex friends tackled the issue of sexual attraction in their friendships, a group of researchers asked 88 pairs of opposite-sex, college-age friends to fill out questionnaires about their friendships. Participants answered questions about their friendships - including questions about their levels of attraction to each other - separately. To ensure honesty, all responses were kept confidential, even after the conclusion of the study.

The results showed that men tend to be more attracted to their female friends than female friends are attracted to their male friends. Overestimating women's interest is common amongst men, says April Bleske-Rechek, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin who worked on the study. "Men over-infer women's sexual interest in a variety of contexts," she explains, "and I definitely see that extending into the domain of cross-sex friendships as well."

Men and women were equally likely to report finding their opposite-sex friends attractive even when they were already romantically involved with someone else, but more men said they'd like to go on a date with their female friends. Fewer women said they would be interested in dating male friends, preferring to keep their relationships platonic.

The research team then expanded their investigation to a second study, which asked 107 young adults ages 18 to 23 and 322 adults between the ages of 27 and 55 to list reasons why cross-sex friendships are both beneficial and burdensome. They were overwhelmingly voted beneficial, though adults reported having fewer opposite-sex friends than the younger group.

What's most interesting about the pros and cons list is that "attraction" almost always fell on the "burden" side of the cost-benefit analysis. Men were less likely to call attraction a burden than women, but both men and women were unlikely to see it as a positive aspect of an opposite-sex friendship.

So does that mean men and women can't be friends after all? Of course not. But it may be wise to be clear and upfront about exactly what your intentions for a new relationship are. If you want to be romantically involved, set the foundation for that right away. Don't build a close, platonic friendship first in hopes that it will one day turn into something more.