9 Ways To Be An Online Dating Superstar

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The big news in the dating world these days is that relationships formed on the Web may last longer and be happier than relationships that start offline. With explosive research like that hitting the scene, online dating is bound to be on the agenda of just about everyone - even the ones who never thought they would try it.

But it can be tricky to navigate the brave new world of online dating profiles if it's totally unfamiliar territory, and the difference between a newbie profile and an expert profile is vast. That's why I've put together 9 of my best tips to get you started on your journey to becoming an online dating superstar:

Superstar Secret #1: You don't have to do it alone.

Your friends are a valuable source of support as you begin your online dating adventures. Ask them to help with your profile if you can't figure out what to write. Sometimes they know you better than you know yourself.

Superstar Secret #2: Clichés are not cute.

It seems like obvious advice, but a lot of people who are new to online dating get it wrong. 'Long walks on the beach' may very well be a hobby for you, but they're not an interesting conversation starter. What really makes you unique?

Superstar Secret #3: When you talk about your interests, focus mainly on sociable hobbies.

Potential dates want to envision how they'll fit into your life. If your hobbies are all things that are best done solo, like reading or surfing the Web for LOLcats, they won't be able to.

Superstar Secret #4: Use photos that spark conversation.

Action shots say more about who you are and what you're into, and they offer potential dates an easy way to start a conversation. Show off what makes your life exceptional.

Superstar Secret #5: Stay upbeat.

Positive profiles get way more traction than negative ones. Be positive about yourself, about dating, and about life in general. Negative tones are a big turn-off online.

Superstar Secret #6: Be honest.

Honesty is always the best policy online. A relationship founded on lies is no relationship at all. And even if you think you can keep up your lies online, they're going to be much harder to maintain once you meet in person.

Superstar Secret #7: Be specific.

The more clear you are on the type of person you want to date, the more likely you are to find them. And the more specific you are when you talk about yourself, the more likely they are to find you.

Superstar Secret #8: Spelling and grammar matter.

Poor grammar and spelling are turn-offs for a lot of people. A profile that's full of mistakes says 'I don't care enough about this online dating thing to make an effort.'

Superstar Secret #9: Update regularly.

Consider your online dating profile a work in progress. Keep your photos and information up-to-date to present the most accurate picture of yourself.

Meet The New Kiss.com

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First there was Singlesnet. Then there was Singlesnet via Match.com. Now there's Kiss.com, the latest evolution of an online dating service that's been in business since 1997.

There was once a time when Singlesnet was the most visited dating site in the United States, but its popularity peaked in December 2008 and steadily declined until a major drop in February 2009. Despite the drastic drop in traffic, Match.com purchased the company in 2010 and Match CEO Greg Blatt had high hopes for the new acquisition.

"While Singlesnet's traffic is currently in decline," he said at the time, "we believe that by applying our category expertise we can reverse that trend, increase the site's profitability and improve the overall user experience."

Quinn Lipin, Singlesnet founder and CEO, was also hopeful that the new partnership would mean a brighter future. "Match.com has been the standard-bearer for the entire online dating industry, so we're excited to team up with them," he said. "I believe working with Match.com will enable us to re-start growth in the business."

Three years have passed, and the company has undergone yet another transformation. The site was rebranded for 2013 as Kiss.com, a sleek, simple, and streamlined dating site better suited to the current online dating climate.

The Kiss.com sign up process begins with an easy fill-in-the-blank questionnaire that makes completing your profile a snap. After you've answered the Mad Libs-style forms, you can then choose the hobbies and interests that most represent you from a selection of cute and colorful cartoon drawings. The list is surprisingly extensive (even pet rocks have an entry!). The same picture-style survey also answers questions about your beliefs regarding politics, religion, and astrology.

Finally, you're given the opportunity to answer in your own words. Two free-response questions let your creativity flow: 'If you only had 4 seconds, what would you say about yourself?' and 'What if you had an hour to describe yourself to someone, what would you say?' If you're not ready to answer every question just yet, you can hit the SKIP button at any point and come back later.

While the look of the site is different, the price structure has barely changed since it was Singlesnet:

  • One month for $24.95
  • Three months for $16.65 per month ($3.00 cheaper)
  • Twelve months for $7.49 per month

Members who choose to upgrade their subscriptions receive better placement in search results, priority access to new features, and unlimited communication with both featured and non-featured members.

Will a makeover prove to be all Kiss.com needs to climb its way back to the top?

Myths About Love – What You Shouldn’t Believe

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While everyone loves a Hollywood ending, in real life, things can get much more complicated and murky. Instead of the leading man and the object of his affection coming together despite all the odds, there is usually a trail of miscommunication, resentment, and mistakes. All too often, it just doesn't work out.

If you're waiting around for your prince to find you like Tom Hanks finds Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle, then you might want to rethink your strategy. Love takes two people actively searching and putting forth the effort. Developing a strong relationship takes time, trust, and courage - not to mention actually meeting first.

Following are some of the other myths about love we could do without:

Emotionally distant men will come around. I know - who didn't think Carrie should pursue her affair with Mr. Big? And let's face it, there is something really sexy about Don Draper. But these are poor examples of worthy men when it comes to finding the right relationship. A man of mystery doesn't know how to give love or communicate, which can lead to frustration, mistrust, and resentment over time. Instead of seeking to turn the bad boy into a loving partner, find a new love.

I want my boyfriend to pursue me. It's very romantic to picture a man running through the streets of New York trying to catch us before we board that plane to London and leave him for good. But is that really plausible? If you are waiting for that moment where your man decides he can't live without you, then you're likely chasing a dream. When a man is truly interested, he makes himself clear. He pursues you, calls you, wants to spend time with you. He doesn't keep you from his friends and family, he looks to incorporate you into his life.

Changing my appearance will help me get a man. Many women go to great lengths with botox injections, breast implants, tummy tucks and lip fillers. But does this really attract a man with long-term potential? Most men find a woman attractive based on her energy and her confidence rather than her size. If you embrace your physical flaws and exude sexiness, you'll be irresistible.

We should just "get" each other. As romantic as it sounds to be able to stare into one another's eyes and know what each other is thinking, this is not the case. Communication is essential in any successful relationship. If you aren't getting your needs met, it's important to speak up instead of thinking he should figure it out. Talking with each other about what you both want creates emotional intimacy.

A New Look For Plenty Of Fish

POF (Plenty of Fish)
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Well, well, well...Plenty of Fish is really determined to make its reputation makeover a success, isn't it?

The site announced a new look on its blog over the weekend:

The header looks much more modern now. Is this the first of many cosmetic changes? Stay tuned.

POF has never been my cup of tea, but my curiosity was piqued enough to take a look. The changes aren't huge - it's more of a subtle nip/tuck than an entire facelift - but they're a step in the right direction. The new site looks cleaner and more modern than older versions, an adjustment it's needed since forever.

Why did it take so long for POF to join the modern era of dating? No idea. Does it still have a long way to go? Undoubtedly. But am I happy to see them inching towards becoming a dating site I might actually consider using? Of course.

It all started a couple of months ago when POF CEO Markus Frind announced plans to refocus the mission of the dating site. "In sticking with my vision that POF is all about Relationships," he wrote in a message to customers, "I'm going to make a bunch of changes to ensure it stays a relationship-focused site." Three modifications were implemented:

  1. Any first contact between users containing sexual references was banned and automatically not sent by the site.
  2. An age requirement went into effect, allowing users to contact people +/- 14 years of their age only.
  3. The Intimate Encounters section of the site was removed.

Admittedly, I was skeptical. Plenty of Fish was one of the first dating sites I ever explored, and it was nearly enough to turn me off online dating for good. I wasn't interested in the people POF seemed to attract, and I couldn't stand the look of the site. It was cluttered and ugly - nothing like the sleek, clean, easy-to-navigate competition.

And now? Well...it's hard to shake the old feelings about POF completely, but I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. The new look is definitely an improvement. It's clearly still Plenty of Fish, but it's a better-looking version that seems to be designed for the more serious dater. And it sounds like more aesthetic tweaks are on the way that might make it even better.

The question is: will a cosmetic makeover, combined with Frind's changes to the workings of the site, be enough to bring POF on par with dating's major players?

For our full review on this dating site you should take a look at our Plenty of Fish page.

4 Reasons to Say “Yes” to a Second Date

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Our dating lives are primarily driven by chemistry. We search for that elusive instant spark, and if we're not feeling it within the first few minutes of the date, many times we check out mentally and emotionally. We dismiss a date without even trying to get to know him.

There's a big difference between a good date and a good relationship. While a man might appear funny, charming, and sexy at the beginning, later on you might find him to be non-committal, a player, or otherwise not relationship material. The only way you can find out if someone is good relationship material is through actually getting to know him.

Most people are awkward and a little unsure on the first date. And if they get the vibe that you're not into them, then the awkwardness intensifies. He will either try to oversell himself to compensate for your lack of interest, or he'll withdraw. Neither of these scenarios means that you will be more attracted to him. But have you given him a real chance? Probably not.

Instead of writing him off, take a step back. The majority of women say that they married a man who they weren't at first attracted to - which means that they gave someone a chance even if he didn't blow them away from the start. And then they found lasting love.

Following are five reasons to say yes to a second date:

He's not your type - and that might be a good thing. If you tend to be attracted to the same type of man but it hasn't yet worked out for you, isn't it worth it to date someone totally different? You might find that the men you are typically attracted to are great daters, but lousy partners. You can't know whether someone will love and respect you until you have dated and gotten to know each other. Real, lasting relationships take time to build. And when you're with the right person, it doesn't fizzle out. It only gets stronger.

The first date was fine, but not exciting. If you found a first date to be just okay, that he was "nice enough," then consider giving him a fair shot and agreeing to a second date. Remember: you aren't dating him exclusively - you are still meeting men. But giving each of your dates a fair shot means that it's important to take your time and see how things unfold between you. Finding love requires patience as well as perseverance.

It can't hurt. This goes without saying. What's the harm in agreeing to a second date? Maybe it will go nowhere, but maybe he will surprise you.

Chemistry doesn't mean long-term potential. I know people will disagree on this, but there is too much weight placed on instant attraction. What matters more is someone's honesty, respect for you, and kindness - none of which can really be assessed on the first or even the second date. It takes time. Isn't it worth it to get to know someone who possesses these qualities?

Match.com Introduces Offline Game Nights

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The trajectory of online dating has been interesting, to say the least. When online dating services launched, they were the future - a whole new way of meeting people that was conducted entirely over the Internet.

Now that the vast majority of us are comfortable with the idea of online dating, the industry is changing again, and this time it's moving offline. The new trend in online dating is in-person events that forego using the World Wide Web entirely. The latest of these social gatherings is an offline game night hosted by Match.com.

Match is no stranger to online dating innovation. The 18-year-old company introduced Stir, an offline events program, in May 2012 and has since hosted more than 2,850 mixers with more than 225,000 singles in attendance. Around the same time, Match also introduced an online games feature that offered singles a new way to get to know each other.

The games were designed to be a quick (just one to five minutes) and easy way to engage with new people. The initial seven games included Best & Worst, Food Critic, Romance Rip Off, Name That Dance, Gut Reaction, Drawn Together, and If I Could. Match's recent launch combines the playfulness of the online games with the huge success of Stir events, bringing them together into offline Stir Game Nights in partnership with the board game industry.

Match describes its new foray into offline events as "less about strategy and competition and more about laughing and having fun together." Two types of events are planned. At the first, Game Night Mashups, facilitators will lead participating singles through the games. At the second, Game Night Happy Hours, singles will borrow from a library of games to play on their own. Several publishers have partnered with the dating site, including Buffalo Games, Bananagrams, Blue Orange Games, and Wiggity Bang Games.

"Match.com believes that connecting with new people should be fun," said Luke Zaientz, VP of Events at Match.com. "Over the last year, we've seen it happen time and time again at our Stir events -- whether it's during a game of kickball, trivia, Ping-Pong or at our first wildly successful game night. We're excited to help our members connect over some of the best board games around, from well-known titles to the industry's newest hidden gems."

The full list of participating games includes:

  • Bananagrams: Bananagrams, Zip-It
  • Buffalo Games: Last Word, Likewise!, Chronology, Gotcha!
  • Endless Games: Name 5, Oddly Obvious
  • Blue Orange Games: Spot It!
  • Spontuneous Games: Spontuneous
  • Wiggity Bang Games: Open Up
  • Marbles the Brain Store: Touchy Feely, Splickety Lit, Mind Your Marbles

Stir Game Nights will be hosted at bars and restaurants throughout the summer and fall.