What Martha Stewart Means For Online Dating

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The world changed forever on the day Martha Stewart came out in favor of online dating.

I know, I know...it sounds like I'm exaggerating, but I'm really not. Just think about it: what did Martha Stewart stand for before she stood for online dating? Healthy recipes. DIY. Ideas for entertaining. Crafts. Gardening. Kmart. Home décor. Doilies. Assorted other 'good things.'

In other words, Stewart built a multi-million dollar empire on being the most boring, average woman on the planet (other than the insider trading thing, but let's not go there). When a woman like that says online dating is the way to go, no one is ever going to look at online dating the same way again.

It all started with an interview with Matt Lauer. Stewart told the "Today" host that she loves dating, but hasn't yet found "Mr. Right." Her first attempt to take her search online didn't end as planned - she made it halfway through setting up a Match.com profile before abandoning the pursuit in a fit of laughter.

Fortunately, Match.com came to the rescue and posted a profile for Stewart. She's looking for someone "active and fit and healthy and good looking," who doesn't hate children or animals, smoke, or drink to excess. She's also on the lookout for "a nice smile, a nice appetite for good things... a nice person who's also funny and witty and smart and hopefully rich enough."

It might sound like a long list of requirements, but the 20,000 pageviews the profile received in the first few days prove that quite a few men are willing to take on the challenge of dating Martha Stewart. She narrowed a pool of 1,000 suitors down to two men who joined her on "Today" for an interview (and you think your first dates are awkward!).

When Martha Stewart is happy to discuss her online dating exploits with the nation, it's clear that the stigma surrounding it is finally gone. Online dating is so much more than socially awkward loners in their parents' basements...it's an opportunity for everyone, regardless of age, to expand their horizons and open their love lives to partners they may never have met otherwise.

If Martha's into it, it must officially be normal, cool, and mainstream (except the doilies...that will never be cool).

In other words, stereotypes are out. Online dating is in. And now everyone knows it.

What do you think...is Martha Stewart's Match.com profile 'a good thing' for online dating?

For more information on the dating site Match.com you can read our review.

Match CEO Reveals How Love Is Predicted Online

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If anyone knows how online love works, it's Sam Yagan. Not only is Yagan the co-founder of OkCupid, he also runs all of Match Inc for IAC. Put it all together and Yagan is pretty much the most powerful man in the online dating biz.

Love is confusing at the best of times. Factor in online dating algorithms, which are so inscrutable that they might as well be matching prospective lovers with some kind of ancient magic, and the mystery of love gets even deeper. I know, at least once, you've wondered: How does it all work?

Business Insider asked Sam Yagan to shed some light on the inner workings of an online dating site. First, he noted, every dating site matches a little bit differently. That's why it's great for a company like IAC to have so many dating companies in its portfolio, and that's why it might be a good idea for you to be on more than one dating site. Each site opens you to a different world of romantic possibilities.

In spite of those differences, there's one thing every dating site has in common: the goal is to find you a good first date. After that, it's up to you and chemistry to take the relationship further.

Online dating sites start by filtering out incompatible partners based on characteristics that Yagan calls "hard filters." Age and location are the primary hard filters, followed by dealbreakers like smoking habits and children. Only when hard filters overlap does a dating site's algorithm take over to analyze other factors, like interests and hobbies.

Billions of data points are calculated to find potential matches for a user. Some are explicitly entered by the user, like religion and favorite pastimes. Others - and arguably the more important ones - are determined implicitly. Every dating site tracks the activity of its users to determine what they really want in a partner.

Yagan says that one of the great surprises of working in the online dating industry was the realization that people don't always know what's important to them. He offers politics as an example - though some politically passionate online daters say they could never date someone with opposing political views, Yagan finds that that's frequently not the case in practice. People are often wrong about themselves.

For that reason, it's imperative that online dating sites keep careful watch over users' activity. What profiles are you really clicking on? Who do you send messages to? Where do you spend the most time on the site?

By analyzing your behavior, a dating site develops a more accurate picture of the date you really want to meet. And because online dating brings together people who would never have met in the real world, it offers greater odds of finding that perfect partner.

For more information, you can read our review of the dating site Match.com

Online Dating For The College Campus

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Before Facebook was the site we know and love (mostly) today, it was Facemash: a Hot or Not-like site for Harvard students that compiled pictures from the online Facebooks of nine houses and encouraged users to rate them.

A later version of the site located at thefacebook.com was a small social networking service for Harvard students only. By March 2004, the site had expanded to Stanford, Columbia, and Yale. Other Ivy League schools, as well as Boston University, New York University, and MIT, soon followed. By 2005, it had spread to most universities in Canada and the US, and dropped "The" from its name.

The newly rebranded Facebook.com remained limited to college students until it opened to high school students in September 2005, and finally to everyone aged 13 and over a year later. Though the many iterations of the site were different, a common thread ran through most of them: students.

DateMySchool.com is picking up where Facebook left off. With Facebook no longer limited to students, two Columbia University MBA students, Balazs Alexa and Jean Meyer, saw an opportunity. They founded DateMySchool in 2010, after a woman in the Columbia School of Social Work complained that there were too few men in her department.

DateMySchool helps students and alumni connect with other verified students and alumni. "No weirdos, no classmates, no relatives, no stalkers, no colleagues, no Facebook," the site promises. The service has now expanded to 230,000 students in 2,800 colleges, and apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android were launched last month.

What sets DateMySchool apart from the competition is its commitment to safety and privacy. Unlike most social networks, which connect you with friends and family, DateMySchool ensures that you can only see and be seen by people you don't know but can trust. That way you'll never have an awkward run-in with someone you know in real life.

Each user must register with an email address that ends in .edu, to verify that they are an alum or a current student. Members are given control over who can access their profiles by filtering through schools, departments, location, age range, and personal attributes according to their preferences. Alexa and Meyer hope that enabling users to control who can and can't see their profiles will minimize online dating's stigma of embarrassment, decrease the likelihood of fake profiles on the site, and increase privacy and safety for members.

So far, the site has been a hit. DateMySchool was About.com's 2012 Readers' Choice Awards for Best College Dating Site and Best Free Dating Site, and claims to be "the largest dating site for college students in the United States."

Dating After Divorce: The Dos

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Divorce does not mean being sentenced to singlehood forever.

Sure, there will be a period when you feel..well...less than stellar about the entire experience. But that's ok. When you come out the other side, the world looks just as rosy as it did before. It might even look a little bit rosier - once you've hit bottom, the only way is up! The end of a bad relationship means that a better relationship is waiting to take its place.

The key to finding that better relationship is to be in an open, receptive state of mind. Negativity breeds negativity, but positivity draws more positivity into your life. After a divorce, it's important to reflect on the good things about your post-split life. Like...

  • Freedom. You can now do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be. There is no fear of judgment, anger, nagging, or reprisals. Enjoy the rare opportunity to think of no one but yourself. Who do you really want to be?
  • Confidence. A bad relationship can be incredibly destructive to your self-esteem, and a split can make it even worse. Use singlehood to get your confidence back, and boost it higher than it was before. You'll come out of your divorce the happiest, most attractive person you have ever been.
  • The silly things. Do you want to have ice cream for dinner? Do it. Do you want to spend a weekend marathoning every episode of a trashy reality show? Savor every second of it without fear of what someone else will think. Do you want to wear the same pair of underwear for a week? Well...that's kinda gross, but there's nothing stopping you.
  • Making peace. Some prefer the clean break. Others prefer to remain friends with their exes, and you may even find that your relationship as friends is better than it was as a couple. Closure, peace, and friendship...what could be better than that combination?
  • Strength. Be proud of what you have endured and overcome. Revel in your strength and capacity for growth. Acknowledge the incredible power that comes with knowing you are independent and happy.

And, most importantly...

  • The future. Just because one relationship didn't work out, doesn't mean that another one won't. Ending a relationship that isn't working for you means opening yourself up to a relationship that will. Now that you've moved on from an unhealthy situation, you can find the love you really want and deserve.

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Username

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When it comes to online dating, you only get one chance to make a good virtual first impression. Members scroll through matches at a pretty rapid pace, so it's important to make yourself stand out from the crowd. (But not in a bad way!)

Pictures are important, but equally as important - and often completely overlooked or discounted - is the impression you make with your username. A great username captures attention, is memorable, and reflects who you are, at least in some way. But too often, we are afraid to be too creative or we want to pretend to be something we're not, so the username is the first to suffer the consequences.

If you're looking for a good username but are a little stuck creatively, don't worry. Use these guidelines and you'll come up with something great:

Don't go generic. While Carl1021 may not be taken, it's also not likely to create a lasting impression. Using your real name is fine, but instead of adding numbers (in this case, a birth date) that can be easily forgotten or transposed (Carl2010?), try something a little more creative. "VeganChefCarl" is much more likely to get you noticed. Try something that plays to your personality instead.

Refrain from alluding to sex. I'm not sure why this is, but many men on online dating sites make vague references (or in some cases, very explicit) to sex or sexual preferences. Please don't do this - these are women you don't know and your friend can't vouch for you to total strangers. Besides, it makes you really unattractive. "KeepYouUpAllNight" is probably not the best way to go. Have a little class.

Don't brag. It's nice to be confident, but you'll come across as arrogant if you turn your username into a selling tool. "BillionaireEntrepreneur" isn't going to win you any fans, and neither is "AbsOfSteelStan." Stick to more realistic (and less arrogant) descriptions. Don't brag about looks or income.

Tie it in with a picture. I advise people to always include an "active" photo - one that shows you doing something, instead of just smiling at the camera. Do you play guitar? Rock climb? Sail or kayak? Think about what it is you love to do, and convey this in your profile with both pictures and words. Then choose your username as a tie-in, (i.e. "DenverMountainBiker"). This helps create a distinct impression for those flipping through profiles.

Keep it real, not romantic. While I'm sure every girl at some point wants her "KnightInShiningArmor" to come along, don't advertise yourself this way. "YourDreamMan" isn't so hot, either. Let us women have the romantic ideas, and you stick to who you are. Don't try to sell us with how wonderful you'd be in a relationship, especially when you're advertising it to thousands of other women. Woo us individually, and choose another username.

Dating After Divorce: The Don’ts

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You and your spouse have split up. You took some time to yourself, and now you're ready to dip your toe back into the dating pool. Maybe you even have someone special in mind.

But you're nervous. It's been a long time since you last played the dating game, and you're worried you might have forgotten some of the rules. It's ok if you feel a little out of your depth right now. You aren't the first person to have to navigate dating after divorce, and you certainly won't be the last.

What you need is a refresher course, a few short lessons on the dos and don'ts of dating to get you back on your feet. Let's start with the don'ts:

  1. Don't be afraid of judgment. Are you that person who orders a salad for dinner because you're afraid of what your date will think if you order the steak? Order that steak and stop worrying about it. If a steak-eater is who you really are, that's the person your date should meet. It doesn't do either of you any good to pretend to be someone you're not.
  2. Don't stay glued to your smartphone. Emergency calls get a pass, but all other communication can wait. What good is a date if you spend half of it texting your friends and the other half live tweeting about the date's progress? Put the phone away or don't bother leaving home in the first place.
  3. Don't get lost in the past. You will be tempted to compare your date to your ex. Resist the temptation. Leave the past in the past, and focus on the exciting future that could be in front of you.
  4. And speaking of exes...don't make them the main topic of your dinner conversation. You're moving on, so sound like you're actually ready to do so. Nothing says "needy," "unstable," or "not over the past" like rambling on and on about your ex. There may be things that need to be said about your previous relationships, but the first date is not the time to say them. Save those conversations for later on.
  5. Don't rush. You may still be feeling vulnerable at this point. You may find yourself longing to be in a relationship again, and that may make you take steps you're not yet ready to take. There's no hurry. Don't enter a first date expecting anything more than an entertaining evening. The future can wait.\

And most importantly...don't be too hard on yourself. It will all fall into place if you stay focused on learning about yourself, meeting new people, and having fun.