Prepare Yourself For A Brand New POF

POF (Plenty of Fish)
  • Contributed by:
  • Views: 1,212

Let's face it: when you think of finding love online, you don't think of POF.com. Though the site started out with good intentions, it's now known as a seedy den of no-strings-attached hookups and dubiously real profiles.

But that's all about to change. Markus Frind, CEO and Founder of PlentyOfFish.com, is taking radical action to revamp the site and restore its reputation.

"When I created POF," he said in an email to users, "I wanted it to be all about finding relationships with the right person. For the first 7 years this worked really well, I got the site to 10 million users without any employees and POF was generating a ton of relationships." Then the smartphone became the most popular technological gadget in the world, and online dating changed.

"Today about 70% of POF use is via a mobile phone," Frind explained, "and unfortunately about 2% of men started to use POF as more of a hookup site mostly due the casual nature of cell phone use." Displeased with the turn his site has taken, Frind is determined to give POF a makeover.

To bring the site back to his original vision, Frind is making three major changes:

  1. Any first contact between users that is sexual in nature will not be sent. Users who try to skirt the new rule will automatically be deleted from the site's database with no warning. Frind says that this rule has already been in effect, and has noticeably improved the site.
  2. Contact can only happen between users with an age difference of 14 years or under. "There is no reason for a 50 year old man to contact an 18 year old women," said Frind. "The majority of messages sent outside those age ranges are all about hookups." The same automatic deletion policy also applies to this new rule.
  3. The "Intimate Encounters and Married" users of the site will no longer exist. Of the 3.3 million people who use POF daily, Frind notes, only 6,041 are single women looking for intimate encounters - and of those 6,041 women, most are men pretending to be women.

Frind promises that the vast majority of POF users will not be affected by the changes taking place. Those who are using the site as he intended - to find real, lasting relationships - will barely be impacted, other than by a welcome decrease in spammy, sex-seeking messages.

The old POF was the most popular free dating site in the country. Can the new POF live up to the success of its predecessor? Post your own Plenty of Fish review and let us know.

Host of The Bachelor Releases Video Dating App

At First Sight
  • Contributed by:
  • Views: 1,147

One thing is certain when it comes to meeting potential dates: we've never had more options than we do right now. Between online dating, mobile dating apps, and video dating, it's easy to communicate with someone new.

And while online dating remains the most popular way to meet, more and more people are gravitating towards their phones for help in dating, so new apps are coming out all the time, each with a different spin.

Chris Harrison, the popular host of the TV show The Bachelor thinks video dating provides a great alternative to going on dozens of coffee dates just to see what someone is like. He recently released a video dating app called At Fist Sight that centers around video profiles. He claims that his app allows daters a deeper look at each other, one that can't be captured through static pictures, emails, or even a traditional online dating profile.

He discovered the power of video while working for the hit reality show, seeing firsthand how casting decisions are made based on the sense you get from each contestant through their video profiles. He reasoned that if he provided this kind of power to other daters out there, they would be able to make more informed choices.

At First Sight is similar to online dating in that it matches people according to an algorithm, based on mutual interests and compatible personalities. And if you're interested specifically in the still-single reality stars from the TV show, Harrison told the L.A. Times there might be Bachelor or Bachelorette contestants becoming members in the near future. He also doesn't rule out casting for future shows based on who signs up for the service.

But At First Sight isn't the only video-friendly dating app. Date.FM bills itself to be the first dating app to include video chat. If you're interested in someone, you can also start chatting (virtually) face-to-face immediately. With Flikdate, you can video chat for up to 90 seconds with people around the world, moving on to the next with a flick of your screen.

At First Sight is available on both Android and iOS devices. While the app doesn't yet have the capability of video chatting, you could still access members via Skype or Google hangout. There are also instant messaging and social features as part of the app.

Right now, At First Sight is free and in the beta stage so if you want to check it out, I encourage you to do so. They are still in the process of building a user base, so it may eventually come with a price tag.

Study on Speed Dating finds what Cues Help People Connect

General News
  • Contributed by:
  • Views: 1,065

Do you believe in love at first sight? Maybe you don't, but according to researchers at Stanford University, it is possible to form a connection in the four minutes given for a speed dating round. It just depends on what you say, and how you say it.

No pressure right? Stanford researchers studied some 1,000 speed dating sessions to determine what helped couples to instantly click, and what assured that they didn't.

According to researchers Dan McFarland and Dan Jurafski in an interview with Stanford News, there is a great deal of uncertainty about the meaning of signals we send to other people, and the role those signals play in helping to form connections.

McFarland states: "We wanted to see if there is anything about the interaction that matters or is it really just what I look like, what I do, what my motivation is. Is it all things that are psychological or in my head or is there actually something in how we hit it off?...We wanted to get at what the essence of the connection is, what makes people feel like they bonded."

Not surprisingly, women were seen to be more selective than men.

Participants in the study wore audio recording devices during their dates. Each was asked to fill out a "scorecard" to assess each date and whether or not they would want to go out again. Participants were also asked to fill out pre and post-date surveys.

The dates were transcribed and the words and speech patterns were analyzed to see if they corresponded with a feeling of connection among the men and women.

Their analysis found that words do matter, as well as how they are delivered. Women reported feeling connected with a man who used language to indicate that what she said was interesting. A simple acknowledgement like, "oh that's cool" could go a long way in making the woman feel connected.

Daters also seemed to click when one expressed enthusiasm or excitement for what the other person was saying. There was a greater connection if the other person interrupted with an enthusiastic agreement.

"This is a situation in life where women have the power, women get to decide. So talking about the empowered party is a sensible strategy toward feeling connected," McFarland said.

One thing both sides agreed on: asking a lot of questions indicated a lack of connection. This pattern was used mostly to avoid a lag in the conversation.

The study, "Making the Connection: Social Bonding in Courtship Situations," was published this month in the American Journal of Sociology.

What Martha Stewart Means For Online Dating

Match.com
  • Contributed by:
  • Views: 1,946

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

Match.com
  • Contributed by:
  • Views: 1,542

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

Reviews
  • Contributed by:
  • Views: 1,077

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."