Choosing A Mate: There’s An App For That

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When you want to travel, you turn to TripAdvisor for reviews of hotels, flights, and vacation rentals. When you're looking for a new book to take poolside this summer, you read Amazon's reader reviews. When you want a romantic restaurant for a date or a good movie to see with your family, you ask the users of Yelp or Rotten Tomatoes for their advice.

It was only a matter of time before someone started asking: "Why should dating be any different?"

A new crop of apps and websites is popping up to close the gap between online dating and your favorite review sites. Why take your chances with date, when you could read the thoughts of other "users" first? Just think of all the trouble you could save!

A site called ExRated is leading the pack. ExRated's mission is to "empower singles by giving them character reviews of potential dates, and allow them to express themselves through multiple choice reviews designed to help them realize what went wrong in the past and how to make the right dating choices in the future."

ExRated users can search a date's name to see their rating, from 1 to 5 stars, and any reviews that have been posted. Becoming a member is free - all that's required is to write a review of an ex. If a review of the same person already exists, you're automatically linked as friends to the review's writer. If that's not one of the most interesting ways to build your social network out there today, I don't know what is!

Or maybe you're not interested in dishing on an ex. Maybe you're on the rebound instead, in which case you need this aptly-named site: On The Rebound. Here's how it works:

  1. You choose a love interest who's single on Facebook.
  2. On The Rebound analyzes their Facebook relationship history.
  3. The site lets you know the perfect time to ask them out.

Or maybe you want a more social experience than statistics and a rebound rating. In that case you may be looking for Lulu - a "database of men, built by women, for women" - or its guy-centric companion app, LuluDude. Lulu users can read and write reviews of the men in their lives, which are pulled from a variety of tools, questionnaires, and fun features.

On LuluDude, men can get general feedback about where they stand compared to other men. They can find tips and insight into the mysterious world of women, or they can upload their own photos and enlist their female friends to give their ratings a boost.

There really is an app for everything.

Keeping Your Ex out of Your Online Life

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Maybe you've stalked your ex's Facebook page from time to time looking for evidence of a new girlfriend or to see how much time he spends partying with his friends. Perhaps you've also gone through your Instagram pictures to try and relive those old memories of when you were together. Or maybe you've wanted all evidence of him to just disappear, but pictures and comments still keep cropping up unexpectedly when you're reading Facebook posts from your friends or updating your status.

Break-ups are hard, but getting over your ex emotionally and physically is now just one part of the equation. Thanks to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we also have to think about how to erase those memories from our digital history.

There are a few things you can do to be more proactive in letting go of your ex's social media presence. It just takes some tools and a lot of courage. And of course a good app to help you actually do it. (There's an app for anything, right?)

An app called Killswitch allows you to identify your ex in your lineup of Facebook friends when you download it. Instead of you doing the emotional dirty work, the app sifts through your timeline history and relevant posts and deletes them. So, mission accomplished with no regrets. (And if you happen to get back together, the app also has a reversal mechanism which saves those files in one location.)

You can also unfriend him. This will keep him out of your Facebook interactions going forward, but you still might need to clear him out of your history. Just stay clear of your timeline and delete the pictures that you've posted - delete the items you have control over.

Refrain from mentioning him online. I know it's tempting to list all of the things he said or did that were hurtful, or share with your friends what a player he was, but don't. Your ex isn't up for a public discussion/ dissection over Facebook. For one thing, this won't help you move on - it will only convince you to spend way more time thinking about him than you should.

One last helpful approach is to take a leave from Facebook for a few weeks, until you feel more centered after a break-up. While it might be difficult to stop posting or reading about your friends, keeping your Facebook account at bay will also prevent you from stalking your ex's page. If you don't want to go cold turkey, then find another social media space that he doesn't use, like Pinterest. There are plenty of options out there if you want to get distracted.

2012 Singles In America Report: Sex, Romance, And Marriage

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As the largest and most comprehensive national study of Americans' romantic lives, Match.com's annual 'Singles in America' report gives unprecedented access to the minds, hearts, and bedrooms of American daters. The report covers everything from the ways technology and the economy affect our dating habits, to the ways our concepts of romance and commitment have evolved over time.

This year's Singles In America report tackled the topics of sexting, long-term love, and the myths of marriage. Amongst other things, the study found:

  • Sex doesn't end at the altar. 41% of married couples had sex at least once a week in 2012, and married people - of both genders - think about sex more frequently than single people do.
  • Sex isn't the only thing that survives after marriage - romance does, too. More than 80% of married men and women say they would marry the same person again if they had the opportunity. 76% of men and 73% of women say they are still very much in love with their spouses.
  • Marriage also continues to survive, despite many thinking it is an outdated practice. Over the last three years, singles' optimism about marriage has steadily increased (76% in 2010, 78% in 2011, 90% in 2012).
  • Singles are sometimes better communicators. Single men (66%) and single women (68%) are more likely to discuss concerns around intimacy than married couples. 20% of married women say they would do nothing if they were unsatisfied with their sexual relationship, compared to only 11% of single women.
  • Singles may also be more generous lovers. 97% of singles say it's more important to satisfy their partners in bed than to be satisfied themselves.
  • Sex is important at any age. 30% of singles over the age of 70 and 25% of singles in their 60s say more sex would make them happier. In comparison, 28% in their 20s and 27% in their 30s say the same.
  • Old traditions die hard. Nearly half (48%) of men say they want to be introduced to a date's parents before becoming exclusive. 35% of women agree that they want to meet a date's family before taking any major steps towards commitment.
  • Marriage is not the end of your social life, despite what you may have heard. Singles and married people actually have considerably similar social lives: 52% of singles and 46% of married people go out 1-3 times per week. Married folks say having an independent schedule is the only thing they really miss about the single life.

For more data from the Singles In America study, click here and to find out more about the dating service that released this report you can take a look at out Match.com review.

Plenty of fish Forums Gone.. Again!

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A concerned visitor sent me an email the other day asking what has happened to the Plenty of fish forums? Did they shut down? I was like oh no not again, they have done something to the forums on POF. I still noticed the forums coming up in the search results so I visited forums.plentyoffish.com directly and was greeted with a nasty server run time error.

Now I know a bit about web servers and this is a Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) error. This is not good (see the full explanation below) because it indicates to me that the files for the Plenty of fish forum website has been removed. After further investigation it looks like this may have happened at least a week ago, since visitors have been searching our site about the Plenty of fish forums being removed for that long.

I am surprised that POF hasn’t addressed the problem. They must know about it as I am sure a large number of people have already complained about the issue as it has been a week now already. Also the POF forums are still very popular even though they are not directly linked to the main POF.com site anymore (I think POF wants to slowly kill the forums). What has me puzzled though is if they had plan to stop providing the forum, why not remove the website and domain record all together or at least display a nice message about the situation and the reason for the removal (which would take 2 minutes to do). Displaying a runtime error isn’t very professional. Heck even a redirect to the main POF dating site would have been better.

Update: After checking the POF forums off and on for the last hour it appears that this is an intermediate problem. About half the time I get a runtime error, about a quarter of the time I get some other one line text error and for the other quarter of the time the forums actually work. As I said before this has been happening for at least a week since others have reported on it.

I have a thought, let’s start a campaign to see if we can get Plenty of fish to fix the forums. I am going to tweet about this story on Twitter using the hashtag #FixForumsOnPOF. If you want POF to keep the forums alive like I do, then re-tweet my tweet or post your own using the hashtag. Maybe if POF is listening they will do something about it and fix the problem with the forums. 😊

In the meantime since you can’t use the POF forums all of the time you are more than welcome to post your relationship and online dating questions and observations in our dating forums. We have a number of forum categories you can post in about a whole pile of different topics.

So, what does the runtime IIS error mean that most people seem to be getting? It actually is 2 errors in one. The web server is complaining first about their not being a custom error file in the location specified to display to visitors when an error happens. The second error actually triggered the first error. The second error is harder to figure out since the current error message is all about the first error. The second error is some sort of application error which could be anything from the actual website files not being available to a coding error in the requested web file. Since an error message is displayed it does indicate that webserver is working properly and that there is nothing wrong with the domain record.

If you are looking for a popular free dating site to try and want some more information then you should read our Plenty of fish review.

The Latest Way To Meet Your Match: Google Knowledge Graph

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Seriously, is there anything Google doesn't do?

The mega-company already manages every other aspect of your life, so why not add one more? A new online dating service is hoping to help users skip the awkwardness of first date small talk using Google's Knowledge Graph.

The Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base used by Google to enhance its search engine's capabilities using semantic-search information gathered from a wide variety of sources. Loveflutter.com, a London-based startup, is planning to harness the power of Google's latest innovation using Freebase.com, part of the Knowledge Graph, to discover matching and similar interests between two people. By bringing together like-minded people with common interests, Loveflutter hopes to eliminate those bad dates when you have nothing to talk about.

Loveflutter users can either import their interests from Facebook or add them manually. Loveflutter then uses the information to create a real-time interest graph and match users based on correlating keywords. If you're into Victorian literature, Loveflutter will pair you with people who list Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde as favorite authors. If you're into fantasy flicks, you'll be matched with users who say they love the Lord of the Rings films.

Once you've connected to a partner with potential, Loveflutter streamlines the dating experience even more by using Foursquare to set up your first date. Click on the "Suggest-a-Date" feature and the site will recommend date locations that are equidistant from you and your upcoming date. The site can even pair you up based on what bars, restaurants, or other hangouts the two of you frequent, instead of based on where you live.

In the future, Loveflutter plans to boost the "Suggest-a-Date" feature by including places based on both individuals' interests, and give users the option to book or make reservations. They also plan to launch a smartphone app later in the year.

"Loveflutter takes the nervousness out of online dating and helps people get on their first date," Daigo Smith, one of Loveflutter's co-founders, told Mashable. "Using the interest graph as the matching foundation makes it easier to break the ice on your first date because you'll have more to talk about."

For now, access to the site is free, but pay-as-you-go or unlimited monthly membership charges do apply to use Loveflutter's features and send messages. The pay-as-you-go membership requires a $5 activation credit and costs $0.50 to send a message. The premium membership, which offers unlimited access to all features and messaging, costs $29.99/month.

2012 Singles In America Report: Dating In A Digital World

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For this year's annual 'Singles In America' study, Match.com teamed up with world-renowned biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher of Rutgers University. The findings of the comprehensive study debunk common dating myths and paint a comprehensive picture of dating in the modern age.

"The media portrays long-term love and commitment as being doomed," says Dr. Fisher. "Sexting, new attitudes about virginity, the rise of 'friends with benefits,' emerging 'Internet etiquette' and women's rising roles in courtship all presage a dramatically new dating landscape. But even the bad economy can't kill love."

When it comes to dating in a digital world, the 'Singles In America' study has this to say:

  • Many women research a date ahead of time, but men don't approve of pre-date Googling. 48% of single women (and 38% of single men) admit to looking a new date up on Facebook before meeting for the first time. Although social 'stalking' is increasingly commonplace, nearly half of all single men (49%) think it's unacceptable.
  • Not only is dating presearch becoming more common and controversial, it's also becoming a weightier factor in who we date. 49% of women and 27% of men would cancel a first date over something they found while looking up the person online.
  • Clearly it's important that we all learn to put our best face [book] forward. 27% of single men and 26% of single women say they have cleaned up their Facebook profiles before accepting friend requests from potential suitors (or say they would do so in the future).
  • If current trends continue, privacy may be a thing of the past. 77% of women and 53% of men believe in digital transparency, saying they would not date someone who was secretive with their text messages.
  • Younger singles are the most likely to snoop. Singles in their 20s are most likely to become digital detectives, searching through a partner's Facebook page (29%), text messages (26%), and email (18%). Older singles, in their 30s and 40s, are more likely to snoop through a partner's medicine cabinet, and nearly ¼ of all female singles, regardless of age, admit to searching a date's pocket, drawers, or closets.

Though they may sound less than ideal, Dr. Fisher thinks the changes are ultimately for the best. "Despite all we hear about hooking up and divorce," she reassures, "we now have significant data that shows American singles (including men) are earnestly seeking respect, trust, transparency and commitment in a relationship. Over the three years of this study, women have consistently wanted more independence, while men have expressed more interest in romance. Nevertheless, both sexes believe a relationship can last, and both continue their primordial drive to find and keep love."

To find out more about the service which created this report you can read our Match.com review.