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Merav Knafo

Merav Knafo

Merav Knafo is the co-founder of, She's a Usability expert, a web product designer, technologist and an active online dating user.

The Aurora killer had a profile. What does that tell you?

James Holmes The Match.Com Profile

James Holmes
The Match.Com Profile

The Aurora killer had a profile. What does that tell you?

TMZ has reported recently that James Holmes, who killed twelve people in the Batman premiere last week, had a profile. He described himself as an agnostic student looking for a “sexy time.” removed his profile as soon as they learned about it but you can see a screen capture of it here.

I’m sure Match is sweating over this PR disaster. They’re probably having strategy meetings right now about how to recover from this. But is it the site’s fault? Would it have helped if they had had background checks in place? doesn’t screen its members, and even if they did, they couldn’t guarantee that psychopaths wouldn’t make the cut.

Background checks can help eliminate people with a criminal background but they can’t stop people with no criminal history like this murderer. How can possibly know what someone will do in the future? If someone can get a gun, he can get a dating site profile.

You and only you are in charge of your destiny.

It’s up to online daters to read between the lines of a dating site profile. We have to use our gut feelings and our instincts. In this particular case, it was easy! James Holmes’ profile headline was:

“Will you visit me in prison?”

He knew he was about to do something that would put him behind bars.

So tip #1 is: Don’t ignore suspicious headlines.

Sure, you could dismiss a headline like that as a sign of a kooky sense of humor. But he could be serious and with so many other options online, why take a chance? This kind of a headline is a HUGE red flag.

(And on the flip side, when you’re creating your own profile, don’t use a headline that could raise eyebrows. Create curiosity. Summarize your life. But don’t wave a bright red flag.)

Here’s another example of a headline that should raise your suspicions. This is a real headline that… ahem, a “friend” of mine answered:

“One in a million.”

That headline could simply indicate confidence. In this case though it turned out to be a sign of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. People with this psychiatric problem often have grandiose tendencies. They tend to overplay their accomplishments and think very highly of themselves. (You can read more about dating a narcissist and how to avoid it here.)

So while you’re keeping an eye out for mass murderers and wannabe jailbirds, pay attention to signs of an arrogant attitude or people who claim they are the best thing in the universe. They could end up being the worst thing you ever dated.

Headlines aren’t the only place you should look for red flags though…

Tip #2: Read the rest of the profile carefully. ALL of it!

Pay attention to:

  • Baggage – Does the profile mention how hard it was to get divorced or what a psycho their ex wife was or how hard it is to date or how all women are gold diggers? Run, baby run! It’s too much baggage for anyone to handle!
  • Life attitude – What’s their take on life? Do they complain and blame everybody else for their problems? Are they pessimistic? Do they feel limited in what they can accomplish?  Or are they upbeat, optimistic and responsible? Those are views on life; make sure they match yours.
  • Values – What kind of values does the profile show? What do they care about most? If they emphasis that they are looking for someone “fit” or someone who “models” or “used to model” you can see that appearance is very important to them. What would happen if you were to gain a few extra pounds and a couple of wrinkles? There is more to someone than just how they look. Can they see it? Will they see it in you?
  • Occupation – This is a lifestyle issue. If the person behind the profile works 9-to-5 in a cubicle and you’re a free-spirited entrepreneur, you could have a lifestyle conflict. You might want to go for someone who is as free as you are. If they do art and are a bit on the dreamy side, but you’re super logical, you could run into frustration down the road. You might want someone more grounded.
  • Income – if you’re hoping for plenty of vacations and five-star hotels, don’t pick the guy or gal who makes less than $15,000 a year — unless of course, you don’t mind paying for everything. It’s not about being shallow; it’s about compatibility. You should find someone who matches your spending power.
  • Pets – Notice what they write about their furry, feathered or scaly friends. Is their dog their best pal who sleeps with them in the same bed? Do they have more than two cats… as well as twenty birds and a neckload of snakes? If you feel the same way, you’re match. Otherwise…

Reading someone’s profile can’t tell you everything about them but it can reveal a lot. Read the profile a few times. Pay attention to everything they write and even more importantly, notice how the profile feels in your gut. Your intuition can say NO even when their profile is perfectly written. It can also say YES when the profile doesn’t match your expectations.

If you find this article helpful, please share it with your friends, it can help them avoid meeting the wrong person online.


The most important thing you need to know…get good dating profile pictures

Having  great dating profile pictures is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how with great online dating photos we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

Are you dating a Narcissist?

To most people, a “narcissist” is just someone vain and self-absorbed, a man or woman obsessed with their appearance and confident to the point of arrogance. But a narcissist can be a lot more than that. They might well be suffering from a psychiatric disorder called Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) — and to someone dating them and trying to win some of the love the narcissist keeps for him or herself, that can be a real problem.

This disorder is widespread. It’s estimated to affect at least one person in 100, both men and women. It’s not unreasonable to believe that the guy you (eventually) dismissed as an “asshole” or the girl who left you wondering about women’s reputation as the gentler sex was, in fact, suffering from a mental disorder.

There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable... I simply am not there.

“…there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable… I simply am not there.” (American Psycho)

The beginning

A relationship with a narcissist usually starts well. Narcissists can look great on paper. They tend to be attractive, charming and really committed to meeting “the one.” A narcissistic man often tell his new girlfriend that she is “the woman of their dream”; women tell their boyfriends that they were “meant to be,” making him feel very special. They also tend to want to move fast in the relationship.

This honeymoon phase though ends quickly as they reveal their true self — and being with a narcissist soon turns from a thrill into an extremely painful experience. As one anonymous woman from Virginia put it in an Amazon review of Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover and Move On by Cynthia Zane and M.S. Kevin Dibble:

“He went from loving, devoted, and committed to cold, critical, and most heartbreakingly, unfaithful, seemingly overnight. None of it made sense, and it was practically killing me waiting for him to return to the way it was.”

Because the relationship starts out so well, and because the ugliness seems to come out of nowhere, even the most grounded people can get caught by surprise. They might later admit to having seen plenty of red flags but because the illusion of the narcissist’s great qualities is so vivid, they tend to be ignored:

“[T]he normal mind cannot grasp that someone who showed so much love, affection, attention, and tenderness could turn so cruel and vicious under any circumstances let alone without provocation of any kind,” says Anonymous. “I had never before seen it. I couldn’t believe that what I was experiencing was real. The ugliness only came out after many, many months of no ‘red flags.’”

Who usually dates narcissists?

Although people with co-dependent tendencies are more likely to stay longer with a narcissist, even the most self-confident person can end up with one, if only for a short time. “mytvc15” of Cleveland, OH, described herself on Amazon as a “confident and happy person” until she dated a narcissist:

“I was reeling, sobbing, confused and humiliated at the hands of a classic narcissist. Having had good judgment and good fortune, my first encounter with someone with this disorder came at 44, and at a time when empathy and compassion are my focus. So, when the narcissist in my life did everything I explained would hurt me, and attempted to humiliate me, I just couldn’t make sense of it.”

For narcissistic men, victims tend to be beautiful, accomplished, trusting women who both mirror what they think they should have — someone beautiful in the mirror — and someone they feel they should be able to control.

It could be you, right now.

So, are you dating a narcissist?

It can be hard to recognize a narcissist — they are so charming and convincing! They spend their whole lives honing their skills. But there are a few questions you can ask about your partner that will tell you whether you’re dating someone with NPD, and heading for a great deal of future pain.

Answer yes to more than a few of these questions, and you’ll need to take action.

Early signs:

  • Do they look young for their age?
  • Are they exceptionally good in bed?
  • Does he have issues with his mother?
  • Do they push you to commit to him/her and talks about getting married very soon after you meet?
  • Do they tell you “you’re the woman/man of my dreams”? Does she say that you’re a “perfect match”?
  • Are they emotionally immature?
  • Are they more of a receiver than a giver?
  • Does he have grandiose tendencies? Does he compare himself to “other great men” and refer to himself as an “Alpha Male”?
  • Do they exaggerate their accomplishments?

Morals and relationships with others

  • Do you feel that your partner has questionable morals?
  • Do they lie or manipulate you and others?
  • Do they show a lack of empathy towards you and others?
  • Do they accuse you or previous partners of being abusive or treating them badly?
  • Do they blame everybody for their problems and never take responsibility for their life?
  • Do they often get into conflict with others? Do they sue people — or are sued by others — frequently?
  • Do they play the victim card often?
  • Do they expect you and others to follow their plan without regard to what you want to do?
  • Do they show a lack of remorse?
  • Do you feel they have “no heart”?

Abusive behavior

  • Are they moody (“Jekyll and Hyde” moody) for no apparent reason?
  • Do they fly into a rage when you ask simple questions?
  • Does being with your partner make you feel confused, chaotic, and drained?
  • Does your partner say unbelievably hurtful things to you for no reason then accuse you of overreacting or being too emotional?
  • Does he or she treat you badly and then disappear for days only to reappear and act like nothing happened?
  • Do you feel worse emotionally since you started dating?
  • Does your partner make you feel bad or worthless?

These questions give you a pretty clear picture of the characteristics of a classic narcissist. Your narcissist, if you have one, might not display all of these traits — most don’t. But there is a clear pattern and once you meet one narcissist, you meet them all.

Educate yourself

Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover and Move On

Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover and Move On

If you’re single and dating then learning about NPD is vital. You must know what you are dealing with in order to get out of the relationship quickly, pick up the pieces and move on. I highly recommend Cynthia Zayn and M.S. Kevin Dibble’s book. Narcissist Loverswill take you from the start of the disorder to identifying it and then to breaking up and moving on with your life. Once you have the knowledge you will more easily be able to take the right action, which is always to break up quickly and completely.

What to do when you realize you’re dating a narcissist?

There is no way to fix or improve the behavior of a narcissist. Your best chance of happiness is to get out.

“If you are involved, or have been involved. RUN…and get help! Pick up the shattered pieces of your life and take them with you…you will be okay with help and hard work…with resistance!” says Lisa R. of Lombard, IL, on Amazon.

Breaking up with a narcissist

You may think that breaking up with a narcissist will put the end to this suffering and that the end is as simple — or no more difficult — than any other breakup. You’re likely to be unpleasantly surprised. You can expect the narcissist to:

  • React with rage;
  • Insult you and try to break you down;
  • Half-apologize for the insults and try to explain themselves;
  • Hurt you in any way possible;
  • Try to make your life a living hell a much as he or she can.

Break up with a narcissist and you can expect to see rude comments about you posted on Facebook or Twitter. They’ll send you angry and vicious emails. They’ll badmouth you to your friends, threaten you or people close to you or even your business, and try to sue you or seek other ways to get revenge.

You can expect the narcissist to try to make your life a living hell a much as he or she can

You can expect the narcissist to try to make your life a living hell a much as he or she can: “Oh, I’m to be “handled”, am I? Like toxic waste. You see me on sufference. I’m an imposition to be tolerated.” (Notes On a Scandal)

Cease any communication

It helps to heal when you can more clearly understand that the person who charmed and romanced you is in fact a sick and emotionally dangerous person.

Narcissists are difficult to get rid of because breaking up with them means that they have no external supply of admiration. Any attention you give them lets them believe that you’re ready to give them more. That’s why you have to cease communication with the narcissist immediately and completely. You must be diligent about not communicating with them whatsoever, not returning so much as one word in a text or an email.

In fact, you should block their phone number so that they can’t text you or phone you and refuse to meet under any circumstances.

Moving on

Narcissists have clear sociopathic traits — lying, lack of remorse, manipulation and control, guilt if you question anything. It is vital to learn about them, especially if you are repeatedly a victim of them.

Read Narcissistic Lovers to learn about the person you were involved with, understand what happened and recognize that the fault lay with your narcissistic partner, not you. Their actions were emotional abuse and you should leave as quickly as you can, try to learn from the experience and take heart that not everyone in the world is this self-absorbed.

You may feel like a victim, someone who’s experienced a terrible thing and you may even become depressed and discouraged about life. But narcissists only make up a small minority of people, and now that you know how to spot them, you have a greater chance of avoiding them in future and finding the right person for you.

It could take you a few months to recover, but your life will look brighter as you move on.

Extra Bonuses

New! Donald Trump

Narcissistic Movie Characters:

Patrick Bateman, American Psycho

We need to talk about Kevin

Mildred Pierce

Famous Narcissists

I can’t be 100% sure here, but based on what I read, I suspect the following famous people are narcissists:

The list goes on and on, many actors/reality show participants strive to become famous in order to get their “Narcissistic Supply”. Dr. Drew researched this issue and found that 10% of female reality show participants are in fact Narcissist.

“Of the dozens of actors, musicians, comedians and reality TV personalities interviewed for the study, Dr. Drew says female reality show contestants were by far the most narcissistic. He says people who were committed to a talent were much less narcissistic. “The people that had a skill—like musicians with deep commitments to their craft—[had] less narcissism,” Dr. Drew says. “People on reality shows, they’re on TV because, ‘Hey, it’s me! I just need to be on TV!’ And that’s a narcissistic impulse.”

First Date tips

Are you in need of first date tips? can be awkward! here’s some fun first date tips to get you a relaxed fun date! although we’re not sure about whether going on  a hike for a first date is safe? do you think going on a hike for a first date is OK? is it safe or unsafe?

What are your favorite first date tips?

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

The Real Secret To Successful Online Dating

Online dating

It’s no surprise that the people who find happiness always seem to be the people who had most of it to begin with.

It’s been a while since dating sites were used only by the desperate and the terminally shy. These days, singles see them as a giant opportunity to find a partner. It’s simple. It’s fun. It’s convenient.

And it gets results… so why bother with the old fashioned ways? Most passes just seem to get rejected, blind dates are about as enjoyable as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, and all the good ones seem to have gone online anyway.

It sounds like a reasonable approach to online dating, and it’s one adopted frequently by recent divorcees who have been out of the dating game for a while and simply don’t get to meet singles at dinner parties.

It’s also an approach that’s likely to end in failure.

The real secret to online dating is that it works best when you use it as just one method of meeting people.

You still have to find a way of starting a conversation with strangers you find attractive. If a friend says that she knows someone who would be perfect for you, you still have to swallow hard and agree to meet them.

And you still have to believe that your singlehood could end at absolutely any minute because there are plenty of good people still out there, and hoping to meet someone just like you.

There are two reasons that dating sites work best when combined with other methods of finding love.

The first is that it means you’re not desperate. Your profile won’t look over-keen, your emails won’t make it clear that you really, really hope they write back, and you’ll make better judgments about the people you want to contact.

When you feel there are plenty of opportunities offline too, you’ll be pickier about the people you see online, and you’ll increase the odds that the people you do meet will be people you’ll want to meet again.

The second reason though is that you’ll be happier. You’ll have a positive attitude towards dating as a whole. You’ll develop an active social life and you’ll see online dating for what it should be: a fun experience that could lead to so much more, not the solution to a never-ending problem.

It’s no surprise that the people who find happiness always seem to be the people who had most of it to begin with. Make sure that you can be happy without online dating, and you’ll find that your website will make you even happier still.

Is Your Profile All It Could Be? Find Out With A Profile Review

Online dating profile, before and after example

Online dating profile, before and after example

Writing an effective dating site profile isn’t easy. It’s no small thing to blow your own trumpet without hitting a bum note that puts off potential partners.

That’s why at LookBetterOnline, we offer a Profile Review service.

A professional profile writer will look at your profile, tell you what works, what doesn’t… and give you some practical tips to make improvements.

You’ll still have to make the changes yourself but you’ll end up with a profile that’s improved, effective… and all you.

Ask for a Profile Review here.


How to Know if You’ve Been Sent a “Form Email”

How can you tell if the email you just received was sprayed from a hose or expresses real interest?

How can you tell if the email you just received was sprayed from a hose or expresses real interest?

On a dating site, any reasonably attractive woman with a decent picture and a half  decent profile will get emails. Guys? Not so much.

The same dynamic that makes women wait for men to hit on them in the real world works on the Web as well. If men want some attention they need to step up their game.

They need great photos and a compelling and unique profile.

The men who figure out this formula do extremely well online. They end up with a host of beautiful women to choose from.

But they’re rare. Most men on dating sites still haven’t figured out how to market themselves. They still use crappy photos and dull profiles. They get hardly any responses, and when they get ignored, some get desperate.

Instead of improving the way they look, they play the numbers. If only one woman in ten writes back to them and only one in ten of those produces a date, they assume they just need to write to more women.

So these guys send emails to EVERYBODY! They forget about being selective, write one email and spray it at everyone on the dating site.

They’re a kind of human “email hose.” And they’re the kind of guys you really want to avoid.

So how can you tell if the email you just received was sprayed from a hose or expresses real interest? There are few tell-tale signs:

They’re the first in line.

The first emails you receive on a dating site are likely to be hosed. Sprayers believe that new users are clueless and will be so happy to get an email that they’ll reply right away. They’ve also hit on everyone else already. So they monitor lists of “new members” and check “who’s online” carefully looking for new faces.

The email is impersonal.

“Form emails” are cut and pasted. They make no reference to anything in your profile.

Here’s a real example:

“You seem like you might be a lotta fun. We should grab a drink sometime.”

There’s no chance that this guy read the profile. He just pasted his message into the box and hit Send. If he didn’t give you the time of day, why should you give him any of your time?

The message contains a profile.

If the email repeats information from the profile, like his age, where he lives or the color of his eyes, there’s a good chance it’s a “form email.” It’s all about the sender (who doesn’t change) and nothing about the recipient (who does). Here’s another real example:

“My name is Michael. I am a 48 year old man near Del Mar. I am originally from England and came to San Diego 18 years ago for my work . I would love to chat with you Looking forward to hearing back from you”

It’s not hard to spot a “form email” — and it’s just as easy to delete them. Reply only to the personal emails that clearly indicate that the person has read your profile. You want someone who really wants to know you, not the kind of guy who approaches every woman at a bar.

Did you ever reply to a form email? Care to share?

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

The Worst Ways to Start Your Online Dating Profile — Real Examples!

If you’ve spent time on any dating site, you know that after a while, all the profiles start to look and sound the same. Everyone is “loyal,” “passionate,” “honest,” “down-to-earth”… blah, blah, blah.

In this series of articles, we’re going to talk about your online dating profile and explain what you should or should not write in it.

Assuming that you’ve posted  good enough online dating photos to attract attention, people will read your profile so you’ll need to have an exciting start. You’ll need to avoid the clichés that make other daters click “next” faster than the speed of light. You’ll need to stay positive and you’ll need to avoid repeating information already on the page.

Here are some real examples of how NOT to start your profile. It really didn’t take long to pluck them off a dating site:

Openings to Make You Yawn

It’s not these these are bad starts or dishonest ones. They’re just dull and say nothing about any of the interesting things that make the person behind them unique:

  • I am a nice person with a great sense of humor. I love to spend time with my friends and family.
  • I’m looking for an honest, kind, loving person, the girl next door type, a best friend and a lover.
  • I am a simple guy that just wants to find that someone who compliments me.
  • I am an honest, loyal, caring and sincere person.
  • I am a pretty simple person.
  • Hi I’m a hard working man, that works to much.
  • I would describe myself as easy going, reliable, and honest.
  • I’m easy going, laid back, and love life.
  • I am committed to living life to the fullest.

Openings that Just Say No

Negativity doesn’t just bring you down. It also brings down the people you’re with. Who’s going to want to be with a person who starts a profile like this?

  • Disclaimer alert: If you are the type of person that believes not answering a persons email is the way to tell them you’ve changed your mind, then PLEASE move on!
  • OK. I’m starting to lose faith in this online stuff.

Openings We’ve Seen Before

Sometimes a cliche can be the quickest way to get across a point. Usually though, it just says that this person has no original thoughts:

  • If your looking for a man that works hard and plays hard with a good family outlook thats me
  • I am looking for a partner, my new best friend
  • I am looking for a woman who can live life to its fullest.
  • I live life to the fullest! Work hard and play even harder!
  • Just looking to meet some fun people to hang out with and see where it goes.
  • Where to begin…… I’m tall, dark and handsome

Openings That Are Really Complaints

People come to dating sites to be happy. That isn’t going to happen if they hitch themselves to someone who’s always complaining about dating sites… like these people:

  • I think describing oneself is (or at least should be) an almost impossible task, but..
  • Oh common, how the heck are you supposed to be able to describe all of your attributes with only space enough for 3500 characters or so?!
  • Where do I start this type of thing is so not me
  • This is the hard part for sure…I never know what to say about myself.
  • Ok, I would much rather talk in person, but here goes.
  • It is hard to describe one self in a few words because we keep learn evolve and change
  • In this box I am supposed to give a short description of myself and state what I am looking for. I thought this would be quite simple but as I am finding out it is not as easy as I thought.
  • I just can’t write this sort of thing. It sounds so pathetic
  • So I have to ask myself, “what should I write here?” What do you want to know about me?
  • PREAMBLE: Wow, I can’t believe I have to lead with this, but I guess I do…Please do not judge me for never having been married.
  • Writing “about me” is not easy. But here goes:
  • It’s difficult to really cover all the facets in someones personality in one paragraph
  • My cousin talked me into doing this
  • I am filling this in because I have to, I will update it at a later time when I can really describe what my ideal match is.
  • How do you describe yourself without sounding like a used car salesman

Openings That Just Don’t Open!

You’ve got a sentence, maybe two, to grab a reader’s attention and pull them in. Don’t waste that space… like these people did. Get straight to the point!

  • So here goes.
  • Ok well a little about me?
  • Hello there and thanks for taking the time to view my profile.
  • Never tried this before but I figured why not?
  • I’m single and looking
  • I’ll make it short and sweet.

Openings We Know

The description isn’t the only place we learn about people. There’s a whole bunch of facts and figures in the check-box section, and they don’t have to be repeated:

  • I am a guy 38 years old
  • I am about 6 feet 3 inches tall
  • Me: I am 40, never married(red flag!)

Openings We’d Rather Not Know

Sometimes you can come across an opening that has you raising your eyebrows, shaking your head, and searching for the “next” link all at the same time:

  • This is my friend’s old profile. I’m just using this until I can add my own text later.
  • PLEASE DON’T BE OFFENDED IF I LOOK AT YOUR PROFILE! It generally means I’m at least interested in what you have to say 🙂
  • Ive been told that my best feature is my butt
  • **DISCLAIMER** I have tattoos
  • I am the real deal
  • Have not dated much my entire life and hope this works!
  • 2011 Update: After about six months off of Match, as I dated a wonderful woman I met here, I considered changing my original profile.
  • ****Update**** Had my profile off for a long time and since then have sold Cool Change and bought a nicer boat.
  • ** WARNING ** WARNING ** WARNING ** —– CAUTION REQUIRED —– ** WARNING ** WARNING ** WARNING ** (Reading this profile may cause anxiety, uncontrollable excitement, dizziness…)
  • I’m not a paying customer but I’ve been browsing the site a little bit

Since so many people use one of the above openings, you’ll have a real advantage just by starting with something more original. Here are some ideas:

Dip into your past.

Where you’ve been helped put you where you are now. It’s a great way to build pictures and show humor.

“My Grandpa used to take me on the lake when I was a kid. He taught me so many things on those trips… like not to pee in the water when Grandpa’s trying to fish.”

Rock your world.

Everyone has something that makes them smile. You can’t ask for a more positive start than the thing that makes you happiest.

“I love techno music. It always makes me break out in wild, arm-thrashing dancing… even when I’m squeezed between two oversized commuters on the MUNI.”

Pick an Activity

What you do says much about who are. Choose an activity that you enjoy at the weekends, and start with action.

“I’m a keen Frisbee golf player. It involves throwing a set of discs around a special course. And running away before the golfers catch us.”

Start with Your Job

Yes, you can even talk about work… as long as you do it with enough flair to keep things interesting.

“I’m a systems analyst. If your system breaks down, I’ll always be willing to come around, analyze it and say that you need to format your hard drive.”

Start With a Quote

And if all else fails, you can always steal someone else’s idea. There are enough quotations out there to sum up anyone’s feelings:

“‘Life is supposed to be fun!’ That’s what Abraham-hicks said, and that’s how I live.”

Of course, to make any opening work, people have to see it. They’re only going to do that if your photo hits the spot. Pick up new, natural looking online dating photos today from LookBetterOnline, and if you need help writing your profile be sure to check out our profile review and writing services.

How do you start your profile?

Online dating Advice: Is Match Losing to PlentyofFish?

match vs plentyoffish is now a household name. The site’s huge marketing budgets and strong history have made it synonymous with online dating. PlentyOfFish, by contrast, is a minnow. But at the moment, the small fry is winning and if Match doesn’t do something fast, it could well find that it’s no longer the biggest fish in the pond.

There are a number of reasons I think Match is losing out to PlentyOfFish:

Easy Profile Creation

While the first registration step to Match is short and consists only of one form asking for username, email and password, the complete profile is spread over no less than eight different pages.

After the initial basic information screen, PlentyOfFish offers just one more page (followed by an optional quiz) to enter all the information you need.

I am sure that Match thinks its process is more organized — and it looks organized on the page — but for the member, it’s so much easier to be able to complete everything on one page without having to click to the next page, and the next page after that.

This problem continues with profile updates. Every time you want to update a piece of information, you have to figure out which screen you need to reach in order to edit it. It’s a very tedious process. Registration

Match’s complete profile is spread over no less than eight different pages

PlentyOfFish Registration

After the initial basic information screen, PlentyOfFish offers just one more page (followed by an optional quiz) to enter all the information you need.

Instant Approval

Match has to approve every word you submit before you can publish it. The same is true of photos. You can upload any image you want, but you won’t be able to see it online until Match gives it a thumbs-up.

Why is this bad? Because when people sign up to a dating site they are excited and optimistic. They want to start playing right away!

Start sending emails before your submissions have been approved though, and the people you write to will only see half a profile. They’ll ignore you.

Sure, you can wait 24 hours but when you’ve just seen someone you’d really like to meet, you don’t want to wait a day before you can contact them. The same happens when you update a profile. You can’t be spontaneous! You have to wait and wait and wait.

Match Pending Photo

You can upload any image you want, but you won’t be able to see it online until Match gives it a thumbs-up.

I can understand Match’s thinking: they don’t want anyone to post a photo of themselves naked or — God forbid — upload porn. It’s a valid concern that PlentyOfFish doesn’t worry about for two reasons:

  1. It’s free. When people get something for nothing, they’re less likely to complain.
  2. It’s a lively community. When someone abuses the system, others are quick to report it and the profile is taken down fast.

PlentyOfFish wins here because its active community means that even the worst case scenarios (porn, advertisements, spam, etc.), are corrected quickly, allowing users to start messaging immediately.


Logging into Match can be like walking into a library. It’s quiet, it’s boring, and if there are people there, you don’t really know it. Sure, there are some interesting items to pull down and look at, but it’s not the kind of place that leads you start a conversation.


Logging into Match can be like walking into a library. It’s quiet, it’s boring, and if there are people there, you don’t really know it.

Logging into PlentyOfFish though is like walking into a hot bar full of people. The site is alive, active and dynamic. It has energy. It’s all down to the following features:

  • Who’s Online? – PlentyOfFish shows you who is currently online. If you’re interested, you can drop them a quick email and get a reply immediately. That’s instant gratification at its best!And because other people can see that you’re online, you get a lot more messages, giving you more reasons to come back.Match doesn’t have an “Who’s online?” page. You have to search, then tick a box. It’s too many steps for something so basic, and doesn’t incentivize returning to the site and staying on it.
  • Changing thumbnails – Each page on PlentyOfFish shows members’ thumbnails, often with the word “chat” below, inviting you to say hello. The pictures change constantly so that you feel there’s always a lot of people flowing through.On Match, I have to search before I can see anyone. PlentyOfFish introduces potential dates to me.

    PlentyOfFish thumbnails

    The pictures change constantly so that you feel there’s always a lot of people flowing through

  • Forums – A forum is a basic feature for any online community. It suggests activity and shows real people online, posting, talking and interacting with each another. You can read or participate and even contact those who you think are cool based on what they write. Why doesn’t Match do this?

At PlentyOfFish, you really feel you’re joining a party.


Logging into PlentyOfFish though is like walking into a hot bar full of people. The site is alive, active and dynamic.

Easy Profiles

While the PlentyOfFish profile is straightforward and completed in a single page, the Match profile is complex and hard to use. You see only three photos initially. (It took me a while to realize I can click “See more” to see the rest of the photos, but when I do, I have to wait for a new page to load… and wait again when I want to see each picture. And I still can’t see the picture and the profile at the same time.)

match profile

On Match, I can’t see the picture and the profile at the same time

PlentyOfFish puts all the photo thumbnails at the top of the page and enlarges them with a cursor hover. There’s no need to go to a new page, no need to wait for pages to load and I can see all the information I need right away.

Sophisticated design doesn’t always mean good design. Sometimes, simplicity is exactly what the user needs.

No Horny Teens or Dirty Old Men

One of the biggest problems with online dating is that every schmo can contact you. Both Match and PlentyOfFish — and every other dating site — have this problem, and there really isn’t a full solution. However, PlentyOfFish does have a brilliant feature that cuts out many of the undesired emails before they even reach you: the site lets you control who can write to you! You can filter your emails by:

  • Age. So no more emails from horny 19-year olds or creepy 75-year olds!
  • Gender. No emails from females if that’s not your thing.
  • Country. Nigerians who want to send me money will just have to find my email address.
  • Radius. If you’re not into long distance relationships, you can restrict contact to just those within a 75-mile radius.
  • Email size. You can even specify how long the email must be for a first contact — so no “hi” emails.

All these restrictions work in just one direction. You can still contact whoever you want, unless they’ve filtered you out, of course. For me and for most women, it’s not about the quantity of emails, it’s about the quality.

Now if I could only control a few more options like height, children, etc, that would make it even more powerful!

It’s pretty simple, and I really don’t know why Match hasn’t copied it.

PlentyOfFish lets you control who can write to you!

PlentyOfFish lets you control who can write to you!

More Emails

Even after restricting for age, country and radius I still receive about ten times more emails on PlentyOfFish than I do on Match. I opened both profiles on the same day with the same photos.

You might think that the quality of people on Match would be higher than the quality on a free site, but it really isn’t. Many people, like myself, use both sites and the quality varies on both.

I want options, which means more emails from quality members.

Better Email Notifications

When someone sends you a message on a dating site, you receive an email notification. When someone sends you a message from Match, that notification contains a whole bunch of functionality errors.

  1. The “from” email address changes with the user. The email always comes from [username]@talkMatch. Even if I add that address to my approved list, the next email — with a different username — will end up in my junk folder. It’s hugely frustrating.PlentyOfFish sends an email from the same address. You can add that address to your contacts, and messages will always go directly to your inbox.It’s a huge oversight on Match’s part and a very easy fix.
  2. The email contains too much information. Match’s emails don’t just contain the message. They also include the photo and some of the sender’s profile. But since most people don’t make a good first impression, I can ignore most of the messages I receive and never bother log in into Match. PlentyOfFish tells me that someone has been in touch but doesn’t tell me who they are or what they look like. It’s enough to make me curious, and that means I log in to the site. Once I’m there, even that person isn’t right for me, I’ll soon be browsing the thumbnails, chatting online and meeting new people. I’m an active user again.
  3. Wrong links. The link to the username on Match leads to a reply box, not the profile. It’s an odd thing and very annoying.

What Both Sites Are Missing

Where both Match and PlentyOfFish come up short is in the quality of the photos. On dating sites, the best dates go to the people with the best dating profile photos, leaving everyone else to settle for less than they could have won.

People do tend to look much better than the images they put on their profiles so posting bad dating profile photos reduce their opportunities every day. All a member needs is at least one good, professionally-taken photo of themselves, in a natural light at a flattering angle and with good composition.

Most people don’t expect to find a supermodel on a dating site, but they do want to know how you look like before they meet you, without having to guess and without taking a huge risk.

Both Match and PlentyOfFish do very little to educate their members about the importance of good photos, or offer easy solutions like which would allow them to take their online dating experience to the next level. On Match, for example, I can see ads for toothpaste and hotels but not for what members really need: good photos. PlentyOfFish advertises yet another dating site on which you can place a bad photo, but this time receive a bunch of fake emails and pay for rejection.

Online dating photos before and after

On dating sites, the best dates go to the people with the best pictures, leaving everyone else to settle for less than they could have won.


Match can keep acquiring free sites like OKCupid and still claim they are number one, but until they implement the appeal these free sites have — the simplicity, the ease of use, the instant gratification and a lively community — they will lose in the long run.

Do you think Match is losing this race?