Of more than 19,000 couples who married between 2005 and 2012, 35 percent originally met online, according to a study conducted by the market research firm IBISWorld (and funded by eHarmony). The research found that couples who met online were less likely to divorce and experienced higher levels of marital satisfaction.
With those types of statistics and the overall grim nature of dating, why not take a chance to meet the love of your life on the Internet? We know first-time online daters may be skeptical. Keep a positive attitude and be prepared to face any of these online dating risks:
Exaggerated Online Identities
For some people, online dating websites are spaces to set the past right again and erase relationship mistakes. It’s a space where people want to appear as perfect as possible, from a Photoshopped portrait to a falsely crafted profile. Unfortunately, the disparity between an online dater’s perfect self and the real self is often so gaping that in-person dates can be disastrous, as you can read from some of our Peril of the Week stories or in my bestselling book, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Whether or not someone will live up to who they seem to be online is a gamble. Prepare yourself to take that chance and never let disappointment shatter your spirit.
“Catfishing” is the act of creating a completely fictitious online persona (often via Facebook) to mislead or defraud others, according to LifeLock. It’s easy to get tricked into believing catfish are real, as they go to great lengths to develop fake profiles, including those with more than 300 friends and photographs to make it look real. Facebook photographs can easily be stolen from accounts of real people and falsely used on a catfish’s faux Facebook profile. To combat this:
- Do a Google search on Facebook photos, which could easily be stolen from others’ profiles
- Do the same with a few distinctive phrases in the person’s profile bio. Perpetrators often have duplicate or near-duplicate profiles on multiple sites, each with a different picture or location
- Fraud and identity theft aren’t the norm, but they happen. Limit how much personal information you share until you know you can trust your potential date.
With so many dating sites and pages upon pages of singles’ profiles, it’s easy to maintain high standards and keep a mentality that, “someone better may be out there.” You should never have to settle for someone with whom you don’t have a connection, but focusing on trivial aspects of a person’s profile or appearance will only hinder your quest to find the one. Know your deal breakers while keeping an open mind.
Also, understand that many online daters become addicted to the process and accustomed to easily disposing of people they’ve met. Make it a point not to take rejections personally. You can’t let your self-worth and confidence break down because of strangers over the Internet.
A Proper Profile
Have a friend or family member whom you can trust to look over your profile or allow us to create your Irresistible Profile to help you attract your dream date and to ensure that it accurately represents who you are. Honesty is the best policy, especially in regards to photos. Oprah.com’s “Tips for Successful Online Dating” recommends that online daters keep pictures “recent and real.” Posted pictures should be taken within the last six months and include both a headshot and full-body shot. Also, avoid pictures with props and try not to post pictures taken with other people.
At Cyber-Dating Expert, we believe in authenticity from the onset and wish you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.
Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and was an early adopter of online dating. She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating and coaches singles on the dating scene. For more online dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.
The last week in January was filled with tweets and articles on love in anticipation for the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day.
Here are some of our top picks this week.
We were busy watching and tweeting from the Katie Show on the segment on ‘Catfishing.’ Her tips in How to Protect Yourself From Online Dating Scams taught us about a site, SpyDialer.com. Yes, you can type in your date’s cell phone number and it will anonymously play back his or her outgoing message. Smart or creepy? We’d like your opinion.
On Dr. Phil, he interviewed the man behind the Manti Te’o scam, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo admitted being secretly in love with the Notre Dame football player. USA Today covered the story as it unfolded.
On a lighter side, our friends at Zoosk released their 3rd Annual Football Survey in time for the Super Bowl. Want to know which coaching brother ranked highest in the romance department by Zooskers?
We loved the article on GalTime, 7 Signs He’s the Right Guy to Be Your Valentine’s Date. If you’re on the fence, it’s a must-read. On Mashable, we got a chuckle out of Ask Siri to Buy Your Next Movie Tickets. It’s a great idea for date night.
POF just announced their 6 Finalists for their $100,000 wedding contest. You can vote for your favorite couple now through February 7th.
In the gratitude department, where do we begin?
Our article 5 Valentine’s Date Ideas to Enjoy Together is on the home page of eHarmony Advice. We also shared our tips on 5 Ways to Find a Date for Valentine’s Day on DatingAdvice.com. On Huffington Post, my article The Perils and Joys of Online Dating, gives a healthy balance to help you find love online safely.
Speaking of safety, it’s a priority here at Cyber-Dating Expert Headquarters, so I was thrilled to be invited to be the online dating expert on the Dr. Drew Show on HLN/CNN. Here’s a peek at part of the segment. Share it with your loved ones and trust your intuition. Thanks for Kim Calvert at Singular City for featuring this as their video pick of the week.
A huge thank you to DatingAdvice.com for putting me at the top of the list in their Top 10 Online Dating Experts, released this week. What an honor and joy to share the list with friends and other love experts who try to make a difference in the digital world.
Finally, thanks to the Boston Globe for quoting me in their article, Stories of love, deception have long been entwined.
We’re busy as digital bees gearing up for Valentine’s Day with a few surprise and exciting announcements to come.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.
~Julie and the Cyber-Dating Expert Team
Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and founder of CyberDatingExpert.com. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene and is the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. For more online dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert.
Are you an online dating success story? Submit your Cyber Love Story to get featured on our site.
Finding love online happens for many millions of singles.
Being a safe online dater is something everyone needs to know.
On a recent episode of Dr. Drew on HLN, I gave my tips on how to become a cyber-sleuth so you can date safely on the Internet.
1. Remember to meet in a public place.
2. Tell your friends the screen name of your date and what site you’ve met them on.
3. Call or text your friend to let them know you’re fine during your date.
4. Make Google your friend and type in your date’s email address, phone number
5. Check Facebook to see if your date’s photos match their online dating profile photos. See if you have friends in common.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing more powerful than trusting your intuition. If you’re uncomfortable for any reason, leave. If your date continues to bother you after you’ve decided not to see them again, report them to the online dating site.
Know that millions of singles are falling in love every day from online dating sites.
Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. More more dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter, sign up for the free Weekly Flirt, and join us on Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert
In the continuing coverage of Manti Te’o and other daters who’ve been duped by online dating romance hoaxes, Katie Couric featured an entire episode of online dating safety with tips on what you need to know, while looking for love online.
On the Katie Show, we learned that online dating sites get more than 500 million clicks per month. Katie added that and 81% of people lie on their profiles.
To add a little entertainment to the serious topic of Internet dating safety, Katie polled her studio audience with three relevant dating deal-breaker questions that most female online daters could relate to.
Dating Deal-Breaker 1
Katie: “He’s talk dark and handsome. In real life he’s short and stout. Is that a deal breaker or not?”
Audience: 69% said Yes. 31% said No.
Dating Deal-Breaker 2
Katie: “His profile says his picture was from last week. Reality: It was from 1972. Is that a deal breaker or not?”
Audience: 71% said Yes. 29% said No.
Dating Deal-Breaker 3
Katie: “His profile says, ‘Filthy Rich.” Reality, he’s Dead Broke.”
Audience: 58% said Yes. 32% said No.
For more online dating safety tips from the Katie show, visit KatieCouric.com.
Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. For more online dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter, sign up for the Weekly Flirt newsletter and join the conversation at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert.
On Thursday, Manti Te’o will share his personal and painful story about the love hoax on Katie Couric’s talk show, Katie and all eyes will be watching.
Whether you’re a celebrity or the boy or girl next door, when matters of the heart are involved, it’s not uncommon to get lured in by a romantic pursuer on the Internet.
This most certainly doesn’t mean that all online daters are insincere, but the Notre Dame football star’s story will create more awareness about the digital courting process.
Spending time in chat rooms, Gchat, or Facebook chat provides an immediate connection with someone, who after a certain period of time, you may find yourself start sharing personal information and intimate details.
The next thing you know, you have that euphoric feeling that someone is in your digital corner. In other words, you now have a “digital pen pal,” not a real girlfriend or boyfriend. You want to share your exciting news with your friends, but if you online crush isn’t who he or she says they are, you’ll feel embarrassed and shame will kick in. You won’t want your friends to know you’ve been duped.
So before you start changing your Facebook status to “In a Relationship,” look for these 7 signs that I shared with Men’s Health.
- Your online crush is quick to say, “I love you.”
- Your chats only take place late at night, when everyone else is asleep.
- Your new love won’t hop on a Skype call or video chat.
- The photos seem too good to be real.
- Multiple excuses prevent you from meeting in person.
- Your digital pen pal asks for money.
- Your new love is from another country.
Understand that the fantasy of the perfect person is so elevated, that you truly do believe you’ve met “the one.” If this is the case, I recommend the following steps:
- Check their Facebook profile to see if the photos match up and if you have friends in common.
- Do a reverse phone number check by typing in their phone numbers in a Google search.
- Type in their email address in a Google search to see if they’ve created a digital footprint anywhere.
- Use photo recognition software such as TinEye.com where you can upload their photo and see if it appears anywhere else on the Internet.
- Do an in-depth background search from a site such as Intelius.
While these tips may provide information on your new digital love, not all of the data is available on the Internet. Let a close friend know you may be suspicious of your date and see if they can help solve the mystery. In many cases, as in this one, the person duping you may have a history of doing this to others as well.
Trust your intuition. Even Manti Te’o had his doubts about Lennay Kekua.
For more online dating safety tips, visit http://cyberdatingexpert.com/category/safety
For a timeline on the Mant Te’o hoax story, visit ABC News.
Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert. Sign up for the Weekly Flirt e-newsletter for more dating advice.
The phone starting ringing early in the evening on January 16th with news stations across the country wanting to know if the Manti’ Te’o story is common on the Internet.
In a Skype interview on KSDK in St. Louis, I talked about how to protect yourself from being a victim of a “Catfish.”
“The whole subject of fake profiles or falling in love with someone that doesn’t exist is sort of rampant,” says author and online dating expert Julie Spira.
She says some people are easy targets.
“They are so in love with love and they believe there is this unconditional love, and the moment someone shows them a lot of attention, if they’re lonely or if their heart has recently been broken and they become really vulnerable.”
“My number one tip is if you’re going to have a long distance pen pal with somebody and you’re flirting on facebook, text, or you’re on twitter or on an online dating site, get on the phone with them.”
She also says to google them, make sure their facebook pictures match the ones on the site where you met. And Skype with them.
“If somebody won’t hop on a Skype call, yet they’re saying I love you in a text message and they don’t want to hop on a Skype call or even a phone call and they’re talking about having children with you they are hiding something.”
And if you think someone isn’t who they say they are, she says contact the dating site and let them know.
Online dating has just taken a big leap to help singles feel safer while looking for love on the Internet.
This week, Kamala D. Harris, the Attorney General for the State of California released a joint statement for online dating safety practices to help singles feel safer while looking for love online. Online dating sites eHarmony, Match.com and Spark Networks signed the agreement together, which will require sites to provide dating safety tips and do the necessary background checks to as agreed in the statement.
On our site, CyberDatingExpert.com, you’ll now see a link for SAFETY on the top of our home page. We want you to fall in love and we want to help you find your dream date. We also want to make sure that you’re following our safety tips as we take this topic very seriously.
In a recent interview on GenConnect TV, I discussed some dating safety tips that you should take to heart.
For more online dating safety tips, visit CyberDatingExpert.com
Julie Spira is an online dating and cyber-relations expert. She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and like us at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert
‘Tis the season to hear some of your favorite holiday songs on the radio, have a full date-card, and enjoy this festive time. One of my favorite songs is Bruce Springsteen’s rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
It’s also a time to take inventory on your dating life, manage your digital reputation, and ask yourself, “What information is on the Internet about me?”
I can’t stress enough the importance of protecting your digital reputation. I’ve been impersonated twice already, so, when I was invited to lunch to learn about Michael Schultz’s new service, My Info Guardian, I was very interested to hear what their service could do to help singles date safely, while managing the fine balance of relevant data and minimizing financial or personal information.
Yes, I believe you should do a Google search on your date. Whether you decide to do so before or after a first date, I also think you should keep it to yourself.
Yes, I believe if someone was convicted of a federal crime, that you should know about it before getting involved.
Yes, I was happy that Match.com took the steps to search their members against the national sex offender registry to help singles date more safely.
However, I don’t believe that anyone browsing the world-wide-web should find your phone number, address, net worth, parking tickets, and other data that could put you at a safety risk or possibly steal your identity.
According to Schultz, “Gone are the days where you had to know someone’s social security number to be a digital identity thief.”
You probably know that Facebook owns your data that you happily share on their social networking sites. But did you know that many of the people search sites buy and sell your data? Without your knowledge, information is being sold. This is where MyInfoGuardian steps in. Their service will remove your listings from people search sites.
At the end of the luncheon, guests were given a complimentary membership to their service. I logged on and was stunned to find almost 40 sites that had information, including birthday, age, phone numbers, email, and more. If I want to be found by long-lost friends and relatives, I should be able to do so on my own. Facebook and Twitter are easy enough sites to connect with people of my past, present and future. I like controlling the content I post.
Should you want to know if you’re dating someone with a criminal record? Absolutely. That information cannot be removed from public records by this service. Do you want every date to know your home phone number and address? Probably not. If it’s a date-gone-bad, you don’t want him or her showing up on your doorstep.
MyInfoGuardian is now in the process of removing some of my data from these sites. I’ll let you know the results. I wish you a very happy holiday filled with dating safely, both online and offline or wherever you may roam.
Julie Spira is an online dating expert and author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com for dating advice and follow her @JulieSpira on Twitter and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert
We’re jumping for joy at Cyber-Dating Expert Headquarters as we celebrate our IRRESISTIBLE anniversary all weekend long.
It’s been 3-years since we launched CyberDatingExpert.com as a site to help singles while dating in a Web 2.0 World. We’d like to thank you for helping us remain the #1 online dating expert site!
In honor of our birthday, we’d like to give you a gift to help you with your love life.
From Friday, October 14th through Sunday, October 16th, we will be giving our readers a free .pdf copy of our bestselling online dating book, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Click here to reserve your copy.
In addition, we’ll be answering your dating questions for FREE all weekend long. So do take a moment and join in on the fun. If you have a dating dilemma, let us know!
Now for a few bragging rights and in case you missed some of our highlights, we’re sharing our year-in-review for you.
Best Dating Blog Finalist
You voted for us for the best dating blog in the world and we became a finalist. Yes, there were thousands of votes and the competition was steep. CyberDatingExpert.com was a finalist in the 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards from About.com, a New York Times company. It’s with heartfelt thanks that we acknowledge your support.
In the News
From tips on using digital coupons on a date, online dating safety, breaking up in a facebook world, and our latest article on CNN, which was shared over 450 times on facebook, we were featured in many articles and programs about dating in a web 2.0 world. Our dating advice reached millions on multiple continents! Most of our media can be found in our press room. Here’s a sample of media outlets we’re so proud of being a part of this past year.
ABC TV, Ai inSite, Always New You, BBC, Bad Online Dates, Business 2 Community, CBS News, CNN, College Times, Columbia News Service, Cupid’s Pulse, Daily Buzz, Daily Kansan, Date Night Magazine, Dating Marketplace, Elle magazine, Examiner, Fabulous Living, Fast Company, First Wives World, Forbes, Forces PenPals, GalTime, GenConnect, Heartbeat Radio, Her Campus, Huffington Post, In York, JDate, John Tesh, KCSF, KFI Radio, KFWB Radio, KPSP-TV, KZSB Radio, Love to Know, Mancow Radio Show, MarketWatch, Match.com, Men’s Health, MSN Glo, NBC TV, North by Northwestern magazine, Pink Kisses, Pittsburgh Better Times, Planet Love Match, Power Connection show, Psychology Today, Redbook magazine, Romance Files, Safer Dates, She Knows, Single Edition radio, Single Minded Women, Singular City, The Joe Show, The Kilgore News Herald, The Look TV, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Times Herald, The Toronto Sun, TodayShow.com, Top 10 Blog, Uniquely You magazine, Wall Street Journal, WCHE Radio, WHK Cleveland, WLW Radio, Woman’s Day, Women’s eNews, Yahoo! Shine, and YourTango
In Real Life
I had the opportunity to meet many of you when I was a speaker at the Internet Dating Conference in Miami, 140 Conference in LA, West Hollywood Book Fair, as well as seeing you at BlogWorld, where I’ll be speaking about the Rules of Netiquette at 1:45pm on Friday, November 4th this year in Los Angeles.
During the past year, YourTango came to my home to shoot several dating advice videos for their Ask the Expert and He Said/She Said series. I was joined by colleagues Charles J. Orlando and Adam Sheck for the guys point of view. In case you missed them, here’s a list of videos for your viewing pleasure.
- Cell Phone Netiquette: Help My Boyfriend Won’t Put His Cellphone Away
- Should You Google a First Date?
- Can a Couple Get Past Infidelity?
- Should a Woman Propose to a Man?
- When Should You Change Your Facebook Relationship Status?
- Should You Kiss on the First Date?
Online Dating Minute Videos
Our Online Dating Minute featured social dating site Jazzed, which you can now see on the dating TV show Excused, as well as Match.com’s study about the relationship between dating and money, and more.
Top 10 Mobile Dating Apps
Back by popular demand and in conjunction with Social Media Week, we announced the Cyber Dating Expert Top 10 Mobile Dating Apps for 2011. According to Comscore, over 14 million people worldwide are now using mobile dating apps. They are now more popular than web dating on your computer. Why wait until you get home? It’s time to start dating on your cell phone. We included the super eHarmony iPad App, which ranked high on our list for iPad. View our post to see all the features of our favorites this year.
Online Dating Safety
We tackled a subject that breaks my digital heart, online dating safety. I was interviewed by ABC News, KESQ-TV, KPSP-TV, Online Dating Awareness, Sympatico.ca, The Sudbury Star, and Your Tango.
Your Online Dating Stories
We’ve enjoyed working with singles looking for love online and have created irresistible profiles all year long. Contact us if you’d like to find the man or woman of your dreams!
It started out as an email sent from a man in New York who was a member of a popular online dating site. The recipient, an attractive intelligent single female shared the introductory email with some of her friends on Facebook, myself included. She wanted to know if she should go out with the man with the red flags. At first she thought it was hilarious. I told her not to go. Her curiosity got the best of her, so without further adieu, here’s an example of a date destined to go bad.
His first email appeared to be a “cut and paste” to many filled with a negative attitude. It read as follows:
“This may sound rude/odd but…what’s wrong with you? I have found there has to be a catch if I come across a cute, seemingly intelligent, well manner girl on this site.”
“I have tried this online dating thing for a while and to be honest… IT SUCKS!!!
“In the last month or so, I have been: stood up three times, canceled on at the last minute, met a girl who started to make out with another random guy at the bar while I watched, found out mid-date that the girl was inky 21 when her profile said she was 29, had a girl tell me how she is still in love with her ex, been told the day after a first date that she was getting back with her fiancé, but would love to use me for sex and my favorite…told that I was part of a “30 dates with 30 guys in 30 days” dare and that I had no shot. Fun times, right????”
“Now…based on the fact that you seem pretty awesome and the fact that I am apparently not cool enough to have plans on what should be a beautiful Friday night…How would you feel about being totally spontaneous and meeting me this evening? (who knows we might even like each other and get to make out?)”
“Now, I know you may want to email back and forth for days and then build up all this excitement hoping you found “the one”…but…I have found that usually leads to disappointment and then possibly therapy and sadness, right? Let’s skip all that nonsense and meet right away…OK? It will save us the let-down in the long run.”
“Now if you call/text/email, we can have possibly the blindest of dates…(assuming you don’t stand me up) or we can flirt via text from now until we do meet and build up expectations. Your choice, but first, please warn me about what is wrong with you so I know going into this that there will be little surprise! ”
With an email like this, I would have done one of two things. Either deleted it without response and forgotten about it, or send an email saying “No thank you. Best of luck with your search.”
Comments from her friends included, “Just be careful” to “This is hilarious. Go and report back to us.” I explained that it was a mass email sent to many other women and told her not to go. Online dating safety is a hot button for me. I had a bad feeling about this from reading just the first sentence of his email. I thought she should use her time wisely and find a man who is positive, emotionally healthy and worthy of her. I told her to do her homework, Google his email and phone number to find out more about him if she really wanted to pursue this. I had a bad feeling. I was told that I was too serious and that this was hilarious.
She did indeed go on a date with him, which was a disaster. She said she should have known that he was going to be crazy. After resfusing to tell him where she worked or lived, he left her in the bar. That would have been fine if it was over, but it wasn’t. He started to send her mean and nasty text messages. She asked him not to contact her again, and he said “no.”
Not only does this date qualify for The Peril of the Week, but it’s a warning message to spot the red flags and remember how to date safely. Don’t give out your home or work address, create a separate phone number on Google voice so you can change it if you continue to get harassed by a date gone badly, and trust your intuition. Listen to your friends if they are concerned about you. There are many wonderful singles looking for love online, but if you come across a situation or profile like this, report it to the Internet dating site you met on.
Do you have an online dating story to share?
Send your submissions and like us at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert