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Badoo’s Selfie Feature May Prevent a Catfish

Selfie dating

Selfies. Love them, love them not.

While selfies aren’t your best photos to appear on your online dating profile, your potential dates do want to know exactly who you are and if you resemble your profile pictures.

For this reason, our friends at Badoo have created a new feature in their mobile dating app called the “Selfie Request.”

According to their press release, the new selfie feature allows women to request a photo from a male user after they have received an initial message to confirm that their potential match is genuine and using a real photo. From there, a male user can either send the requested selfie or decline.

Women who come to us for Irresistible Profiles and Dating Coaching are fearful at times that the date will be like someone they’ve viewed on MTV’s ‘Catfish,’ or their potential date will be misrepresenting themselves in some way. While we believe online dating is mostly safe for both men and women, any feature that adds comfort to the process is one where we’ll give a thumbs up to!

A Pew Internet Research survey showed that over 54 percent of online daters have felt that someone misrepresented themselves on their profile. So ladies, go ahead and request a selfie from a potential date.

Online and mobile dating safety is important to both men and women. Currently the selfie request feature is only available to women, but in time we hope they add the feature for men to use as well.

So request away and have fun with their new mobile app feature.

Guys, don’t decline the rest, or your chances of getting a date with her will be zero.

Are you using selfies on your dating profile?

Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and sign up for our Free Weekly Flirt for dating advice.

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating and Mobile Dating Expert. She’s a bestselling author and as an early adopter of the Internet, has been coaching singles on finding love online for over 20 years. Find out more about how our Irresistible Profiles will help you find your dream date.

Photo credit: Fotolia


A Catfish Tale – Reeling Them In

CatfishThere’s been a lot of talk about ‘Catfishing’ and we’ve been interviewed a lot about how frequently it can happen, what catfishing means, and how to spot a ‘Catfish.’

In this interview and deep dive into ‘Catfishing,’ I spoke with Jasmine Kianfard about why this trend is happening, along with MTV’s co-host of ‘Catfish,’ Max Joseph and my friend and cyber-security expert Alan Silberberg.

Watch the full interview here.


Jasmine: Julie Spira Cyber-Dating Expert and author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating explains how the Internet now presents a sort of free for all.

Julie: “People feel like the Internet has become the “Wild, Wild, West and you can be anything you want t0 be. A woman can pose as a man, a man can pose as a woman.”

Jasmine: Social media is helping to expand this wild, wild west.

Julie: Social media is creating an environment where people have this false sense of being in a relationship when  they’re not.

Related: What’s the Buzz About Catfishing?

The most important thing I say to people is, “Don’t be a digital pen pal.” You’ve got to get offline to see if there’s offline chemistry. Otherwise you’re just flirting with someone and you’re getting a little high that you’re getting from that text message and the customized chirp from the love your life, but the love of your life may just be somebody sitting from behind a computer somewhere.

“For years the number one search term…every year at the end of the year Google puts out a list…is what is love?” says Julie Spira, Cyber-dating expert and author of “The Perils of Cyber-Dating.”

“If that’s the number one search term we know that the desire to be in love is so strong and powerful and if someone can come in and be that knight in white armor and that perfect princess and that dream girl, you get so caught up with being in love with love rather than meeting the person IRL (in real life),” says Spira.

Alan Silberberg talks about digital hygiene and says it’s almost like brushing your teeth and you’ll have less of a risk in having a problem.

Related: From Catfishing to to Online Dating Tips

Related: Is Your Date a Catfish?

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s been coaching singles on finding love online for over two decades and is the CEO and founder of Cyber-Dating Expert.

For more dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and Instagram and sign up for the Free Weekly Flirt newsletter.

From Catfishing to Online Dating Tips – Julie Spira Speaks to Charles Tendell

Charles Tendell ShowAs a radio show guest on “Hacked” with Charles Tendell, we spoke about how to create an Irresistible Online Dating Profile as well as signs of a “Catfish.”

Listen here or read full transcript below.

Charles Tendell: We’ve got a pretty good show coming up, we’re going to be talking to online dating expert Julie Spira about how you can do dating online better.

CT: Are you dating online? Are you sure you’re doing it right? Are you having trouble finding Mr. or Mrs. Right online, or are you finding weird people and you’re not really sure if the person behind the keyboard is who they say they are? Coming up here in a few minutes will be Julie Spira from Julie is an internationally best-selling author and the go-to person for online dating and mobile advice. She’s been seen in things like Glamour, ABC News, CBS, and Fox, and on and on. Even Wired, which is my favorite magazine, which  leads me to our question of the day brought to you by, are you dating online and what are you most afraid of with dating online? Julie, are you on the show?

JS: I am, it’s good to be here.

CT: Thank you! So Julie, how did you end up as the dating expert?

JS: That’s a great question. Really, what happened was I an early adopter of the internet and a technology executive, so I turned out to be a very early adopter of online dating. This means I started way back in the dial-up days, so my entry to online dating actually happened over 20 years ago. And once I mastered the art of how to create an irresistible online dating profile, I started coaching other singles how to maneuver their way from dial-up to digital, and now to the mobile, dating world.

CT: I’m curious – and I know my wife is probably listening to this, so this isn’t for my personal advice – but I’ve got a friend who needs some online dating advice. So how do you go about finding the irresistible profile?

JS: Well, first of all, I don’t know your friend, but everybody’s looking for something different. There are some people that come to me for coaching looking for a serious long term relationship or marriage and children, and there are other people that are getting out there for the very first time and they just want to go on a lot of dates. So there’s not really a one size fits all dating formula or a one size fits all dating site. It really depends on what someone’s, or your friend’s, dating goals are.

CT: And again, it IS one of my friends. My wife is probably listening, so I’m not trying to be an online dater myself. I did have some interesting experiences back in the day when I was dating online. Some of the scarier things that you run into out there. I didn’t have any success, I met my wife at a business luncheon and that was the best way to do that. Back in my day when I was dating, online dating just seemed kinda scary to me.

JS: Well, when I wrote the book, The Perils of Cyber Dating, a lot of people thought it was going to be this scary, scary story. Most of the stories were actually funny, there were some that certainly  were perilous where people did not represent themselves accurately, and we’re not talking about height and weight and age and things that people just tend to lie about online, but we’re talking about careers, martial status, and things of that sort.

CT: As an ethical hacker, I do see a lot of the online personas and people that wanna give the best version of themselves and sometimes it happens to be the version that only exists in their head.

JS: That’s true. And of course, we do hope for truth-in-advertising and it’s my goal to empower singles to be honest and tell the truth, because these days they’re going to check your Facebook page to see if you have friends in common and to see if your photos look recognizable, so that when you go on that date with that person, you’ll be sitting across from somebody that you recognize and there won’t be another frown on your face and a big disappointment.

CT: That’s what everybody’s hoping for. So let’s go back to your background. You started 20 years ago, you’ve got about 20 years in the online dating world. What’s been your craziest experience? What is it that you’ve learned over your years?

JS: Well first of all, I think you’ve really got to have a great sense of humor about it, and you need to go on every date thinking that you could possibly be making a new friend and even a business acquaintance, or if you’re lucky, maybe you could find someone you could fall in love with. So my recommendation is always to cast a very wide net and to laugh off the stories that are ridiculous. I have a story where a gentleman took me out to lunch and told me all about his colonoscopy from that week, including every inch of detail from the preparation and how many times he’d gone to the bathroom. There was nothing sexy or romantic about that lunch and, of course, there was never a second date.

CT: Wow, I’ve heard about people bringing a lot to the table and being honest and honest on the first date, but that sounds like a bad way to have a date.


CT: We’re talking to Julie Spira from Welcome back, Julie.

JS: Hi Charles.

CT: So we we’re talking about your scary moments and about this guy who was telling you about his colonoscopy at lunch.

JS: It’s something that was worth a laugh, but there were situations where I met a lot of really great people. People that I’m still friends with, people that I actually helped find their spouses, so it isn’t all perilous, but there was a married man who pretended to be single and was proposing marriage all across the country, just because it was good for his ego. And of course there was a wife involved and eventually he would disappear and show up in another city. I’m not saying this is the norm, I’m saying that if it does happen, please don’t let it jade you completely and dissuade you from giving online dating a chance because, at this point, we’ve got 20% of people who are in marriages or committed relationships, according to the most recent PEW internet research study, who have met their significant other or spouses online.

CT: As an ethical hacker, I’ve been in cybersecurity and computers for about 20 years now, and one thing people always ask me is how do you know who’s on the other side of the keyboard and should I be worried that that person is really presenting themselves in the best light?

Related: What’s the Buzz About Catfishing?

JS: Those are good questions and a lot of people are watching the TV show ‘Catfish’ and they’re so afraid they’re going to be ‘catfished’ by somebody. The point to dating online is to get to meet someone to see if you have enough in common to take the relationship from online to on the phone, and if you feel good on the phone, then set a date up on the calendar to meet in person. But if somebody is hesitant to meet you in person and they only want to be a digital pen pal and they keep promising you everything you can imagine, that they’ve never felt this way about anyone before and this is it and they love you, but they won’t meet with you, there’s usually a reason why. Never open your wallet to anyone asking for money, even if they say I love you in a text message, and if somebody’s from out of town, schedule a Skype or a FaceTime date. It’s time to actually go live and have that fun and flirty Skype or FaceTime date to make sure the person you’re talking to is exactly who they say they are.

CT: That’s perfect. Everybody assumes that when they go to their favorite online dating website and put up their profile and talk to these people that they go very quickly from being an electronic pen pal and emailing back and forth to “I’m in love with this person.” To me, that seems pretty risky.

Related: Video – Is  Your Date a Catfish?

JS: It is, but I see it happening a lot. It happens if somebody has just suffered from a heartbreak, break up of a relationship, the death or loss of a spouse, or a divorce, where people become more vulnerable. The need to love and be loved is so huge that if somebody mirrors everything that you say you’re looking for, you feel like “oh my, this person really gets me. They’re exactly what I’m looking for,” when, in fact, they’re just mirroring your profile. So, it’s great to feel flattered, but be very wary if somebody says “I love you” in a text message if they’ve never met you.

CT: That would terrify me, and I know I haven’t been in the online dating scene in a long time. I was – and I don’t even know how to say it, if involved is the right statement or not – involved, as a hacker, in the huge Ashley Madison breach. I don’t even know if you can call that online dating site, per se…

JS: It’s an adulterous website, so it’s a site for cheaters.

CT: Yeah, I don’t really think it falls into the same category, but there not the only ones. PlentyOfFish has been out there and I deal a lot in cyber breaches. I deal a lot in people’s personal data getting exposed and all of that other information, so what do you say to the people who might have been caught in one of those breaches? If their favorite dating site actually got hit and their personal profile or data got leaked onto the internet?

Related: Julie Spira on FOX (Ashley Madison Hack)

JS: Well first of all, as you know since you’re an expert in this, you know better than I do that the ordinary, everyday person can’t access that information. It’s very sophisticated data in the data dump. But the people from Ashley Madison, there were a lot of people whose names and emails were on that list and women went on and were putting their husband’s emails or their neighbors emails, and just because someone’s email is on the list doesn’t mean that they’ve actually used the site and that they’ve actually taken their clothes off. Tony Blair’s email was on the Ashley Madison hack and it’s likely that he was the one who entered it and they weren’t double opted in, which means  that just because they put in the email and maybe they were curious because of the advertisements doesn’t necessarily mean that they were communicating with anyone and actually went out with them and cheated on their spouse.

CT: That makes sense. It’s assumable that not everyone that was in the breach or had that kind of access were actually in that list. Now that makes sense. It would be funny to have people like Barack Obama on Ashley Madison, but it’s a good way of thinking that it might not actually be there. As far as the dating websites, what are some do’s and don’ts for a dating website?

JS: First of all I would say authenticity is everything, so please post recent photos. With my dating coaching clients, we go on photo shoots, and I always feel that women should wear red or maybe something bright pink because guys are scanning through all of these thumbnails and their biggest complaint to me is that everyone’s profile looks the same.  I’m a big fan of wearing red because red is the color of love, it’s the color of passion, it’s also the color of the stop sign and there have been research studies from the University of Rochester that shows men actually respond quickly and more often to women wearing red in their profiles. So ladies, dump and ditch that little black dress.

CT: My wife gets on me because I like to do all of my business logos in red on my business cards and everything else, and she says “You always go for red” and it’s because I respond to red.

Related: When in Doubt, Wear Red

JS: It’s a power color.  And guys, don’t wear a white t-shirt or black t-shirt. Guys look great in blue. I feel like what you’re wearing can really make you stand out whether you’re on a mobile dating app and people are swiping or whether you’re on a dating site. Now, the difference between the sites and the apps, most of the apps use your first name but the sites allow you to come up with a catchy screen name. So if you’re on or you’re on PlentyOfFish or OKCupid, come up with a fun and flirty screen name that looks unique, that makes you different from everyone else. Julie12345 is sorta boring, so my screen name was “pianobaby” because I play the piano and I have a baby grand. So people ask me questions. Why is your name pianobaby? Do you play in an orchestra? What’s your favorite song? If you happen to love tennis, or hiking, or skiing, make sure you put that somewhere in your profile title because it really allows you to start to engage with someone else.

CT: That’s a good conversation starter there. So you mentioned people use apps to swipe through and the pictures and women wearing the red dress, but I’ve always heard when you see someone who’s got a professional picture on one of these sits, you should be a little worried.

JS: If that’s the only picture, because a dating site is not the same as a LinkedIn profile. It’s a business look and it’s okay to have a business shot in your profile as long as you also have casual shots. You definitely must have a full length body shot whether you’re a man or a woman, and it really has nothing to do with what you weight, it’s more about what are you you’re hiding by not showing a full length body shot. So take an activity shot, as I mentioned before, skiing or something fun, or out in your garden or playing golf. If those are your passions, show your potential date what you’re doing on the weekends and what you could be doing with them, should you decide to go on a date together.

CT: That makes sense, it’s like a big billboard. You brought up LinkedIn, so LinkedIn is out there to get people attracted to your professional characteristics. Should people kinda sorta with a social twist to it, be taking a professional-ish approach to their dating profile?

JS: I think you do need to take a professional approach to it, as far as the approach. You need to be fun and flirty and casual within the body of your content and your photos, but if you don’t take online dating seriously then you might not be able to meet somebody really special who’s out there looking for you. With coaching clients, this is what I say. They say “It’s so much work, Julie. Do I really have to do all that work?” I say if you were out of work and out of a job and you went on three bad interviews and you didn’t get the job and it wasn’t a fit, would you stop looking for a job? No, you would keep looking until you got it right and you found the perfect match, and that’s how I feel about online dating. If you have that irresistible online dating profile, and you’re logging on at morning and you’re logging on at night, respond to people promptly like you would if somebody wanted to set up on a job interview for your dream job.  You need to make the effort and if it feels like a job, the results could be a lot greater than with your job that might last a year or two. You might find someone to spend the rest of your life with.

CT: That’s a different angle. A professional job interview, the worst case that’s going to happen is no, you didn’t get the job. Isn’t it, the worst case scenario, just look at Craigslist and all of these other places where people meet people and they go and put out all this energy and do all of these other wonderful things, meeting people online and this person could potentially be in your life for much longer than one conversation or one date, couldn’t they?

JS: That’s what we hope. I always say to people the squeaky wheel gets the digital love deal. And when you look at some of the mobile apps like Bumble, which is a new mobile app, they require once you’re matched the women to message within 24 hours or that match disappears forever. Now they’ve just added the feature where men don’t have an open-ended time to respond. They’ve got to respond to the woman’s message within 24 hours. What that does is it really forces you to take a look at the profile and see if you think there’s enough in common to start that conversation and meet offline.

CT: That also makes sense. That one sounds pretty cool. We’re about to go break, but the dating app where matches disappear sounds like a way to vet people who are on the up and up, but what about the ones who do respond?

JS: Well the responses really need to come from both parties and one of the complaints I hear is “I swiped right, wrote back, and never heard anything back” and that’s just because online dating and mobile dating are numbers games. There are 40-50 million people dating online, it IS a numbers game and you need to play to win. At the end of the day, don’t get discouraged if one out of ten people respond to you. You would rather have someone that has things in common with you to you can build a relationship with.


CT: Today we are talking to Julie Spira, the Cyber Dating Expert, and we’re getting into that area where everyone seems a little paranoid but everyone’s got an idea about how they should be doing online dating. Julie, before the break we were talking about different apps and different ways and people filling their profile and they should take a professional kind of approach to their profile. Is there an extent to the level of professional that should be there?

JS: Well it’s interesting because that PEW study I was telling you about says 22% of people actually hire someone to actually write their profiles for them because they don’t know how to describe themselves online. Here are some of my tips for people out there if you’re trying to do this on your own. If you’re working on a traditional online dating profile, keep the word count to about 100 to 125 words, avoid really lengthy profiles because no one’s going to read past the first couple sentences and there should be enough in there to keep them intrigued to read more. I also suggest asking a question in your profile. Talk about what your life would be like together in a positive, upbeat style and then ask a question such as “What about you?” or “Where’s your favorite travel destination?” “What’s on your bucket list?” because if somebody sees a question, they basically think “oh I must answer that question” and they give somebody an icebreaker on how to contact you when they really are at a loss for words.

Related: How Our Irresistible Profiles Help You Find Your Dream Date

CT: I just got a text message from a listener and the question is, should people spread their profiles around, like LinkedIn is just one place, but some people are on LinkedIn and Klout, but should people go on PlentyOfFish and all these other dating sites? Should they be on multiple ones?

JS: The answer is yes. The average person is on 2 to 3, and even 4 dating sites and apps. For traditional dating sites such as Match, PlentyOfFish, or OKCupid, make sure you download the mobile apps so you have the push notifications coming in case you do hear from that person you’re interested in, so you can put a date on the calendar. You never know which site you’re going to meet someone on, and if you see someone and you recognize them from another site, don’t call them out on it and say “hey I’ve seen you on two other sites” well, he knows it, you know it, she knows it. There’s no reason to bring it up. But you don’t know which site you’re actually going to enjoy using because the interfaces are so very different. So join multiple sites and eventually you’ll hone it down to one or two that you are the most comfortable with.

CT: So it’s all about your personal preference and results that you’re getting. I’ve got another question through text message, what is the kind of information that you should be sharing or asking in that first contact email?

JS: In the first email, remember, you’re just striking up a conversation to see if you would even like to get on the phone. If you have great phone chemistry, then schedule a date. So please don’t make it feel like it’s an interrogation, a deposition, or a job interview, because that’s how people feel. The phone will ring or a text will come in, “Where are you from and what do you do? What kind of car do you drive?” We may want to know what car you drive, but we’ll see it eventually when you show up at the restaurant and drive up in your car. So don’t ask questions related to where someone lives and what kind of money they make. We can figure out the lifestyle based upon the hobbies and activities that you do. Keep it light and friendly, and have a list of questions in case you get stumped.

My default place has always been, “who’s the most important relative in your life and why?”  “What’s the favorite travel spot you’ve ever been to and would you go back?” – similar questions like that to just keep it light and easy and breezy because the first date is like a pre-date. At the end of the first date, you have to decide if you want to put a second date on the calendar. And don’t wait, don’t play games – get out the calendar and schedule that second date.

CT: So what about personal information in that first message? Do you want to keep it surface level? I would assume you wouldn’t tell them the story of your life in the first message.

JS: No, nobody wants to hear about the drama. So make sure in the communication you’re not talking about the person who broke your heart or the person who stopped paying spousal support payments and how much it costs you to send your kids to college, because the person’s just going to think that you’re just looking for financial security. And whether you are or you’re not, you don’t want to put that out as your initial contact. I would keep it really light and ask “how was your day?” I would never say “how long have you been on this site?” and stop comparing bad date stories! People do that on first dates and they communicate on how bad the app is and how bad their dating stories are. Nobody wants to hear anything negative. If you have a funny story, you can share it, but the point is to get to know the other person and whether you’d actually like to go on a date with them.

CT: We’re talking to Julie Spira the Cyber Dating Expert. Now Julie, that first email where you say don’t share old stories or history or lead people to believe you’re just kind of looking for a paycheck,  and you don’t want to give out too much information, but as far as private information, address, phone number, things like that, when should someone give that out?

Related: Online Dating Safety Tips from an Expert

JS: Well it certainly shouldn’t be before a first date because you should always meet in a public place and subscribe to the buddy system. Have a friend that knows who you’re going on a date with, what their screen name is, whatever particular website or mobile app you met them on, and if you’ve been texting them you can even let them know their phone number, just for safety purposes. And meet them in a public place because if the date goes south for any reason, you certainly don’t want them showing up at work or your doorstep at home.

CT: Should you protect your personal information? Like, me being who I am and you being who you are, people can google us and find out information about us…

JS: And they do. Here’s the thing – everyone is going to google their date, some people are going to take it a step further and do a background search, but that’s typically after going on a couple of dates, not a first date. But they will check LinkedIn and Facebook to see if you have friends in common and they might ask some mutual friends – “Can you tell me your thoughts on Charles?” or “What do you think about Julie?” That’s just the way people are with dating these days because there’s so much information out there, we can’t help ourselves. My rule of thumb is, you can google and you can look, don’t get obsessed about it, but don’t bring it up on the date and say “Oh I googled you and saw that you were in a hot air balloon one day.” You don’t want someone to know that someone has googled 10 pages of entries about you.

CT: That’s scary. I can imagine sitting across the table from someone…

JS: You would feel like they’re a stalker. We want to feel safe when we’re on a date, and both men and women need to feel safe. People are more ultra-sensitive about the safety issue so it’s really up to the other person to help you feel safe. That means exposing exactly who they are and not prying too much information about your personal data. Nobody needs to know about why your marriage ended. Later on, if your relationship moves forward, of course you’re going to share things that didn’t work in your marriage if you want to have a happier marriage next time around.

CT: That’s all solid advice. I’ve seen horror stories on Craigslist and all these other places, and in my professional opinion, what most people come to me about is the “I met so and so online, we exchanged a bunch of information, and then they turned kind of crazy and they’ve got my Skype name, my email address, my phone number, what do I do?” So you’re saying after the second, maybe the third date is when you’d give them the additional information?

JS: You also want to protect your children if you’re a parent, you don’t want to exploit them in your dating profiles and it’s best to say something like “I’m a proud parent, I have two teenage kids aged 12 and 14” and leave it at that. This way they’ll know that you have a schedule that does include parenting.

CT: I’ve seen things where people have gone out and they’ve gotten a throwaway phone or they’ve gotten a google voice number or some other alternate form of communication they can control and turn off or on with this particular individual so they feel more secure, and to me, that’s always been a good way to go.


CT: Coming back, we’re talking to Julie Spira, the Cyber Dating Expert, about things you should do online to protect yourself and how to do online dating right.

JS: We want you to do it right, that’s absolutely true.

CT: I’ve gotten messages from all over the place of people asking different questions and it usually comes back to personal information. What is it that I’ve got? How can I protect myself and stay safe and still accomplish my goal of meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right?

JS: Safety is really huge. We talked earlier about meeting in a public place, letting a friend know where you’re going, who you’re going with, don’t accept late night calls or go back to someone’s house. I also recommend you talk through google voice. I always recommend having a google voice phone number just for dating, just for the early days. And your google voice phone number can be forwarded to your cell phone. This way, if somebody does bother you, you can easily block them. You can block people’s phone numbers anyway through your iphone or wireless carrier.

Also, come up with an email address just for dating that’s different from your work address so that no one ever has access to your dating account. You can get free email accounts with gmail, aol, and there are a lot of ways to get free email accounts. If somebody bothers you, or if you feel uncomfortable for any reason when you’re on a date, just walk out. You owe that person nothing. And if somebody is harassing you online, the dating sites take this very, very seriously. Report that profile and let them know that somebody is acting inappropriately, whether they’ve acted inappropriately sexually or asked for money, report those profiles to the dating site. They want to know.

CT: That’s interesting because in my world, people use anonymity  behind a lot of different things. So what they typically do on websites where it allows you to create a username, they create also a fake email, a google voice number, they put all of that stuff together, so even if you report it do these websites have a way to catch these people?

Julie Spira on TV with Online Dating Safety Advice

JS: They will block the profile. And if there’s anything that looks more serious, then obviously that will be bumped up to the proper security people with the dating sites. They have certain software in place that can address certain IP addresses for different countries that might look like it might be a scamming type of email. Again, if you’re on a dating site and somebody asks you to move offline to an email address and not communicate right away on the dating site, that’s a red flag as well. You should always  communicate on the dating website in a protected environment until you feel comfortable going offline and meeting that person.

CT: Wow. You said, before we went to the break, that you should let your friends know where you’re going and that you’re meeting up with this person and give them that profile information. What about if you have a friend at where you’re meeting this person? Should your friend be there? Maybe it’s a Friday night, they’re going out anyway. Should you have a friend there to keep an eye on you?

JS: Well, I believe in honesty. If you are scheduling a friend to be there or you know a friend will be there, I think you need to let your date know “by the way, I have a girlfriend that happened to make plans to be at the same place tonight, she may come over and say hello.” But if somebody feels that they’re being spied on, you’ll make them feel uncomfortable on the first date and you might not make it to the second date.

CT: Yeah, I see how that could be a little creepy and it’s one of those things where you wanna trust someone but you wanna verify, but it’s kinda six in one hand, half dozen in the other. You’ve got this person that you met, if you feel obligated to bring somebody else to meet them, isn’t that a red flag? Just say “yeah I’ve had a bad experience.”

JS: Some people like going on group dates and there are apps specifically for that, for double dating a Grouper. When Hilary Duff went on Tinder, her first Tinder date she brought a handful of her girlfriends. So some people like going on group dates, usually it’s the younger singles that like going on group dates, in their twenties. But say “by the way, I’m a very cautious dater. I can’t want to meet you, but I’d like to bring a couple friends and can we just hang out instead?” Then you run the risk of not really developing a relationship, but just hanging out. One of the questions a lot of people ask me is “Julie, I’m not really sure about my relationship status, am I dating this guy or are we hanging out?” You need to be clear about what your relationship goals are pretty early on. So if you feel comfortable bringing a posse of friends, you should tell the person about it before you show up on the date and see what kind of reaction they will get.

Related: Hilary Duff is Swiping Right on Tinder

CT: What about dating apps like Tinder? What’s your opinion on those?

JS: I think that any kind of dating app that allows you to meet more people more quickly and the opportunity to determine what you’re looking for is a good thing. The problem that we have with Tinder and a lot of the other dating apps is that there are a lot of people who are afraid it’s just a hookup app and that people are looking for casual relationships or casual sex. There will always be people looking for casual relationships or casual sex, and that goes back to the early days of Craigslist. And there will always be people looking for a serious relationship and wanting something more – a committed relationship or marriage. So I think you need to be very specific in your profile – if you’re looking for something casual or a hookup, say so. If you’re looking for something more serious, say “Swipe left if you’re looking to hook up.” But be very specific on what your dating goals are and don’t select someone based upon their photos only. Read those profiles. Because one day I saw someone who really liked someone’s profile by the photos and they swiped right and it turned out he was married, and right in the profile it said “polygamous relationship.” If someone had read that, they would not have swiped right unless that was something they were looking for. So read their bios, and let’s hope for truth in advertising.

CT: It looks like we’ve got a caller on the line – Lucas from North Carolina.

Lucas: Julie, I was wondering, when a woman is browsing through profiles and they all seem the same, are there any key words or phrases that pop out and catch a woman’s attention and say “oh wow this guy is different and unique?”

JS: First of all, you should always use key words of things you like to do and that you’re passionate about. A lot of women like to search for profiles of men who say they’re looking for long term or a committed relationship, or say that they’re financially stable.  Those are key words that women look for, but at the end of the day, she’s going to see your picture first and you need to look very happy and very approachable and put in things that really make you tick so it can really resonate with exactly what she’s looking for.

CT: Thanks for calling in. Julie, you brought up a good point, you do SEO for your websites and you do SEO for everything else, but you wanna actually load key words into your profile?

Related: This Strategy ups Your Tinder Game

JS: Yes, you do. And you don’t want to load them artificially into your profile because grammar and punctuation are really important. Women do not like to look at a little “i” with a dot when it’s supposed to be a capital I. You need to be very clean and clear and have great punctuation, but there are certain key words that will pop out. If a woman loves yoga and he really loves yoga, guys will go for a woman who has it in her catchy screen name or in her bio because they can visualize that she takes very good care of her body. And they like yoga as well, so maybe they could potentially go on a yoga date. If skiing is important to you, I have some clients that will only date other skiers. Put that in your profile because people may be searching for skiers within a certain distance from where they live and if you have that in there, you’re going to show up in a search.

Related: Why Grammar Matters in Dating

CT: We’ve covered what to put in your profile, what not to put in your profile, how to kind of protect your privacy online, use the buddy system – is there any kind of silver bullet? Say you have a bad date, what’s the most effective way, other than reporting this person, to end it? How do you get out of it? How do you tell that person on the other side “yeah this isn’t working out?”

JS: If you’re on a date with somebody and you don’t feel that there’s any chemistry please have good manners. I’ve seen too many people walk out on dates, spill wine in someone’s face that they didn’t look like their photos – they know they don’t look like their photos – cut the date short. Say “I really enjoyed meeting you, but I don’t think we have enough in common to take this any further and to get more serious, and I wish you the best of luck with your search.” Just be kind and pleasant about it because they might have a friend they can introduce you to. Why should you leave on a bad note?

CT: Well Julie, I appreciate it and I loved having you on the show. Any other tips?

JS: My best advice to you is to try online dating and even if you don’t have success right away, keep on dating. The more dates you go on, the better dater you become.

Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam .xo

Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Sign up for the Free Weekly Flirt newsletter

The Buzz About Catfishing


What’s all the buzz about ‘Catfishing?’

Ever since the MTV show came out, singles and couples are glued to the television to find out the dirt on who’s being ‘Catfished.’

From women pretending to be men and vice versa, people are falling in love online, but are they really?
In reality, many are just digital pen-pals.

To learn more, listen to the morning show on WDBR in Springfield, where Julie Spira was a recent guest with Dylan, Julie & Co.


Related: Video: Is Your Date a Catfish?

From dating safety to how to find a date for Valentine’s Day, you won’t want to miss this audio recording.

Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam. xo

Related: Online Dating and Catfishing – Safety First

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She was an early adopter of the Internet and online dating. Julie and her team create Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene.

Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the FREE Weekly Flirt newsletter.


5 Red Flags and Tips for Online Dating

Red FlagsEvery once in a while a story comes out in the news about a person who has had a bad dating experience with someone they’ve met online. Men are fearful that every woman will turn out to be crazy. Women on the other hand need to know that they will be safe with their date.

I’m here to tell you that the same people who date online also date offline, so when it comes to dating safety, these rules will apply for both.

Let’s start with the fact that about one-half of the single population in the United States are now dating online. This number is huge and should give you the comfort of knowing that you’re not alone in cyberspace.

Here are my rules for safe online dating.

1. Have a phone pre-date.

Not everyone gives good phone, but if the phone call is awful and you’re struggling to keep the conversation going, chances are you’ll have a bad experience on your date. After a few email or text exchanges, I recommend scheduling a phone date. Keep the phone call to 20 minutes or less, as you don’t want to reveal everything about yourself before you meet IRL. If you click on the phone, that’s terrific. Suggest putting a date on the calendar, sooner rather than later. If you feel like you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair or in a deposition, be kind and let the person know that you don’t think you have enough in common and wish them the best with their search. If someone is unwilling to take the time to call you, then move on to someone who values your desire to hear his or her voice.

2. Do a Google search.

I’m often asked if someone should search their date on Google and the answer of course is yes! Everyone does. However, just like you shouldn’t kiss-and-tell, you should not Google-and tell. By revealing and questioning your date about your findings on Google, you will come across as a stalker and just might get canceled on. Knowledge is power, up to a point.

3. Check their Facebook photos.

A picture tells a thousand words, or does it? Those posting old prom shots or photo-shopped pictures can get old when you go on a date and barely recognize him or her. My recommendation is to hop over to Facebook or Instagram and view real-life photos. If the photo from last night’s concert resembles his or her online dating profile shots, you’re in pretty good shape. Better yet, view some of their selfies, which are less than polished.

4. Listen more than talk.

If your date seems to be a drama queen or catastrophizes and plays the victim, they’ll let you know early on. This is a red flag that if the relationship goes south, it might not be an amicable departure. For this reason, I stress that you should wait before allowing someone to know where you live. You should continue to meet in a public place for your early dates. Let them talk about ex’s, bad dates, and all the reasons why they are still single and sit back and listen.

5. Trust your gut.

Trusting your intuition is the number one way to make a decision whether to go on a date with someone or not. Take your time in getting to know him or her and enjoy the courting process. If stories aren’t adding up or if you feel in your heart there’s something wrong, you just might save yourself from a future heartbreak.

Contact us for more information on how to create an Irresistible Profile to attract your dream date.

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s the founder of and was an early adopter of Internet dating. Julie’s been helping singles find love online for 20 years. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter for dating advice and like us at

Online Dating Safety Tips from an Expert

dating safetyOnline dating safety is something that everyone needs to be concerned with. At Cyber-Dating Expert, we take safety seriously and are always sharing ways for you to feel safe and enjoy the Internet dating experience.

In Louisiana, three stories occurred this month involving people who met online dating, social networking sites that resulting in hijacking and other crimes such as a robbery in a car.

In one case, a man went to his car to meet a potential date, and instead of finding the woman, ten men were there, which resulted in a carjacking.

I spent the morning on the radio on WWL AM/FM in New Orleans to provide dating safety tips to help prevent such occurrences.

While these occurrences are rare, it’s still important to point out the following, whether dating online or offline.

1. Meet in a public place and don’t pick up your date.

2. Don’t give out your last name or information where you work

3. Let a friend know where you are meeting and call in or text to let them know you’re fine

4. Don’t suggest a late night date

5. Never go back to someone’s home on a first date

6. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol, which will impair your judgment

7. Carry pepper spray on your key chain for when you’re walking to your car at night

8. Conduct a Google search for your date’s name, phone number, and email addresss

9. View your date’s profile photos in a Google reverse image search by uploading it to

10. Do a background or people search for your date on sites such as Radaris or Spokeo

11. Set up a free Google voice account with a number exclusively for dating

12. If you’re uncomfortable for any reason, leave

13. If your date makes you feel unsafe online or offline, report their profile to the dating site

14. Take your time getting to know someone on the phone and through emails before meeting

15. Trust your intuition

Realize that while maybe 10% of your dates might not be truthful or may have ulterior motives, about 90% of the dates are truly great people looking to connect. There are millions of singles finding love online. Keep these safety tips in mind as you schedule your dates, but still enjoy the time getting to know someone.

Julie Spira on FOX Studio 11 – Online Dating Advice [video]

At least half of the singles in the United States are dating online.

On Fox News in Los Angeles, I spoke with Christine DeVine on how to find love online safely, this Valentine’s Day.

1. Make sure your photos are accurate, ditch the prom shots.
2. Practice truth-in-advertising, be honest about your age.
3. Be careful of romance scams and research your dates.
4. Do a search of their email address and names to see who your date really is
5. Meet someone in a public place and let a friend know who you are meeting and where you’re meeting.
6. Text your buddy from your date to let them know you’re safe.
7. Avoid late night dates, could be a booty call or a hookup.
8. Don’t give up hope, there are 40 million singles online, you just might find your one in 40 million.

Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Julie Spira is America’s Top online dating expert and Digital Matchmaker. She creates Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more online dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.

Researching Dates Can Prevent a Romance Scam

Spokeo Valentine's Day

Romance scams have been in the news lately from singles who are members of online dating sites and social networking sites. Every time I hear one of these stories, it breaks my heart. With Valentine’s Day putting extra pressure on dating, it’s extremely important to make sure that singles are doing their research when looking for a date, whether online or offline.

Know that online dating safety is of the highest importance here at Cyber-Dating Expert.

As a result, I’ve become a Spokesperson for Spokeo, an online search service which provides publicly available data to help you research your dates.

New research provided by Spokeo and Harris Interactive was just released which shows that 71% of Americans are willing to conduct some kind of informational search about the person they are dating. This tells me that singles are taking dating safety very seriously.

Here are 7 tips to help avoid being a victim of a romance scam.

1. If your date’s photos are either blurry or look like they are from a stock photo gallery, or look model-like or too good to be true, it’s time to do some digging.

2. Those involved in perpetrating a romance scam want to take the conversation off the dating site quickly and onto a private chat or instant messenger service. This avoids having the conversations documented or traceable by the dating site?s software. Until you’re sure about your date, keep the conversations on the dating site.

3. If he or she says they’re in love with you very quickly, don’t jump for joy just yet. Romance scammers often will say they’ve never felt this way before about anyone before and they’ve waited their whole life to meet you. Their grammar often isn’t correct and they have an accent if you speak to them on the phone.

4. If he or she lives out of town or out of the country, find out where they really live. If their efforts to visit you get repeatedly canceled due to a work or family emergency, you should be raising a digital eyebrow.

5. If your potential date has a work or family emergency and asks you to wire them money, don’t fall for it. It’s likely they’ll say if you really love them, you’ll help them out and they’ll pay you back quickly. Often the excuse is their funds are temporarily tied up. Don’t fall for it.

6. Make sure to look up the data that you have on someone you’re dating. This can be easily done by plugging the information you have into an online search engine to see if what you find online matches up with what the other person is claiming. Sites like Google and Spokeo can be very informative to research your date.

7. If any of these things happen to you, never ever send money. Do not sent money via Western Union or a foreign bank. Report the profile in question to the dating site and understand that you’re one of many that this person is writing to try try to sweep you off your feet and promise you a life of love and happiness.

Know that you can do a simple search of your potential date’s email address, phone number, or even user name by going to

Happy safe dating this Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy the Infographic below and feel free to share this with all of your single friends.

Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.Julie Spira is an online dating expert and was an early adopter of Internet dating. She creates Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more online dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.

Disclaimer: Cyber-Dating Expert is a paid Spokesperson for Spokeo


35% of Americans Willing to Pay for Dating Research in Order to Feel Safer – An infographic by the team at Spokeo People Search

Online Dating and Catfishing – Safety First

Online Dating ExpertAs Season Two of MTV’s Catfish is now underway, it’s likely that you may think that online dating is a little “off.” Hopefully this article and these statistics will change your mind.

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 Victim

“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 for 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.

Impossible Expectations

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’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.

Cyber Love Links – The Week’s Best Links for Love

Cyber Love LinksIt’s time to share our favorite links to love, when you’re in the mood for love.

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, 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’a 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 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 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 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

Are you an online dating success story? Submit your Cyber Love Story to get featured on our site.

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