I’ve been single for a few months now and it came after two years of trying hard but the mother of my children had changed so much since I met her. We parted on great terms, co-parenting with the kind of support that will make life easy for the kids and when we both date others. Life ahead is still looking great and although I’m very happy being single. I’ve begun a little journey to figure out, who I would potentially see as a partner, it’s more than just curiosity though, it’s a strong design to be someone who fully supports someone else. Wish me luck!

My True Description

Hey, I’m up for chatting anytime, if you’re looking for a drama-free bloke, who is also a responsible Dad, strong moral values and a great listener. Send me a message.

If I had to type a description – wasn’t going to but here goes lol

I’d begin by saying that I’m a modern, open-minded person, who can adjust to most people and match their sense of humour. I’m looking for someone who needs routine and stability, I’m a Dad. I’m a tolerant and exceptionally patient person who can take a bad day on the chin and still end with a smile.

My ideal girl on a first date just wants to have nice wine, good food, interesting chat, a dance, a kiss on the cheek and away home.

My ideal partner (one day) would meet me half-way by the end of a week but understand there has to be some give and take. I get a lot out of working as a team and accomplishing things in a way that makes life worth living.

That’s it, my off the cuff description based on my recent life and what I’ve proven to people. A little serious, but I don’t think I’m looking for someone who fears the pressure of someone who will have expectations.

Dating Judges

The ironic thing about dating, is that we go through our lives asking others not to judge us and then we put a profile of ourselves on a dating service, to be judged by the masses. We are sized, compared and presented to others by algorithms, how romantic!

Then there is the fact that between two potential lovers or maybe a future wedding. Exists a business, a team of staff, a profiting enterprise…pretending to be cupid.

When I consider all of this, I feel like I’ve begun a journey that could take years..longer than it should if I were to rely on apps. But years I accept all the same. What I’m telling myself is, create more offline opportunities to date. Avoid cyber socializing (chatting to a person online for days or even weeks), because we really can’t rely on something so unnatural, where body language and instant reaction is missing.

How else can we find that spark, the moment when our eyes meet a strangers and something locks you both in place just long-enough to know, your both feeling the same overwhelming attraction. It might happen once a year or even less, but it’s worth waiting for.

Taking January 2020

Recent Selfies or White-lies?

Jump ahead to the me who wants to settle-down with someone special and it’s a serious version of me. Someone ready to offer commitments and fifty-fifty in things. That will only happen after a series of dates finds not only a fantastic women, but someone who hasn’t used too lot of white-lies to get me where she wants me.

I don’t mind some hidden truths, just no shockers! I also don’t mind dating someone who doesn’t expect to fall in-love or claims they don’t want something serious. There is always the hope, that my charm and honesty will change their mind. I do have the ability to be an open-book and it quickly makes people relax, to a point of confession, it’s really funny!

Just Business

So that was the romantic side of my life, but now I’ll put on my professional hat and see if I can wake someone up to what a dating site/app really is.

It’s impossible for me to imaging the owners of a dating site/app caring about my relationship status, dating progress and discovering my soul-mate. I’ve never met them or their employees. What I know for certain is that they want our money. As a Web Developer, someone who has run his own business and designed online systems that take psychology into consideration. I see a very cold and manipulative side to online dating.

Whether it is an app or site, I see their business models clearly. Their strategies for encouraging users to unlock restrictions by making a payment are obvious to me and I believe it adds a very unnatural element to the process of looking-for-love. Restrictions that prevent people messaging each other or even stop them from applying a simple like to a persons profile.

Anyone who used social media during the early days will know that a massive number of children were born thanks to networks bringing people together, for free. Especially sites like Bebo and Faceparty, sites I used a lot when at University. In short, my first social network experience was thrilling!

Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Match.com and plenty others. Are not thrilling, or exciting or even good for society in my opinion. I have issues with the idea of having to make such big payments to find love, at a time when people might be struggling with their emotions and vulnirable to the idea that spending money on these sites, will help them.

It is an extremely important time for people who have a strong need for an ideal partner and healthy dating is a process society should cherish and protect from cold processes and procedures designed to profit.

Manipulative Dating Services

I’ve become very certain that dating apps and their sites are manipulating users into spending money. I strongly feel there is sex bias in this strategy and I’ve come to this conclusion by discussing it with female users, including a close friend. How we see dating services once our suspicion has increased, is very different to what we see when we thing we’re in a community of singletons!

Users who want to meet you…

Within a few days of using dating apps, I discovered plenty profiles that felt, commercial. As someone who works online, I have a good sense for these things. Luckily, days after publishing this article, I had the opportunity to take a screenshot on Plenty of Fish…

I’m sure you see the issue and before seeing these two users, I had come across one who had “there for fun?” also. I was just looking at “Jennifer_106”, thinking to myself how a developer out there, isn’t botting POF.com very well, when “Lauren_302” appeared. A great opportunity to take a screenshot and use it as evidence that the “Users who want to meet you” tab on POF.com includes fake profiles or at least people who do not intend to date anyone. Their goal, is attracting traffic to Instagram, which was provided on the profile of each of the users mentioned.

The ethical issue, is that POF.com is profiting by locking these profiles until a person like me, tempted by all the women who want to meet me, makes a payment. I’m sure POF.com offers the ability to report profiles, but I wonder if they would issue a refund for someone who has this situation (in my screenshot) staring them in the face, shortly after using their debit card?!

Al-go-rith-ms

Dating apps and sites often (maybe always) use complex algorithms. That may not be a surprise to many of you, we might even thing they are good for us. What might be a surprise is that some algorithms have the priority of generating profit over helping a lonely punter find true love!

Should it surprise you that a business isn’t helping you find love too quickly, thus giving a reason to stop using the site and possibly never, ever return again?

A little bit of common sense, please!

So how do they manipulate people to push them into paying? It’s actually very simple and once you begin to think about it, you will realize that most of the services couldn’t survive if they were transparent.

Dating Data and Habits

Apps and sites collect every bit of data they can. They each take a different approach on how they use that data but I’ll focus on something very simple: your login frequency. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how a company might use your behaviour?

Figuring you out is the key to understanding your habits and even your routines. Your use of the web, tells us your awake, when your awake and even when you are at your most bored or lonely point in the week.

Login Frequency Signals Intentions

If a user logs into a dating site/app every hour of the day, they are very keen. Nothing needs to be done to get them coming back to the site…they are hooked! They will actively search and be a try-hard when it comes to getting a conversation going with someone they fancy.

If a user rarely returns to use the service, something must be done about it. You know this, you know that business need users to return and this is where it gets a little shocking. Clever algorithms begin to allow the infrequent visitors dating profile to appear to more people, not the masses, just enough to generate some activity. Originally it wasn’t front-page, it wasn’t showing very much at all, possibly wasn’t even appearing in detailed searches when it should have. But the user doesn’t care because they never return. The business has little chance of making money from that user. That is when said user suddenly gains attention. The notifications and emails are generated and the still-holding-strong single user returns uses the site.

This all happens in a very short time. It differs for any services using this strategy and some work in a very parallel sense i.e. for every action a user takes to find a potential date, the more their profile isn’t shown to the opposite sex, getting worse, and worse, the more they try. It’s sort of like putting the break on somebody who is capable of making their own success.

Update: The Sacha Cowlam Story

Not that long after publishing this post. I came across a story on the BBC News website about a lady named Sacha Cowlam. Sacha had signed up to Dating.com and made a small payment of £3.00 to unlock premium services.

It seems that Dating.com is one of the dating services who use a credits system, much like a site currency, and similar to the approach used in online gaming. Real money becomes a credit and as a result, legalities are simplified.

In the case of Sacha Cowlam, Dating.com made automated charges to top-up her credits. According to the news article, this happened when she opened messages sent by other users. Each message cost credits and Dating.com made sure there were no shortage of messages. So she kept running out of credits, without knowing. It sounds like a scam even without the high cost of simply reading messages online, as they charged her £15.99, 17 times, in just 2 weeks!

Going back to her initial payment of £3, Sacha has said herself that there was an increase in men wishing to chat with her. This touches on half of the reason I wished to create this post and I’ve also provided an example from POF on the issue of fake profiles. In the POF example, the users are profile generated by a bot, created by someone with no affiliation with POF.

However, we cannot be sure, these websites do not operate fake profiles which will make contact with a user and say little else afterwards. We might never know which services conduct such strategies. The first step to dealing with the lack of transparency and regulation. Is getting governments to recognize the high-risk to their citizens and take action to protect the public.

It is the fact that these websites must hold something back, prevent and restrict users from making contact with one-another too easily and profit from the perks on sale which do make contact easier. They all do it in different ways, mostly acceptable ways. The worst trick users into believing they are seeing all profiles that match their search, but in actual fact. There could be (I strongly believe there are in some services) hundreds of profiles that we will never see (probably very local), despite matching advanced searches etc.

Those hidden profiles are used to give value for money, despite premium services only offering to unlock visitors to our profiles, ability to contact users prior to a mutual match, ability to contact users who’s inboxes are “full” (what a con). So on-top of these unlocked perks, comes the sudden influx of close-to-home single user, who are also shown our profile, which would be partially hidden from many other users in the first-place. Creating a two way increase of all types of activity and content.