Ever wonder about the members of the different top rated online dating sites? Curious about their visitor demographics? Check out our latest research study, entitled the Demographics of Online Dating for some eye-opening information about the membership at each of the major online dating sites.
Have you ever suspected that the person you met at your favorite online dating site may not be who they claim? Did you ever consider whether the person's profile to which you responded may not even be from a real person? WebPersonalsOnline.com has noticed a growing trend that is currently plaguing social networking and online dating sites whereby people are posting fake profiles. We wanted to alert our readership, as well as inform you about different ways you can recognize whether these profiles are real or fake so that you do not waste your time and do not fall victim to fraud. But before we do, let's examine a few reasons why phony profiles might be posted on your favorite social networking or online personals site. Then we can learn how to spot them.
Why Fake Profiles Even Exist
New dating personals sites face stiff competition from established online dating sites with huge advertising budgets, such as Match.com and Chemistry.com. The life blood of any fledgling personals site is the number and quality of its user profiles from its existing member base. Just think about it - when you consider joining an online dating site, would you prefer a site with absolutely no members (even if its free) or would prefer to see a vibrant community with many current profiles from other single men and women with whom you could communicate? Large dating sites like the two mentioned above have huge advertising budgets that can establish their 'brand' so to speak and instill enough confidence and reach enough people such that these sites are capable of developing a large pool of real members relatively quickly. Just a few years ago, Chemistry.com didn't even exist, but we bet you remember all of the television commercials from this new online dating site and the next thing you know, it is one of the largest internet personals sites around and a major player in the online dating space. That takes a LOT of money.
Seeding and Weeding
Smaller dating sites just don't have the advertising budget so some unscrupulous sites create hundreds of fake profiles to 'populate their database' with members in order to encourage new, real members to join. In fact some sites, once real members begin to join, begin to weed out the phony profiles. WebPersonalsOnline.com has coined a little catchphrase and refers to this tactic as seeding and weeding (whereby the site plants seeds ala fake dating profiles and then weeds them out as new, actual members join). In fact a lot of online dating software that smaller personals sites use actually can do this automatically.
Knowing is Half the Battle
While we certainly do not agree with this tactic, it is important to understand the why behind fake internet dating profiles before we can examine the how and learn how to spot them. Certainly, there may be more reasons behind the why of phony online dating profiles, but creating false membership to encourage new members to join is one of the most common reasons for phony profiles.
Social Networking Sites Can Have Fake Users Too
Social networking sites, like Facebook and MySpace can also have phony profiles. Since these sites are so popular and heavily trafficked, people may post false profiles in order to secretly advertise their products or services to the very large member community. In other instances, someone may create a fake profile in order to post derogatory comments about another individual, anonymously, which is totally against the terms of service of any social networking site and should never be done. SitePoint.com has a very good article about fake social networking profiles and the reasons why they might exist.
How to Recognize Fake Dating Profiles
Now that we know some of the motives behind false profiles, let's take a look at how to spot them.
#1 - Be Aware of The Site - Always be aware of the
dating site you are currently visiting. While that might sound obvious,
what we mean is be aware of whether it is a major online dating site,
or a newer, less popular site. While there can be fake profiles on
any site, the likelihood of phony dating profiles on newer, smaller sites
is higher. That is not to say that all new personals sites are no
good, it is just that a newer, less popular site may be more tempted to use
fake profiles to encourage new members to join.
#2 - Too Good to be True - Be aware of whether the member whose profile you are reading seems too good to be true. While it is possible to meet Prince Charming on an online dating site, a good site will have many more members that are closer to 'Average Joe' than 'Prince Charming'. If profile after profile is from some rich, handsome doctor or Playboy Playmate, be on guard.
#3 - Take a Close Look at the Photos - Similar to number 2 where we advised you to be aware if the profiles sounded too good to be true, the third way to spot a fake online dating profile is if the photos look too good to be true. While there certainly are many attractive men and women at the bigger online dating sites, they are not all models. If profile after profile has some extremely hot guy or gal, your antennae should go up and you should be on guard.
#4 - Advertisement Anyone? - Keep a sharp eye out for a profile that is actually an advertisement. This type of fake profile may be more prevalent on social networking sites, but may also exist at your favorite online personals site. For example, if the profile is from some well-fit individual who is talking about what products they used to become this fit or look this good, that person may have motives other than dating. Remember an advertisement type profile is usually for a product or service (and that service may be anything - if you know what we mean).
#5 - A Catch - Some phony internet dating profiles can be spotted by recognizing that there is a catch to meeting or communicating with the person who 'supposedly' posted the profile. The catch may be some action that you need to take and can range from something simple like visiting the person's website (where they are selling some product or service) to outright fraud where they are asking you for money or personal information. Never give away personal information to someone you meet online - ever.
One way to encounter fewer fraudulent internet dating profiles is to stick to the major online dating sites. While it might be tempting to join a smaller, newer personals site for a change of pace, by sticking to the 'big boys', like Match.com and Chemistry.com you will encounter fewer phony profiles. This is mainly due to the following two reasons: Reason One - Large dating sites do not have any reason to encourage fake profiles because they have large member databases already and Reason Two - Popular sites like Match.com and Facebook, have sophisticated software that can monitor what members post so as to comply with their rules and regulations. If you are ever in doubt, you can always read the Terms of Service at any of these sites and you will see what their policy regarding fake member profiles is.
Unfortunately, fake profiles do exist at online dating and social networking sites and there is no way to be certain that you won't come across one if you use these types of sites. By arming yourself with good, current information and by being aware, you can - most of the time - spot these phony profiles using the five tips we provided above. Hopefully you now feel more confident and better informed and will continue your online dating pursuits with renewed vigor. As always, Web Personals Online strives to provide the most current information in order to make using the major online dating and personals sites less taxing, more rewarding and more productive. Why not check out some of the newest real members at Match.com right now?
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