Looking for love: Does online dating work?
Niche sites say there's someone out there for everyone
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Online dating has taken the world of romance by storm. Aside from traditional internet sites such as Match.com and Eharmony, niche sites are popping up, promising love for everyone.
Online dating isn’t just recession-proof, but it’s recession improved: More people look for love when the economy tanks – according to some experts.
“We’re hardwired to look for relationships anytime, but in the time of crisis we really want somebody to snuggle with,” said one psychologist.
There are few reliable studies on Internet dating and mating – especially ones not commissioned by dating sites – but it’s safe to say at least millions have tried it.
30-year-old Daniel Geffree thought it was convenient and promising.
“Sadly, at first I thought this will work. This is just as easy. They’re taking the same approaching I am and they want to meet people,” Geffree said. But in many cases, he said meeting people turned out to be shocking because women weren’t honest about who they were, with pictures that didn’t capture what their true appearance. And it was on that awkward first date that Geffree got a reality check.
“If you’re overweight, tell me. I don’t understand the whole ‘few extra pounds.’ It’s like going to a restaurant and saying ‘I’ll get a few biscuts’ and coming back with 30,” Geffree said, referring to the way his dates described themselves on Plenty of Fish.
Despite the digital dating disappointment for many, a new wave of companies promise to solve dating needs, including WeWaited.com, for virgins seeking like-minded purity – something the site’s owner and confounder says society belittles.
“Here, they feel they are heroes. They feel that they are important people who are normal – that it’s okay to wait until marriage. And it’s a safe environment where you’re not going to be criticized,” said Leticia Colin.
Other sites include: WomenBehindBars.com or JailBabes.com, for those interested in incarcerated women; SugarDaddie.com, where evidently “attractive, wealthy and desirable people” meet; PositiveSingles.com, for people with sexually transmitted diseases; and AshleyMadison.com, for those already in a relationship seeking some action on the side.
These sites have also inspired sites that allow singles to research the prospective dates, including Cheaterville.com, allowing people to post private details of “players.”
James McGibney, the site’s founder and CEO, vetting the people you date prevents heartbreak and disappointment later on: “Online, everyone looks great. It’s just like a resume. But before they go on that first date, they do a quick check to find out on Cheaterville that the person is married with two kids and they’ve done this 10 times before.”
The disillusionment is often one of the pitfalls of digital dating: Singles often don’t know what they’re in for.
Charles Prince, the owner of Tucson Matchmakers, said disappointed dates often come to him for help afterward.
“People write a profile and it’s not necessarily who they are. So when you go choose somebody, you choose somebody based on who wrote the best profile and who has the best picture,” Prince said, adding that the picture is often of the person at his or her best, or one from years ago.
Prince said so-called “deal-breakers” like height, weight and hair color can prevent daters with rigid expectations from finding that special someone – through what they specify in their preferences or profiles.
“If a guy is an inch shorter than your parameters or your checklist, should that really eliminate him because what if he’s the guy who’s going treat you great for the rest of your life?” Prince asked.
So one Tucson-based matchmaking site called DAWN aims to get beyond the superficial. The site’s founder Wendy Wolf said the site is tailored to the single and disabled and has helped many singles find their significant others.
“With the other types of sites, when somebody hears they have a disability, it usually doesn’t go a whole lot further than that,” Wolf said. “Here, they know what they’re getting for. They’re looking for somebody whom they hope will accept them and vice versa so that’s why it works.”
That acceptance is why Geffre quit internet dating. He said people weren’t honest online because they were unable to accept their flaws in real life – so he’s opting to go offline to find true love.
“I’ve met a few girls in person and then developed it from there. And every time comparing the girls – even if I like them online – it’s always been a million times better meeting them the traditional way,” Geffre said.