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Thursday, February 26, 2015

When Online Dating Gets Personal: Help From the Experts

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 2:56 PM

  • Live Dating Advice
One of the main criticisms people have of online dating is that it’s impersonal — you decide you like someone based on a couple of pictures they’ve uploaded, and from there try to cultivate a relationship through messaging until you’re comfortable enough to meet them face to face. And there’s always a risk that the person you’re messaging is actually a robot.

There are now two services that are making online dating services more personal by connecting dating site users with dating experts to give them advice on their profiles.

Live Dating Advice, founded earlier this month by three New York-based dating coaches, is a call center people can call to get personalized advice on their dating profile or dating in general. Currently, the service is based in New York and San Francisco.

“The coaches sit in the office, always ready to take calls,” says dating coach Israel Irenstein. “It’s very hands-on.”

Irenstein says he considers dating to be an “advanced social skill.”

“People don’t realize that behind every communication, there is a message," he says. “What’s really important is the message behind what you say in your profile."

Irenstein said that one of the most important pieces of advice he has for someone trying to build a solid online dating profile is to make sure their profile shows what they’re passionate about instead of explicitly saying it—he said that if a user is really into skiing, for example, it's better to include a story about skiing in their profile rather than just saying they like skiing.

He also recommends that people upload “no less than three pictures and no more than four,” because “less than three seems like you’re hiding something, but more than four seems like you’re trying too hard."

Stuart Brent, the founder of the similar service Ignite Your Match, also cautions users against having someone of the same gender in your dating profile pictures.

“It’s a big turn off for women to have any other woman in a guy’s pic, even if you say ‘this is my sister,’” says Brent.

Brent also advises dating site users against wearing sunglasses in their pictures, and to watch their grammar (we agree with that one; improper grammar in a profile is a huge turn-off. Everyone should know your vs. you’re by now.)

Ignite Your Match pulls people from the Amazon-based crowdsourcing service Mechanical Turk to review dating profiles.

Ignite Your Match was launched in March 2014 under the name Anteros, the Greek god of requited love, but was rebranded as Ignite Your Match this month because most people didn’t understand the reference, according to Brent.

Ignite Your Match is not a dating site, but a service that critiques users’ profiles on other dating sites.

Soon, Brent says, the service will be using dating experts to critique user profiles as well as the Mechanical Turk workers.

Brent, a self-described “data nerd,” says he ran his OkCupid profile through the service last month, started getting more messages, and met someone whom he is still dating.

Good luck with your online dating — just look out for the robots.

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Jessica Nemire

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