Another year, yet another lonely Valentine’s Day. Where is
my Valentine?

Is there something wrong with me? Does my sixth right finger
really gross girls out? Or maybe it’s my lack of personality?
Nah.

Maybe I’m looking for love in all the wrong places. The
library? No. The gym? No. The bars? No.

How about the Internet? If the Internet can help me plagiarize
my papers and find celebrity mugshots … well, let’s give it
a shot.

To understand where to begin in this crazy world of online
dating, it’s necessary that you be prepared to handle the
(virtual) realities of sharing yourself with millions of people. So
I will walk you through several quick steps to finding some e-love
and offer a few reviews of the better websites.

First of all, choose a website. Second, try the search feature
to see if the database has the type of person you’re looking
for. Some websites appeal to a more distinct customer base (for
example www.sassyseniors.com).

Third, sign up to become a member. Most online dating and
friendship websites are free, at least for the majority of
features. Fill out your profile truthfully. Depending on the
website, this might take 15 to 45 minutes. Remember, more effort
means better chances. Don’t forget to put a photo or two on
your profile. Profiles with photos are 70 percent more likely to be
clicked on than those without.

Fourth, stay active. Staying active refers to checking your
e-mails, IM’s and website message box on a regular basis.
Members who remain active are also more likely to find love
online.

Below are several popular websites that have large, diverse
member bases. Each site has its own unique qualities and features,
so find the one that best suits your needs. Good luck.

 

Friendster (www.friendster.com)

Friendster is one of the fastest growing social-networking
communities. Try to visualize the “six degrees of Kevin
Bacon” phenomenon, put that on a website and you have
Friendster. The concept is to establish a social network based on
friends (and dating). The website is free for all of its basic
features, which include creating a profile (with photos), leaving
and retrieving testimonials and browsing other profiles. Of all the
online-dating services, Friendster might be the most fun and
youth-friendly service around, primarily catering to college kids
and twenty-somethings. Even celebrities such as Ben Kweller use
friendster to communicate with fans around the world.

An example from my account illustrates one of the main features
of Friendster. I have the word “Goober” on my profile.
When this word is clicked, the system will perform a search for
other people who also have a love for this genius blend of peanut
butter and jelly. These links work for every single word in your
interests categories, so it’s very easy to find someone with
similar interests.

Check it out. Invite your friends. Have fun. Oh, and if you have
time, try some Goober as well.

 

Yahoo! Personals

(personals.yahoo.com)

The Internet conglomerate can boast of yet another success in
its dominant e-empire — online dating. With several million
members worldwide, it’s no wonder that the Personals section
of Yahoo! is so large. In addition to the regular profile features,
you can also describe your ideal match — including his/her TV
watching habits. The five-step profile process takes approximately
20 minutes. Video introductions and voice greetings are also
available for free.

Yahoo! even provides a service to send profiles of prospective
matches to your e-mail account. If, however, you prefer to flirt
before starting a relationship, the “wink” feature
allows you to casually let someone know you’re interested in
him or her. Take advantage of Yahoo’s other features as well.
If you are more comfortable in another language, try one of the ten
foreign languages available. “Do you Yahoo?”

 

Match.com (www.match.com)

Match is the largest online dating and friendship community with
a member base of more than 3 million individuals worldwide (30
countries), plus those of Love@AOL and MSN. The site even offers
mobile access. Match’s easy-to-use interface is a breeze to
navigate from the free, in-depth personality tests to the several
search services.

One feature that truly sets Match apart from most online dating
services is the ability to search for same-sex partners.

Take the Personal Attraction Test to begin. After approximately
10 minutes of questions, you will be given a complete profile of
who you are (“I am a hidden prince”) and what
you’re looking for.

The profile setup includes many questions that weren’t
offered on any other site. How tall are you? What is your favorite
NBA team? What is your ultimate date? The latter includes answers
like Cozy (cappuccino and scones), Natural (a walk in the meadow),
Hot (clubbing) to Indulgent (rampant shopping spree).

The “Mutual Match” technology that runs the website
allows every user to compare personality and physical attraction
preferences with prospective matches. Match Events is another
service the site offers to promote social and dating happenings
around major metropolitan areas.

Be persistent. Not everyone who contacts you will be your ideal
princess or knight in shining armor. Good luck out there and stay
frosty.

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