Internet dating is so popular that I don’t know anyone who hasn’t tried joining one of these sites. It seems like everywhere we surf on the Internet, various pop-up ads advertising free online personals flood our screens – it’s the latest Internet gold rush. More and more people are signing up for a minimal monthly fee. What they get for their money is a place on the web where they can post their profile in order to let other people contact them.
Unfortunately, as Internet dating sites increase, more and more people are also having awful experiences, because very few dating sites screen their members. This means that a sex offenders, predators and scam artists are able to join dating websites along with genuine singles looking to find their match.
Here are some important things to consider before joining a dating site:
1. First, consider how the website looks. If it’s poorly designed with unappealing graphics or jagged fonts and misaligned sections, this indicates a lack of attention to detail in the construction and layout of the site, and could mean that the rest of the site’s management is in a similar state of chaos and disarray. Just think, if the webmaster can’t finesse the aesthetic aspects of the site, it’s logical to assume that they’ve done a similarly poor job with other important aspects – like security. It’s possible that the site could be easily hacked, and your personal information, including your photo and contact information, aren’t secure. And if you’ve paid for membership to the site using a credit or debit card, your credit information could be at risk. Choose Internet dating sites that are professionally constructed.
2. Try to look at some of the sample profiles on the site before you sign up. Beware of sites that use photos of models or random attractive celebrities in order to attract new members. Also check out the user profiles – if they contain gibberish characters or nonsensical phrases in the descriptions, these are bogus profiles posted on the site to artificially inflate the number of users. A little research into the profiles on a site will also let you know whether members are properly screened before they are allowed to sign up.
3. Try to determine if a site has a privacy link. You can find the privacy link at the bottom of a site’s main page. If they have one, click on it and check to make sure they don’t sell members’ information to anyone – you don’t want to be bombarded with spam e-mails and junk mail. Also look for the site’s Terms of Service page for the site’s rules – check to see if they screen their profiles to disallow racist language or overly sexual material. If don’t state this, then it means anything goes within this site, which is a good reason to not sign up.
4. Check if the dating site has a links page. Click on a few to see which other sites they’re affiliated with, and be careful if they’re linked to sex sites and spam sites.
5. Try to search for the copyright date, usually located at the bottom of the first page. This will give you the age of the site.
6. Don’t believe everything you read. Some dating sites claim that they’ been in the business for years but are actually brand new. Look for a “who’s online” link – if you’re the only person currently online then their claims of having millions of users is a lie. A site with millions – or even just thousands – of members will always have a large number of people online at any given time.