Category Archives: dating websites

Get Better Online Dating Results, In Less Time – eBook

So, I wrote a book.

After many many months struggling with online dating and coming up with solutions (as chronicled on this blog) I decided to succinctly collect everything I’ve learned, including all the time-saving tips, in a single, easy-to-read ebook.

In this book you will discover the secrets of how I:

  • Got a girl to send me her number in her very first message to me
  • Reduced the time I spent online dating from 2 hours to 20 minutes per week
  • Went on up to 4 dates per week with only 20 minutes’ per week investment

But this book isn’t just about online dating; it’s also about Craig’s list personals.

As a FREE bonus, I also decided to include the Craigslist M4W personals ad that has pulled the best for me over the years . . . this is a “Best-of-Craigslist” post that runs over 1,000 words and has 8 illustrations. Pretty much every time I run this ad, I get you 30+ real women responding with their pictures.

Running this ad will have you feeling like a hot chick. True, you’ll have to modify it for your city, but once you do, you’re golden.

How would you like to see the below in your inbox? 

Get dozens of women emailing you with this killer CL ad. (If not more.) It works.

Get dozens of women emailing you with this killer CL ad. It works.

Here’s a more complete rundown of what’s included in the book:

  • The 3 things that must be in your profile (page 18)
  • Why your writing skill doesn’t really matter to a girl (page 22)
  • Why the online dating websites want you to fail, and how to succeed despite them (pages 4 – 11)
  • Why it doesn’t matter what your first message says (page 13)
  • The 5 rules for creating profiles that stand out from the crowd (page 20)
  • Real-life examples of profiles that grab a woman’s attention and don’t let go (page 29)
  • The 9 photography techniques you need to apply to have the best possible photos (page 33)
  • The one messaging technique that improved my reply rate by 40% (page 37)
  • Real-life examples of messages that got the best replies from women (page 40)
  • Super-confident & aggressive messages that either get you in the door right away or crash-and-burn terribly (use with caution!) – page 43
  • How to interpret what she writes back (page 45)
  • How to get her phone number in four messages or less (page 47)
  • FREE BONUS: The only personals ad you’ll ever need — post this ad on Craigslist or your favorite online personals board and you will get women emailing you their photos within minutes — in some cases this ad has pulled over 100+ messages from women within 2 daysI includes the entire 1,135 word personal ad, word-for-word, and links to the 8 hand-drawn illustrations crafted to go along with it. (You MUST use this ad responsibly!)

So what are you waiting for?


Online Dating for the Modern Man + Bonus: The Only Personals Ad You’ll Ever Need. Now just $27 with instant PDF download

 Get your instant download


Every good product has a guarantee and mine is no exception.

I am so confident that you will get value out of this book — especially if you take the time to use the FREE bonus craig’s list personals ad — that I will refund your money 100%, for up to 90 days after your purchase date if you use the material therein and don’t get the results you want.

Basically, the book is the cost of a deli sandwich — and I’m offering to give you the cost back even after 3 months have past if you don’t like the taste of the sandwich.

I think you’ll agree that is a pretty solid guarantee.

So buy with confidence!


What Your Pictures Should Look Like

Photos are probably 80% of your results in online dating.

Huge judgments get made based on the first or second photo. Women online don’t have more than a few seconds per guy to make a decision, so you need to stand out.

Here are the only seven pieces of advice you really need to make a great photogenic impression:

1. Have pictures taken with a real camera. A DSLR or camera with interchangeable lenses is best. Camera phones take crappy quality pictures (yes, even the iPhone 4s/5). 

2. No flash. Flash adds 7 years, says OkCupid’s own data. 

3. Use Shallow Depth-of-Field. Meaning you should be the only thing in frame, and the surroundings should be almost blurry. 

4. Have your picture taken late afternoon, or late at night. OkTrends own data suggests that you need a photo taken during the “Golden Hour” within an hour of sunset or sunrise. 

5. Have photos with you with looking into & looking away from the camera. Some women will find you more attractive when you’re looking away (i.e. not gazing into the lens.) 

6. Your first photo should be just you, clear, with a shallow DoF. Your second photo should be you in an awesome activity (snowboarding, sky diving, whatever you really love.) Your third photo should be you with a big group of friends (please, not you and 6 playboy bunnies, that’s try-hard.) At least one but preferably all your photos should show you smiling. 

7. No shirtless shots. Do I really need to spell this out? A candid in a well-fitted T-shirt or in athletic action (surfing etc) will let her know how built or ripped you are.

8. If possible, get a professional to take the shots. They will have the skill to bring out your best angles and present your most attractive face to the Internet.

 9. Candid are better than posed. An obviously posed, professional shot says “try hard.” A subtly-professional or awesome-amateur photo says “He hangs out with amazing photographers, I bet they could make me look that good.” You want the latter.

Follow those nine points of advice, and your pictures will be better than 75% of the photos on your competitors’ profiles. . . .especially if all your photos fit these criteria.

Get the eBook! Tips that maximize your time spent online dating for minimum effort. Just $7.99. Instant PDF download. Click the cover to buy

Get the results you deserve! My 60-page PDF guide to minimize your effort and maximize your results. Click here to buy or here to learn more

What The Online Dating Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know

It used to be that when I talked to my friends about online dating, they all had the same thing to say:

“Oh yeah man, I’ve got this on lock. It’s a system. Here’s what I do.”

They would proceed to describe what they do. It was invariably something like the following:

  1. Fire up browser

  2. Go to online dating site

  3. Hit the “search” function

  4. Open 20 tabs with different women’s profiles

  5. Hit “new message” on all 20 tabs

  6. Copy-paste slightly modified message into each tab, based on a few inserts from her unique profile

  7. Sit back and wait for the awesome results to roll in

This never seemed to work too well. I’d see these same guys out on dates with women ten years older than them, or women who already had kids, or women who were alcoholics. “Where’d you meet that girl?” I’d ask. “Match,” they’d whisper.

I’m not bagging on these guys. They’re good guys, and they’re not stupid. I did this exact same thing, and got similar results: women who couldn’t remember where they parked their car after two drinks, women who drank heavily on the first date, women who couldn’t stop talking about their ex or dead husband, women who’d had zero long-term relationships in their lives.

At first I thought it was just a tainted pool: that any woman who had an online dating profile had to be “damaged goods” or “defective” in some way. (Judgmental, I know. The irony of thinking this as a guy with an online dating profile escaped me.)

Then, I got a bright idea: I would start my own dating website.

My buddy joined me as cofounder and we began our industry research.

Oh boy, did we learn.

The online dating industry is designed to make you feel like you’re accomplishing a lot, because all of these sites get paid either by showing you advertising or by hooking you into a monthly, recurring membership fee.

I quickly realized the awful truth: dating websites weren’t trying to help me get dates.

Dating websites were trying to keep me looking for as long as possible.

This terrible realization had massive implications for how I had to go about dating.

Suddenly it all made sense: why would the hot girls appear “online” before I signed up, only to evaporate when I finished my profile? Why would attractive women start “checking out my profile” like clockwork after I hadn’t logged into the site for a week? Why were there so many gorgeous, well-written profiles that had been created 2 years ago and still weren’t deleted?

The answer is simple. Online dating is a network-effects industry: if you have hot profiles, you’ll get signups.

No hot profiles, no signups.

Because of this, it is a common practice in the industry to jump-start the “network effect” is to “seed” the site with fake profiles (or pay people to put up profiles they have no intention of using) and you have a recipe for really frustrated men.

As more “real” users sign up, these fake profiles are gradually “weeded out”. . . but not before amassing hundreds of thousands of hits, views & messages from real users.

The fact is, every modern dating site has significant churn — users logging on, creating profiles, then deleting them a day to a week to a month later — either because those users couldn’t find anyone they liked, or they were disgusted by the massive influx of crass messages landing in their inboxes (the most common outcome for women.)

In fact, in my own experience with popular free dating site OkCupid, between 15% and 30% of all profiles I messaged went dark (deleted) every week. (That’s a HUGE annual churn rate.)

Finally, the incentives of a dating site, particularly a free one, create massive “dating market” inefficiencies:

  • Messaging is usually free, meaning 99% of the men message (disgusting things) to 1% of the “most attractive women.” These women get fed up and leave.

  • Technology is still stuck in the MySpace era with pictures and text, leaving no possible chance of sensing body language or chemistry. With Photoshop, anyone can look like a supermodel (or superman).

  • Studies have already shown that both men & women men lie significantly in their profiles — see the charts below for just one example. (I guess Yo Goti was right when said “Men lie, women lie.”)

So, given all this, is it still possible to meet cool, beautiful people via online dating?

It is. . . but you have to be strategic.

You also have to guard your time carefully, message appropriately, and stack the deck in your favor as much as possible — since the deck is, by default, stacked against you.

In upcoming posts, I will describe those “deck-stacking” techniques I found most useful.

Get the eBook! Tips that maximize your time spent online dating for minimum effort. Just $7.99. Instant PDF download. Click the cover to buy

Get the results you deserve! My 60-page PDF guide to minimize your effort and maximize your results.  Click here to buy or here to learn more

OkCupid or What’s Better for Online Dating?

I got a request to write up a Match vs OkCupid post, and that’s just exactly what I’m going to do.

In one corner, we have the hipster-cool OkCupid, (which is now owned by, although the founding team is still on board doing all the work.) Cupid started as SparksNotes, a note-taking service for college students, and then morphed into a personality test site, with built-in virality: you could post your test results, sort of like badges, on other websites, which inevitably drew more people into the site to take the tests.

OkCupid’s history is interesting because it basically started with everything you find on a dating website (tests, quizzes, personality profiles), minus the dating. Now it’s probably the premiere free dating site on the Internet, taking second place to Plenty of Fish in terms of raw traffic, but since I can’t bear to subject my eyes to the hideous awfulness that is PoF (and neither can any of my friends), it’s #1 in my book.

In the other corner, we have, the undisputed king of online dating websites, free or paid. Match is also amongst the oldest matchmaking properties on the web, having been started in the mid-1990s.

Since we’re focusing on the efficacy of these two sites from a user’s perspective, I’ve broken down the experience into a five main categories:

  • Efficacy. What are the quality of the matches and quality of dates?
  • Ease of use. How long does it take to get off the site and meet someone in person?
  • Value. What does the site deliver vs. what you give up to use it?
  • Design and aesthetics. Is using the site and/or mobile app a pleasant experience?
  • Network. What type of people are using this site? What is the dating pool like?

A couple of notes: in an informal and totally non-scientific poll, the first four categories represent what most people are looking for in a dating website: that it gets them good dates, that it’s easy to use, that it’s a good value, and that using it is enjoyable (or at least not unpleasant. Plenty of Fish utterly fails in the Design & Aesthetics category, which is why it’s not even on my radar.)

The fifth category, Network, is sort of the category that rules them all. Even if the website looks and works awesome, if there’s nobody on it — or nobody attractive to you — it fails. With online dating, the pool is the product, and you’re paying to get access to the pool. 

So let’s start this cage match, shall we?

Efficacy: How Serious Are You?  

You can’t talk about the efficacy of a dating site without talking about its user base. OkCupid is free, supported by ads. It attracts people who would rather not pay for online dating, but are OK with looking at ads. I think this indicates a slightly-less-serious, or at the very least slight-more-cost-conscious, dating pool.

(You can pay OkCupid $10 a month to get access to some premium features — ability to search by  body type, and a few other perks — but I imagine fewer than 10% of users actually do this.)

On, users are free to browse other profiles and wink at other users, but messaging is locked away behind the subscription. Monthly access can be had for as little as $15 a month (a 6-month commitment is required) or as much as $35 (a one-month subscription). Match also offers a “guarantee” for an extra $1 per month — they will pay for another 6 months of use if you do not find your “special someone” in the first six months — although there are reports that this guarantee is hard to qualify for and sometimes enforced in a shady manner.

So I think it’s fair to say that users are more serious: if they’re messaging you, they’re serious about meeting someone, because they’re either paying for it monthly, or they’re on a 7-day free trial period and trying to get a date in seven days.

Here’s my experience. I tried once, and used it diligently for 6 months. I met one woman in person.

Now, granted, at the time my “online dating game” wasn’t very strong, but I still find this metric pathetic. Arguably, I wasn’t looking for something serious, so I was using the wrong site for me at the time: but I still find 1 date in 6 months to be an indicator of efficacy for me personally.

Of course, arguing from anecdotes is useless: I know at least one girl who got married from using Now, she did spend about 10 hours a week on the site for 6 straight months, but if that’s what it takes.

In contrast, I have found OkCupid much more efficacious. I have met dozens of girls through the site, many of whom turned into friends, and several of whom I had short romantic relationships with.

Simply because of the cost difference, I think of OkCupid as the more efficacious site, but it really does depend on what you’re looking for. If you want to meet someone for the long term or someone who is serious about getting married, probably has the better network for you.

Winner: Depends what you’re looking for. Match for the more-serious, Cupid for the less-serious.

Ease of Use: How Fast Can You Get Offline? 

In my view, the objective of online dating is to make it offline dating as quickly as possible. Unless what you’re really looking for is a pen-pal, most of us will admit that actually building relationships takes place in real time in the real world, not mediated by electronic screens.

So which site gives you a faster time-to-real-life? It’s really a toss-up, because it depends on your skills with your profile, messaging and pictures, as well as the motivations and confidence of the other person in question.

There are all kinds of people on both sites, both very secure and bold people who are willing to meet up after 1-2 messages, and people who expect to exchange 20+ messages through inmail before a phone number is exchanged.

Having said that, I will also say that there are specific things a guy can do that make it more likely a girl will give you her phone number within 1-2 messages. I know, because I’ve used these techniques, and the success is repeatable. Recently, a girl gave me her number in the first reply message she sent to me (and then followed it up with a “wow, I just read your profile, it’s so good” message).

This one’s a toss-up, because I believe there are specific guys that everyone can do to improve their time-to-real-life, which work equally well on both sites.

Value: Free vs Paid 

Cupid wins. I’m just going to call it out right now. Free beats paid any day of the week, especially if you use an ad-blocker on your browser so you don’t have to be brainwashed by their ads.

I suppose there is some actual value in the signaling function of paying for online dating, whether on Cupid or Match. vis a vie the fact that guys willing to pay will probably be viewed by women as “more serious” and perhaps also “more marriage-material” which might be what you’re going for. For those of not going for that, it will probably hurt more than help: all the casual chicks will say, what kind of loser has to pay for online dating?

From a user perspective, the value equation has to be optimized for your time. Whether or not you’re spending monthly on online dating, my presumption is that your time is valuable, and you want to spend as little time as possible finessing your profile, messaging hundreds of women, and crafting the perfect reply. There are shortcuts and quick rules-of-thumb for all these activities that will radically boost your success rates. I intend to write about all of them in future articles, so stay tuned.

Online dating shouldn’t take more than 1 to 2 hours a week. That should be enough for you to get the results you want, whether it’s setting up 3 coffee dates with attractive women or 1 coffee date with one seriously attractive, seriously compatible woman.

Design and aesthetics: Cupid Takes the Cake 

This category seems to me an easy call: OkCupid wins, hands down, as the site with the superior user interface, design, and general look and feel.

Match is no slouch in this department, boosted by a recent redesign, but they’re still not up to Cupid’s standards. Nobody in the online dating game is (although WhyDon’tWe has plenty of pretty buttons with rounded corners.)

I mean, come on: which would you rather spend an hour staring at?

OkCupid profile. Notice how much cleaner it is.

On mobile: I have to plead ignorance here, since I’ve only ever used Cupid’s app, and my verdict is: it’s good, but not significantly better than the website experience.

I doubt’s Mobile Match is significantly better than their on-site browsing experience either, so I’ve got to call this one a tie. Sound off in the comments if I’m totally wrong here.

I will note that Cupid’s app has a “Locals” feature that tries to identify potential matches who are nearby, in your neighborhood, and allows you to post suggested date ideas that others can take you up on. I’ve had virtually zero success with posting my own date ideas, although one woman did contact me using the feature, once.

In general, I think dating sites are still struggling with the local-social-mobile intersection. Eventually, someone might solve this and make it a killer app — I know what kind of product I would pay for in this space — but nobody has stepped forward with the right product design yet, and no incumbent is thinking about it in the right way, so it might take a while.

Network: Dating Pool or Dead Pool? 

I know by now you’re probably convinced I’m a shill for OkCupid, but it’s not true, and this category will demonstrate why: churn.

Churn is a reality of online dating websites. Generally, the better the product, the higher the churn: paradoxically, people who stay on the site long-term, continuing their search month after month, are by definition frustrated daters, not getting results. So a good churn rate indicates one of two things:

  1. Your site is so godawful that people get off as quickly as they get on
  2. Your site is so damn good at matching folks that they get off as quickly as they get on

I’ve heard that turns over their entire customer inventory every 6 months. This makes sense, given their six-month membership packages, and their six-month guarantee: people probably think, “Okay, I’ll give this online dating thing a serious shot for 6-months, and see what happens.” One way or another, they’re getting off the ride after that 6 month period is up.

Cupid has no such artificial restrictions. In one recent sample, fully 30% of profiles I messaged over a two-day period disappeared within the business week. That’s a huge, colossal, stupendous amount of churn. It’s much, much more than’s.

So what’s going on here? Are Cupid users less serious about dating? Probably. Are they more apt to jump on and jump off at a whim? Probably.

The flip-side problem to too much churn is not enough. In other words: the dead-pool effect: people who create profiles, then abandon them shortly afterwards, either because they started dating someone, or because they got discouraged and gave up. This easily leads to the common problem of “messaging dead profiles” — beautiful people who haven’t logged in lately. Technically, they’re “active users” (although every dating site defines “active” users differently) — but they’re not going to see your message.

If I had to guess, I would say that Match’s inventory is probably, on average, more “stale” than Cupid’s. Is this good or bad for you? Well, it’s neither, because you’re going to use the only smart tactic that can be deployed when faced with the oscillating problems of too much vs. not enough churn: you’re only going to message people who are online now, or who have been active in the past day. 

Listen, profiles are products: but unlike a can of tuna, a profile has no “best-buy” date and no known shelf-life. A lot of is going behind the scenes with every profile you view, and you don’t get to see any of it: that ‘perfect profile’ that you’re convinced is your soulmate could disappear any instant. If they haven’t logged in in the last 3 days, odds are they’re not going to, either.

If you’re serious about getting results from online dating, you should therefore only be reviewing product that is guaranteed “fresh” — that is, product that is using the site at the same time you are. The bigger the local pool, the easier this is (i.e., in a big city) — if you are in a rural area or a small-ish city (less than 1 million people), you’re going to have to expand your browsing to longer and longer temporal scales (last 5 days, last week, etc.)

A final note: since OkCupid is free, it’s not unusual to run into the same people on both Match and Cupid.  It’s also not unusual to see the same person on the site for a long period of time; there are a few women on OkCupid that I have seen pop up multiple times, on and off, over a 3 year period. I call them the “long-term-available” and I suppose I share a certain camaraderie with them, since I’ve obviously been in and out of serious relationships during the same time period. Maybe one day we’ll all have a big meetup and swap stories.

The Final Analysis: What’s Better, OkCupid or

The answer: it depends.

Here’s my advice: if you’re looking to get into a seriously-long-term relationship and/or marriage, use It probably has a dating pool slightly more aligned with that intention, and in any case, putting your money up front signals your seriousness, which is the right message to send to potential mates.

If you’re just looking to get your feet wet with online dating and you’re not sure how serious you are about marriage or finding a long-term mate, use OkCupid. It’s free, it’s easier to use (IMHO), and the dating pool is just as good as you’ll find anywhere else on the Internet. Plus, it’s more fun to use, and that counts for something, right?

If you find yourself straddling the fence, use paid OkCupid. The additional options will make your searching and messaging more effective, and help you spend less time and get better results.

Of course, there’s nothing to say you can’t use both sites, and many people do. But if you’re like me, your attention is already spread thin enough. A busy man only really needs one dating site and application.

I hope this has helped your decision making. Sound off in the comments if you (dis)agree!

Get the eBook! Tips that maximize your time spent online dating for minimum effort. Just $7.99. Instant PDF download. Click the cover to buy

Get the results you deserve! My 60-page PDF guide to minimize your effort and maximize your results.  Click here to buy or here to learn more