Thursday, April 20, 2006

Datingmonkey's Guide To UK Internet Dating Sites

The point of internet dating is to meet new people. Therefore, the more members a site has, the more likely you are to meet someone. Fact.

So, much as it galls me to admit it, the big ones are a good place to start if you're new to it all; they're well-designed, easy to use, quite a laugh and, well, full of potential lurve interest.

If you've been doing it a while and aren't having much luck, try guardiansoulmates.co.uk or loveandfriends.com. Particularly good if you're over the age of 25 and can hold open a big newspaper with both your hands.

Right, first bit of advice: try and be on more than one site. It's the same as drinking in more than one pub. And if you are on more than one site, I'd use the same profile and photographs. Not sure why; it just seems sensible.

www.guardiansoulmates.co.uk

Very high fox count. Join immediately. Quite London, but maybe that's because I live in Brixton and put 'lives within 10 miles' as one of my search criteria. Enough eccentrics to make it interesting, and very few boring cocks from Merton - although it has got, as you would expect, a fairly high tofu shoe-wearing vegan count.

Getting increasingly stalker-y though: you can see who's looked at your profile, which is a bit gutting when it's someone you like the look of and they've looked at your gurning monkey gob and the inane witterings of your profile and just moved on.

No rubbish 'winking' (otherwise known as "you look Ok but I can't be arsed to write to you"); fans and favourites and all that. Nice to use though, although according to 'My Matches' I should be getting jiggy with a 40 year old estate agent from Basildon with whom I have a 98% match. And that, obviously, is preposterous.

On the whole I've met some high quality gentlemen on it though, if you discount the man who wasn't over the ex-girlfriend he split up with over a year before we met, the alcoholic and the man I nearly met who said he was 42 and was in fact 49. I pointed out he was only 6 years younger than my mother. That shut the fucker up.

Dates gone on with men off it: c. 15
Romantic action: 6
Friends made: 3


www.dating.telegraph.co.uk

Like the Guardian, but more tweed than tofu.


www.uk.personals.yahoo.com

This nearly works. But it doesn't quite yet. What's good about it is that it's far less stalker-y than the other sites: you can't see who's looked at your profile or when someone last logged in. You also have to enter a security code to send a reply, and you can't delete a message without sending a 'courtesy reply'. I like that, because it encourages people to be well-mannered and that's always a nice thing.

But ... and this is the big but. It's great it loads of ways and should work brilliantly; it's just the quality of totty on it ain't all that. I had a couple of interesting emails but on the whole it's 'HI BABE YOUR PROFILE CAUGHT MY EYE WE'VE GOT A LOAD IN COMMON' (no we haven't), and one man asked me if I liked llamas for the simple reason that, well, he bred llamas. No word of a lie, as they say in Peckham.

It also lacks a bit of charm; it's almost too professional, slick and American. And let's face it, we're used to things being a bit shit in Britain, so that's a bit frightening.


www.match.com

Oh how I wish I could say I hated it. But I don't - for the simple reason that there are loads and loads and loads of people on it (and I've just met someone amazing on it - proper amazing, not 'not a twat' amazing), and it's quite a laugh to use. The fact is that however flash/charming/fun to use a site is, unless the people are on it, there's no point.

If you're new to internet dating, join Match.com. It's safe and friendly and easy to use and - well, there's a load of people on it. And that, my friends, is the point of it all.

One thing: they don't take Switch. How spazzy is that. I had to borrow a mate's Visa card to join. What a pain.


Dates gone on (in the old days when I had a Visa card): 10
Romantic action: 4
Number of men met who whisked me off to suite in Covent Garden Hotel, showered me with delightful presents then disappeared: 1
Friends made: 1 (very high quality one)
Really lovely new people just met: 1


www.udate.com

Is it just me, or is everyone on Udate really minging? Has one of those online chat facilities but all the men on it try and make you go to msn so they can tell you what they want to do to you. But the main thing about it is that (unless I'm totally imagining it) all the men on it are really pikey. Apart from one posh bloke who I think is in to S&M. I think it's owned by Match.com, so it's sort of like their slightly common cousin from Luton.

I hate the design of it too. I think it's designed for pikeys who want a quick fumble in a hotel in Swanage, if I'm honest.

Dates gone on: 3
Romantic action: 1 (about 5 years ago before it was really pikey)
Men met who look nothing like their picture and dribble: 1
Friends made: 1/2 a one, vaguely


www.loveandfriends.com

Kind of nice and cuddly. Quite thoughtful. Fewer idiots. Fewer writers and stuff and more accountants, which is fine, but you get my point. My best mate (ex-Online Dating Rejector) met her boyfriend on it and neither of them are cuddly. Or nice, come to think of it. Still, I like them, and they've just moved in with each other after a year.

I love the profile tool. It asks you questions that are nice to answer and might actually say something about you. There's something about it that's a bit tatty though, which I really like; it's a nice contrast to match.com. There's something about loveandfriends that I really like; it's a bit Heath Robinson, and very British - which makes it very charming. You get the feeling that most people on it are probably quite straightforward and nice. A good one to join if you're a bit older, i.e. over 35. Like me.

Dates gone on: 6
Romantic action: 0
Friends made: 1


www.datingdirect.com
For some reason dating direct really annoys me with its mean little text boxes and horrible purple and pink. It's mean-minded, somehow. You get hardly any space to write a profile; the pictures are hard to see; it's got really limited functionality and it's just no fun. If Match.com's advertising campaign does one thing to make me happy, it'll be to get them more members so that Dating Bloody Direct can't bang on (in their terrible Tube card ads) about how they're the UK's number 1 dating site. Oh just piss off. All of you. Now.

Dates gone on: 3
Romantic action: 0
Number of alcoholics met who pretended to be interested then got off with similarly alcoholic ex-best friend in France, then kept sending me unsigned cheques: 1
Friends made: 1 (very high quality)


www.sexintheuk.com

This is a weird place. I should have guessed from the title. It's loads of people looking for a last-minute shag, or 'erotic chat', or housewives from Birmingham (and their husbands) looking for a "3-sum". What's disconcerting is the chat facility: you don't put a picture of your face up, you put a picture of your knob up. If you are logged on for more than 2 seconds someone will try and chat with you. Usually goes like this:

Hi babe wanna chat?
No thanks, busy
Cum on you feeling horny?
Er, no, I'm watching Coronation Street
Do you wanna be spanked?
Er, no
Cum on babe u and me let's have fun
Etc.

It's absolutely fascinating - not because I find it titillating, because I don't, but because people are extraordinarily honest. I've had conversations with dwarves who like spanking, civil servants who like shagging women over size 26 and numerous obviously unemployed illiterates from Newcastle.

The day I thought I could never go on again was when a 66 year old man who looked like Father Christmas offered me "full nine inches", followed by an absolutely delightful 54 year old man who was obviously in the wrong place. I re-directed him to dating.telegraph.co.uk.

www.nomorefrogs.com

Impossible to use, and absolute rubbish. I have no idea what's going on.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try www.buddyshack.com its new and at the moment it is totally free.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Datingmonkey said...

Thank you for your tip. Are you in their employ? The site's shite, by the way, if anyone's wondering.

4:56 AM  
Anonymous Jules said...

I'm on Buddyshack (and others besides, too numerous to mention) and it is shite - I'm their "top rated" man for God's sake! Still, early days for them.

Anyway, I've been plugging away at it for a couple of years now and found your summary funny but frighteningly accurate.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Datingmonkey said...

Jules. Thank you for your note. Can I recommend match.com? I am a new convert. It seems to have millions of people on it, and it's a zillion times better than that malfunctioning, boring pile of cock, datingdirect.com.

With love

Datingmonkey xx

PS you may be a fox for all I know so don't be so alarmed by being their 'top rated' man. In fact, I'm going to have a look at you now.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TOTALLY agree with you about Buddyshack,joined and left the same day.All those bloody flashing graphics and obviously not real people on it(they all look american and plastic- bet they'bought'them with the website ROFL!!

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I just joined Buddyshack last month, and you lot must be crazy. The site is absolutely brilliant and user friendly, like a mini Myspace with no sign of fake profiles or flashing graphics anywhere as the above anonymous deranged and probably fake bad spelling poster suggests. The guy who runs the site is the most helpful person I have ever met on any dating website, gorgeous looking too lol. I guess you guys must have reviewed the site when it just kicked off. I think you should take another look, play fair and eat your words.

Regards, Karen

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I just joined Buddyshack last month, and you lot must be crazy. The site is absolutely brilliant and user friendly, like a mini Myspace with no sign of fake profiles or flashing graphics anywhere as the above anonymous deranged and probably fake bad spelling poster suggests. The guy who runs the site is the most helpful person I have ever met on any dating website, gorgeous looking too lol. I guess you guys must have reviewed the site when it just kicked off. I think you should take another look, play fair and eat your words.

Regards, Karen

10:29 AM  
Blogger Datingmonkey said...

Dear Karen

Thank you for your note. You obviously work for Buddyshack, and if you don't, I wonder why you felt the urge to write this comment and post it - twice.

It has not escaped my notice that if you enter 'Buddyshack' in Google, my blog comes up first. Excellent for me, not so good for Buddyshack.

To be fair, I haven't looked at the site for ages. But I object to any fucking twat who posts fake comments on my blog in order to publicise their piss-poor endeavour (and I refer to the first comment in this string, not Karen's - as Karen, I do realise you may not work for Buddyshack, unlikely as it seems), so it's unlikely I'm going to be nice, isn't it?

Anyway. There we go. Not much else to say, really. Tea, anyone?

DM

10:34 PM  
Blogger Datingmonkey said...

No, I've just checked. It's still shit. There's a lot of tits on the homepage though, and a bloke who looks like he works for the German Chippendales.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the statistics speak for themselves! The guy who runs it, tells everyone there are 400+ members - NO, there are 56. The MOST that have ever been online at one time was 6 around a month ago (you don't have to register even to see that - and MORE worryingly, you dont have to register or sign in to read everyones details and email addresses!

SO many 'new' members all the time, yet only 56 (it says on the listings)

Time for fraud squad if you ask me LOL !

11:50 PM  
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