Online dating advice from the player and the game

It's funny that I sometimes forget how I met Amanda - online. I was naturally skeptical of online dating, and the voyage got off to to a rocky start. Still, I found Amanda, and that's all that matters now!

At that time, and since, I've had a number of friends - actually most of my friends - take the same leap into online dating. I applaud you all because I know it's not easy. While I'm one of the few to have success so far, it's still early in the game for most of you. I'll save you from a full-on Match.com success story rant, but I'd like to share some tips... tips from the player himself. <Insert comeback here.>

  1. If you haven't already, sign up.
  2. Pimp your profile.
  3. Play the field.
  4. Stick with it. I went on a few dates with a few different girls. Some were fun. Some weren't. Amanda went on many more dates than I did and she basically didn't pay for a dinner for months. Moral of the story? Eventually we found each other.
  5. Have fun.

OK, so you've heard my side of the story, and maybe your skeptical about the player's advice. Fine. Then take some advice from the game - OkCupid, a free online dating site. Mashable today reported Friday on some stats OkCupid released. I'm in PR, so I know the stats are just a PR ploy for coverage (and they worked as Mashable wrote and so have I), but the stats are valuable for those trying to be players in the game of online dating. Let me break them down for you.

  • (Message) Size matters. The shortest messages get almost the best absolute response rate, and the reply rate actually goes down as messages get longer. After about 360 words, you start scaring people off, according to OkCupid's findings. The average first message is 743 words, so most people are doing more work than they should.
  • Don't expect responses from everyone. Only about of third of first messages get responses.

If you've already lost hope in the online dating process, just keep in mind that one in five people who tried online dating married someone they met online, according to a Valentine's Day survey. Count me as part of that 20 percent. I also recall seeing earlier this year a stat that one in five marriages in 2007 were the result of online dating. I can't find the source of that stat, but I'm sure it's closer to one in four now.

Think about your own statistics. How many hours a week do you spend out and about where you can meet people? How many hours a week do you spend online? I'm guessing the later number is multiples greater.

Take my advice and advantage of the time you're already habitually spending online -- and turn some romantic profits.