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Online Dating Newsletter
Volume 2, Number 2 - April 6, 2005
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Table of Contents
1. From the Editor
2. Creative Date Ideas: Helicopter Rides
3. Online Dating Tips: Be What You Say You Are
4. Relationship Tips: Admire Your Partner's Differences
5. Relationship Quote of the Week
6. Inspirational Quote of the Week
7. Romantic Ideas: Love Letters by Mail
8. News: Overseas Scammers Make Thousands Per Victim
9. Feature Link: Creating a Better Online Dating Photo
10. New "Clicking Together" Cartoon

From the Editor - A True Disappointment
I love to see new online dating services enter the marketplace that are serious about being different and offering stellar customer service. That's one reason I was excited in 2003 to hear about the launch of Truebeginnings.com (now True.com), because from the start I could tell they would be different.

When True first started, they did what many online dating services do to get a large initial database - they offered free charter subscriptions to anyone who signed up with the service within the first few months. Those who signed up had their membership expiration date set to 2059 (basically a "lifetime" free membership). As a result of spending a lot of money on advertising and offering this free charter subscription, True built a database that allowed it to become a big player within the industry. They also offered free background screenings as part of their service to help weed out married people (which is a good thing since up to 30% of people on online dating services are married) and criminals.

True offered a unique concept, good customer service (in my early experiences with True, customer service was very responsive), and a pleasant experience to build itself into a major online dating service contender. But somewhere along the line, it appears the force started to part ways with True. Like Anakin Skywalker, the service started to slowly be swayed by the dark side.

In the past several months True has done three major things, as I see it, to make me question how good its service really is:

1) True has started expiring those free memberships they promised when the company first started. That's right... True has gone into their free "lifetime" membership accounts and changed the year of expiration from 2059 to first quarter 2005. Many charter members who helped make True a big online dating service have found themselves without the ability to use the service anymore like they used to. What's worse is that True's"customer service" is of virtually no help to those who write and complain. And to add insult to injury, True says it will reinstate a charter member's "lifetime" membership for $99! The free "lifetime" membership they "gave" to charter members now costs $99 if you want to continue it. For the record, True maintains that it was never its intention to keep charter memberships free for a lifetime and the 2059 date was only entered because they had to put a future date into the system.

2) True is trying to force other online dating services to do things its way. True has started a legal state-by-state campaign to get states to pass laws that force online dating services to run background checks on all members. True made this move AFTER signing an EXCLUSIVE contract with one of the largest online background check companies. Ironically this has brought other major online dating service competitors together in an effort to fight True. Other services say that forcing background checks could make the process of online dating more dangerous because it would provide members with a false sense of security and they would let down their guard. True doesn't aggressively publicize to its members the failure rate of their background checks. Perhaps that should be part of their "requirements". I think True doing background checks is a great thing that sets it apart from other services, but trying to force other services through legal action to do it too is, overall, a bad idea. Every service is unique in its own way.

3) True's service is becoming less customer friendly. It appears to me that True is starting to turn away from pleasing the customer (which creates long-term loyalty) to focusing much more attention on money. True has already tightened the amount of information that non-paying members can view without paying. But worse, True now use deceptive ads to try and get non-paying members to fork over money. For example, when you view a profile and click on a person's picture, you are taken to a sign up screen. However, on the left side of the signup screen is a "chat screen" with a photo of the person you are viewing and under it is their username and you see the words typed out, "hi handsome, want to chat sometime?" There is then a line that says "Your Response" with a flashing cursor. True makes it seem like the member is trying to contact you when they are not. When you move your cursor over the form to type a response, a window appears that says, "complete the form to begin your free trial and start chatting." Of course, you have to give your credit card number as part of the so-called "free trial" and the person you may think wants to chat with you never initiated a chat.

Overall, True is starting to turn away from being a major contender to being a major headache - not only for other dating services, but also for longtime loyal customers who helped make the service successful.

My message to True is that it is time to improve customer relations. Put the focus back on customer service and the consumer. Stop promoting True as eliminating deceptive members (through screening) while being deceptive in the way you interact with members.

The truth is that True does have a good online dating matchmaking service. I always enjoyed using True's service and I've had good success with it. I give True's actual matching and communication abilities high marks. The problem is that True is no longer living up to the customer service standards that it originally set when it opened its doors to the public. And it's a shame because the online dating industry is in need of a really good dating service with strong customer values.

Walt Disney was a true visionary. He was able to build a successful entertainment empire by putting 100% of his focus on the consumer, consumer needs, and consumer experience. Disney knew that loyalty and quality service is what keeps people coming back. True could learn a lot from the early days of Disney. True started on the right track, but appears to be losing the force of good that made them unique and customer friendly when they first started. And that's a true disappointment. I can only hope that six months from now I'm writing an editorial praising True for a great turnaround and for putting the focus back on the consumer where it belongs. We'll see...

Sincerely,


Joe Tracy, editor
Online Dating Newsletter

P.S. There have been more updates to the Online Dating Newsletter Website. We've added the ability to Search the Online Dating Newsletter archives, plus we've uploaded a new dating joke (to the Dating Fun Zone) and a new Clicking Together cartoon (also in the Dating Fun Zone). Visit www.onlinedatingnewsletter.com and enjoy your experience.

***

Creative Date Ideas: Helicopter Rides
Imagine literally whisking your date off her/his feet by surprising them with a helicopter tour of your city or local landmark. A helicopter ride can be an exciting adventure for you and your date to share. While they tend to be on the expensive side, it may be worth it to take this once-in-a-lifetime sightseeing tour. Exciting experiences always have a lasting impact on those that participate in them and a helicopter tour is a fun and unique way to get to know a city from a different perspective.

Helicopter rides are available in most major cities and over many landmark areas. You and your date can take a private aerial tour of downtown Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, or Las Vegas, just to name a few. Vacation spots also typically offer helicopter rides. Niagara Falls helicopter rides give an up close and personal look at the giant waterfalls while Hawaii offers tours over active volcanoes. Other unique spots that offer Helicopter tours are Mount Saint Helens, the Grand Canyon, and the Statue of Liberty. Check your area to see what is offered or try this date idea out while on vacation. (SOURCE: Online Dating Newsletter - www.onlinedatingnewsletter.com)

***

Online Dating Tips: Be What You Say You Are
Many people will state in their profile that they are interesting, creative, or bright, however nothing in their write-up exemplifies that. Your profile is the perfect opportunity to be what you say you are. If you say you are interesting, creative, or bright then prove it by the photos you use and the words you write. Instead of "I like movies," be descriptive, like "sometimes I feel like JM Barrie in Finding Neverland where I want to create a unique world of fun and enjoyment to alleviate the stresses that daily life brings." Your most descriptive and best creative writing abilities should shine through in what you write and how you present it. For tips on writing a better online dating profile, be sure to read Online Dating Magazine's newest feature article, "Writing a Personal Profile Ad that Makes You More Attractive." (SOURCE: Online Dating Newsletter - www.onlinedatingnewsletter.com)

***

Relationship Tips: Admire Your Partner's Differences
It is always important to be able to accept that your partner is different than you. After all, difference is a big part of what makes a relationship lively and exciting. What makes a relationship grow even stronger is the ability to not only accept these differences but actually develop admiration of the ways in which your partner is different from you. In his book "Relationship Rescue: A Seven Step Strategy for Reconnecting With Your Partner" author Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D (aka Dr. Phil) discusses the importance of creating value in your partner's differences:

"This is a different part of your programming from simply accepting your differences. You need to go beyond just accepting your partner, and actively work to create value in the way in which your partner is different. By doing so, you make a conscious commitment to develop and nurture your admiration of your partner. Focus on the admirable qualities so you can build on them. By becoming your partner's greatest fan, you will routinely choose to focus on the things about him or her that are unique and inspiring. You didn't choose this person because they were a hapless loser, you chose them because you saw things in them that moves you in a positive direction. Fan the flames of respect, honor, and admiration on a conscious level and work to be proud of your partner. Remember, you don't need to understand or agree with your partner's style or nuances to appreciate them." (SOURCE: Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting With Your Partner, by Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D - in bookstores everywhere)

***

Relationship Quote of the Week
"Marriage is more a marathon than a sprint, but it isn't a pure case of either. It's a marathon that begins with a sprint. If it is to work, you have to be comfortable with the pace that you set. You have to be yourself - your best self, if possible, but your true self. Too much subordination of self, by serving your man or by pretending to be what you are not, will make it impossible for you to run the marathon." (SOURCE: Why Men Won't Commit: Getting What you Both Want Without Playing Games, by George Weinberg Ph.D. - in bookstores everywhere)

***

Inspirational Quote of the Week
"In every difficult situation is potential value. Believe this, then begin looking for it." - Norman Vincent Peale

***

Romantic Ideas: Love Letters by Mail
You know how it is...every time you go to your mailbox there is a small glimmer of hope that there may be actual mail in there: a letter from an old friend, a card, or even just a small note from a relative. When you get to the mailbox all you find are bills and junk mail. What a disappointment! If you feel that way when checking the mail, you can bet that your significant other feels the same way. Eliminate that disappointment your partner feels for one day by using the postal service as a service for love and appreciation.

Write a long and detailed love letter to your partner. You know, the way we used to do it before email? Hand-write your love letter on nice stationary and mail it to your loved one. It's a simple and cheap (only 37 cents!) way to make your partner's day. When writing your letter make sure you use your best handwriting (not the type of handwriting you use when signing a check). Not only does that make the letter more readable, but it also shows that you put some time into drafting it. If you live with your significant other it makes the letter even more of a surprise, as long as you make sure that he or she picks up the mail on the day your letter is expected to arrive. A love letter by mail can change a normally routine and boring task into a loving memory your partner will cherish. (SOURCE: Online Dating Newsletter - www.onlinedatingnewsletter.com)

***

News: Overseas Scammers Make Thousands Per Victim
(April 6, 2005 - onlinedatingnewsletter.com) The Computer Crime Research Center is warning people against overseas scammers that generally milk thousands of dollars from each man they target. The CCRC relates the story of a Russian man who used his girlfriend's name to create a fake profile. He then posted a sexy picture of another woman and as a result started corresponding with a man from the U.S. He continued to pretend to be a woman, making the guy fall in love with him (her) then asked that money be wired for an emergency. It wasn't until the U.S. victim lost thousands of dollars that he realized it was a SCAM.

Because online dating and personals is the largest revenue-generating market online (source: Online Publishers Association), there are many scams operated to try and get money or email addresses from online daters. The best defense is to always be alert that scams are out there and to use common sense, particularly when someone you've never met requests money.

***

Feature Link: Creating a Better Online Dating Photo
What's the first thing you notice when searching through profiles on an online dating service? Obviously, it's the pictures. Your profile picture is the most vital entry point for interested parties. Luckily there are things you can do to increase the effectiveness of your online dating photo. Online Dating Magazine has recently published an article titled, "Creating a Better Online Dating Photo" that provides some valuable tips and advice on helping to make this part of your profile be one of your strongest.

***

New "Clicking Together" Cartoon
A new "Clicking Together" cartoon has been uploaded to the Online Dating Newsletter Website. Click here to view it.

***

The Online Dating Newsletter is emailed free of charge to those subscribed every Wednesday. Click here to subscribe.

Editor: Joe Tracy (jtracy@onlinedatingmagazine.com)
Official Website: Click here.
Archives: Click here.


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