Ever tried online dating?

August 04 2013

I've tried every dating site you can think of. I've tried big ones, small ones, free ones, expensive ones, exclusive ones and niche ones. For the last 6 years, on and off.

The one thing they have in common is that they're mostly rotten and dishonest. I'd say they're giving the industry a bad name, but they *are* the industry, and that's the problem.

Dating sites started in the 90s with good intentions. In the 00s, it all started going wrong. Smaller sites had to look big, so they made fake profiles and sent fake messages to their users to grab their subscription money. And unfortunately, nothing's really changed. If you live in the UK you might even have seen a Panorama documentary about it recently.

Free sites are spam-ridden cattlemarkets, where men send huge amounts of degrading, filthy and often bizarre messages to women, whose inboxes are so full that the genuine down-to-earth good guys are drowned out. Generally, if you're not willing to pay to find a match, your heart's not really in it (pun intended!).

Then the subscription-only sites are the way to go, right? Except they don't tell you when your matches were last online, they will often send pretend profile views and messages your way, and restrict anything that would allow you an informed choice - until you hand over your credit card info, at which point, you realise the three people you had your eye on have long moved on (or don't subscribe, and thus won't reply) - or that those messages you received weren't even real.

I'm probably preaching to the choir here. If you're dating online, you've already encountered all this I have no doubt. And it might seem like there's no choice, and that's largely true, as companies have to make a profit somewhere.

So I got sick of this, having dated online for years and learned of all the nasty tricks of the trade, and now I'm building my own site. It's called opendating dot co dot uk, and it will launch later this year. I'm really hoping to build something that will shake up the industry and give those evil big boys a run for their money. There will be no subscriptions, no fakes, and daters will have all the information they need about their matches before they hand any money over. It's going to be morally just and ethically minded, and I'm really excited at the thought of doing something that just feels *right*.

If you're interested, please do get in touch, especially if you're an online dater (or have been). I'd love to throw ideas around with any like-minded people, and your feedback really would be SO welcome. Tell me your tales of online dating woes. Any stories from people that have been successful while online dating would be lovely too - I know it's not all bad!

Oh and of course, sign up if you're looking for love. Perhaps I can be your Cupid... :)

Tom Haczewski
[email protected]
Norwich, England

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