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Is there a ghost behind your online date?

Do you know who is behind the online profile of the person on your next date? Calling a pro becomes more common.

ghost date Is there a ghost behind your next online date? There might be — and that's OK, experts say. Credit: Digital Vision

Having trouble clicking your way to love? If writing exciting copy for your online dating profile makes you wince, you’re not alone.

Just ask Laurie Davis, author of “Love @ First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating” and founder of eFlirt Expert, an online dating consultancy firm. Online daters enlist her help with writing a profile, messaging, online dating management and relationship coaching. She says eFlirt is responsible for 19 marriages and counting.

Davis says that “singles have a challenging time writing about themselves. This is generally true regardless of profession.” Davis says people are often surprised that eFlirt’s clients include authors, journalists and even marketers.

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Depending on which package her clients — who range in age from 19 to 70 — enroll in, they are connected with certified coaches. The coaches help them with services like a one-time profile critique or even monthly subscription packages to help them learn the ropes of dating online with some extra help.

The eFlirt consultants — all of whom have degrees in English, journalism or communications — follow a course instruction, which was inspired by yoga teacher training, with classroom time, practical work and an exam. “Yes, it’s a real exam!” she promises. This encompasses multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks and practical portions like completing a profile from scratch.

Despite so many clients concerned about copy, profile photos also often need a little help. “Ultimately, without great photos you’ll have a tough time attracting the right type of match,” Davis points out.

According to Charles J. Orlando, relationship expert and author of “The Problem with Women ... is Men” book series, there’s really nothing wrong with relying on others, whether it’s a professional or a friend, to weigh in on your photos and profile.

“Just be sure you’re making the choices you want to make,” he advises. “In the real world, both parties communicate via verbal and non-verbal cues. But with online dating, initial impressions, introductions and the ‘Please allow me to introduce myself’ process is virtually nonexistent.”

Orlando says that profiles are “just an introduction,” and that just like offline dating, people “reveal who they are slowly, over time.”

So, if you aren’t a great writer, he says it might be useful to consult a writing service, but adds that eventually you’ll be face-to-face with someone. “Pulling out your best attributes is great ... but you’ll need to be real.”

Davis’ expert tips for a clickable profile:

1. Wear color in your main photo. Wearing a bold color will help your picture pop when you show up in search results with 20-plus other singles.

2. Upload at least one action shot. A photo of you doing something fun shows off your lifestyle more than any description you type.

3. Make your profile action-oriented. Your profile is a conversation starter. It’s easier for matches to strike up a digital conversation when you mention activities that fill your life.

4. Edit for virtual confidence. Confidence is sexy, even online, and can be conveyed through tone. Delete wishy-washy terms and phrases like “I guess,” “maybe” and “sort of.” But don’t go overboard — there is a thin line between confident and cocky.

 
 
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