Is your online dating profile up to snuff? One in five people aged 25 to 34 have used online dating sites, according to Pew Research. With so many people using Match, OkCupid and other dating sites, it's hard to know how to stand out. Daters can ask their friends for advice, but who better to ask than strangers who won't feel the need to cusion the blow? Ignite Your Match lets users get detailed critiques from 10 men or women in the selected age range (the service costs $29). These people aren't dating consultants or experts, but just regular Americans who would ostensibly be your target audience - the service is kind of like a focus group just on your dating profile.
Metro web producer Matt Lee graciously agreed to use Ignite Your Match for his own dating profile, and he was shocked by how honest the comments were.
"I did not expect some of the criticism to be so harsh, and borderline rude," said Lee. "One critic told me I looked awkward and that I should just use a faceless picture for my profile. Thanks a lot buddy! There were however some nice critics who gave some actual constructive advice that I could use to better my profile."
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What didn't the critics like about Lee's profile? Several mentioned that a photo of him with a red Solo cup made him look like a heavy drinker and partier - a turn-off. "Red solo cups are a no," wrote one man. Another responder said he didn't like Lee's half grown mustache: " If you aren't going to/ can't grow a full mustache you need to keep your lip clean shaven."
Most of the criticism focused on Lee's pictures and the kind of lifestyle he portrayed, though some of the feedback also suggested that he list more esoteric films for talking points: " The only part I'm not crazy about is your movies section. Outside of the first 3 you list (Kill Bill, The Godfather, and Children of Men) they're very average. Those movies are in everyone's profile," commented one person."
Stuart Brent, founder of Ignite Your Match, said he sees a lot of the same comments over and over again - mistakes people are making on their online dating profiles. These are the most common turn-offs he sees in the feedback notes:
The user not looking authentic or too good to be true
The user not having a balanced life, like working too much, or partying too much
Seeing other girls in photos with the person
Not being able to see your eyes
Text abbreviations like "LOL"
Listing "casual sex" as an interest
The user seeming too good to be true
The user coming off as desperate
Not putting effort into the profile or the pictures
No full body photos
No up-close photos
He said the biggest complaints for both genders are:
The user's politics
Children in photos when it is unclear if they are the user's children or not
Sounding like the user will travel too much for work
Not being specific, such as a favorite book
The "partying too much" complaint definitely surfaced in Lee's feedback, though most of the answers praised Lee for putting effort into his profile and showing his personality.
Lee said of the comments, "Overall I would say that this was worth it because it really provided the raw unfiltered thoughts from strangers who peruse a profile, and even if they're mean and hurtful it's interesting to know that they exist."