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In the 1980s and 1990s, video dating was actually pretty popular. People would record videos with their camcorders at an office of a matchmaking company. Then singles would come in and watch the videos one by one and choose someone who they wanted to go on a date with. Speed dating was also pretty popular because you could meet anywhere between 10 to 50 people in one night and decide again, who you wanted to go on a date with face-to-face.
Fast forward 10 to 20 years, and dating has turned into either a swipe left or a swipe right to find your next fling. Even though Tinder and other apps have made online dating a lot more popular, it took a long time to get to that point. Just three years ago when I first started building my own video dating app, only 15% of singles worldwide were using dating apps. Thanks to Tinder and other apps like OkCupid, Coffee meets bagel, Hinge, and others, online dating apps are now used by almost 50% of singles.
It takes time for a barrier to come down, whether religion, race, or the stigma of dating online. For some reason, people just never felt comfortable putting their personalities and pictures online and meeting each other in a virtual world. But now that it is more commonplace, people are comfortable, and they are meeting at a record pace. The question is, what is the next evolution now that the walls have been broken down to the world of online dating?
Video. Real-time video. That is where dating is headed. And here’s a few reasons why:
- People are tired of getting catfished. Everyone knows that photos are usually made to look better, make up is used, and good angles are prominent. But when you meet that person in real life, they are rarely like their online persona, both in looks and personality. Videos will change that.
- Vine, Instagram, Periscope, YouTube, Snapchat, and other apps are making video more and more ubiquitous across the board. People are getting used to showcasing their lives using video. What better way to get to know people on a dating app except for video?
- Every evolution takes time to take hold, the online dating revolution took 10 to 20 years to take hold. Video might take another 10 years. But we are ahead of the game, and have been here for years.
- Investors are always looking for the next big thing, whereas today they may not see how big a market video dating is, one day they will, mark my words. When that happens, it will explode.
- Single parents would rather have 20 bad dates from the comfort of their home while the kids are playing in the other room, rather than getting ready, spending money and time, to have one bad date in person.
- On the other hand, singles could have a really good date using a video dating app, and then feel more comfortable in person when they finally meet instead of having that awkward 21 questions, uncomfortable silence, and just the weird first date vibes.
Overall, video dating is the best way to find out if you have chemistry with a potential single person, before meeting in person. This will cause a shift in online dating to the point where there will be a lot less bad dates, less catfishing, and more relationship building. Having video chats and sending video messages prior to meeting in person will help establish some sort of foundation. Only time will tell to see when this massive movement will start to emerge. In the meantime, we are here, we are ready, and we are all about real-time video.
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Dating used to be something out of the movies. You would pick up a girl at her house with flowers, drive her to a restaurant and a movie, give her a goodnight kiss, and then talk on the phone for hours until seeing each other once again. Nowadays if you have a date like this it’s probably because you woke up and realized it was just a dream. When the Internet was invented, and companies started coming out left and right to exploit its power, Netflix was one of those companies. Nobody realized how big and convenient it would become, but it has.
In the age of millenials, when two people are dating, a typical night together is watching movies on Netflix (or scrolling through choices endlessly), and ordering takeout. This seems to be the norm nowadays because it’s easy, relaxing, cheap, and you get to know someone without too many distractions. Women seem to think that a “Netflix and Chill” date means the guy is looking for sex. Well that’s just plain ridiculous. Guys are looking for sex regardless of what you are doing, whether at a restaurant, a movie, a show, or a bar. Guys think about sex quite often no matter what ladies, so just get the Netflix/takeout sex thoughts out of your head.
The cool thing about watching Netflix and ordering takeout is how comfortable you can both feel knowing that you don’t have a waiter in your face every two seconds, you won’t be uncomfortable in a movie theater (most seats suck!) with noisy people around you (chomping popcorn or texting on their phones), you don’t have to deal with traffic and parking, and you can talk to each other without people overhearing your conversations. Don’t forget you can drink whatever alcohol you want, listen to whatever music you want, watch whatever movie you want, in the privacy of your own home (with your pet), use your clean bathroom (unless you’re a slob), and have access to everything that is convenient.
At this point I don’t really know anybody who doesn’t watch Netflix and Chill, it’s so rare nowadays. The truth is, if I add up all the times that I watched Netflix and ordered takeout with a girl where we just hung out and didn’t have sex versus the times that we did have sex: The “no sex nights” would win hands down. So therefore that theory is completely crushed. Game over!
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I recently engaged in a conversation with someone online regarding the topic of serial dating. This woman claimed that all men are serial daters and that it’s impossible to truly be in a relationship with a man because he’s constantly going on dates with new women. Ironically, my response to that statement was that I felt the same way about women.
I happen to have a lot of female friends, and when I see them juggling 20 guys on their phone, that makes me wonder who is really the serial dater here, guys, or girls. Most likely it’s both. But I also think that this is a question of context. There are guys out there like me, who truly are looking for one person to be in a relationship with. The issue falls down to the 50-50 rule. What I mean by that is, the luck of being in a relationship with someone, or just meeting someone who likes you as much as you like them. You have a 50-50 chance at it.
When you first go on a date with someone, you might hit it off and really like each other, or so you think. You might never hear back from that person again for a second date, even though you thought you had a good time, but they didn’t, or they didn’t find you attractive, or they didn’t like your personality. Either way, it works both ways, and you have a 50-50 chance of it working out. If you ask me, I think those are pretty poor chances. So unfortunately, with the advent of dating apps like Tinder, people are just a swipe away from another date and another roll of the dice to get that 50-50 chance. It just so happens that nowadays, people are going on dates a heck of a lot more than they used to 10 years ago.
I don’t think it’s a question of serial dating, I think it’s the convenience of having access to a plethora of matches and being able to truly weed through as many people as possible until you give yourself the best chance at finding someone that you can spend the rest of your life with. If you think that guys are serial dating, maybe it’s that they just don’t like you, as harsh as that sounds, it’s probably true. There have been times I’ve been on a date with a girl, or I even dated them for a few weeks, and then I just found myself not interested in them, and I didn’t see a future with them. Wouldn’t it be smarter to cut it short rather than drag it out?
It’s not like I’m dating multiple women at the same time, when I do meet someone I like, I focus on only that girl and stop talking to other women altogether. But until I meet that woman who I want to focus my time and energy on, yes, I will continue to date in order to try to meet someone who I can spend time with. Isn’t that what dating is ultimately? The next time you think someone is a serial dater, truly look at the situation, the relationship, and figure out if you are a real good match for this person, because if you’re not, there’s your answer.
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One of the reasons I dread having a first date is because typically they are like job interviews. You have to get to know someone, just like you do in a job interview, so you ask them 21 questions about themselves. After thousands of dates, you can imagine how boring this can be, both asking the questions, and answering them repeatedly without an end in sight.
One of the things I tried recently to shake things up a bit and make a first date more interesting was to switch up my questions. Here are some examples of questions you may have asked or have been asked, and what I think you could ask instead to make a first date more enjoyable:
Generic Question: How many brothers or sisters do you have?
Better Question: If you have any siblings, tell me about one of the funniest moments you remember with them?
Generic Question: What do you do for a living?
Better Question: What’s the favorite part of your job?
Generic Question: Where did you go to college?
Better Question: What did you major in college, and if you could have changed your major and done something else, what would it be and why?
Generic Question: What are some of your hobbies?
Better Question: Which hobby do you prefer the most, and why do you like it so much?
Generic Question: Do you have any pets?
Better Question: If your pet could talk, what are some of the things you think it would say to you?
Generic Question: What’s your favorite food?
Better Question: What was the last thing you cooked, and why did you enjoy preparing it?
Generic Question: What’s your favorite movie?
Better Question: What were some of the last few movies you watched, and did any of them move you at all?
Generic Question: What’s your favorite band?
Better Question: If you could listen to any band dead or alive right now, which would it be and why?
Generic Question: Where are some of the places you’ve traveled to?
Better Question: Tell me about the most memorable moment you’ve ever had in a foreign country.
Generic Question: Are you close to your parents?
Better Question: Tell me about something about growing up with your parents that you remember vividly, funny, sad, or just a cool moment.
Generic Question: What do you do in your free time?
Better Question: When you have free time, what do you usually do more: relax, read, listen to music, watch movies, engage in culture, seek out adventure, or all of the above?
I can go on and on with these generic questions that don’t get to the core of what will show if there is a match. Personality and chemistry reign supreme, but these generic questions don’t target those characteristics. So hopefully my “Better questions” will help those of you who are going on yet another first date. When you ask someone these questions, take extra care to look at their facial expressions, so you can see how they got surprised and/or intrigued by your question.
I think these questions will give you more of where the person is coming from. Whether or not they are creative, funny, or if they can think on the spot. Plus, based on the answers, you might find that their personality is a lot like yours if they choose some of the same answers you would choose. Of course it’s only fair that you answer them also, so make sure you thought your answers through. In the end, this would be a much better way to get to know someone in my opinion while walking in a park with a coffee or an ice cream in hand.
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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…Well, not that long ago (1993), and not too far away, I was using AOL (America Online) to sign onto this new invention called the Internet using my phone line. From there I would enter what were called “chat rooms” to talk to new people who had similar interests. Once I got used to the chat rooms, I started to meet people in person. Back then, this was just crazy.
I remember the first time I had a date from the Internet, I was with my best friend Kirk, and we met two girls from an AOL chat room. I was 16 years old and didn’t have my own car yet. I had just gotten my learners permit. My mom had to drop us off at the mall to meet them! The picture I received from one of the two girls was a scanned in picture (no digital cameras or social networks to see her). Luckily she looked like her one picture. Needless to say that was the only time I saw her.
As time went on, I was intrigued with the idea that I could meet people from the Internet, so I kept doing it. I did it so often that I became sort of an expert on meeting people or dating from the Internet. Eventually dating websites became a thing and I started to use those as well. Now 22 years later, I could easily write a book about my adventures in online dating. But for now, I’ll keep it short and tell you about the 10 things I learned through my time using the Internet as a way to meet people and go on dates:
- Dating is absurdly convenient: What used to be a tedious process of scanning in photos, filling out enormously long profiles, emailing incessantly back and forth, and finally meeting someone after weeks of ridiculous conversations has turned into just a swipe away from a quick chat and meeting someone in person.
- The majority of singles don’t take dating seriously: So yes, it’s convenient, but that also makes people not take it seriously. Being a swipe away from meeting someone means that singles now realize they have options. Those options make people not settle for someone like they used to, because they think there’s always something better with another right-swipe.
- Picture technology has helped a little: Back in the day you’d have to scan in your printed photos with a scanner and transfer them to your computer to add to your dating profile. With the advent of digital cameras and then smartphones, it’s much easier to add your photos to dating sites. But the downside is the “Catfish” syndrome, whereas people are also fixing up their photos to look like J-lo or Magic Mike.
- People are less skeptical: When I was using AOL to meet people, it took a really long time to meet them in person after having a lot of phone conversations. Typically, girls wouldn’t meet me unless they were with a group of friends and I brought a group of guy friends, so that they felt more comfortable. We pretty much always met at a mall because it was a super public place. Nowadays, people are less afraid to meet in person, because you can easily look up their Facebook profile or Instagram, and see what they’re like. Plus, with Facebook, you see how many mutual friends you have, and you might even know the same people, and can ask them what they are like (and if you think you’re a match).
- Personalities still don’t come through: Even after 22 years, dating online is still the same as it was back in 1993. You still don’t know what someone’s personality is like, you still only get to read a profile, or look at some pictures. After all this time, you would think things would move more toward showcasing someone’s personality as opposed to their written idea of it. I guess that’s why after all these years I found a huge gap and I’m trying to fill it.
People are a lot more superficial and materialistic: Back when this whole thing started, it was easy to meet people at a mall as friends and just walk around, talk over a slice of pizza, or maybe go to a movie or an arcade (yeah we used to have arcades before video game consoles!). Now, when I take a woman on a date, they typically expect at least a couple of drinks or dinner, and guys spending $60, without a care in the world on whether or not they will see them again. Sure, I go on coffee or ice cream dates, but dating has fundamentally changed focus from meeting a new friend with the potential for more, to a “first date experience”.
- Education, job, car, home: Originally when I would meet people, of course I was younger, but I noticed that girls didn’t care about where I went to school, or what my job was, or what kind of car I had, or where I lived. Even after dating sites became more mainstream (with the exception of eHarmony), it was really down to personality and physical attraction first and foremost. Nowadays, girls won’t meet certain guys (and vice versa) if they don’t have a college degree or if they don’t have a nice car, or don’t have a really nice house, or an amazing income. What if you are an artist who doesn’t believe in polluting the earth with your cars’ emissions, and would rather rent a studio apartment? All I’m saying, is if you strip away the modern world’s superficiality and instead focused on the most basic level of human attraction, wouldn’t you find your true love a lot easier?
- Dating has gone mobile: I used to sit in front of a little Apple computer with a black and white screen to talk in chat rooms, and then more advanced computers during my college years to talk to people. Now I carry around a smartphone computer with video, photos, social networks, texting, phone calls, etc. Dating is now being done from the palm of your hand which speeds up the process. What used to take me weeks or even months to do sitting at a desk I can do in seconds or minutes while at a coffee shop, or while walking my dog.
- People are actually meeting the one: Years ago you would hear stories of people who spoke to each other from online sites for months across the country, and then would finally meet and get married. Now people meet their match every day. More and more people are getting married from online dating sites. It used to be that you would meet a partner, and date them for years. Now you might have a new partner every few months, and the new options (partner) never run out. There’s a reason 30% to 50% of all marriages end in divorce. People used to just settle for someone to avoid being alone. Now you are never alone, there is always someone around the corner waiting for you.
- Sex has become a hobby: Let’s face it, with all these dating sites, and options, people are having way more sex (with a lot more people). Back in the day, you would be lucky if you had sex with just one person in a year. Now, people are “trying out more flavors” to find one they like. Sex is healthy, it’s exercise, and now it has become somewhat of a hobby. It’s something you fit into your schedule, whether you are dating or not. You might think to yourself that you don’t have plans Saturday night, so now you can swipe right to find a sex partner. You don’t have to be married or be in a relationship to have sex, and it’s actually not a bad thing. Because once you are married or in a relationship the sex dwindles in frequency anyway.
So there you have it folks, what I’ve observed in the past 22 years of being an expert in online dating. For those of you who are older, you might relate to some of these points, and for those that are younger, you’ll probably agree. Enjoy the convenience of mobile dating, smartphones, the Internet, and swiping to your next partner. Be safe out there!
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I can’t tell you how many times I talk to somebody from a dating site and after exchanging phone numbers, pictures and finally making plans to meet up, they tell me how they have recently been catfished. It’s funny because when I tell them what my tech startup does, they instantly say what a good idea it is and how they wish they had known about it sooner. The funny thing about being catfished is that is has been happening for decades and nothing has changed in the online dating industry to help people avoid it.
There are definitely ways people could avoid being catfished (besides my app). Some of the ways may be obvious to you, but for some reason, not everyone abides by these unspoken rules:
1. Make sure the person you’re talking to has at least a couple of full body pictures in their dating profile. Head shots don’t count because they could be hiding a 300 pound body underneath that beautiful selfie.
2. NEVER meet up in person before seeing said full body photos. This is the ultimate catfish syndrome. You are attracted to someone’s photos, but then not being attracted to their body. There are some of us (including me), who actually prefer women who have a little more meat on their bones. But for those guys or girls out there that don’t, it’s always best to show what you have up front.
3. Do your research. You can easily Google someone and look up their social networks to find out a lot about them, especially their LinkedIn profiles. Wouldn’t you rather find out if the guy or girl is a creep? Or just to find out if they have different tastes or a different personality than you do before investing your time, money, and emotional energy in meeting them in person?
4. Try your best to convince the person who you are talking to, to have a video chat with you, whether Skype, FaceTime, or other apps (shameless plug), to break the ice and have a first date to find out if there is any chemistry. A face to face video chat is by far the best way to get to know someone besides meeting in person. You can see their smile, hear their voice (and laughter), and get a good reading on if you are a match. Is he / she laughing at your jokes? Are your eyes connecting? Is their house a mess? Does she have 17 cats? Does the guy have all his hair and teeth? Stand up in front of a mirror and show yourself right then and there to show what you look like TODAY, not 10 years ago!
5. The worst part about being catfished, is being stuck on a date that you don’t want to be on. So the best way to avoid this is to not have a first date be a long dinner or a show, or a movie, or anything that requires you to be seated with this person for more than an hour. Take a walk in the park, grab a coffee, a quick beer, an ice cream, something quick and simple that you would otherwise enjoy by yourself or with a friend. That way it’s not awkward and you are not stuck for a long time if you need to make a quick exit.
I can’t believe that there is still an overly abundant amount of people getting catfished out there. I hear it every day, and nothing is being done to change it, with all the dating apps out there, not one of them helps avoid this and I think it’s crazy. I’m glad to be in business of helping people avoid being catfished forever.
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I was talking to a PR firm today and the owner brought in a female intern to ask her some questions. One question he asked her is why she would rather meet guys in person, instead of having a video chat with them to see and hear their personality to make sure they have chemistry. The simple answer she gave is: free food and drinks.
On the other hand, guys don’t really like first dates because they get stuck with the check. I can’t tell you how many times I was on a first date with a girl I met on a dating site who showed no interest in getting to know me at all, but had no problems ordering two or three martinis and a very expensive meal.
This is why the coffee date was invented. It’s quick, cheap, and as long as both people like coffee, you can have an enjoyable conversation without alcohol or food getting in the way. The main issue is that most girls don’t really want to go on a coffee date because they feel like the guy is cheap. Or maybe they feel that any guy who isn’t willing to spend $50 on drinks and food isn’t really interested in her. But the truth is, after going on 1000 dates where I spent at least $50, there has to be a line drawn.
Girls can easily meet a guy every day of the week to get free drinks using dating apps like Tinder. It’s easy for girls to have a lot of dates lined up in a week. Of course they want to have as many dates as possible because not only will they meet different guys, but they will continuously get free drinks and food in most cases. This means they will be spending less of their own money, and less time grocery shopping or cooking. This may sound extraordinarily untrue, but believe me when I say, it is closer to the truth than you might think.
So now you are probably thinking that although girls might get free drinks or food on the first date, most guys expect sex on the first date. When a guy spends $75 or more on dinner and drinks, it’s no wonder they expect some level of intimacy. Now if girls were okay with coffee dates (which some are), there’s hardly ever any sexual tension because the most the guy is spending is $10 on two lattes. And coffee dates usually take place during lunch time or the early afternoon when people are still working and less prone to wanting to go home after the date to “get busy”.
So it seems as if there are two options to having a successful first date. First is make it simple, and go on a quick coffee date to see if you click. Second would be a video chat to make sure you have enough chemistry to meet in person. With the first option you have to spend $10, gas, parking, and time. With the second option you spend no money, but a little time. Even with the ubiquitous coffee date you still have to spend some money, so which is better in your opinion? Leave a comment with your answer!