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Ask April

When U.S. News & World Report featured a cover story about Internet dating, it marked a clear sign that online matchmaking had gone mainstream. Once considered a refuge for the socially inept and sadly desperate, advertising yourself and searching for Mr. or Mrs. "Right" (or Mr. or Mrs. "Right Now", depending on your desires) without ever leaving your computer is fast becoming a way of life for single adults.

In fact, according to Forbes Magazine, in the first half of 2003, revenues from online dating services totaled $214.3 million…triple the amount spent in 2001! And, in the month of August alone, half of all single American adults— approximately 40 million—visited an online dating site. This explosive growth means there are more chances than ever before of finding true love online.

Playing the Odds
Good dating sites have thousands of profiles…some even have hundreds of thousands. And while the sheer numbers alone ensure you better dating odds than a night at the bar, the same fundamental problem remains—how can you stand out from the competition?
First and foremost, your success hinges on posting a stand-out personal profile that really makes a statement about who you are—and what you want. Your profile is, in essence, your first contact with your prospective mate. Your picture will determine whether they click on your profile, which will determine whether they call you, and so on. It's your first impression, so make it count!

How to make it count? Simple—take advantage of the medium.

The Online Advantage
Unlike face-to-face encounters, dating online affords you certain opportunities and advantages. Like, for instance, the all-important delete button. Though we may all wish we had one in "real-life", the only place you can actually edit yourself is online. So why not make it work for you? In other words, put some real thought and time into your profile. Don't just slap something down in a hurry. Spend time writing—and rewriting—it. Have a friend read what you wrote, and offer advice. And, if you're a member of a site that offers you questions to answer, answer them! There's no excuse for not having a well-written, insightful, and persuasive profile.

I would also encourage you to be honest about yourself and what you are looking for in a partner. Getting clear about what you want—and putting it out there—is a big part of attracting the person who is right for you. And finding them simply takes focus, effort and a little patience. I should know—I met my boyfriend online!

Other Personal Profile Tips:
• Be honest—Do not lie about your weight. Believe me, it's not like they're not going to notice (if you have) when you meet.
• Post photos—Let's face it, this is dating, and physical attraction is key. Besides, profiles without photos get very little attention.
• Check for spelling and grammatical errors—A sloppy, second-best approach to your profile reflects a second-best approach to dating and to life.
• Be playful—Everyone likes to be around people who are fun, and funny. Using humor to poke a little fun at yourself will make the reader smile and likely want to know more about you.
• Stay positive—Griping, whining and complaining are never sexy. Neither is talking to much about how unlucky in love you have been.
• Maintain mystery—Leave the reader wanting more as an incentive to send you an email asking questions.
• If the process of creating a profile time consuming, challenging or intimidating, all is not lost. There's a whole new industry emerging, with several sources providing a network of writers skilled in creating and tailoring online profiles.

Ready for even more bold, brutally honest, and always helpful dating advice? Visit my Web site, www.Ask April.com There, you'll find informative articles, expert columnists, interactive quizzes, and free giveaways! And don't forget to also check out my workshops, designed to help you find you real "soul mate"!

© 2005 April Masini
Nicknamed "the new millennium's Dear Abby" by the media, April Masini writes 'AskApril.com,' the hot, provocative dating and relationship online magazine, the critically acclaimed 'Ask April' advice column and is the author of the best-selling book, Date Out Of Your League (TurnKey Press, 0-9746763-0-6) as well as the newly released, Think & Date Like A Man (iUniverse, 0-595-37466-2). Interviewed for over 2,100 national and international articles and opinion pieces, radio and televions shows, including those on CBS, FOX, ABC, CNN, MSN, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Daily News, Newsday, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Maxim, Wired, AOL, WebMD, and Yahoo! -- "April writes what Dear Abby will never print, and what your shrink doesn't have the guts to tell you!"

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