I think one of the aspects of dating which people struggle the most with, is the element of self-marketting. How do you strike a tone where you present yourself in a positive enough light, without sounding arrogant or conceited? What should you say about yourself? What information do you include? What information do you leave out? When things went south with Mr SC, one of my closest friends suggested we spend an evening setting up a profile on My Single Friend.
We literally sat, watching chick flicks, and eating pizza and ice cream, Bridget Jones-style, filling out a profile for the site. The site actually tells you how many members have joined in the past 2 weeks — roughly a week. Saying that — the Advanced Search option on the site is great, as it saves your preferences, and allows you to look for a range of specific criteria — however once these are set, I noticed the same men coming up every time.
The very nature of the paid site, means people are likely to set up accounts to actually find a boyfriend or girlfriend, and this is evident from the descriptions written by their friends. I noticed far less message traffic than on the free sites, but this means that anyone contacting you is genuine, and there is no cut and paste mail merge-style messaging.
Check out Free Services for the limitations of this aspect. You can also bookmark users you like. This is obviously pretty frustrating. It does make sense, as the site is a paid site, and therefore, rather than making money through advertising, or by selling your data, it makes money from subscription fees.
Firstly you fill out basic details about yourself and choose photos. He or she can also recommend photos to be used on your profile. It is a little bit labour-intensive having to both fill in and agree sections separately to set up the profile, however the description by a friend is a novel idea which some people often use on other dating sites. It is a really nice touch which sets apart MSF from other sites. I really like the way the site saves your Advanced Option criteria — as realistically these are not likely to change often.
I also appreciate the way the site allows you to search for matches in various areas, and that it allows you to post both the location you live and work in, taking into consideration that fact that people commute. This seems a lot more genuine and like real life. An app would definitely encourage more users to the site, and perhaps get daters using the site more often, as it felt rather quiet compared to other dating websites. Height, place of residence, place of work, religion, smoking, drinking education, employment status, profession, build etc.
It also tells you who added the user, and then obviously has sections written by both the user and his or her friend. There is obviously a requirement to provide two email addresses — one for the friend, one for the user — though someone could easily provide two email addresses himself and write his own friend recommendation, if he were so inclined.
The free services can be frustrating, and obviously there is nothing to tell you if a user is a paid member or free member, but once you do pay, the services are really good. I think the name is catchy and memorable, and stands out amongst other dating websites.
Unfortunately I feel like it has had its heyday. The site felt quiet, and in my six weeks using it, I felt like there was a very limited pool of men. I do think the site needs an app to bring it into I noticed a definite change in tone going from free dating websites to a paid one — communication was a lot less frequent, and only from people who seemed very serious about finding a partner.
It features a member each week which I found a bit creepy — I get that they want to showcase that real people use the site, but it seems a little odd to make people into poster boys or girls for a week. There is on average one new post a week, however the posts are heavily geared towards setting up an account with My Single Friend — something which could be a little more subtle, as anyone reading the blog has already made it so far as the MSF website.
And a constantly changing range, which makes me feel like I have a huge range of options. I think in this respect, the sites where they show you samples of profiles — like the gateway into Guardian Soulmates, with rotating user profiles, works better than simply featuring on one site user a week.