The assumption that online daters are geeky desperados who never step away from their computers has well and truly been backspaced. A recent Nielsen poll found one in four Aussie adults have tried online dating, and a further 38 per cent are considering it, possibly because finding a mate in the traditional ways seems to have become increasingly difficult. Sure, you’ve heard of RSVP, but here’s the lowdown on some other sites that might push your buttons.PlanetEarthSingles.com.au
Use if You couldn’t be with someone who chucks PET bottles in the trash
The ethos: In the singles world, the new eco-sexy has nothing to do with how much money he makes or how “hot” she looks. It’s more about the size of his carbon footprint and how she turns off the water while shaving her legs, says Planet Earth Singles Australia & New Zealand owner Jill Crosby. The administrators play cupid and email you potential matches after you select your preferences. For zero dollars you can get a trial membership that’ll allow you to create your member profile, search the member database receive and respond to emails and messages and join groups. Or you can pay for an access-all-areas membership from AU$7.97 to $16.97 per month (they donate 10 per cent of profits to green charities).
Insider’s tip:"Our members are very 'green' so, answer the essay question, 'How are you environmentally conscious and what are you doing to help the planet' in great detail," says Crosby. "Bonus points if you are vegan or vegetarian. The more green and eco-conscious you are, the more you will turn on other members."eHarmony.com.au
Use if you want a long-haul relationship
The ethos:eHarmony’s founder, psychologist Dr Neil Clark Warren, researched characteristics of happy couples for three years to develop the eHarmony Compatibility Matching System algorithms that match members based on things like shared values and dreams. “Our extensive research has shown couples are more successful over the long term when they’re highly compatible, particularly in key areas such as coordinating social interactions and conflict resolution,” says Dr Gian Gonzaga, eHarmony’s senior director of research and development. To use it, you answer 256 questions that uncover info about your personality, values, sense of humour, etc. You can’t search for people; rather, eHarmony emails you daily with a few highly compatible matches. If you want to communicate with or respond to a match, see pics, or upload pics of yourself, you have to pay (from $59.95 for one month - cheaper than picking up out on the town.)
Insider’s tip: “Don’t shy away from initiating communication,” says Dr Gonzaga. “Many women want to have men approach them, but this isn’t asking someone on a date, it’s showing them that you’re interested - like smiling at them in a pub - which will get things moving faster,” he adds.Match.com.au (or nz.Match.com)
Use if you want a guarantee you’ll, er, click with someone
The ethos:That’s right, if you don’t find someone spesh in six months, Match will sling you a six-month subscription for free. The site is like a hybrid of the matchmaking and browse-the-shelves sites: you can peruse profiles, but also do a Personality Test - 56 questions developed by biological anthropologist Dr Helen Fisher, an expert in the science of human attraction, which helps them email you Daily5 matches. A function that sets Match.com.au apart: MatchWords. “[They’re] like keywords you can use to “tag” yourself and find other members who share your interests,” says Darcy Cameron, Match.com Australia’s director of dating (now that’s a job title that’d help you pull). You can browse profiles, create one, take the test and receive your Daily5 for free; then you pay (AU$39.95 for one month) to converse from your Match mailbox.
Insider’s tip: “Be sure to rate your Daily5 matches “Yes”, “No” or “Maybe”, because our matching technology learns from your ratings and continues to send you better matches,” says Cameron.au.fitness-singles.com (or nz.fitness-singles.com)
Use if you want it to, uh, work out
The ethos:If jogging makes you feel hotter than flirting in bars, use this site to find a like-minded running mate. Before paying a cent, you post pics and create a profile outlining your favourite fitness activities, why you love living an active lifestyle and what you’re looking for in activity partners. You can check out members profiles and show interest in people you think might fit with you. If someone you’re interested in has shown interest, you pay to exchange messages (from US$34.95 for one month). A highlight of Fitness Singles: you can video chat with people you’re keen on.
Insider’s tip “Don’t worry about making yourself sound like the next Olympian be honest; you’ll get the best results and ensure you find someone at the same level of fitness, suggest people in the know at Fitness Singles.atableforsix.com.au
Use if a one-on-one first date isn’t OK
The ethos:Log on to find out about singles dinners for three men and three women at restaurants in your area. To reserve a spot at a table, click the events tab, then choose your state and local area. A list of events, plus info about the restaurants and age groups will appear. You can register your interest in attending and will be contacted by a consultant with all the info you need. Membership fees range from $299 to $449, depending on your city (hey, it’s an investment in love). And think of it this way: even if you don’t love your fellow diners, you’ll get a good feed.
Insider’s tip “Arrive early and be the first at the table. This way you’ll hear the other diners introduce themselves a number of times,” says Margaret Newitt, A Table for Six franchisor. “It’s a great way to be a star at remembering your fellow diners names they’ll be very impressed.”thepinksofa.com.au (or thepinksofa.co.nz)
Use if you’re looking for a lady
The ethos: As with RSVP, you can browse profiles for free to see if anyone cuts the mustard, then join (a one-month subscription costs $33) to make contact. You browse by selecting preferences for a suitor’s age and location, and whether you’re seeking someone who identifies as lesbian, bi or a lesbian couple for dates, a relationship, casual “encounters” or chats. The site also has forums, so you can post a message if you’re looking to chat or meet up with people who have similar interests.
Insider’s tip “Chose a username that tells members about your interests (such as “GymJunkie”),” says Pink Sofa’s customer service manager Jo Dinnison. And make it something that’s likely to attract positive attention, rather than one that’s sexually suggestive or negative. Unless that’s what you’re looking for.