4 Things Online Dating Sites Don’t Want You to Know

How to increase online dating success

There are a few things that dating sites don’t want you to know. If you did you might be a little too successful at online dating and impact their revenue. It’s not like they are trying to trick you or anything, although there are some examples of dating sites getting caught doing something shady.

For the most part online dating sites make online dating incredibly efficient, more so that trying to meet people at a bar or through friends or God forbid, at work. However, it’s good to remember that they are in it to make money; “According to research firm IBISWorld, dating services in the US will be a $3 billion a year business in 2018, growing since the previous year. Around 15% of US adults, or around 50 million Americans, say that they have or continue to use websites or mobile dating apps in their pursuit of romance. ” says Toptal

Hence, while the dating sites offer you the incredible opportunity to start a new relationship, they don’t exactly want you to be TOO successful and leave the site before they’ve had a chance to make their marketing dollars back and a nice little profit. They don’t want you to be so successful that you join the site one day and the next day you find the perfect match and you cancel your subscription.

We all know that there is a range of “types” of relationships that people are looking for. Not everyone is looking for marriage or even love. The online dating industry exponentially increases your opportunities to find whatever the relationship you are looking for. To do this, they only give you two tools, your written profile, and your profile photos.

There are things that any dating site doesn’t want you to realize; there are fundamental dating strategies that will make you more efficient and increase your odds of dating success. So if you want to know how to increase your online dating success, and get an advantage over other daters …so someone doesn’t end your with your dates… you need to take the fundamentals to the next level, and we will show you how.

Table of Contents:

  • What Online Dating Companies Don’t Want You to Know
  • The 7 profile photos NOT to use on your dating profile
  • The Written Profile Is Important …If You Can Get Them to Click
  • Dating Profile Professional Services Can Help
  • Conclusion


What Online Dating Companies Don’t Want You to Know

There are some fundamental things that online dating companies don’t want you to focus on. If you figure them out, then you either won’t join the site or you’ll be too efficient you’d be off their site in less than a month.

Everyone has heard the stories or even knows somebody that found the relationship they were looking for by dating online. However, they forget to ask what those people did differently to make it work for them.

What Does Your Profile Photo Say About You?

Actual Photo Analysis Results:

Age: 35:
Ethnic: White_Caucasian
Attraction: 7.64 out of 10
Emotion: Happy 
Results: This would be a GOOD choice for a Dating Profile.


About 10% of people leave their online dating site within 3 months. However, sites don’t tend to make their marketing costs back unless you stay longer than 3 months because to get you to sign up they generally spend about $42 in advertising.

Hence, while they want to help you out, genuinely, they don’t want you to be so efficient that you stop using their site too soon. Hence, you have examples of companies, like Match.com that get caught using fake profiles and other deceptive practices to keep people using their site longer.

There are a few things the Online dating platforms don’t want you to realize.

1. You’re in a Competition

Welcome to the jungle! No one ever said it was fair or an even playing field. Online dating is just like the real world; it can get kind of gritty. However, if you work with the tools available, maximize your options and keep a positive attitude, it can be both fun and rewarding. Along the way, I guarantee that you will have stories to delight, amaze and appall your friends.

Every other person who is in your zip code on the same dating site with remotely similar interests is your competition. However, knowing this little fact sets you apart. Most of your competition will not know this fundamental truth and will not put the effort in where needed to get the very most out of their online dating experience. If your dating all the “good” ones, then all that your competition gets are the leftovers.

2. Your Photo Matters 100x More than Your Written Profile

You’ve heard the fact that people don’t read anymore. They’re impatient and don’t have the time. They want to see it ( Instagram), view it (YouTube),  or hear it (Podcast) …hence the death of Barnes & Noble. Dating sites make a BIG deal out of their questionnaires and algorithms and “Secret Sauce” they use to find you the perfect match.  They have massive databases full of information about you, not just what you tell them, and they have some programs that can sort and rank potential dates to display to you.

However, what does it matter, the only thing that’s proven to work for dating sites over the last 25 years is a portfolio of thumbnail images of potential matches in your geographical region that meet at least a few of the search criteria.

Neither you nor your potential dates want to spend time reading a million profiles, so everyone simply scans for the photos that catch their eye and then drop in to skim the written profile…maybe.photos for a dating site profile

In recognition of this, online dating companies don’t even give you an option to start by reviewing peoples’ written profiles.

The process always starts with a “search” … and what’s the result of that search? Page after page of thumbnail images of people’s primary profile photos. If your photo wasn’t as important, then you would get page after page of written descriptions of people’s personalities. Your profile photo is still critical because it lets you “set the hook” and entice others to read more about you and hopefully start a conversation that leads to a date.

It doesn’t matter if it’s fair. You might be the greatest writer in the world, but nobody will read your prose unless your photo is appealing.

3. You are Marketing Yourself to Others

The photos you upload and the profile you write are a marketing exercise with dramatic consequences (hence the admonishment to keep a positive attitude). If it’s that important, then you want the best marketing material you can muster, written, and visual.

You can stay ahead of the competition by focusing on your marketing material (photos and written profile) and update/tweak it often. In fact, one of the little secrets is that most dating sites will rank profiles higher that show more activity.

Basically its just like google but for dating. Better profiles that have high activity and engagement move to the first page, top left. That is the ideal position to be in because it means you’re “number 1” everyone that hits that page will scan your photo first and start comparing every other photo to you.

Thus, update your profile often with little tweaks to your written profile ( maybe throw in another leading question or two) and start rotating your primary profile photo about once a week. If you create your profile, and never update it, you will slowly fade away on the search results pages for your area, no matter how good it is.

4. New Technology is a Distraction

The online dating industry constantly chooses not to give their subscribers the fundamentals to help them succeed. Instead, they focus on the next big tech toy, like “pings,” “swipes,” “smiles,” or “likes.” Soon, there will be videos and whatever else they can think of to spark some activity and get people communicating. But, they never offer ways to simply help subscribers with their core issue: creating compelling profiles that get the right attention.

It’s like they keep trying to find ways to put people together in the same virtual “room,” but they forget to help you “dress” for the occasion.

Don’t waste your time with these gimmicks. IF you find someone online you find interesting, message them immediately and mention something about them or something from their written profile that caught your attention. This does NOT mean messaging someone with ” I think you’re HOT!”. There are a number of great conversation starters you can check out to get things going in the right direction.

The 7 profile photos NOT to use on your dating profile

Here are the 7 worst profile photo examples that people still use on their online dating profiles. These profile pictures are a “red flag” that will send potential dates running for the hills and certainly make it much harder to get a conversation started much less get you a date. The 7 worst dating profile pictures are:

  1. Selfie
  2. Out of focus/distorted
  3. Too many people in the picture
  4. Photo with a baby
  5. Too “Artsy”
  6. Wearing sunglasses
  7. Looks like a mug shot/driver’s license photo

No matter what dating site you use whether its Match.com, eHarmony, Zoosk, or even Plentyoffish.com you still see people trying to use these types of profile photos or variations of them, and then they are sad and disappointed that online dating doesn’t work for them. They forget that their profile picture is the first impression they are making on the other person and if it’s wrong and just a total turn off then, of course, online dating will not work for them. You’ve got to lead with something that gets people’s attention and makes them want to connect with you. Man taking a selfie

Here then are the reasons these 7 worst profile pictures just don’t work:

  1. Selfie. They send all the wrong signals and they tend to distort your face and make it look fatter and flatter than it does in real life. In addition, it gives the impression that you don’t really care enough to put some effort into your profile photos.
  2. Out of focus/distorted. Some people just grab any old photo of themselves that they can find, even if it’s out of focus. What message does this send? Would you want to learn more about a person who can’t even post a clear photo? The same goes for those weirdly distorted photos. This usually occurs when you upload a very small image of yourself, like a thumbnail image, and the system tries to blow it up. In general, photography systems can reduce the size of or downgrade an image much more successfully than enlarging or “up-resizing” an image. Give them enough material to work with and you’ll have a better result.
  3. Too many people in the picture. Nobody wants to play “where’s Waldo” while they are navigating an online dating site. Just post a photo of you and you alone.
  4. Photo with a baby. Really? While it’s great that you have a child and you’ve found the time to get out there and date; its almost too much information too soon. You need to get to know them first, and then if they are worthy and you want to connect with them you can share your family with them. Until then, it’s nobody’s business. Secondly, some people might be scared off by the “instant family” before they even get to know you and how great your kid is. Better to keep things a bit more private and simply see who’s out there and how you connect before sharing too much.
  5. Too “artsy.” Okay, we get it. You’re very creative and you want to show off a bit with a wild profile photo: some unusual setting, wild colors or wild makeup, strange positions, or similar things. This is not the forum for that image and will actually hurt your chances. In fact, depending on how “out there” you go, all your effort might be in vain since the dating site might not approve your photo. This is the time to leverage the systems in place and maybe be a little more conservative. There is plenty of time to show your creative side. In fact, most companies allow you to post multiple photos in your “portfolio.” Share your creativity there.
  6. Wearing sunglasses. Don’t do it. People want to see your eyes. That whole “eyes are the window to the soul” thing is true, and wearing sunglasses gives people a negative first impression of you. There’s even a psychological impact on people’s perceptions when you wear sunglasses in your photos. They tend to think you’re hiding something or are “shifty,” when you’re trying to be “too cool for school.” Save these photos for the rest of your portfolio.
  7. It looks like a mug shots/driver’s license photo. Stop, drop, and roll. This is not the first impression you want to make. If the best you’ve got is an old photo that looks like a flat-footed, eyes right at the camera on a plain background kind of photo, then it’s sending the wrong impression. It’s time for a new photo.

People who lead with these types of photos on their online dating profiles more often than not are surprised that online dating doesn’t work for them! You want to make the right first impression, so you want to lead with a clear, crisp image that captures you perfectly.

The Written Profile Is Important …If You Can Get Them to Click

Let’s assume that you’ve completed the online questionnaire and you’ve got a great profile picture that you can be proud of. Now you’re ready to write your headline (at least) and maybe the “a little more about you” section of your profile

You need to create a written profile that is intriguing enough to get people to ask you questions about it. Some think of these as conversations starters, but in reality, some of these strategies need to be baked into your written profile to kick off the communication

Include things like:

  1. Open-ended questions
  2. A bit of humor
  3. Your favorite places to travel and why
  4. An important milestone or achievement

These topics all help the people reading your profile to start thinking of questions to engage with you and get the conversation rolling.

In addition, you need to be specific about what you are interested in and what you want out of a partner. Something along the lines of “I feel my ideal partner would like to travel to exotic places and taste all the local cuisine. I’m looking for someone to explore the world with and find out what’s around the next corner, either in our own city or in a new country.”

You do not want to scare someone away with a statement like “All I want is a nice guy, and I want to get married and have kids soon.” Hmmm, are you kidding? Desperation never looks good on anybody.

Take some time to work with your written profile and ask others to read it. For god’s sake, please check your spelling and punctuation. Be prepared to tweak your profile on a regular basis by swapping photos and paragraphs to see what resonates best with other users and the search algorithm.

Dating Profile Professional Services Can Help

Sometimes it’s helpful to bring in the experts to set you up for success. There are a host of services out there to help you create the very best profile you deserve: Everything from dating profile photographers to copywriters that specialize in writing online dating profiles to consultants/coaches to help you create a strategy to find the right person for you.

When eHarmony offered “eHarmony Premium ” to its elite members they immediately hired 100’s of Matchmakers and onlineprofilepros.com to take care of their member’s profiles. Would they have hired all these outside experts if they didn’t know it would work?

So you can take advantage of the same service for yourself. There is no need to go it alone and just hope that “this time” your old stogy profile is going to attract the right person. Other successful daters know there are experts that can make it work for you. It’s time to get the help you need to stop trying and start dating!


The dating companies think that photos are the number one most important thing to help you start a conversation with the other person. That’s why you get page after page of photos of people who meet your search criteria. If it is so important to them that they would build the entire website to show your photo first, then don’t you think that you should probably put a good photo on your profile?

Imagine you have a friend who is constantly bringing eligible dates to your house at all hours of the day and night regardless of how you’re dressed or made up. Imagine you just got out of bed and look like crap and here they come through your front door. They probably aren’t going to be very impressed and will turn around and walk out the door. That’s what it’s like when you don’t pay attention to the online dating fundamentals.

That is what I think every time I look through online dating sites and see countless lousy photos of people looking for a relationship. Don’t they get it? Isn’t it obvious?

With a little care and attention to the online dating fundamentals, you will enjoy the most online dating success possible. It’s a competition for the best dates, and you want to master the fundamentals so that you have the most fun and success from your online dating adventure. The right dating profile along with the right online dating profile photo can capture someone’s attention and make them want to connect with you. From there it’s easy to start a conversation and decide if they are worthy of meeting you in person.

Now let us know what you think in the comments below! Did we miss anything? What dating tips and secrets do you have for us?


claire bahnAbout the Author:

Claire Bahn has over 15 years of working as a personal branding expert helping clients build authority and influence through their online profiles and social media accounts.

Her background includes branding, public relations, Social Media, and marketing, as well as, entrepreneurship. She has a passion to help executives, entrepreneurs, and influencers strategize and create their best personal brand.

She is currently the CEO and Co-founder of Online Profile Pros and Stratus Branding. Ms. Bahn recognizes that first impressions are made online and the fastest way to achieving your goals is by taking command of your personal brand through your online profiles and social media. She started Online Profile Pros and Stratus Branding to help individuals create, maintain and protect their personal brands so that they achieve the authority, influence, and trust the need to succeed at online dating or their job search.

She’s been featured in numerous publications and news outlets including Forbes and Entrepreneur magazines.

Ms. Bahn is a former model and actress, appearing in national ad campaigns for major retailers. An avid fashion/lifestyle blogger she’s a recognized influencer. Ms. Bahn holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, CA with her 2 red miniature pinchers, Beau and Trixie.

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