Looking for Love?

Go Surfing 4 Your Soul Mate

If you've ever had a broken heart, chances are some well-meaning friend or relative suggested that you continue fishing. After all, there are always more fish in the sea, right? According to U.S. Census figures, 44 percent of adult Americans are single. This means over 100 million unattached people are out there. But for many singles, just finding the way to the dating pool is a challenge, and diving in is downright scary.

Fortunately, the game of "Go Fish" is getting easier, thanks to new places to surf-online, that is. With a few keystrokes and a click of a mouse, love is alive on your laptop!

If you've been hiding under a cabbage leaf and you think Internet dating sites are for losers, think again. In fact, more people than ever are winning at love online. It is estimated that 40 million Americans are searching for compatible mates online; that's about 40 percent of the entire U.S. singles pool, not accounting for the rest of the world. Online Dating Magazine estimates that more than 20 million people visit at least one Internet dating service every month, and more than 120,000 marriages result annually. Those aren't bad odds. So what are you waiting for?

Choosing an online dating service

Joining the world of high-tech dating is relatively easy, but your success depends on making wise choices. Before you take the plunge, take some time to study your options and select the right service for you.
General dating agencies post profiles worldwide and host millions of members looking for love. If specific criteria, such as age, race or ethnicity are important to you, narrow your search by joining a specialty site such as JDate, ChristianCafe, BlackSingles.com, Hispanic Match.com, Senior Yahoo Personals and others that limit membership to special population sectors. For most people, a general site will offer the most options. For starters, consider today's top five:

Yahoo Personals
The Yahoo Personals dating site has millions of members with detailed photo profiles that offer the freedom to describe yourself in full detail. Features include: large membership base, diverse members, online dating advice magazine, and multiple communication options including e-mail and instant messages.

This online dating service requires members to fill out an extensive personality profile that helps the service match members with one another; eHarmony matches you with other members who are highly compatible based on character, personality, emotional makeup, family and values.

On Match.com, you can search the site to find members who interest you and get to know one another as quickly or slowly as you prefer. Features include: Dr. Phil's MindFindBind solution for successful relationships; Make Love Happen guarantee: find someone special within six months or get six more months free; and a free portrait toolkit to help you create your profile.

Thirty years of scientific research back up the compatibility matching system used on this site. More than 4 million members use the service. You can sit back and wait for the service to match you with others or search for a partner on your own. Features include: Duet Total Compatibility System; powerful search tools; and system matches.

Chemistry.com is an ideal online dating service for busy professionals who want to meet compatible people as soon as possible. Features include: complete personality profile and guided communication process. The service adjusts your future matches based on your feedback from previous matches.

Get what you pay for
You can't buy love, but you may have to pay to find it. While many free chat rooms and online personal ad sites exist, the higher quality dating services charge a small fee to connect you with people who are more serious about meeting the right partner. Some online dating sites will allow you to view other people's profiles, but you must join to reply. Professional Internet dating agencies charge for a reason. First, it discourages unsavory characters and curiosity seekers. But more importantly, the membership charges support more proficient operation, allowing premium communication services such as onsite e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, articles and assistance. Check out the membership dues and rules before you join. Make sure you know exactly what the charges will be, whether you're signing up for an automatic renewal that will be charged to your credit card and how you can quit when you're ready.

Don't give out your last name, where you work, or where you live. But do share insights into your personality, background, hobbies, likes, dislikes, goals and so on. Aim to depict yourself honestly.

Capture Mr. Right Online

If you are serious about finding a compatible match, take the time to post a quality profile. Use discretion when deciding what information to reveal about yourself. Don't give out your last name, where you work, or where you live. But do share insights into your personality, background, hobbies, likes, dislikes, goals and so on. Aim to depict yourself honestly.
Post a recent photo or series of photos, if allowed. Studies have shown that people who post their photos receive more than twice as many responses as those without photos. Remember, you don't have to be a supermodel to attract dates.

Guide to Safe Surfing

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