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When online dating fails, singles turn to real-world matchmakers

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 by: Jessica Fraser
Tags: online dating, health news, Natural News


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(NewsTarget) Online daters who are disenchanted with cyber dating after potential partners misrepresent themselves are increasingly turning to professional matchmakers.

For a much higher price than online dating sites charge, real-world matchmaking companies extensively interview clients, then find real potential dates at business and social events. Many companies provide professional date coaching for clients -- including memorization of dating dos and don'ts -- and some matchmaking firms even provide makeovers.

Most professional matchmaker clients turn to the services after negative experiences with online dating. According to New York-based Premier Match service principal Christie Nightingale, roughly 80 percent of her clients have come to her with horror stories of online dating.

"So many people have had nightmare experiences with people misrepresenting themselves," Nightingale said.

Though online dating hauls in $500 million a year in the United States and $203 million in Europe, about a third of online daters report negative experiences. True.com, an online dating website that screens its users for criminal backgrounds prior to registration, won a landmark civil suit last month against a California felon and sex offender who misrepresented himself to women online.

Though some online daters turn to matchmakers because online misrepresentations can prove dangerous, some are simply annoyed at the tendency of cyber daters to lie about themselves.

"A percentage of men I met online were absolute freaks," said 36-year-old London nursing manager Joanna Haworth. "I don't think any of them were the mad ax man type, but if you'd met them anywhere else, you wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.

"Some might have used photos from three years ago, when they were three stone (42 pounds) lighter," Haworth said. "One man spent all the time talking about his ex-wife."

Though matchmaking services can cost between $15,000 and $25,000 in cities from New York to Tokyo, many customers are pleased to have a human matchmaker find potential dates based on more than the superficial questionnaires offered by many dating sites.

Los Angeles product designer Bill Conley recently signed up for relationship seminars offered by Julie Ferman's Cupid's Coach company.

"Los Angeles is the temple of the external appearance," Conley said. "Everyone does a good job of hiding themselves underneath a lot of gloss, expensive clothes and plastic surgery. (Ferman) matches you more on a personality level. It's not scientific; it's more of a traditional matchmaking role."

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