Love @ First Site: How to find a relationship online
by Susan Broom and Marc Zakian (Icon Books, $96)
Dating isn't something most people find easy. Add the internet and you have a whole new ball game. As many as six out of 10 singletons are said to now look for love online and, contrary to the stigma of its early days, when online daters were thought to be either desperate or perverts, it's becoming a more acceptable way to meet people.
Today, there are thousands of dating internet sites ready to take your money and make the initial introductions easier. But how do you know you have the right site and, once you've signed up, what next? How do you write a profile to make you stand out and attract the sort of partner you want? And how do you respond to advances, flirt, turn down a suitor or take it a step further?
Broom and Zakian's collaboration, Love @ First Site, is an attempt to answer all those questions. Using insights and tips from those who have made internet dating their business and those who have made it their playing field, it's a guide aimed at anyone who is contemplating making the move online for the first time or for the old hands who need a few pointers on how to increase their chances of success.
It starts by giving a rundown of some of the most popular sites, how much they charge, how user-friendly they are and the kind of singles who make up their membership. It then moves onto how to create your profile, what kind of photo to include, what to name yourself and how to spot the lies in other people's profiles.
Be wary of women who call themselves something too twee like Tinkerbell, says one online dating veteran. 'They'll be the ones with the cuddly toy collection and the 'Ah, bless!' habit.' Likewise, men who call themselves Topgeezer or Love69 are ones to avoid.
Choose a recent, smiling holiday shot and be careful of the amount of flesh on show. Too much and you're likely to attract someone with one thing on the mind; too little, with your face hidden behind glasses and you look as if you have something to hide.
There are also chapters on the art of online flirting and how to set up that first meeting, plus sections on gay and lesbian sites and specialised sites that cater for people who want to team up with like-minded people.
Verdict: A mega bite of all right.