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How did you come up with the idea for a new dating site? What was the driving force/inspiration behind it?
I first thought of the idea and concept for Findmeyou.com in 2013. The idea for a new dating service came to me after spending time with friends and family.
Some of them were familiar with and regular users of different online dating services. As we spoke on a number of occasions, I began to notice that some of my friends and family were relaying similar complaints and recurring problems, what with the stories popping up in the press around that time regarding fake profiles and scammers it was hard for me to ignore. I became intrigued as to why there wasn’t anyone or any dating service provider willing to tackle these issues?
The dating sites in question and in the media were themselves abusing their position and taking advantage of people who were simply trying to find love!
These sites weren’t providing the service that their users deserved.
What were the main complaints and problems with those dating sites?
First of all, fake profiles – created by the dating sites themselves. Also, false user accounts that were set up by users that weren’t checked or authorised by admins. Of course, there were scammers – that is online scammer accounts, which people would set up in order to trick men and women out of money (these accounts weren’t often checked by admins either).
There were also problems with false emails. These were often sent internally via the dating sites admin team pretending to be interested profiles that want to get to know you to entice people back after leaving or when their subscription ends.
Fake photos are a huge problem. Users are able to upload photos that are out of date and that are completely different, sometimes different people’s photos are used in order to gain interest. We are currently working on a photo recognition system or video system to verify that our users look like they do currently.
And then you got the idea to start your own site?
I guess the driving force behind Findmeyou was this apathy and disappointment my friends, family and their friends were experiencing.
I could understand that it was more lucrative for dating sites to launch with fake profiles, ignore the problems and push for critical mass, but I also came to the conclusion that if they did try to tackle these problems then online dating would work better for the customer and still be lucrative.
So, I set to work on creating an honest online dating service with features to help fight these problems from the admin point of view (from behind the scenes).
I realized that I couldn’t guarantee that people wouldn’t lie, but I knew that if I tackled some of the ongoing problems and provided an honest service from the admin point of view, then maybe Findmeyou could be successful in helping people find love the right way, the honest way. By eradicating these dishonest distractions and ongoing problems that users faced, they would be free to concentrate on what was important.
How long have you been working on Findmeyou.com and when will it be launching?
I have been working on Findmeyou since September 2013, I am still working on it full time and we are hoping to launch before summer 2015.
There are always setbacks, problems with feature development and shortage of funds, but to date we have overcome these obstacles and are on track.
The world of online dating is highly competitive, isn’t it daunting to dip your toe in that pool?
At first the task seemed like a huge mountain to climb. I had very little knowledge and so much to learn. On many occasions I have come close to giving up.
Through fear that Findmeyou wouldn’t be able to deliver what I hoped, because of cost and self-doubt I often wondered if I could build, launch and provide the service I wanted to. Over this time I have made contact with some great people within this industry, and through social media interest and the support from those people I am more confident that Findmeyou is needed and has a place within this extremely competitive market.
Like you said “It is daunting to dip my toe”, but I believe that Findmeyou could change the way people date and hopefully provide people with confidence when it comes to finding love and starting out on new relationships. Findmeyou offers some great features and provides an honest transparent dating service, giving me confidence that there is a gap for us. Of course, online dating is extremely competitive, but I believe there is always going to be room for something fresh and someone who wants to provide a better service.
I remember reading an article on Richard Branson – ‘The reason I created Virgin Airlines’ which is the main driving force and push that inspired me to create Findmeyou.
Richard came up with the idea whilst getting stuck in Puerto Rico while trying to get to the British Virgin Islands. “They didn’t have enough passengers to warrant the flight, so they cancelled the flight,” he explained. “I had a beautiful lady waiting for me on the British Virgin Islands, so I hired a plane, borrowed a blackboard and as a joke I wrote on the top of the blackboard: $39 one way to British Virgin Islands. I went out round the passengers who had been bumped off the original flight and I filled my first plane.”
After that, he decided that he was fed up with airlines that didn’t care about their passengers and he wanted to do something about it. A phone call was made to Boeing to find out if they had any 747’s for sale and an airline was born! “We just made it that more special than all the other airlines we were competing with,” Richard says.
So, I guess the answer to your question is yes! It is daunting.
Online dating is a competitive market and the prospect of making a dent is overwhelming, but I believe that if you have a good idea and you want to provide an honest service or a better service that helps people, then there is a good chance you’ll succeed.
Could you please describe the site a little, how it works and who it’s meant for?
Findmeyou is an honest dating site, from sign up to finding love. We will check our users/profiles on registration, we will vet them and their profiles which may take up to one week before they are accepted and their profiles go live. People can register for free which gives them certain limited features and provides them with access to our advice pages to help guide them when it comes to finding love.
Registered users will be able to create a profile, upload photos and create albums, perform the search, view other members’ profiles and emails (although they can’t reply). They will also have access to Findmeyou dating advice. When accepted, users will be directed to their members’ area to set up their profile. Here they can fill in details about themselves and answer questions that will determine how they are matched throughout our system. Users will need to upgrade to premium membership in order to access all of our features.
Our features include our ‘Book a video date’ feature, which means users will be able to see other users in real time, live. This will help fight against scammers and bots. Users will be able to see their dates’ mannerisms, how they act, hear how they talk, how they laugh etc. Our video date feature will bring our users profiles to life, more so than writing or a photo could ever do.
We also have the flirt bubble feature. This is a great little feature to help those users whose nerves get on the way of flirting to keep conversations flowing whilst chatting or on a video date. Findmeyou is all for helping those nervous daters or those who find it difficult enough creating a profile, never mind having to deal with all the added problems that can come when dating online. So, this is where the advice pages and flirt bubble idea came from.
We are currently working on our photo booth feature which will hopefully confirm users’ identity and authorize their profile photos that are uploaded. This will ensure they match how they look compared to their profile photos. This will help fight against out dated photos and fake profiles.
There are many more features on Findmeyou and more to come that will help our users find someone who is right for them. These features are all user friendly and are only available to premium members. Anyone can use Findmeyou, we believe that love doesn’t grow old, so we accept people from the age of 18 to 99. Our main concern in this is that our site is user friendly and safe, we want people to join and find love regardless of age and ability.
Who should join you and why?
Anyone who is looking for love and a relationship should join Findmeyou. People who want a good honest service and those who want confidence in the dating site they’re using.
Those who may have had a negative experience in the past, nervous daters or simply people that want a dating site they can trust, Findmeyou is the site for them.
We have step by step advice on how to use our site, how to date, how to write the best profile, dating must dos, dating no-nos, first date advice, advice in your older years and much more…
What sets you apart from all the other dating sites out there?
Findmeyou is completely transparent and our mission is to help people find love, the right way! We don’t contact our users via email pretending to be another profile, we don’t use fake profiles live on our system to show that we have more users than we actually have and we provide face-to-face video dating via our booking system.
We provide a question and answer section that our users can fill in when setting up their profile in order to refine and become matched with another profile, but this is not our main feature. Some dating sites use chemistry matching systems which can help refine the search process, but personally I don’t believe that simply describing someone by their characteristics can guarantee a perfect match, this isn’t as useful as some dating sites claim and in some cases can hinder the entire dating process.
I believe in spending quality time with someone and getting to know how they laugh, react, smile or seeing their response to certain topics is the key to finding a good match. This is the main reason why we have our book a video date feature.
Safety is paramount to Findmeyou, we offer realistic advice how to deal with scammers, fraud and general problems users could experience when signing up to any dating site. We provide lots of honest advice on Findmeyou, we will also provide ongoing advice on our Findmeyou advice blog which will be launching soon.
The difference between Findmeyou and other sites is that we care. I don’t want to sound cheesy, but it’s true. We are always thinking of new features to help people, so they can enjoy and feel confident in the entire online dating process.
Like you already said, it’s going to be a subscription-based site?
Users can register for free. However, they will be prompted to upgrade to premium service within the first month. If they don’t upgrade they will be prompted to via email, if they still don’t after we’ve followed every avenue to contact them then their account will be deleted. This will prevent our site from harbouring dead profiles, outdated and fake profiles, allowing other users to be confident that the profiles they see on Findmeyou are real and current.
Users can upgrade to our premium service, giving them full access to all our features as long as they are paying. There are no hidden feature charges. Our prices are not confirmed yet, but they will be reasonable and competitive providing value for money, especially for all the features our users will receive.
What is the hardest part of online dating these days?
I think the hardest part of online dating today is the challenge of relaying who you are, how you feel and what your expectations are about dating and future relationships quick enough to keep someone interested.
Writing an online profile to attract the right person for you, capturing who you are, what you’re all about and other people’s attention within the first few sentences can be very difficult, as can writing the first contact email without coming across dishonest or creepy.
We provide advice to help our users create the best profile in order to attract the right attention from the best matched people.
Findmeyou video date feature gives our users the opportunity to get to know someone else better before venturing out on a real date and it adds a little more character to the written profiles and photo’s that are provided by our users.
Another problem with online dating is the issue of patience (from users’ point of view).
People can sign up to dating sites and within minutes potentially make decisions and start relationships based on very little information available. Just because you have all these profiles at your fingertips, it doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed a match at that particular time. Users should invest their time into online dating the same way they would when they’re dating off line. Often people find it hard to find a match because they haven’t spent enough time writing their profile or they are too impatient to read more of other people’s profiles in order to find a compatible match.
By offering realistic advice, having the option to book a video date, the flirt bubble feature and our photo booth feature, we are confident that people will feel safe and will have the best chance possible of finding the right person for them.
What is your top tip for a good date?
I think the best thing to do on any date is to be yourself, have respect for your date regardless of whether you hit it off or not and remember manners.
With all these in place I think the element of surprise is always good, but let your date know in advance if he/she has to bring a change of clothes/shoes etc. I think a date is successful if you’ve been good company and you’ve shared great conversation. I’d choose a restaurant, coffee lounge or a bar. Somewhere with a good atmosphere, but not too noisy. The idea behind any date is for people to get to know each other and work out whether they’re compatible for future dates or even a relationship.
If you’ve already covered dates like these, then I’d recommend a theme park, zoo or a gig/concert, something that injects the fun factor into a date is always a positive and gives you the opportunity to see how fun your date is.
What can online daters do themselves to make it successful and enjoyable?
Online daters can prepare and plan before they write their profiles, they can ask a friend or family member to check through their profile before uploading it. If online daters take time to write an honest profile that stands out, then they should receive the right attention from the right kind of people.
How many people say: “I would like to find the love of my life”, but at the same time cannot spend a half-hour writing 7-8 paragraphs?
When people are filling in profile questions or advanced searches, which will ultimately result in them being connected with potential matches, they should pay close attention to detail and refine their search in order to be best matched to the right people.
It can be tempting to leave this part of their profile vague or open ended, but this can often lower their success rate. The more effort people put in, the better success they will have with online dating.
I think the best way to make online dating enjoyable is to not take it too seriously. Of course, you have to create an honest profile and you have to invest your time and efforts into finding the right match for you. Online dating shouldn’t be hard work or leave you feeling apathetic and miserable. If it does, then you’re not doing it right.
When people are searching for someone and writing their profiles in order to attract other people to them, they have to take their time and take advantage of all the features online dating sites have to offer. Dating websites simply offer you the tools to find people quicker, giving you more choice. So many people sign up with the misconception that these dating websites will do the dating for them. This is not true!
If people refine their searches, their requirements and pay more attention to detail they will enjoy the online dating process more, finding the entire process more manageable. Most online daters hate the idea of trawling through endless profiles, often finding 1 out of 100 that might be a possible date match. It is so important not to waste time on profiles that would never fit your tastes, lifestyle or requirements.
In some instances there are too many profiles to choose from, resulting in missed opportunities because of an overwhelming quantity.
So, in order to tackle this, people need to fill in their profiles correctly. They need to refine their searches, and above all else, they have to be honest!
If they follow these steps they will have a better experience and hopefully enjoy the online dating process much more.
Thanks Glen for answering all of our questions so comprehensively – good luck with the launch!