The Herald-Sun’s Meeting Point page, which began in the mid-1990s and appears on Fridays and Sundays, has always run about 40 advertisements per week.
While internet dating hasn’t exactly gutted the newspaper classifieds, introduction agencies such as Yvonne Allen and Associates and Entrenous are taking precautions.
Allen is developing a “unique”, “more personal” and “3D” website. We’ve been effected, but we’ve never been a service for vast numbers of people,” she says.
“The advent of the internet has brought greater awareness to the fact that there are so many who are single today …
“I think it’s because it was perceived to be the normal thing to do and so many people had been talking about it.
About 60 per cent of our new members are referred by a friend, so it’s word of mouth and recommendation.” While technophiles embrace the galloping pace of change, those not interacting daily with information technology can be forgiven for upholding obsolete memories: the bawdy beginning of dating via the internet or newspaper columns was not so long ago.
Ironically enough, the old-fashioned grapevine proves the best source for new internet members, says Melanie Bowman, rsvp’s marketing manager.
Its membership “skyrocketed” from 19,000 members in 2000 to 140,000 members in 2002.
The recorded voice messages left on private mailboxes usually weed out the “timid wuss” and “complete moron” from someone who sounds “articulate and interesting”, says Wendy. The number of men seeking women in our Northcote Leader survey was seven to one, while on the internet, au and ninemsn say about 60 per cent of members are men. I know people who have had bad experiences with crude, revolting weirdos, but they can send that person’s profile to rsvp and they’ll take them off …
She tells people she met her boyfriend of 18 months while he was walking his dog on the beach.
Sarah tells friends she met her partner in a Qantas club lounge.
“Women are not looking for men in accounting, construction or farming, they’re looking for self-employed, IT communications industries (professionals) who have university education.
Both genders are overwhelmingly looking for non-smokers — and meat-eaters. The other thing is, men are less rigid about (physical characteristics), looking for a woman with an average body, while women are very definitely looking for athletic bodies.” Lena is also 38 and works in educational training.