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How to find love online

Wed 1 Feb 2012
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Our society is becoming increasingly reliant on technology and the internet, with online shopping, socializing, reading, and so on beginning to replace the traditional real-life alternatives. It is no surprise, then, that online dating is quickly becoming a popular, accepted and even preferred means of meeting friends and potential partners. You might be interested in giving the online dating game a whirl, but just don’t know where to get started. Check out this interview with NZDating.com’s John Harris for everything you need to know! NetGuide: How exactly does the NZDating website work? (What is the process someone goes through when they decide to give it a try) John Harris: 1) Prospective new members must first select their age group and gender to continue.  Anyone under 18 is notified they are not permitted to join. 2) Qualifying people over 18 then go on to select a unique username and password (to access the service), enter their date of birth, email address and select the region where they are located.  To continue, they then must declare they agree to adhere to the Terms of Use. 3)  The email address is verified by the user entering the special code that was emailed by the NZDating system. 4) Once the email address is verified, the member is able to create a member profile page containing information about who they are, their hobbies and interests, etc. and participate in other areas of the service. Members are able to search other members by various criteria (age, sex, region, non-smoking, etc.) and send messages using the internal email system.  The messages are stored in a database server and can only be retrieved by the member however can be retrieved by NZDating management upon request from the Police.  Messages are generally available for up to 30 days after an account is removed. Once members start interacting, they have the ability to classify other members as ‘buddies’ (awarding extra privileges normally reserved for members they trust),  ( ‘contacts’ (also with extra privileges such as restricted photos) or ‘blocked’ (members can be added to this list if no further interaction is desired). Members are able to upload photos of theirs to be used as part of their online profile.  These photos can be available for viewing by all other members, restricted to specific members or only available when specifically attached to a personal message.  This enables members to maintain privacy while still sharing pictures with selected members. NG: What are some of the benefits of finding a match online as opposed to more traditional methods? JH:  Internet Dating is great for shy or more self-conscious people. We have had numerous reports from people who have ‘come out of their shells’ or ‘found themselves’ by using NZDating.com. With the benefit of anonymity and the numerous tools available, members feel more at ease and able to express themselves and learn that their opinions are valued - this is particularly evident in the popular messageboards area of NZDating.com where regular users form online identities based on their opinions expressed in various threads. The online interaction can lead to more traditional methods of interacting such as telephone calls and then meeting in person. If someone is still not ready for one on one meetings with other members they can venture to the numerous member organised events where, as a group with other online friends, the pressures of one on one meetings don’t exist and they can have fun meeting both friends and potential partners. NG: What is the main demographic using the website (age, education, etc)? JH: We have a broad spectrum of ages (from 18-90!) with the average age for both men and woman being 32. Members who have entered their education level are generally highly educated, with around 50% having a tertiary education and around 30% having a university degree. Our members are just normal New Zealanders who happen to have discovered the benefits of online dating.  One way they are different is that they spend much more time online! According to Nielsen-Netratings, Kiwi internet users spend much more time on NZDating.com than any other NZ website, in fact many users become so enthralled with NZDating.com that it forms a significant part of their lives.   NG: Do you think there is a bigger demand for dating services/introduction services than there was in the past? If so, why? JH: Yes – we think there probably is.  When you look at how little spare time New Zealanders have outside of working hours it makes sense to use a service like ours to interact with people.  Since a lot of Kiwis live outside of cities they stand to benefit even more by meeting and getting to know people without having to leave home! Most importantly attitudes are changing, just a few years ago people were afraid to try alternatives such as internet dating and those who did tended to keep it a secret for fear of being too different. Nowadays many know of friends or family who have found that special person via online dating and are only too happy to recommend it to others. NG: How many members does NZDating.com have? JH: As of the end of March 2011, NZDating.com has had over 1,150,000 profiles created (the largest in New Zealand by far), however since many leave after meeting a partner and we remove inactive members, the current number of enabled members at any point in time is closer to 300,000.   To put that in context – the NZDating.com community is equivalent to the 4th largest city in New Zealand, significantly bigger than the population of Hamilton, with a new profile being added every 3 minutes (on average). NG: How many people are successful in finding a match using the service? JH: There have literally been thousands of couples created from our members and many, many marriages and births!  One of our staff was recently part of a wedding party where the bride, the groom, the best man and maid of honour had all met their spouse’s on NZDating.com!

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