Thursday, May 22, 2008

Free Online Dating at Wheresmystar

Update: Wheresmystar does not seem to be operational anymore, therefore I have removed the link.

Free dating sites are hard to resist, I've joined most of the free dating sites I've come across except for the really ugly ones and the ones for specific groups of people that I don't belong to.

Not so long ago, Jason Sebik asked me if I could write a bit about his free online dating website called "Wheresmystar". At the time I thought I was finally becoming famous online! Webmasters asking me to review their site, wow! I said yes, after looking at his site and exchanging emails with him.

The idea behind Wheresmystar is simple, online dating should be free and Jason Sebik, the man behind, is committed to keeping everything on the site absolutely free. Wheresmystar is his answer to big online dating companies who stop at nothing to get money out of online daters; in fact Jason wants to " put all Big-Money Pay-Dating sites out of business." I don't completely agree with Jason on paid dating sites and I'll tell you why in a moment but first let me tell you all you need to know about wheresmystar for now and why you need to join today ;)

Wheresmystar is not only a dating site where you can post a free profile and search for potential matches for free, it also offers a variety of services to its members, similar services that you might find on paid sites. In fact many of the services offered at Wheremystar are not typically available on free dating sites.

Here is a list of features and services available to members:

  • You have the ability to set your photos to be public or private. It gives you control and lets you hide your picture from the general public plus you are sure that your photo will not be used in an advertising campaign for the site.
  • You have safety features like Sparks that guarantees you don't receive unsolicited messages.

  • You get personality profiling data
  • Two way matching, which is a feature I see most free online dating site lacking, usually you get two way matching on paid dating sites.
  • You can bookmark the members you are interested in to make it easier for you to contact them later on
  • You can see not only who's viewed your profile but also who has bookmarked you so you know who is really interested in you.
  • Jason is always working on making the site better and invites members to ask if there are any features they would like to see added to the site.
  • Jason promises that there aren't fake filler profiles on his site, not many online dating site owners can make that promise.

There are a few things I certainly like about Wheresmystar, the fact that it focuses on functionality, which is not the case with most free dating site, Wheresmystar can really boast about the number of services that they offer their members. Also I have to say the proximity of the webmaster is a plus, Jason is available and open for contact, knowing that you can contact a real person with a name when there's a problem or for a simple suggesting is really a good feeling.

If you're still not convinced here is the Promise:
"This place will always be totally free. Visitors will always be able to search freely and see everything that a normal member would see. We’ll never use any deceptive scams, tricks, or tactics to get people to sign up to this site. Compare us to "the others", and you’ll instantly see the vast differences. "

About Big-Money-Dating sites, indeed online dating is a big money business and many online dating sites use deceptive methods to get users to pay for premium memberships. Clearly, Wheresmystar is not one of those because it's free, but I've also seen free online dating sites who basically sell their members by making their profiles public and bombarding them with ads from Big-Money-Dating sites. Of course wheresmystar is not one of them. But the way I see it, most free dating sites are only making money because paid dating sites are paying to advertise on them, if you kill those Big-Money-Dating sites the free dating sites would die with them.

I've not only tried many free dating sites but I've also joined quite a few paid dating sites and some are part of those Big-Money-Dating sites Jason likes to refer to. I've also paid for a premium membership on a dating site and from my own experience I can say that it was worth the money I paid. I'm not even revealing the name of that site but you can find out since I've mentioned it before on this blog. I believe that creating and maintaining a dating site has a cost, advertising for that site also has a cost therefore those costs have to be covered by revenue. I also believe that if you are offering a service there's nothing wrong with getting paid for it especially if the service you are offering is of good quality.

The dating site I paid for is a good site in my opinion, I had been a member for some time and I had met people without paying but at some point I not only had enough money to pay for a full membership but I also had a really good motivation, if you see what I mean... Even though I did think the membership was a bit high, I gladly paid for it and after the membership expired, I still remained a member of the site. The key here is that this specific site allows members to view all the information on other members for free; in fact you can do almost everything for free on the site except send messages to other members. They match you up, they tell you who has viewed your profile and you can show interest but no contact unless at least one of the two people pays. Many find this frustrating and I can understand them but I've come to discover that, when you can afford it, the price does not really matter.

Most other paid dating sites I've tried hide so much information from you, they go as far as not letting you see other members' full profiles, they don't tell you who's viewed your profile and even when they allow other members to send you messages they don't let you see who sent you a message much less read messages unless you pay. You're paying while you don't even know what's there but you know what, those sites are highly successful at getting paid members...

Many people don’t mind not getting a lot of information before paying on a dating site maybe because they thinks it’s normal to pay for what those sites promise them. In many cases those people rely on the site’s reputation, the promises made by the site and in some cases the testimonials of members of the site.

The point I'm trying to make is that you cannot put all paid dating sites in one basket, many are not completely honest with their members and they are more concerned in billing them than giving them a good service while others are open but ask to be paid for the service offered. If I can afford it I don't mind paying when I can see what I'm getting for my money. Two things are important to me, what services are offered by the site and how much information I can get on the other members with a free membership. If the site takes the time to match me up, send me emails with my matches, offer advance search features, allow me to see full profiles and tell me the last time someone was online, I don't see why I wouldn't pay to contact people I would be interested in.

Monday, May 19, 2008

How to remove an application from hi5

After my hi5 applications suck post, I though I'd write about how to remove applications from your hi5 profile.

I unfortunately had to install a couple of those annoyances to see how easy or hard it was to get rid of them. Frankly, I've found the process of removing the applications from my profile to be quite easy and straightforward. Here are the four easy steps you need to follow:

  • Step 1 log in to hi5.
  • Step 2 go in your profile's page by clicking on My Profile at the top of the page next to the hi5 logo and the Home link.

  • Step 3 locate the application on your profile. It's usually at the right of your page after your photos but before your comments. In this example I'm removing the Graffiti application.

  • Step 4 on top of the application section you'll find three links View - Invite Friends - Remove, click on Remove . It gives you two options, Remove Profile Box and Remove Application. Choose Remove Application.

Congratulations! You've successfully removed the unwanted application from your hi5 profile page.

I didn't think I would be writing this but I actually felt like keeping the Graffiti application at some point, especially when I realized that someone had left me a couple of graffiti with his application invite. I myself felt like leaving a few graffiti here and there since the Graffiti application is one of the most popular among hi5 users, most of my friends have it installed.

Hi5 applications suck
Hi5 friend requests never expire
The geography of social networking sites
Friendster, Hi5 and Orkut

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dating Services' Online Dating Guide

Dating Services is an online dating guide that provides reviews of dating sites. By doing so they hope you will take interest in those sites and eventually join them...

Dating Services offers online dating directory services, a dating service guide and a monthly newsletter.

The site has a nice table in which different dating sites are compared. A simple look at the table shows you the features offered by each site and the number of members they say they have. At a glance, you can tell which site has the most members, which has chat rooms, which offers cam chat, which has voice chat and which supports mobile communication. After a quick view of the dating sites, you can read a review on the ones you are interested in to see what Dating Services had to say about them.

An Online Dating Guide in four parts is provided for those just getting started with online dating. They emphasize the need for safety by making Safety First the first part of their Online Dating Guide. Part two is about Choosing a Dating Service, part three is about Creating a Profile and part four is about Finding Your Match. One of the tips they give is not to drink alcohol to "calm your nerves", of course they tell you not to give your personal details, something I will never emphasize enough.

You'll also find many advice articles on different types of dating services like Christian Dating Services and Speed Dating. They have a very interesting article on Internation Dating,I recommend you read it if you are considering dating a person from a distant land. They also have an article on Internet Phone calls where they explain how those calls are an inexpensive alternative to actual phone calls. Personally I think that in general the voice quality of internet phone calls is really bad but it is a very convenient way to communicate online, it's far less tiring than regular text chat since your fingers can rest while you talk.

I like the fact that the site is populated by many articles aimed at the different types of online daters. And of course I like the fact that they emphasize on the need to be safe online.

They have an uncommon section for a dating services site, a love poem page! I guess they are old fashioned romantics. They provide you with timeless poetic pieces that you can read for inspiration or use to send to your special someone to express your feelings.

Remember I told you they had a directory service, well, in the directory section of the site you'll find other sites that also offer dating services or reviews of dating sites. They also accept link submissions from other related sites, if you have a dating blog you might want to consider exchanging links with them.

Dating Services publishes a newsletter that you can subscribe to. It contains dating stories, news and alerts on dating services, tips and advice that you may find useful in your online dating experience. They send out at most one newsletter per month.

Now that you know all about Dating Services start by reading their online safety tips. I think anybody with an online presence can use general online safety tips. If you have online profiles on any type of site or if you have photo albums you should always be careful not to give out too much personal information.

For a site called Dating Services I was expecting to see more than just five reviews of dating sites. Even though they feature six sites there is one without a review. There are so many dating sites out there that are very popular and yet they are not featured on Dating Services. I also think that with this kind of site they should provide a space where readers can add they own ratings of the featured dating sites based on their own experience. With input from different people who've used the same site they can get the average level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a particular dating site.

This post has been a Sponsor Post.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hi5 applications suck

You all know that hi5 is the social networking site I use the most, most of my friends are on it. If you are a hi5 member who has used the site recently you probably received invitations to install applications from your friends or you've noticed the many applications already installed by them on their own profiles. Unfortunately I don't think those new applications are a positive addition to the site.

Most applications I've seen on my friends profiles are underused if used at all. Nevertheless, most people seem to install every single application they are invited to use. Profiles, already overloaded with slide shows, videos and music clips are now invaded by applications. Every time I'm about to load an unknown profile I'm afraid it will freeze my browser. I have the feeling that applications take up too much resource without being of much use. After learning how to add applications to their profiles hi5 users should learn how to remove them when they don't actually use them. It would make my hi5 profile browsing experience a better one.

I also have two other issues with hi5, first, they have many many cases of hacked accounts used to post spam comments. It happened to me and I was horrified to learn that it was impossible to delete those comments since hi5 does not allow you to delete the comments you leave on other people's profile, you may only delete the comments left on your own profile. I think they should change this, they should give you complete control over what you post on the site. Many of my friends have had this hack and comment spam problem some don't even realize it. I learned about my problem after a friend asked me about a weird comment I left of someone's profile. I seldom leave comments on profiles so I knew immediately that the comment was not from me.

I wrote hi5 about the need to delete that comment and they told me the only thing I could do was ask my "friend" to delete it, I thought about deleting my hi5 account instead. If you want to delete your hi5 account I recommend you remove all your pictures and all your personal information since your picture might remain on the site even when you are no longer a member. Hi5 has a serious spam/hack problem that they need to address.

Friendster, Hi5 and Orkut
How to remove an application from hi5
The geography of social networking sites

RIP Yahoo Messenger 5

I've used the version 5 of Yahoo! Messenger for a very long time, it was probably the first version of Yahoo messenger that I had ever used. I became a bit of a chat addict as some of my online friends can tell you. Yahoo! Messenger 5 was the perfect tool to keep me hooked on chatting with random strangers and making friends on the internet.

Then came the version 6 which introduced stealth settings, a revolution! Then came version 7, I don't remember anything about it but I'm pretty sure there was one and then the version 8 which allows Yahoo! Messenger users to add MSN contacts, a sign of things to come maybe.

Nowadays you can no longer access Yahoo chat with the version 6 of Yahoo messenger, even worse, Yahoo has retired its version 5 completely. They killed my favorite Yahoo messenger version without a proper funeral. Rest in peace version 5. You will be missed at least they can't blame you for the decline of the Yahoo! Chat rooms.