Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why men do not get good responses from personal ads.

Personal Ads: A few months ago, I put up a profile on a few personal ad sites. Why? Two reasons; one because I am also single (ok, no comments from the peanut gallery on that one) and secondly for a little competitive intelligence.

Disclaimer: Yes, speed dating does work. 40+ happily engaged couples so far :) 30+ marriages
My experience
So I am reading these great profiles from women who say they want a genuine guy, down to earth, can be a little crazy, a little sarcastic, tired of the bar scene, likes animals, professional etc. So far so good. Next they say they want someone between 30-40 living within 25 miles from them, wants kids, and is 5 foot 8 or taller. Hmm, I’m batting 1000% so off comes my response. A few days go by, but no reply. Guys, does this sound familiar?

I did eventually get some replies, but it was a small percentage compared to the number of emails I sent. So my mission was to better understand why it was so difficult to get a response. I enlisted the help of my friend Michelle and several other women asking what they look for in a response and what the source of the problem was.

Summary of the problem
If a woman has a nice picture up on a high traffic personal ad website, she can get 20-50 responses a day. If she goes away for the weekend and hasn’t checked her mail in a few days, she may have dozens or more emails/winks/flirts etc in the inbox. So you are one of the guys who sent her a response. You read her profile from top to bottom and really thought you had some things in common and genuinely wanted to get to know her better. Guess what? Your response is buried within the dozens of responses she has to look through. By the time your email is read, whatever you wrote is diluted. Think about it, you are 1 response in 50. She may glance at your response and profile quickly and then move on to the other replies. Now if she only had a few replies a day, your reply may stand out.

The women we spoke with confirmed that one of the problems is the sheer volume of emails they get. Many indicate that it is quite obvious that the man didn’t even read her profile but responded anyway. “I said I wanted a guy who has no children and is between 35-45. Why is a man 58 years old, divorced with two kids wasting my time?” This is a key statement. I am not saying all guys do it, but many men respond to everyone without even reading a woman’s profile. They just go from profile to profile, copy and paste the same message, or send a wink/flirt. This clutters up the woman’s inbox and dilutes the responses she may have received from “genuine guys”.

So what is the answer? Well this may not be the total solution, but it could be a step in the right direction. I asked my friend Michelle to modify her profile slightly and include somewhere in the text that anyone responding should make the subject line read “Ciao Bella.” When she would go to her inbox and find 30 replies, she could go right to the ones with this subject line since these were the guys who really did read her profile. Michelle continued to receive dozens of emails and winks, the majority of which did not have the term “Ciao Bella” in the subject line. When someone did have the correct subject line, they were given top priority. Next week I will share what Michelle and other women look for in the profile and what makes them decide whether to respond or not.


Anonymous said...

Dont describe your self as "good looking , so Im told"... Shut up about it, Post a picture and let me decide. Its a total turn off and as a lead in, its hard to read the good points after that.

Anonymous said...

On the topic of why men have low feedback from personal ads.
Simple, women love to read. Women love to choose. Personal ads make it easy for women to choose and not actually meet anyone physically so they don't.

Anonomous said...

I was talking to a male friend Jonny today and he was complaining about how he never gets any responses to winks and emails he sends out through persona ad sites.

He said that he sent out over 700 emails and did not get a single reply back. I told him my theory about why men do not get good responses from personal ads and said that I had estimated that for every 100 emails I sent out, I would get one email or wink back. If you missed the blog entry, just click the link, but basically it talks about how pretty women are bombarded with so many emails (many from guys who did not even read the profile), which causes a sincere reply to get lost in the shuffle.

Jonny did not agree and told me about an experiment that he conducted over a period of time.

*Jonny winked at a sample of ten women who he found interesting. No responses.
*Jonny winked at the same ten women using his friends profile and picture. He got Five winks back.

So far I am thinking that it is either something in Jonny's original profile that the women are not responding to, either the wording or the pictures.
Jonny let a period of time go by and copied his friends profile onto his own. So it was still Jonny's pictures with his friends wording.

*Jonny winked at a new sample of ten women. No response
*Jonny winked at these same ten women using his friends profile and pictures. Once again, the response rate was much better.
At this point we have concluded that the pictures are the difference maker. I asked Jonny to show me his profile and his friends profile. Honestly Jonny's pictures were clearer and seemed better in my opinion than his friend. The one difference I saw was as follows:
*All of Jonnys pictures were of him alone. His friend's pic were a lot of group shots, some with women, and some with just the guys.
So my question here is two fold

A) To the guys- How is your response rate with respect to sending emails through personal ads

B) To the women- What do you make of the Jonny experiment. Is it that pics with other people in it creates social proof, that this is a fun guy with lots of friends and that makes you more interested?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what your friend's situation is but it's definitely a combination of the photos and the profile for me. Though your friend only winks, I have also received really weird and/or offensive emails from some men.

In terms of pictures, I actually prefer a closer up and clear picture of a man and prefer it without all of the friends. There are times when I see photos of three (give or take) men in a picture. I can't tell who I'm supposed to be looking at (and sometimes I find myself more attracted to one or all of the other men than the one I'm supposed to be looking at).

The shots I HATE are the ones of the guys with other girls (especially the ones with pretty, young, bikini - or similarly - clad women). I think it's supposed to tell me that if they think he's cute, I should too. The way it comes across is he's insecure and/or arrogant and I wonder if he asked these women to come over and take a picture to show someone else they can. Either way, I'm kinda not impressed.

And, what is it with all of the men with fish they've caught? There are a lot of those as well.

Anyhow, just some thoughts from a female on-liner...

Anonymous said...

I'm a 39-year-old divorced mom with ads on a few sites. These are the winks I don't respond to:
(1) I don't meet your criteria, and my own ad reflects that - if your ad says you want someone without children or if you're looking to have more children - that's not me. If your ad says you're looking for someone who is petite, athletic or slim/slender - also not me.
(2) If your picture is without a shirt, or in a "wifebeater" teeshirt.
(3) If you live in a different state.
(4) If I can't see your eyes in your picture.
(5) If your picture is 10 years old.
(6) If your ad talks about (or hints at) what you like to do in bed.
(7) If I get 6 winks from you in 2 days.

Jay, did you actually look at your friend's pictures? Did you see anything wrong with them?

Anonymous said...

Lets explore another reason why Jonny didn't get so many responses. Most people know everyone can join a dating service for "free". However some sites only allow paid members to make contact with each other. So if Jonny was a paid member and Sue wasn't she can't respond to Jonny's mail. Now do the math, in our society anyone will sign up for something for "free" but only a few will pay. So even though you maybe be looking at thousands of profiles there is a good chance only a few hundred have a paid membership. Check your dating service you'll be surprised to learn how some very popular services operate this way. I do agree a well written profile with a picture most likely will get more responses however if you're sending to free members it most likely is a dead end.

Anonymous said...

What you are not taking into account is what Jonny's photo showed him to be. Did he look friendly, mean, serious, angry, unreachable? Did the photos of his friend in groups give off a friendlier "vibe" simply because they were group shots and Jonny's friend therefore looked more welcoming? What was in the background of Jonny's photo? What was Jonny wearing? Jay, it is mostly about what feeling you get after looking at the photo and, I would venture to guess that Jonny needs some help with what he potrays in his picture. That was not something you tried yet. Have Jonny get some new photos that show "who" is he is with what he is wearing or even in what shows up slightly in the background...then "wink". A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.

Anonymous said...

I read a profile of a gentleman who was wondering if online worked. He wasn't getting mail. I sent a response. Never received a reply. As with women, some men have a lot of mail, but very rarely do they respond. I try to at least acknowledge that I received their emails. I admit that it is hard. Especially when they have not read my profile, after saying how much they liked it! Go figure. Lack of manners is genderless and getting worse. Except winks and stuff. Communication starts with the first sentence. Leave the work to me, and I don't bother.

Anonymous said...

As a female, on a dating site, I get several a day. They die down after the initial sign up for most people, I think. I'm sure there are a few women who get 50 a day, but I don't think this is the norm. A modelesque guy will also receive a lot of emails. If a guy is attractive to the woman reading their profile, and they have something to say that is appealing, and they are not too 'out of their league' women will reply. The problem with most of the non-responses is simple. Guys approach women online that they would never approach in a bar or another public venue. They find the most attractive women and write to them. Why don't they try a cute woman but not "hot". They may have better luck. The same can apply to females. Stay in your ball park, you'll have better results.

Liz said...

Do not describe as "Good looking" - I agree...let the person reading your profile and looking at your photo - be the judge of that. We are glad your friends and family find you easygoing and funny...they are "your friends" - enough said. Personally, I would rather get a typed message instead of a stupid "wink/flirt"...which is automatic, and requires little thought. If you want to stand out from the rest--put some effort, interest and initiative behind your messages. Too many guys on these websites claim they want a relationship with a nice girl...but they lack the skills and interest to get anything off ground...nor do they put in the effort to get to know someone...sending out 50 flirts to various women, is not the way to go.

Anonymous said...

A lot of very good comments were posted here. Whether I'm on a free site or I've paid, I will not respond to a man whose picture is:
shirtless; sloppy looking; with a woman; group shots.

My situation is different than any I've read of here. I have a very well worded intelligent profile. I've rotated pictures. Yet I do not get ANY responses from men. Or once in a while I'll get mail from someone just looking to get laid.

You cannot tell from my profile that I may be a social misfit, so what is my problem?

I've never believed in personal ads, even in the days prior to the internet. I guess I'm on sites out of desperation, and perhaps that desperation shows through between the lines.

The only way to meet a person is through people.....

Anonymous said...

I'm on one of the 'free' dating sites. It is free to post a profile and free to respond. It has been a terrible experience for me (a female). Initially, I posted some nice pictures and worded my profile rather creatively and honestly. I probably received about 50 hits a day in the beginning. I was overwhelmed, but I DID take the time to respond to each man that sent me a sincere message. I went out on several 'first' dates but hardly any 'second' dates. Why? As quoted from another writer: "Too many guys on these websites claim they want a relationship with a nice girl...but they lack the skills and interest to get anything off ground...nor do they put in the effort to get to know someone...SIMPLE AS THAT! It is quite easy to sit back and send winks/flirts, but following up in person is a challenge for some of these men. And, it is a challenge for them because there are plenty of other 'fish in the sea' To quote another writer, "The only way to meet a person is through people....." I totally agree with this writer. I've already cancelled my 'free' online dating profile. Jay's friend Jonny should do the same and attend more speed-dating events! :-) He would certainly meet some nice women-myself included-and achieve better results that way.

Liz said...

To the post of 6:54 - I agree completely...I stated that "some" men lack the skills to communicate and get to know someone first...before trying to get physical...and by that I mean by the third date, some of these lame men are already all over a woman. Unfortunately...these same men attend these speed-dating events. They lack conversation, intellect and enthusiasm or perhaps confidence. Creating and maintaining a connection with someone requires "effort" guys! If you are constantly searching for "the next best thing" or "flavor of the month"--you will always find yourself ALONE ultimately. I also have met men that lack etiquette completely...once met someone where the 1st or 2nd time we ever went to a movie, and he snuck in cans of soda and bottled water into the movie theatre to save on the expense! Now that's a stingy unappealing quality that's tough to overlook. As for personal ads...STOP claiming to be easygoing, attractive and funny...that's very subjective...what is attractive to you may be downright hideous to the next person. Just be comfortable in your own skin, state what you enjoy most about your life and outside interests - aside from your occupation! That simple. Stating that you look younger than your actual age is also a big cliche! None of us want to age, or want to believe we look our age. Let the reader and ultimately the person meeting you face to face be the judge of that.
Lastly...guys, if you are looking to connect with a nice girl--post a SINGLE photo of yourself--not one with all these women hanging on you. We are not looking to join some fan club. It only demonstrates to us a level of immaturity and insecurity to say the least.

Anonymous said...

The answer is simple I know a few beautiful women that get hundreds of replys a week. The simplest thing to do is to just go by the photos, thats what they do. They pick a few of the best looking guys and only read their profile. It would take them years to read every profile. Of course these only last a few weeks to months till they figure out that he's having sex with multiple women. Lets face it if your a great looking guy this is a great mass marketing tool for sex. And guys don't be discouraged, I read a statistic that 85% of all men get no replys, thats correct no replys. So either shapen up your personal skills or go to Jays events, becasuse even though its brief, its more then a face there is apersonality behind it. good luck.

Anonymous said...

I am a single guy. As I look at personal ads of women the one thing that turns me off are pictures of kids. I am not out to date your kids. IMHO putting kids in your profile pictures is off putting. Please do not do it. lol...