There are plenty of ways to go wrong when looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right online, as tens of millions of Americans have.
But there are also strategies to help you avoid dating disasters and meet people who may be compatible with you.
CNET Senior Editor Natalie Del Conte got some tips from Match.com relationship expert Whitney Casey, and shared those insider secrets on getting noticed, getting results, and avoiding the moves that turn others off, on "The Early Show Saturday Edition."
It all starts with your picture -- the very first impression you'll make on a Web searcher as you try to stand out from the crowd.
"Your main picture, the one that everybody sees, needs to be a clear view of your face. You can be smiling, you can be doing whatever," Casey says. Avoid black-and-white images, and ones showing you younger than you really are. Photos showing natural views of you, or ones with you displaying personality, such as ones in which you smile broadly, are preferred. And don't use photos cropped from larger ones: "A crop-out it a cop-out," Casey observes. Also, steer clear of images of you appearing depressed.
When building your profile, "Answer the who, what when, where, and why," Casey advises. "Really make your personality stand out. If you're serious and you want serious correspondence, then write it very seriously. If you want playful, write it playful."
Tell things you feel strongly about. For instance, "I would never date anyone who didn't have a smart phone," Del Conte says. "I'm really short. Does that matter?! ... I hate celebrity gossip. ... I don't know if I want kids. ... I can't go a day without peanut butter. ... I have zero tolerance for tardiness."
"One of the things (Casey) really recommended," Del Conte told co-anchor Chris Wragge, "was to be honest and to also let your friends kind of help you with this process, because choosing the profile picture and writing your mission statement can be really daunting."
Wragge noted that honesty really is the best policy. "It's like writing a resume," he said. "If you do get a date, the truth is going to come out."
"There's no point in the bait and switch," Del Conte agreed. "Eventually, you want to take this conversation offline, because one of the timelines that was suggested was a couple weeks of Internet chat, a couple weeks of text messaging, then a phone call and then an actual meeting in person. So, if you're not being honest, that's not going to improve your chances of a successful date."
How much should someone include in his or her profile, and how much do you want to leave for that first meeting, so you still have something to talk about?
"One of the things that they had said is no answer is an answer. So, if you don't put that you are a smoker, that is saying something. If you don't put your religious beliefs, that is saying something, too. So something to be implied in silence."
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