Most people who use online dating sites try and stand out amongst the rest of the user base. Some try this by uploading multiple pictures, especially an eye-catching one, and others are specific when filling out their profile information. Males and females conduct searches and those who stand out tend to get messages from the opposite sex. Match.com, the leading online dating website, takes personal branding to another level by giving you the option to purchase a highlighted profile for $4.99 per month, in addition to your subscription.
Stand out for $$$
Many of you will think this makes sense and can actually boost an individuals profile or personal eBrand. I believe that standing out in this “obvious” way has a reverse effect on one’s personal eBrand. Take the girl on the top right (using the highlighted profile). From the perception of the viewer, she seems almost desperate to get attention from guys. She is begging you “please view my profile and send me a message.” This form of paid self-promotion, almost like a personal advertisement, turns a lot of people off. It’s similar to someone always promoting their new book or company, without ever talking socially about non-business related topics. It also makes her appear needy (if you check her profile, she’s 21 and has a child) and it also screams that she craves attention from men. If a man thinks she’s attractive, a man will click to view her profile, regardless of the highlighted profile feature.
In reality, people like to get:
- 1) What they can’t have
- 2) Passive candidates (just like employers)
- 3) Someone with similar interests
- 4) An attractive male/female (personal preference)
- 5) A person located nearby (>50 mile radius)
- 6) A career-minded individual with some ambition
Your first impression
Match.com also makes you pay for visibility (the communication phase of the personal branding process). Members sign up and receive emails with matches that relate to their current profile. With another $4.99 per month, your profile will appear in the first round of these emails when someone first signs up.
Do you honestly think that someone reviews these emails for matches? If you are looking for a male or female to date, you are going to go right to the source anyways. The only benefit of this feature is that the receiver won’t think you are desperate to claim attention.
How much are you willing to pay to stand out online?