“I expected to meet a lot of guys I didn’t like after hearing nightmare stories from girlfriends.”Shtull met her fiancé, Eban Tomlinson, on the Vancouver-based website plentyoffish.com, which has about four million active users worldwide.She had just come out of a long-term relationship and created a profile with the help of a friend and decided to message men who piqued her interest.“But it was the exact opposite.In a test case, Bard - a web developer - created a false female profile on Plenty of Fish. "But the problem was, of course, that the majority of those - the vast majority - were absolute crap," said Ripley.One man on the site sent the exact same form message twice within the span of an hour. " said Ripley, adding, "I don't know if you're familiar with that acronym, but you can look it up." He found things went much more smoothly when women reached out to him first, so he knew they were interested."It's a bit of a social experiment," said Ripley, who is also manager of project planning at Royal Roads University.Both men and women in the Capital Regional District can make profiles for free at Only after a woman "winks" or sends a man a message can he see her profile and respond.
Women can browse men's profiles, but are invisible until they make first contact. "It's very discreet - the only people who will ever see your profile are guys you've expressed interest in," said Ripley.
Aviva Shtull and Eban Tomlinson are engaged to be married after meeting online.
Honesty is key to online dating, says Tomlinson, who has helped several of his single friends with writing online dating-site profiles.
There's less incentive to put energy into personalizing each message, since it can get lost in the noise.
As a result, women may be overwhelmed by low-quality, generic contact from men.