“Online dating is here to stay,” says Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy.
After a business career Bela, started thinking she would become a matchmaker. She’s had a sixth sense about these things since she was a teenager and had set up numerous couples who went on to get married.
As she got serious, putting her spine into the business “what I realized is that what people need more is help negotiating the speed bumps in dating.”
In today’s world, meeting people means online. A good friend of mine has two children getting married this summer. BOTH met their intendeds on Match.com. “We’d be on Match,” said my friend “if we were in the market, we sure would.” Much of the online dating world just seems skeezy to on old-fashioned gal like me.
“Online is just the real world,” says Bela. “I say dating is like a funnel, you want as many people as possible at the top.” And that’s easier online of course.
But online has different requirements than the real world. Photography for example. “I often meet someone and say, you need new pictures TODAY.”
New pictures don’t necessarily mean glamour, but does means being both flattering and realistic. “You need to be the best version of you,” says Bela.
Her most popular “Silver package”, for $3,000, includes the photo shoot, 8 hours of coaching with Bela, including a “mock date”, six months of follow-ups, helps with “flirty e-mails” and two professionally written online profiles. “A lot of online profiles are just a list of adjectives,” she says, “…kind, loving, loyal, friendly’. That’s boring. We help people figure out interesting things to say. Having a good profile is the equivalent of driving up a Mercedes 500SEL”. Bela also offers wardrobe advice, and the gold package includes shopping help and styling for every dating occasion. A Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress is a good all-around date dress.
There are loads of different dating sites, of course, “but Match seems to be buying up the world,” says Bela. “They just bought OK Cupid.” And she mentioned that eHarmony, a site she respects very much, has modified their policy on communication–eHarmony emphasizes compatibility rather than chemistry—allowing instant communication now, mostly allowing it better to compete with Match.com.
And then there’s Ashley Madison
…a site specifically for married people who want to have affairs. Skeezy for sure! “I was talking with an investment banker,” said Bela, “the people at Ashley Madison are making tons of money and looking for investors. They talked to me. I said, yep, they’d make a lot of money, but did they want that investment on their books?”
Tomorrow….Karen investigates the Skeez….