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Help | FAQs About Loveandfriends

 
This page contains FAQs about loveandfriends that people often ask before joining.

Stuff about internet dating, our site, ourselves and our members. These FAQs are designed to give you a better flavour of what we're about..


Why should I join you?
It's free to join but we don't want to waste your time if we don't have what you're looking for. So please:
  • Checkout our USPs below
  • Have a look at our 'New Faces' on the landing page and also the 'View Profiles' page to see if we have your sort of people on our site.
  • Checkout our success stories - see if we've worked for people like you.
  • Have a look at the difference between free and paying membership (explained below)
...and then you decide.

What are your main USPs?
  • No 'Adult' or 'Casual' content at all - we are for 'Love' and 'Friends' ...as the name suggests.
  • We're a 'Nice',  friendly site - where members refer their friends
  • Higher calibre membership than most other sites -  lots of professionals and 'thinking people'
  • More in depth questionnaire than most sites- to get your personality across
  • Basic membership is free. Not just a gimmick - it allows some genuine free dating.
  • UK based
  • Run by a small team who love their job rather than a multinational media company.
     
 

Why should I join you?

What are your USPs?

How many members do you have?

Are all your members actively dating?

Are you just a UK based dating agency?

Are you just for dating?

What's your success rate?

Is your 'free' membership genuine?

What are the benefits of full membership?

Why do people bother paying?

How much does full membership cost?

Any plans to get rid of free membership? 

'Internet Dating for Thinking People'?

The Loveandfriends "Network" - what is that?

How do you compare to other sites?

Where do your members come from?

Are your members genuine?

What advice do you have for online dating?

Who owns loveandfriends?

Do you read all our private emails?

Can you help me set up a dating site?

Do you have an affiliate programme?

How many members do you have?

Since we started way back in 1999 we have had over 300,000 people register profiles with us. We think the flow of good, new members is more important than absolute numbers. As a member you want to be seeing new people week after week. Typically we get 500-1000 members joining per week. The amount depends on what marketing we do. 
 

Are all your members actively dating?

Some people use the site much more than others. We encourage people to delete or suspend their profile when they don't need our site any more. Some members are more passive and want to remain online waiting for people to contact them rather than logging in themselves to proactively search. They might have a last login date of some time ago but we know they still visit the site to look around and are receiving our emails. We do archive unused and unvisited profiles from time to time. You can tell when a person last visited the site from their profile.

Are you just a UK + Ireland based dating agency?

The majority of our members live in the UK and Ireland. However, we do increasingly have significant numbers of members from abroad. We are popular with people that want to meet someone in the UK (e.g. Americans), expats (English speakers living in France, Spain, etc) and travellers (Brits backpacking across India).

Genuine people from anywhere in the world are always welcome. We spend a lot of time and resources blocking fake profiles of scammers and spammers who try to join. We're proud that the quality of our database is much 'cleaner' than many other sites, whilst still having a bit of international 'flavour' that some strictly 'UK only' sites lack. We would ask anyone from places like Eastern Europe, Philippines, etc to make sure you have  a fully written profile (all 'Wordy Stuff' sections completed) in good English with some good photos and to email our admin team when joining so as you are not suspended.

If you are a nice, literate Moscow or Manilla based Economics Lecturer who likes to come to London from time to time then of course we want you aboard. However, over 80% of Russia/Philippines/etc based profiles are zapped as they are either from spammers/scammers or too low quality.   

Are you just for dating?

We're called 'Loveandfriends' as we're not just a dating site - although most people joining are indeed looking for a partner. We would say 90% list dating/finding a partner as their primary objective and just 10% making friends/meeting new people. However, lots of the people who join for 'dating' are open to meet new people and do make friends along the way or at least some interesting new acquaintances.

The 'andfriends' bit is very important to us as it adds a more relaxed flavour to our site and does help facilitate the dating aspect in a more friendly manner.
 

What's your success rate?

Checkout our success stories page - where you will see literally hundreds of emails from happy former members! We have had thousands of people email in over the years. We can't give an accurate actual percentage success rate as lots of people just put their profiles 'on hold' and don't tell us why. At some point in the future we'll do a survey or something - however we have so many other good ideas to work on that this may be some time
 

Is your 'Free' membership genuine?

We have 2 levels of membership. Free and Full. The idea is you can join on free and have a basic use of the site if you wish. We have all sorts of tempters to get you to upgrade - however you can send/receive some messages as a free member - there are very few dating sites left that still let you do this. The main reason we offer a usable free membership is so that you can heartily recommend us to your friends.
 

What's the difference between free and full membership?

FREE FULL

 

MESSAGES:

You can send a limited number of short messages

 

MESSAGES:

Send as many messages as you want to whoever you want.

Send longer messages - express yourself more fully

Read Receipts - find out if/when your message is read. 

eCards - Send a picture with your message.

SEARCH:

You can do a simple search on basic criteria - age, location, etc.

SEARCH:

Much more powerful and fun searching

  • Detailed Search
  • Matching Search
  • Keyword Search

You can search anyway you want - people that have been to university, over 6' 0", skiers, doctors, Catholics, Vegetarians, slim, etc., etc.
 

MATCHING.

The matching and compatibility parts of the site are for full members.

MATCHING.

Matching + Lifestyle/Personality Questionnaire ...checkout how compatible you are with other members

Matching Feedback: See how you compare to what other people are looking for
 

PHOTOS:

You can upload one photo for display on your profile

PHOTOS:

Upload loads more photos.

Have a private photo on the site only available to selected members. Attach your private photo on messages to members.

Access all photos immediately (i.e. not have to wait a week for them to be approved by 'admin' staff).

Email/post your photo to us and get us to sort it out (instead of struggling with scanners/Photoshop).
 

POWER:

You need to sort everything out for yourself as a free members

 

POWER:

Find out who likes you.

Find out who has marked you as a favourite.

View and contact new members immediately ...you can message them ahead of free members

Priority on search results ....you get boosted ahead of free members 

Support: you can email us in and we'll do our best to help
 

Why do people bother paying?

Unlimited*messaging in terms of number of messages and their length is the main reason. We also have 20 dating features only available to full members like our compatibility questionnaire, advanced search, partner matching, etc. 

*Unlimited means basically as many as any reasonable person could want - we do have a spam filter to stop bulk mailing! ;-)

We are hardworking people and many members upgrade because they appreciate what we are trying to do. Loveandfriends is a bit like your local independent pub ...if it were not for the loyal support of our members we wouldn't exist and the market would be reduced to the more mass-market dating sites run by big companies. 

Some of our members in top jobs take a fiendish delight in using the site to the max whilst not paying for membership ;-)  Whilst the joy of getting something for nothing is not to be underestimated,  paying members prefer to pay to cut out the hassle and get better service. Paying members also tend to get more dates.
 

How much does full membership cost?

At present (April 2012) our rates are

     
1 month - 19.95 3 months 39.95 6 months 59.95
     

Most people go for the 3 months option.

We watch our competitors and these rates are pretty competitive.

We want to be totally up front: These memberships are auto-rebilling 'subscription' memberships. This means we keep billing/charging your card till you cancel. This is the same as all dating sites that we know of.

Cancelling rebilling is easy peasy. You just have to press a button on our 'Pay' page. You can do this 1 minute after paying if you wish. Cancelling rebilling does not delete your profile - you can still use the site until your 'Paid for' time is used up.  

Auto rebilling is common practice with the online dating sites and helps us minimise admin and marketing (i.e. sending emails like 'Your membership is about to expire'  every day).
 

Any plans to get rid of free membership? 

No. We envisage there always being some form of free membership. However, we may well fine-tune what you get as a free member.

Our full members keep us in a job we love doing ...so basically the way we see it is we work for our full members whilst our free member are 'guests' on our site. This means we are happy to give them any advantage over free members that results in more dating and more happy endings for full members.

"Internet Dating for Thinking People" - what's that all about?

Yes we know that technically everyone not in a coma is a 'thinking' person ;-)

However, what we mean is that we are aimed slightly more for educated professionals that other sites. We don't want to say 'graduates' (although most members are) as this has a somewhat snobby/elitist feel to it ...you may well be from the school of life and be our sort of a 'thinking' person. Our members tend to be a little more likely to read quality papers like the Times, Guardian, Telegraph than the Sunday Sport. We have quite a few Daily Mail readers and even if you read The Sun we don't kick you off ;-)

What makes us different is that we have loads of members in what we would say are 'Interesting' or 'Challenging' jobs - percentage wise more so than other dating sites we genuinely believe. Some of these pay well, some not so. These include

  • 'High powered' - Directors, Doctors, Lawyers, Managers, etc.
  • 'Creatives' - Writers, Media, Marketing, TV&Film, etc.
  • Alternatives 'n' Hunks  - firefighting instructors, personal trainers, life coaches, therapists, etc

Loads of members are in decent, 'regular' jobs too like teachers, nurses, computing and so on. We also have students, the unemployed and the retired. All in all we think it is a good mix.
 

The Loveandfriends "Network" - what is that?

As well as the main www.Loveandfriends.com site sitself we have a number of high quality partner sites that link to us as part of our 'Loveandfriends Whitelabel Network'

All sites share the same database of members but just have a different 'Front End'.  Some examples include a site for Ecology minded people, one for animal lovers and one for readers of a national magazine. Having a 'Network' of sites in this way helps us attract a good mix of interesting people. If we take the Ecology site as an example - we have lots of members of our main site www.loveandfriends.com who are into 'Ecology' so the special 'EcoSearch' facility on the Ecology themed site will search these out as well as members of the Ecology site itself.

There are other Whitelabel dating networks that run multiple sites - the Loveandfriends Network has two USPs:

  • No Adult/Casual sites/content/affiliation.
  • Aimed more at 'Thinking people' / graduates

If you would be interested in having your own partner site for zero setup cost then please follow the link at the bottom of every page and contact us.

 

How do you compare to other sites?s?

We are not the largest dating site in the UK, nor do we wish to be. However, the larger sites tend to take a much more mass market approach and have more 'vanilla' flavour as they need to appeal to everyone.

There are smaller UK sites that focus on even more specific 'niches' than loveandfriends. These tend to have substantially fewer members than we have. They may focus on people who are affluent, upmarket, clever, gorgeous, ethical, etc. ...or who think they belong to one of these categories ;-)

We like the idea of loveandfriends being a broader church than that. A place where an actress could meet a banker, a  teacher a train driver or an au pair a millionaire. Checkout our profiles - we have bucket loads of brainpower and more gorgeous people than you can shake a stick at but also loads of regular folk as well.

Quantity of members is important. If your database is small then the service is unlikely to be good - you do need a certain 'critical mass' of members. We went beyond that years ago. However once you get beyond a certain point then quantity does not matter so much as the type of people.

It is a bit like a big birthday party. If there are only 3 people in the room it's a bit sad, 10 is better, 20+ is good, but once you get beyond say 150 people adding more people doesn't make it a better party as guests haven't the time to meet all the compatible people anyway. Much better to have 150 compatible(ish) people than a complete mixed bag of 500.

What we're getting at is whilst the larger sites make a big song and dance of 'We have 1 million members' ...loveandfriends' 100,000 members contains far more compatible people than you hope to realistically contact/meet anyway.

The internet dating landscape has changed markedly since we setup in 1999. Many sites are now part of larger mass-market 'Whitelabel Networks' and indeed many (arguably most) are affiliated to Adult/Casual sites as well. At Loveandfriends we're still very much 'Old school' in this sense and are proud that we have

  • No Adult/Casual sites/content/affiliation.
  • A membership aimed at more 'Thinking people'

Many people now join more than one dating site - so why not join loveandfriends as well as one of the others? 

 

Where do your members come from?

We are very happy to say that our largest single source of members is recommendations from existing members ...which shows our site is working. Our members also bring us the best new members

We top this up with considerable online advertising through Google and other advertising. A lot of your membership fees we throw straight back out on advertising to get new members.

Many members also come from our partner sites - see the section above on The Loveandfriends "Network". We also have a straightforward affiliate scheme - whereby if you have a website we pay up to 100% commission on referrals.
 

Are your members 'Genuine'?

'Undesirables' can be broadly divided into two main types on dating sites:

  • Spammers/Scammers
  • 'Dodgy' people

We'll lay out our stall: Loveandfiends is for nice regular people looking for a relationship or to make friends. 'Dodgy' people e.g. married people looking for affairs or people looking for purely casual sexual encounters are not welcome on our site. We don't want to come accross as holier-than-thou but our site is simply just not designed for this. There are lots of sites for this sort of thing - just Google 'Adult dating' or 'Casual dating'.

We do get some 'Dodgy' people joining - most we block before their profile goes live the rest (who slip through our net) we boot these off as soon as they get reported by members. We say to potential members if you are after this sort of thing then please don't sign up with loveandfriends as you will be wasting both your time and ours.

Spammers/Scammers are typically people who setup multiple fake profiles and email as many people as possible. Their motive is usually to get into a cyber-relationship with members over a few weeks then to ask them for money via Western Union to be sent to Africa/Russia. Typical stories include: some family member is critically ill, they are in Gambia on holiday and have been robbed; they need the money for a visa/flight ticket to come visit the UK.

We particularly spend loads of time and resources on blocking the spammers and scammers. We zap nearly all of these before they manage to send any messages. The small remainder that occasionally slip through get reported and zapped asap.  

We can also assure you that we have never - ever - make up profiles to attract members.
 

What advice can you give me on online dating?

Invest time in writing a good/complete profile.

Upload a good photo. More than 3 million people in the UK are dating online - so there is no need to be bashful. Profiles with a decent photo get a much better response. In fact if you don't have a photo you might as well be invisible. You could get away with not having a photo in 1999 but not in 2012 - people will most likely just assume the worst if there is no photo on your profile and not bother contacting you. 

We can work with any size/format of photo e.g. cropping you from a group shot. Don't upload just any old photo or a webscam shot! If you haven't a good photo invest in one. At the very least get a friend to take loads (50++) of photos of you with a digital camera or the like ...at least one of them will be OK.

Be proactive. Checkout our success stories page called 'Statistics of Success'. Ok some people got lucky quickly - but you'll see that most wrote quite a lot of emails before finding their partner. Women - take the initiative and send some emails or winks ...don't just upload your profile and expect the world to beat a path to your door.

Take knockbacks in your stride. Not everyone will want to meet you. Also you probably won't want to meet everyone that shows an interest in you. Often people don't bother responding rather than saying 'Thanks but no thanks'. We're sorry about this but this is part an parcel of Internet Dating.

Use it as part of your portfolio of meeting people. Loveandfriends is a great way of meeting new people but it is not a silver bullet. Loveandfriends is more likely to work if you are doing other interesting stuff as well. Do some other stuff that involves meeting people - dance classes, sports, evening classes, walking, pub quiz, book groups, speed dating, toastmasters, charity work, church stuff, etc., etc.

Broaden your horizons. Don't be too specific on who you'd consider. Remember we are love and friends. There is the chance you could meet an interesting person who turns out to be a friend or acquaintance. If you are 21, female and beautiful or similarly eligible then you can somewhat call the shots. Everyone else: you need to 'get real' with the sort of people you are prepared to meet. Of course - go for the babes or hunks but don't just focus on them. Looks aren't everything but they are significant for most people. Consider that most people end up with someone within a 2 points range of their own attractiveness. So If you are say 7 out of 10 then 6-8 is a reasonable range of people to go for.

Get your friends aboard: going to social events with friends or on a double date improves your chances. Also they might meet someone who is no good for them but great for you and vice versa. It could even be a friend of a friend. The point is when you add more people to the mix - your opportunities multiply.

Take a long term view. Don't give up. Evidence from our 'Statistics of Success' page shows that some members plugged away for ages before striking gold. Take a break for a few weeks by all means. If you find someone quickly that's a bonus. However, don't expect to do this as you may be disappointed. We offer annual memberships for a reason - so you can take things at a relaxed pace as opposed to trying to get sorted within a month.
 

Who owns loveandfriends?

Loveandfriends Ltd is a private UK limited company founded in 1999 by Andy Maccabe and Mary Balfour.

Andy is the full time Managing Director and in charge of running the business. Mary runs her own very well known personal dating agency "Drawing Down the Moon" as well as being a published author  - "Smart Dating".

The company was founded in 1999 - in the corner of the Drawing Down the Moon office by Andy using one PC and a book on Internet Programming for Dummies. Andy is pleased to note that he is now able to employ a number of talented programming and admin staff to maintain the dating sites.
 

Do you read all our private emails?

When we first started we have to admit we were a bit curious to see what people wrote to one another ...but the novelty wore off after about a week.  We only tend to deal with emails to check they get delivered or if there is a complaint/question asked by members.

We do have to read some emails from new members (particularly free members) to check you are not a spammer/scammer. However, once we know a person is OK then emails get delivered instantly without the need for us to check them.
 
 


Can you help me setup an online dating site?

We're happy to talk with anyone who is thinking of setting up a dating site. Drop us an email and we'll arrange to have a chat on the phone.  We won't tell you all our secrets but we'll try to point you in the right direction.

We started in 1999. All these years later things have changed a lot - the online dating 'market' is pretty full with lots of established players and very stiff competition.

Decide if you are going to be niche or mainstream. If mainstream - why are people going to join you instead of one of the other large, established players? You will need a good 'feed' of members e.g. a busy site that is prepared to direct traffic to you.

As we're a niche site we're better qualified to give advice about this. If you do choose 'niche' - choose a viable niche. If it is too large it isn't really a niche and so has no attractiveness as a niche - you will just be competing with the mainstream sites. Alternatively, if the niche is too small e.g. Aberdeen Vegetarian Singles you may struggle for members.

Google and Yahoo (Google and Yahoo adwords for 'dating' are very expensive. You need to be spending 1+ a click to get to the top. Yep - that's right per click. Not per payer or even per free member but just someone that clicks on your site.

Getting listed in free listings for Google and Yahoo for also really difficult. Lots of dating sites employ people whose sole job it is just to engineer their site to get listed high in Google. We do this at loveandfriends and we're still pretty nowhere near the top  ...because our competitors are spending loads more time and money on this activity.

Don't expect a large conversion rate. You will be doing well to achieve 15%. If you base your breakeven on getting 50+% of people paying you'll probably go bust.

You can now buy daYou can now buy dating software 'off the shelf' and then customise it. You would be well advised to do this or - even better - join a Whitelabel Network (we have one - contact us for details!) or possibly find an existing small dating site, buy it and revamp it (in the same way you would revamp an old house). We built loveandfriends from scratch ...but this was before you could buy dating software. If you do this you will be reinventing the wheel.

Don't underestimate the amount of work in building a site from scratch. 75% of the code on loveandfriends site is for admin features you don't see. Administering the database, resending emails, spotting problem profiles, approving photos, etc., etc.

Do you have an affiliate programme?

Yes we are registered with WebGains.com.We also have our own 'in house' direct programme for select affiliates (offers better rates).

Schemes are competitive within the industry and pay an amount per joiner and/or a percentage of sales . Our in house scheme (selected affiliates) pays up to 100%

We also can produce your own 'White Label' dating site for you.

Full details are on our Affiliates+ Partners page - see link at footer of every page.