How One Woman Gamed The Online Dating System

Amy Webb learned how to crack the online dating code to meet her match.

Love or online dating concept heart shape symbol on laptop keyboard, and Geek 2 Geek are all examples of niche dating sites.

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Be careful with humor. "It takes talent to be funny on paper," Webb says. Women often show their profiles to a best friend or sister who are encouraging, even when they should be critical—and that's a mistake. "I read one woman's profile, and it came off as aloof or mean," she says. "This was a woman in her late 30s, and she sounded immature, even though she was trying to be ironic. It's hard to convey that online." Before you make your profile public, show it to people who will give you "unfettered, very direct criticism." And read it out loud—it's sometimes the best way to catch writing that sounds a little off, she says.

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Include three to five photos in your gallery. Try to convey a happy mood, opt for solo shots instead of group photos, leave your pet out of it, and make sure you have good lighting. Show some skin, too—bare arms at a minimum. Interestingly, Webb found that many of the women were lying about their height. Most presented themselves as between 5-foot-1 and 5-foot-3, assuming that men wanted shorter, more petite dates.

After observing and analyzing her competition, Webb created a "super profile," which played to what she saw the popular women doing. Resumé speak? Not a chance. This time, she wrote that "my friends would describe me as an outgoing and social world traveler, who's equally comfortable in blue jeans and little black dresses." And it worked: Webb's profile attracted more than 60 responses—including one from a man named Brian. He was her last first date.

And that could be your story, too: You don't need to be good with numbers to make Webb's strategy work for you. The key step, she says, is making a list of must-have attributes in a match. "A lot of people make very detailed grocery lists—so make the same kind of shopping list when you're looking for a partner," she says. "That's the most important thing: knowing exactly what you want. I sometimes felt like I was asking for too much, but you have to figure out who your audience is and then work backwards."

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Webb wants readers to realize that it's OK to be picky—in fact, if you're looking for love, you should be. "The most revealing part of the entire process was that it worked for me to be super smart and outsmart the system," Webb says. "I didn't have to ask the universe to deliver me someone, and I didn't have to sit around and wait. Women are entitled to aggressively target and go after what they want—all it takes is some common sense, logic, and self-confidence."