Online dating site match.com is enlisting a celebrity stylist to advise camera-shy singles how to build a hip, sexy Web portrait of themselves to better woo prospective partners.
In its biggest marketing campaign since starting up 11 years ago, Match hopes the tips in self-advertising will reassure reticent singles that they won't look foolish when using a public forum like the Internet to win dates.
"With this campaign, we're working to overcome the personal stigma which some people might have ... (who think) 'It's fine that my friends are on Match, but I would never do it'," Chief Executive Jim Safka said. Match.com is an important growth segment for parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp, Barry Diller's Internet conglomerate, where revenue from personals grew 22 per cent to $80 million in the third quarter.
Internet dating in the US has grown into a business totaling more than $500 million annually. "People are much more interesting and much more dynamic and appealing than their portraits and profiles often show," Safka said. "That's really the bigger issue. The people who have older photos or misrepresent themselves in some way, they are not successful on Match."
Celebrity stylist Jay Manuel, known for appearances on America's Next Top Model, gives a crash course on Match's Web site to help amateurs find their best camera angle and most flattering expression.
His tips for bringing out one's inner super-model: Take your photo using a camera flash and a naturally lit room; black clothing is often best for a head shot; and try using an indoor fan to capture a tousled, dynamic image.