How To Do A Power Search On

Hello Fun Loving Online Daters!

I get emails every so often from women asking for pointers on their online dating profiles. These are coming from random women who find through my post, How to Spot a Fake Profile, which is decently ranked in Google. Who would have thought the term “ scam” was so highly searched for, but it is, to the tune of 2900 searches per month. The post is third in the Google results.

So, when ladies ask for pointers, it usually goes something like this:

Hi Lance. I know you’re a pimp when it comes to online dating and dating in general. Could you please look at my profile and see what I’m doing wrong? I never get emails from guys and people rarely reply to my messages.

Sure thing, let’s see what we can do. Advice is free of charge, all you have to do is email:

Power Searching

If you’re an inveterate online dater like me, you’ll be familiar with the tools to do power searches on an online dating site. It’s worth covering here because the tools change every so often and it also gives some insight into why certain profiles work and others don’t.

First, let’s look at a typical guy-looking-for-girl search using the interface on

You’ll notice a couple of things right away.

1) My search is a pretty typical broad-range search for a guy, with a few personal preferences thrown in.

2) I always start with a large search radius in order to see what the market is like. I prefer searches within the 5-10 mile range, but I start large and drill down.

3) Notice I didn’t select “About Average” for body type. I want to see my preferred type first.

4) Notice I didn’t mess with any of the Marital Status, Faith, or other qualifiers. Those are secondary to me.

5) Goes without saying photos only.

This returned 366 results. This is exactly the starting number I want. Why? Because is a huge numbers game, especially for dudes. The more chicks I email, the more connects I make, the more chances I have for getting dates.

After I do my broad range search, I will do a fast browse through every page of profile summaries, sorted by activity date. Further, I will only browse profiles that are active within one week or less. Why? Because if a chick hasn’t been active for over a week, chances are she’s going on a ton of Match dates already and won’t check her account or won’t reply. Yes, I’m disqualifying some potentials, but it’s simply an efficiency judgment on my part. The cool thing is if a chick flames out on her latest batch of dates, she’ll get back on Match and show up in the latest active results. So, I’ll get to see her when the getting is good. See below for how I have my search results dashboard set up:

My results sorted by Activity date:

Okay, now we’re in business. Here are my next steps:

1) I’ll browse through every page until I hit profiles that are one week active or less. In this case, that was 10 pages deep. With 18 summaries per page, that’s 180 profiles, a pretty manageable number. If I’m really in a hurry, I’ll only browse profiles that have been active 3 days or less, because these have the greatest chance of a connect.

2) I click on every profile that catches my eye. Obviously, the biggest factor here is PRIMARY PROFILE PICTURE. Ladies, can you see how this is critical to online dating success? If you want dudes emailing you, have must have a picture that puts you in a good light and compels guys to click on your profile. You are literally a face in a crowded sea of profile pictures. The advice is the same for dudes. In fact, it’s even more important for dudes, because there are more guys than gals on

3) Once I click a profile, I’ll read the headline, read the age/location information, browse through the other pictures, and then maybe (although not always) do a super fast scan of their actual profile description. If things are holding up, I’ll BOOKMARK the profile as someone I want to email later. I never email someone right away unless I fall in love right off the bat, which doesn’t happen that often 😉

And that’s how you do a power search. After my initial broad range search, if I have the time, I’ll do followup searches where I add more qualifiers (marital status, drinking etc) just to see what the results are. I might add “About Average” for body type if I’m in a small market or I’m seriously down on my luck. Since I live in a big city, I rarely do that.

After all the searching is done, I’ll go back to my bookmarks, do some further qualification, and email every one that moves me. I have email templates saved for this but I’ll customize each message. On my initial round, I may email dozens of girls.

Using this system is good for weeding out fake profiles also, because you catch trending among the fakes.

My Advice

Spend time, even money, getting good pictures. You don’t necessarily need Glamour Shots, but if all of your pictures suck, then procure a decent digital camera and get a friend to snap some cool pics. Make a weekend out of it.

Put up pictures in a variety of settings and make sure they’re all compelling. Try a few dressed up, going-out shots. Then outdoor shots. Then a shot with your pet. Then a headshot. Then a shot of you in your work clothes. A shot of you playing a sport. Shots of you in a group of people. Keep in mind, if you put up your crazy party pics that you normally have on MySpace  Facebook, you’re going to have douchebag guys emailing to ask if you want to bang. Avoid the party pics if that’s not what you want.

Make a good, compelling headline. I like ones that are fun and not too serious. I don’t like headlines that say things like, “Just trying this online thing for the first time…” or “Hopefully Prince Charming is out there”. Yuck. Admittedly, though, I would only disqualify a person based on headline if the headline contained a strong qualifier. A headline with qualifiers is something like “I’m a Super Christian looking for Prince Charming.” Moving right along.

Write a solid, descriptive profile description, but don’t tell your life story. It’s too early for that. In the sales world, they call that “spilling the candy.” You don’t want to spill the candy too soon. That’s what your first couple of dates are for. Write enough so that if I linger on your profile, I’ll hook onto something to write in an email.

Here’s An Example Of A Bad Primary Picture

Check out these pictures from my search above:

What jumps out to you but in a bad way? For me, it was chocolate928, who’s profile pic is too dark. Since I’m blowing through hundreds of these pics, I would tend skip her profile. Don’t mess around, use a great primary picture in the best possible light. Of the four, I like the headshot of the gal to her right because I’ve got a great look at her features and she’s got a nice smile.

Hope that helps. Happy power searching!

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  • Honey

    I helped my friend with her OKCupid profile while she was in town visiting and my assistant from work told me last night when we went out for a drink that she wants help with her Match profile. I’m super excited! For whatever reason, Jake doesn’t want me dating other people 😉

  • Hammer

    Great post bud! I don’t agree about that dark picture, that girl is definitely thin from that picture and will get a click through from me. Romasunshine will get a click through but that shit looks way too professionally done, screams high maintenance. My red flags for 1) fake profile, 2) attention whore are firing on all cylinders.

  • Getagirl

    These are very helpful tips. In my case, I often just start with small range because honestly, it’s hard to choose when you’re seeing so many profiles with nice pictures. And the important thing for me is the photo and the ”about me” statement.

  • BC

    Great article. I’m sure I’ll do a couple of these from now on and see what I get. The other pet peeve of mine is photos that show the individual 50 feet away. That’s weird. They’ll never get a date. CloseUps always, or at least alot closer please.

    I have been getting a few unusual things occurring on match in that someone will say ‘I want to correspond with you’, then I’ll send a nice letter or two, they’ll ready one of them only and then never respond again. That is strange and makes me feel it’s someone at match and that there really isn’t a real person there. I’ve had that happen on another site where I sent out at least 50-70 winks or emails and got almost zero responses. I got off that site fast.

    Anyway, love this article and I’ll keep on pluggin away at it.

  • Del

    This is a good post, I take the extra step of only looking at the highlighted profiles (the green ones). You can be certain that they are actually paying for a subscription.