5 Effective Online Dating Tips To Increase Your Response Rates

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5 Effective Online Dating Tips To Increase Your Response Rates

-By Caleb Jones

I've talked before about how online dating response rates have decreased. While I have not radically changed anything I'm doing online (other than running my usual crazy experiments, some of them successful and some of them not), other guys out there are getting pretty damn creative in order to combat this response rate reduction.

Before I get into some of the online dating tips these guys (and myself) have used to increase response, I have to repeat something I've said many times but still needs to be repeated. While your average response rate percentage is one of the numbers you should pay attention to, it is not the most important number when it comes to online dating. It's actually one of the least important numbers of all the numbers you should be tracking. I've talked many times before about how I get laid online, regularly and easily, with ridiculously low response rates.

My response rates are often around 5-6%. Sometimes they climb as high as 8% or even 11% and I'm extremely impressed with myself. However as the linked article above shows, sometimes my response rates are as low as 2%, but I still get laid.

On the other side of the coin are these guys all over the internet who brag about "50% response rates" or "80% response rates" or whatever. Every single time I have asked one of these guys how often they're actually placing their cocks inside new women, the answer I get is deafening silence.

It's not about response rates...it's about whether or not you're getting laid. I can't stress this enough. It's way too easy for guys to get hung up on response rates when the numbers you should be paying attention to are the ones that actually have to do with sex. Such as:
  • Average number of first dates it takes you to have sex (even if the sex does not occur on the first date).
  • Average number of dates it takes you to get to sex.
  • Average number of openers you need to send to have sex with a new woman.

Those are the numbers I pay very close attention to. Yes, I do track my response rates, but since all of those above numbers are so strong, I barely care these days what my response rates are. For example, my first-dates-to-lay ratios these days are extremely high, sometimes as high as 100% for a single blitz of new openers. So my response rate is almost irrelevant. Many years ago when I was only having sex with one new woman per ten first dates, my response rate was very important to me, since I needed a hell of a lot of dates in order to get laid.

This all ties back to the great maxim of online dating, which is: You will never get laid with online dating if your real-life game sucks. Its corollary is: The stronger your real-life game is, and the better your target market selection, the less results you need from online in order to have sex with new women.

We're going to talk about increasing your response rates now, but please keep in mind everything I just explained. Otherwise you're going to waste a lot of time spinning your wheels on stupid online dating techniques that don't work very well.

Credit for some of these techniques go to Chukka, Ken, and Ironpen who showed me some of these. (And some are my own.) Here we go!

1. On OKCupid (and sites with a similar rating system), rate every woman you see with 4-stars, then message any woman who quickmatches you. Your response rates will be higher if you message women who already see you on their quickmatch, and the more women you rate favorably, the more quickmatches you'll receive.

2. An old technique I've been using forever is to only message women who are "Online Now". An improvement to this is to only message women who are "Online Now" and have recently posted an update of some kind. Statistically these women are much more responsive than woman who are online but using the same profile they've had forever.

3. Focus on messaging women who have viewed your profile first. I have been surprised how easy and fast women will respond if they've already viewed my profile, especially if they've just viewed it, even if they did not send me an opener when they did. Often you can't rely on this technique entirely, but if you combine this with items 2 and 3 above, that will give you a decent pool of higher-responsive women.

4. This is something I did years ago, and have experimented again recently with good results. If your response rates are low and you are a not a good-looking guy, i.e. you're uglier or fatter or older whatever, take all the photos off your profile and replace them with ONE very good photo. That's right, just one photo. Make sure it's the best damn photo of yourself you can take. That means best outfit, best colors, best angles, best lighting, the whole nine yards. Use a professional photographer if you can (but do not get the photo taken in a studio).

There are some downsides with this...if your photo is really great, people will actually assume it's fake(!). Yes, I actually had this problem when I tried it recently. My photo was so damn perfect some women thought my profile and photo were fake. Pretty funny. But it did more double the response rate from a prior test, (taking a 5% response to 11%). Not bad.

I am tempted to do an entire blog post just on this single-awesome-photo technique. It can make that much of a difference.

5. For older men only: Break one of the Blackdragon rules and blatantly lie about your age, especially on sites like POF that block you from messaging younger women. I've talked before about fudging your age downward one or two years, which is fine, but here I'm talking about dropping it by 10 or 15 years, just to get into the searches of younger women.

Be sure to say somewhere in your profile text that you're "not really 22 years old", and be prepared to come clean about your real age either on the first date or when/if she asks over the dating site (some will, some won't). Regardless, this will really boost your response rates with the younger women.

Frankly, if you're a younger, better-looking guy going after older milfs and cougars, I see no reason this would not work in reverse. If you're 22, lie and say you're 42, and then blast out some openers to some older women. I'm quite sure this would work very well (again remember the problems with the over-33 crowd, but if you're very young, decent looking, and using extreme player-game then you're an exception to that rule).

Give these a try. You'll find that you should be able to increase your response rates at least somewhat (but don't forget it's about real-life dates and sex, not just response rates!)

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This article was originally published on June 11, 2014
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  • Halfbreed 2014-06-11 05:33:59

    Good tips. I hadn't considered #1, will need to try that. In response to #4 - I've gone the opposite route. I've recently increased the number of pictures in my profile. I've up to six now. Majority are extremely flattering adventure/travel type pics, the others show women next to me but cut out. My response and first date rates went up after I made those changes...

  • Andrian-TQM 2014-06-11 05:40:44

    Hey man! Great advice. Have you read the bravo PUA online guide? What do you think about it?

  • Blackdragon 2014-06-11 09:47:23

    I’ve gone the opposite route. I’ve recently increased the number of pictures in my profile
    Like I said, option 4 is only for uglier, fatter, or older guys. If you're decent looking and are opening women within your same age group, then having one photo probably isn't a good idea.
    Have you read the bravo PUA online guide?
    Never heard of it.

  • lazy guy 2014-06-11 12:58:44

    I notice women's online profiles tend to show pix that prove they traveled somewhere far away, exotic, etc. I kinda wish I could tell them 'I couldn't care less. Show me you have a good body, pretty face, sexy attitude, good taste, etc.' I figure they post those travel pix because they assume men are attracted by the same qualities which attract women (such as ambition, career success, etc.) So I figure this trend reveals that women who use online dating sites will be more interested in a man if he posts pix showing he traveled somewhere interesting.

  • Blackdragon 2014-06-11 14:26:28

    I figure they post those travel pix because they assume men are attracted by the same qualities which attract women (such as ambition, career success, etc.) Correct. It's gender myopia, my latest term. 🙂 I did a two articles about that right here and here.

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-11 15:11:23

    I agree on a couple of points but disagree on a couple as well. If you are fat, ugly and old its gonna be tough no matter what you do…at least if you are trying to score very attractive, young women. I think adventure pics is the way to go. Skydiving. Riding an elephant. Etc. Many women will trade lifestyle for looks (and I don't mean by being a sugar baby where you are paying an allowance) but at the end of the day there has to be SOMETHING about you that attracts them. A sense of adventure can be huge in my experience. I recently did an experiment where I brought my profile back up (I had it hidden) and in two days I was contacted by over 150 women. I have closed 5 of them in the first 7 days and have another 10 in my pipeline I expect to close at least 1/2 of in the next 2 weeks. Ages of the 5 I closed were 28, 23, 32, 19, 19, 28 and none were below a 7 in looks. I am 50 years old BTW. The second thing I disagree with is I NEVER EVER lie about my age. I turn it around and make their youth an issue they have to justify to me and not vice versa. You lower your value when you mislead about ANYTHING in your profile. Dawson

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-11 15:11:51

    Sorry…I am nearly* 50 years old. D

  • lazy guy 2014-06-11 19:40:09

    @ Dawson -- wow, great results, congrats! To what would you attribute your success this time around? What did you do differently from before when you didn't get so much response from women?

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-11 20:09:03

    The key is having a fantastic profile. Most guys have profiles that DLV (opposite of DHV) by bragging, trying too hard, trying to be too clever, having pics on their motorcycle or with some hot chick. Instead of saying you Ivy League educated say "While I have an Ivy League degree I know that where you went to school isn't as important as how you live your life." Be direct. Down-to-earth. Real. That is what women respond to. CONFIDENCE!!!!!!! Be yourself and be fucking proud of it. Here is a cut and paste of a response I just got from a very pretty 21 year old word for word... "I love all your pictures. I took the time to read over your profile, i haven't come across a man on this site that sounds as trust worthy as you do. With that being said i noticed you are in XXXXXXXXX and I live in Toronto. Will that be a problem? I am open for travel -Jen" My first date close rate is just under 85% and I NEVER close anyone under a 7. EVER. I am no super model but I do take good care of myself and am confident about who I am. Be the outlier. Be the guy that talks about religion and free will and politics, etc.

  • Sparks 2014-06-12 06:44:37

    BD I was going to e-mail you about this but now seems as good an opportunity as any. You recently critiqued my online dating profile and I made the changes you recommended. On a POF blitz last week my response rate increased from about 6% before your advice to a remarkable 23%. However almost all of the women who responded to me I only received 1-3 replies then never heard from them again. I know my pics, profile and opener are working but I'm not closing any of these women, I even had a couple of decent looking women message me first. This is so frustrating because I'm doing much better than I used to in terms of responses but still no cigar. I think that the women on POF are getting so many messages that they simply can't keep track of the guys they like amongst all the losers. Any advice?

  • Sparks 2014-06-12 06:47:42

    @ Dawson Stone Man those results are fantastic, what sites are you on? I have lied about my age on POF and Tinder (says 29 but I'm really 37) and am considering putting my real age up. The problem for me is I look so young that most girls simply don't believe me when I tell them my real age, a gorgeous 20 yr old HB8 I met recently refused to believe I was a day over 25. And if girls think you lie about your age they don't trust you.

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-12 07:56:38

    @ Sparks. I totally agree with you. You have BLOWN it once you have lied about ANYTHING. I have tried LITERALLY every single form of dating. Lock and key parties. Speed dating (yes I was THAT lame). eHarmony (where I think you have to be over 300lbs to join if you are a woman). You name it. I have found the best way to meet young, beautiful women is through the sugardaddy sites. This DOES NOT mean you have to be a sugar daddy. There are a bunch of them out there. I just had a 3 day business trip and had a gorgeous (8 1/2 face, 9 body, 19 years old) that was local to the area where I was doing business. She stayed with me for 3 nights and we had an amazing time. Even factoring in extra meals costs and a massage I got for her my total CPO (Cost Per Orgasm) was ~$25. I have a different 19 year old meeting me at my place tonight at 11pm when I return from my trip and spending the night. We have already hooked up once and tonight my CPO will be ZERO. Happy to answer any other questions you might have. Dawson

  • FudgeMan 2014-06-12 10:07:33

    The type of game Dawson is talking about has been covered heavily on RooshV forum. It is an incredibly effective type of game if you have the correct mindset and in person skills. It is not newbie friendly. Search on google for "RooshV seeking arrangement game". The comment system won't let me post links here. I'd suggest anyone attempting this style of online game read the entire entire RooshV thread ( all 29 or so pages ) and understand why the people who were successful succeeded. On another side note, this form of game is incredibly good because the "market" you are operating in is so target rich. Unlike normal dating sites, the women on these sites are not fucking around. They WANT to meet. Also, ugly women don't really bother with these sites for the most part since they know most guys will not drop even a meal on an ugly girl. And lastly most of the younger women on there are Type 2 or w/e BD calls them ( young girls who LOVE older masculine men who have their shit together ). So now your have a "market" that is set up to be pretty much any BD style dudes wet dream ( except for the fact you have to filter out the more hard-core gold diggers ). On the topic of gold diggers and "all the women there just want cash!!!!"... not 100% true. Many of the young ( under 22 ) girls actually just want to date an older successful guy with the "anticipation" of "maybe" being spoiled. If you read the roosh forum, many guys laid 18-21 year olds with just a few drinks or a dinner. The cost per lay is very low considering the quality. Now if you end up dealing with the older women on that site then yea, they want a stright up business transaction. They are hardened to the game and don't fuck around. Avoid them. Stick to under 22 year olds.

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-12 11:01:34

    I disagree with the age limit. Any age can still have a low CPO. It really isn't that difficult. The game is slightly different but the results are the same. Two of my recent closes were 28. I have 5 in my pipeline that are mid 30s and up. And I am going to also disagree with not being Newbie friendly. Sure you may not be getting 8s and 9s out of the gate who are 18-22 but with just a bit of trial and error and effort you can bring your numbers and quality WAY WAY up and it is WAY more effective that a newbie being an a traditional dating site where the supply and demand curve is going to CRUSH you. Why swim uphill when you don't have to. Dawson

  • Blackdragon 2014-06-12 12:23:50

    Dawson - Great stuff. Agree with most of your points. Very well done. And yes, sugar daddy sites are indeed a valid option for guys over 40, provided you're not spending a lot of money on these women. That's always rule number one of course, but the specific "type" of dating site you use is irrelevant as long as you can get to sex fast with minimal expense. Do whatever works. And yes, I can say from personal experience that lying about your age on Tinder is a complete and total waste of time. Tinder is only good for meeting up with women in your own age range. If you're wanting to meet women older or younger than you, you'll need to chuck Tinder and and use an actual online dating site. Sparxx -

    BD I was going to e-mail you about this but now seems as good an opportunity as any. You recently critiqued my online dating profile and I made the changes you recommended. On a POF blitz last week my response rate increased from about 6% before your advice to a remarkable 23%.
    Fantastic! You need to write up a testimonial for my dating profile critique site.
    However almost all of the women who responded to me I only received 1-3 replies then never heard from them again.
    Remember that a lot of that is normal and happens to me too. The way to minimize it is to do all the usual stuff I talk about. Very short, non-needy messages. No complimenting, especially appearance. Ask unique questions and control the conversation. Do not ask for phone numbers. Pitch the first date on the 2nd or 3rd exchange. Etc. I have a feeling you're probably screwing up on one of the above areas.

  • lazy guy 2014-06-12 13:19:45

    So what are the names of some of these sugar daddy websites?

  • Ken 2014-06-12 16:35:51

    Your sugardaddy site idea is interesting. I'm 52. I heard Adam Gilad discuss this strategy in an interview with Jordan Harbinger, but I was pretty skeptical. Now that I'm hearing it from a different source, maybe time to have another look. Would love to hear more about how you make this work for you.

  • Bo 2014-06-12 17:09:51

    I tend to get very good response rates by doing a "quick customization" of the opener as much as possible. Take 3-4 seconds to glance over the girl's profile and comment on the first thing that comes to mind in a cocky/funny way. It could be one of her interests, her profile text, or her pics. If nothing comes to mind, find out what her fave activities are and say "so when are we going xxxxx?" (question mark is optional, you can use an ellipse to avoid it seeming like a question and more of a nonchalant suggestion) If there's nothing there (if the profile is new or skimpy) use some kind of customizable template (I have several that I use, based on the type of woman I am messaging) and fill in the variables based on her info. And oh yeah, if the site has a "want to meet?" section, obviously contact the women who want to meet you - if they are up to snuff.

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-12 20:17:47

    @bo When you are offline and you have a crappy supply/demand curve (aka bad guy to girl ration) being a bit cocky can work for you. I would argue that the best way to DHV is to be low key. Taking the time to identify ANYTHING in her profile DLVs IMHO. Spend the time creating an kick ass profile and let it do the work. Anyone you write will at least look at your pics and glance at your profile. Other than their name I NEVER EVER CUSTOMIZE. Waste of time and doesn't change your close rate in my analysis based on real data from my experience. It might improve your response rate slightly, but it WONT change your close rate. So you are actually worse off by getting a higher response rate as it wastes more time. I say something like "You are a pretty girl and there seems to be more than meets the eye. If my profile sparks any interest I would love to hear from you." You put the ball in her court. You aren't kissing her ass. You come across as outcome independent which is HUGE. And even your complement about her profile is she "seems" to be more than meets the eye…let her prove it to you. Your profile should do the work. And since most guys profiles are RETARDED, if you have even done a 1/2 decent job yours will stand out. Dawson

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-12 20:20:00

    @ken Check out www.dawsonstone.com in about a week or email me at dawson@dawsonstone.com. I have a ton of info on there about how I operate. Dawson

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-13 02:06:51

    @Fudgeman I have read that RooshV stuff and it is trash. 29 pages perhaps but they don't get it. You DO NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR PUSSY. My CPO is ~$25 and that includes out of town talent that I fly in. If I excluded out of town talent, my CPO would be in the $10-15 range. If you want to close 3-5 new 18-22 year olds EVERY SINGLE MONTH and have a rotation of 8-10 different women NONE of whom are below a 7, then SugarDaddy sites are the ONLY way to go. NO OTHER METHOD IS ANY WHERE NEAR AS EFFICIENT. And I have tried them ALL. The supply and demand curve is amazing. All you need is a decent game plan and solid profile and you are going to have quality pussy coming out your ears. Dawson

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-14 00:01:02

    Comment Deleted. Please do not pretend to be another commenter on my blog. ~BD

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-14 08:51:06

    Or that you are so inadequate that you don't post as yourself. 🙂

  • Superman 2014-06-14 09:40:52

    Lying about age works wonders. Good tips.

  • Sparks 2014-06-14 11:16:07

    My comments aren't getting through for some reason. Just wanted to say thanks to Dawson for the info on sugar daddy sites. And BD I would be happy to do a testimonial for your online dating profile critique service.

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-14 15:51:51

    @Superman How does lying about your age work wonders? I argue that it DLV. If you ask ANY woman what the hardest thing to find in a man is they will say honesty. Literally between 80-90% will respond that way. By lying you put yourself into the liar bucket. How can that possibly help you? Dawson

  • Superman 2014-06-14 20:06:25

    The only way lying fails is if you're a bad liar, or do it in a LTR. In the context of one-night stands, lying can grease the wheel. I do sugar daddy sites as well, banged 25 girls from them in the last 3-4 months. I'm not 50, I'm only 25. However, I say I'm 31 on my profile to cater to women that want older men. For instance, I had a date with a girl my age, 25, and during the date she kept blabbing about how she can't date guys her age blah blah blah. I was laughing in the inside, because she had no idea we were the same age. An hour later, I was banging her out. Another lie is doing online game in a city while on a business trip, and lying and saying you live in the city. Lying gets a bad wrap, it's an effective tool for greasing the wheels and making things run smoother in particular situations. I don't really think in terms of DLV, that's old school pickup stuff. I left that behind with Mystery Method. Doesn't really matter what women say, you judge them by their actions; 80-90% may respond that way, 80-90% may say they don't have sex on the first date, doesn't really matter!

  • Dawson Stone 2014-06-15 05:53:55

    Again, I have no idea why you insist on posting as me. If you have something to say, say it as yourself. @Superman, let me clarify. If you recall, I am talking about lying on your profile. For instance, many guys lie about their height or age (in the other direction). Your lie about your age makes sense but I am talking about lying in the negative…saying you are taller than you are (she will figure it out) or lying and saying you are younger when it may or may not be obvious when you meet that you are older. Having pics that show you much more slender than you are. In my experience (both directly and indirectly) this can often (but doesn't always) blow you out of the water. And your example of lying about being from a city you don't live in is a PRIME example. THAT lie isn't necessary and unless you know that city very, very well there is some chance that in your face-to-face that you will be found out and will blow it up. Plus, if you are 25, unless you look like a train wreck, I assume you still get carded from time to time. While you can come up with an excuse about why your DL is from a different state than you say you are from, she is less likely to trust you and that is KEY in closing quickly IMHO. I handle it differently. I have met girls in Toronto, LA, San Diego, and Phoenix just in the last 4 months while either on business trips or visiting with friends of mine and I simply say that I frequently get to that city for business and that accomplishes the same thing as your profile lie saying you live in a city you don't live in PLUS you have to change your profile and you can't say you live in two places at the same time. My solution solves that problem and yours doesn't. To be fair, I have no clue what you look like and how charming you can be. If you have closed that many women in a few months (very solid numbers) then likely you have both. That does make the rest a hell of a lot easier. Dawson

  • lazy guy 2014-06-15 09:58:37

    @ Dawson Stone, I appreciate the helpful info you've been posting here and I look forward to reading your website as soon as you have it up & running (when?). I hope BD can block the miserable anonymous loser from posting in your name, but meanwhile, of course it is obvious to the rest of us those posts were not written by you, so "no worries mate".

  • Blackdragon 2014-06-15 11:15:25

    Gentlemen, please remember the second part of rule number four. If we get a psycho, do not publicly acknowledge him in any way, or I will delete your comments along with his. If you need comments deleted, then email me directly, do not mention it here in the comments. Thanks.

  • Jerry 2014-06-22 09:43:59

    Something is wrong here. correct me if im wrong, but it shouldn't be this difficult for us semi normal men to get good, semi regular sex from the internet. there is either something wrong en masse, or we have the wrong approach. its much harder than it should be. surely. we are presented with either a puzzle to solve, or we have to concede defeat and move on.

  • Blackdragon 2014-06-22 10:54:15

    Something is wrong here. correct me if im wrong, but it shouldn’t be this difficult for us semi normal men to get good, semi regular sex from the internet.
    It isn't difficult. I get laid online consistently. But I follow a system that works. Most men do not.

  • Jerry 2014-06-23 03:00:57

    What system is that?

  • Blackdragon 2014-06-23 10:12:01

    This one right here.

  • hunter 2014-08-09 01:53:21

    thanks for giving a real breakdown of online dating stats. unlike some of the losers out there {removed to prevent internet drama} he usually claims around a 35% - 45% first email to date ratio LOL !!! {removed to prevent internet drama} is a str8 up scam and fraud people hate the truth .. if your dating online you have to put in numbers its not unheard of for an aesthetic guy that makes good dough to have to email 100 girls to get 5 - 10 responses to get 2 - 4 numbers to get a few flakes and a date real talk good news is w game and even a 1% response ratio you can still get laid =)

  • Jay 2014-12-14 11:43:17

    BD, I have been reading your blog over the past week and I am very impressed with how you articulate your techniques and experiences. Your templates are very good and easy to emulate. The one issue I have is that you make no mention of location and how important it is. I have a saying and it is "location, location, location". I came up with a technique to calculate the female to male ratio on POF. My city (of a million) has a ratio of 19 men to every female. The best cities I found have a ratio of 4 to 1. The defining factor seemed to be climate and office jobs, worse weather and less office jobs meant more men. Because of these ratios (in my city) money and power is the name of the game, "money guys" buy expensive jewelery, clothing, pay for trips and even in extreme cases buy homes or cars. Alternatively the "power guys" who are celebrities or have back door access to every venue in town take up the slack. The women I used to date are passing me up for the Doctors, Dentists, Hockey Players, DJ's and Wealthy Dudes. I can't compete with these titles, I can financially but I chose not to. My close rate used to very good and the quality was extremely good (only 8-10's). I can no longer touch my past numbers due to this location. The online game is super brutal (here) once I blew 40, law of the jungle takes effect and due to the high competition ratio 25-35 seems to be the ideal age. At some point I will have to move, I honestly don't believe I am lacking in technique, its simply location in my opinion.

  • Blackdragon 2014-12-16 14:41:15

    The one issue I have is that you make no mention of location and how important it is.
    You're correct. In talking to guys all over the US (and the world) I have found that location does indeed make a difference. And yeah, if you seriously live in a city where there are 19 men for every 1 woman on the dating sites, you either need to move or switch to daygame.