As anyone who regularly reads this blog knows, I despise the new Facebook. One of the many downsides of the new version (which are too many to list here) is that it features more ads than the old one. Worse yet, it features a ton of ads for dating sites. They were somewhat prevalent on the old version, but now they just seem so much more plentiful.
Now I realise that most social networking sites (Care2.Com and YouPet seem to be the exceptions) feature tons of ads for online dating sites. I can't log into MySpace without seeing a gazillion of them. Unfortunately, one can do nothing about them on MySpace. Facebook is a different matter. On Facebook one can rate various ads as far as their appeal to him or her. That is, each ad has a "thumbs up" and a "thumbs down" symbol beneath it. If one clicks the "thumbs up" a little pop up, well, pops up listing the reasons one liked the ad: "Interesting;" "Relevant to Me;" "Good Offer;" and "Other (in which case one can write why one liked the ad)." If one clicks the "thumbs down" a little pop up pops up listing the reasons one disliked the ad: "Misleading;" "Offensive," "Irrelevant," and "Other (in which case one can write why one disliked the ad)." To this end, I have declared war on the ads for online dating sites.
The fact is that I am not in the market for a lady friend right now. And even if I was, I would not go to an online dating service for one. I do shop for a lot of stuff online (books, CDS, DVDs, clothing), but women are not one of them! Aside from this, so many of the dating services advertised on Facebook I would never use even if I was so inclined to subscribe to an online dating site. To wit, even though I am only 45, Facebook seemed convinced I was interested in dating senior citizens. There were all these ads for "mature dating (I have always taken "mature" as a code word for "old")," Boomers (I am not a Baby Boomer--I am a Gen Xer), and, worst of all, "single women 40 to 60 (did it occur to them someone who is 60 is almost old enough to be my mother....)." I marked all of them "Irrelevant" until I finally gave up and shaved ten years off my age (now with regards to age, I just gets ads for "women over 30"). I hate lying about my age. I have no problem with being 45. But I am not a senior citizen yet (for that matter, I will get old, but I'll never be a senior citizen, but that's a topic for another time).
Beyond ads for dating sites for old folks, there are ads for other dating sites that would not interest me even if I was interested in dating sites. An example are the couple of ads for "single men" or "gay men" that have appeared. Now I have gay friends. Some of my favourite writers, musicians, and actors are gay. But I am not wired that way. I happen to be very attracted to women and never, ever entertained the idea of sex with another man. It makes me wonder if gay men get the occasional ad for "single women" when they're using Facebook....
While I am on the subject of online dating services I would not use even if I was so inclined to, there are also ads for "Catholic dating" and "Christian singles." Now I will admit that I have had a weakness for Catholic girls in the past, but the fact is that I am not even Christian! I guess Facebook got tired of throwing ads for Christian dating sites at me, so I saw an ad for "Jewish Singles" this morning. Note, I am not Jewish either (I have friends who are though...maybe Facebook thinks they need to be fixed up with someone...).
Some of the ads can even be insulting. "Thirty five and still single?" Give me a break. I thought we were over the whole, "you must be married to be happy" thing. "Tired of being lonely?" Who says that if one is single he or she is going to be lonely? I know plenty of people who are not in relationships who are very happy. They may not have a man or woman in their lives, but they have plenty of friends. In fact, they're sometimes happier than people in relationships....
Of course, the ads for online dating sites are not the only ones that do not interest me. There is an ad that constantly appears for renting apartments in Medellin. Now I have no objections to living outside the United States. I have no objections to living in South America. Someone very dear to me does. But if I was going to live in South America, it would be in Rio de Janeiro or Santiago, Chile. Medellin (wasn't that a Vincent Chase movie?) isn't even on my short list of places I'd want to live in South America. I mean, it's in Colombia, not the safest place around (I could see getting gunned down by one of Pablo Escobar's heirs apparent). Another wholly irrelevant ad is for "Oprah's Acai Berry Diet." I hardly need to lose weight. Now I am only five foot five inches and weigh 9 stone, 4 pounds (that's about 130 pounds or so). If anything, I need to gain weight. Even if I weighed fifty pounds more than I do and wanted to lose weight, I do not think I would use any diet favoured by Oprah (I am not her biggest fan). Two other wholly irrelevant ads I saw on Facebook were ones for Grey's Anatomy (not a show I have lost any love for) and Lifetime Movie Network (my definition of torture...lock me in a room and force me to watch an hour of Lifetime movies....).
Fortunately, it seems my war on the online dating site ads has been slowly having an impact. I have been seeing fewer of them, and there are more ads for things that actually interest me. Yesterday I saw one for downloading an audio version of Ray Bradbury's classic Something Wicked This Way Comes in MP3 format. Another I've seen quite frequently of late is for Star Trek t-shirts. Today I saw an ad for A Tailored Suit, an online store that lets one custom his own custom suit--including the shirt and tie (I generally dress in button up shirts and jeans, but I have always loved suits, especially the ones from Swinging London). Another ad that I have seen the past few months is for a "Netflix free trial (I already subscribe to Netflix, but Facebook doesn't know that)."
If it was up to me, there would be no such thing as advertising on the internet. Sadly, the reality is that nearly every site needs advertising to stay open. Given that, all I ask is that ads be relevant to me and that they actually advertise a product I might conceivably buy or a service I might conceivably use. I am not interested in online dating one bit. I am not interested in getting a Ukrainian or Chinese bride (with my luck, she'd get her American citizenship and divorce me anyway....). I am not interested in 60 year old cougars or 19 year old college girls. Quite simply, I shop for a lot of things online, but women are not one of them.