Dating Online...Is it a Waste of Time?

04/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

We will call her Amy. She has been on one of the popular online dating sites for about six months and has had plenty of dates. Let's run down the ones that she told us about.

1. he just wanted sex.
2. he told her when he got to the restaurant that he always splits the bill on the first date. (she went in anyway and went dutch)
3. he told her he was married on the second date.
4. another guy who just wanted to sleep with her.
5. he stood her up. (later called to say it was raining and he didn't feel up to going out)

Amy is not alone. In fact, Amy is one of the lucky ones in the world of cyber dating, we have heard stories that are much, much worse! We have literally worked with thousands of men and women who have had similar experiences when it comes to dating online, but there are success stories, a lot of them. After hearing about the good, the bad and the really bad, we think this is a way to turn online dating into a profitable alternative especially coming off the heels of the Washington Post article:Market for Romance Goes From Bullish to Sheepish
Here it goes, feel free to pass along your Rules of the Keyboard as well.

1. Avoid the time suckers. This means if you are chatting with someone, don't wait until you are all out of keystrokes to meet in person. Get offline and in real time as quickly as possible. This is not to say you need to run out and meet the guy that night, but make sure it's no more than 10 days. Get off the computer and get dressed.
2. Do not under any circumstances meet up the first night. Like "Amy" found out, a lot of men are online for sex. So, they will not be there to cyber chat the next day if you are a sure cyber romp.
3. Ask for a photo with a date on it. Superficial, we hope so. This avoids the nightmare of showing up to find someone who looks like your father's golf buddy ready to take you out.
4. Do your diligence. Call him at work and at home once you have a date secured. Make sure things add up, so that you don't figure that out during appetizers.
5. Move on. If there is no chemistry, move on. In "Amy's" case if a guy tells you that he is going to go dutch at the door (and if this doesn't work for you) don't try to save his feelings. Be honest and move on. There is nothing worse than a two hour torture meal.
6. Finally, give everyone a little break. The economy is not so good, but people are still looking for love and your date night doesn't need to break the bank.

Spring is just around the corner, so dating online isn't a waste of time, but it's sure better if you go into it with a plan.