M K Singh for BeyondHeadlines
Pune: The city is turning out to be an ideal place for youngsters interested in finding their dating partners online. With an appreciable young crowd mainly comprising students, the city has joined the bandwagon of the leading seven cities in the country when comes to dating. According to data procured by TOI through some of the leading dating sites, Pune is catching up metros in dating.
Interestingly, Pune also outnumbers some metros when it comes to dating users. Most of the dating sites in India have around 3-6% users from Pune itself. Fropper.com, one of the most popular dating site, a part of matrimonial site-shaadi.com
Although, most of the users of dating websites reside in metros and big cities, small cities in Maharashtra too is slowly getting into the business. Places like Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Nashik etc have between 1,000-2,000 users each enrolled for these sites.
These websites believe that the concept and attitude towards dating have changed in the period of last five years and is gaining acceptability with time. “When matrimony sites were launched, they were seen with suspicion. As slowly time passed by, mindset of people evolved and they started to get more comfortable with online match-making. The same goes with online dating. We are in a stage where the concept has just caught up, but the demand is growing. Since, ‘dating’ was never popular in India, people have thought of this word to be related to ‘fulfilling physical desires. But the young and modern Indian understands what clean dating is and it is the need of the hour,” says Sahana, marketing head of QuackQuack.in which started its business in 2011 and now has more than 3,50,000 users.
Jay Chahil, Founder and CEO of Desicrush.com, another dating site says, “The majority of the age group that is looking for a modern dating service are between the ages of 21 and 35. The younger age group is not ready to get married so they find that our dating service is a great way for them to meet like-minded individuals and explore what they are looking for when they are ready for marriage one day. We are noticing that most people are hard working professionals, like computer engineers, doctors, lawyers, and lately we are noticing a lot of college students.”
Pune-based 23-year-old Swati is a voracious user of one of the dating sites. She says, “Online dating is a real fun. Here you get a lot of opportunity to meet new people, to make friends. It is not necessary to go on date with whom you talk. I enjoy chatting with many new friends here which has proved to be a good tool to kill my boredrum when I am back from office and have nothing to do.”
However, cyber experts opine that all is not well with these dating sites. He advises users to be extra conscious while using the same. Mumbai-based cyber law expert Advocate Prasanth Mali, says, “When it comes to India, I find a mix bag of users, some are genuine surfers while some look for preys to have sex. I have witnessed several victims coming out of the dating sites. Dating or match making on these sites happen based on algorithms and a serial fraudster knows how to circumvent these algorithms to exploit the prey he wants.”
Which sites to trust:
As most of the dating sites provide users the services with some monthly or annual subscription fees, there are chances of fraud sites exploiting these opportunity to make some money by some fraudulent ways. Robin Verma, another cyber expert says, “Users need to understand the popularity and credit of these websites. One simple way is to check their overall traffic rankings online. Websites like Alexa.com can disclose the global and Indian rankings of these websites, the lower the ranking, the more popular and authentic they are. High rankings denote less visits, popularity.”
[box type=”warning” ] DOs and DONTs
– Never reveal you original name, address, phone number, bank account etc
– Never meet a stranger in private place.
– Whenever meeting a person from dating sites, inform your friends and families
– Block people you are suspicious about
– Report abuse to the website about abusive and sex maniac users.
– When fall prey to online dating sites financially approach police immediately.[/box]