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The Tube tunnel of love
Metro 12 Sept 2011
With three million people using the London Underground every day, could the love of your life be a tube ride away? The answer is yes, according to dating site Lovestruck.com, which says nine per cent of its male members have admitted to searching the site for someone they've seen on the Tube - seven per cent of whom were successful in finding that lucky lady.
On further investigation by mxData and One Poll, nearly half (47 per cent) of London's commuters see someone they fancy on the tube at least once a week. If you're a lady looking for love, then head to the Northern line as this was reported by fifteen per cent of women as having the most attractive men. On the other hand, men say that the best place to look for that special someone is the Central line. Topping the list of flirting signals was a playful smile, with thirty per cent of commuters saying they smile flirtatiously when they see someone they fancy. And don't worry about missed opportunities when you arrive at your stop: twenty per cent of men say they'll carry on travelling if they're attracted to someone on their journey.
CTRL + Alt, You meet
Men's Health Sept 2011
With hundreds of dating sites, you need to press the right buttons to land Mrs Right.
Online dating: Computer says yes. But will we click?
The Observer Wednesday, 10 July 2011 | By Emma John
The lonely hearts ad has had its day: now an algorithm will decide who we spend our lives with. But can a computer really be trusted with affairs of the heart? Emma John looks for her perfect man...
I recently went to the wedding of a friend who had met her spouse online. I expected the fact to be referred to, obliquely, in the best man's speech, where it would cause a twinge of embarrassment in the marquee, and never be mentioned again. But the place was buzzing with it, and not in a whisper-behind-the-hand way, but in a spirit of inquiry. Which site had they used? And how much did it cost?
Internet dating has come out of the closet. A few years ago, if I told a friend I was meeting a man I'd met online, they adopted a frozen smile and told me to be careful, then rapidly changed the subject. Today, I'm likely to be blitzed with a battery of success stories. According to a survey by parship, two-thirds of UK singles have now tried online dating, and it's a virtuous circle for the dating sites - the more success stories there are, the more "normal" it becomes, the more people sign up.
Among the major players jostling to claim the UK market are a number from the US, which remains at the forefront of internet dating. Match.com, which began in Dallas, Texas, is the UK's biggest dating site, with seven million users; Zoosk, which launched here in January, is pouring £2m into its UK marketing campaign.
For those looking for love, the shelves are packed with products. Hundreds of brands cater to all different kinds of loveseekers, in ever more niche markets, whether it's London professionals - Lovestruck.com, gardeners - lovegarden.co.uk or redheads - dateginger.co.uk. As a 32-year-old who's dipped her toe in these shark-infested waters and emerged with all her limbs still intact, I like to think I know a few things. One is that it really does matter which site you choose.
Just how long did these couples wait before sleeping together
The Daily Mail Online Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Glenda Sessi, 41, an actress from South London, has never been married and has no children. She has been dating Aubrey Kurlansky, 51, a graphic designer, also from London and a divorced father-of-three, for five months. Glenda says:
I'm a passionate person and I believe in instant attraction — and that's what I felt with Aubrey. He is such an energetic, enthusiastic person and I found myself totally relaxed in his company. I met him via dating site lovestruck.com, which is aimed at middle-class professionals, and I thought he looked so warm, friendly and normal in his profile picture.
We started exchanging emails and it became apparent we had so much in common — including, oddly, a mutual friend who happened to be having a party a few days later. Aubrey and I chatted like old friends at the party and when I mentioned I hadn't eaten he offered to buy me dinner at a nearby restaurant. We talked and talked until everyone else had gone, the chairs were on the table and the waiting staff were loitering and making polite coughing noises. Aubrey asked if I wanted to continue chatting back at his house and I agreed. He had his bike outside and he peddled and I perched on the handlebars. He gave me his coat to wear, as it had turned chilly. It was terribly romantic. After a couple of hours at his place I said that I had better call a taxi. Aubrey said 'Don't go home. Stay here tonight' and I instantly agreed.
I've never slept with somebody on a first date before, but I was caught up in the moment and felt safe. It certainly didn't make him think badly of me. In fact, the next day he asked me if I would go to Poland with him to attend a friend's wedding and I agreed.
It's just the way it goes — some relationships move slowly and others don't. I also think that as you get older, you are a better judge of character and feel more relaxed in your sexuality. You have nothing to prove and can be yourself, something that I don't think is true when you're in your 20s.
I very much want this relationship to last, and I don't regret for a moment that we became physical so quickly. Hand on my heart, I can imagine spending the rest of my life with this man.
Romance: How I found love with Mr Wrong
The Daily Express Thursday, 17 Feb 2011 | By Tess Whittington
Sick of searching for her ideal man, Emily Inglis turned her dating criteria upside down - with surprising results...
I SWANNED into The Ivy restaurant in London's West End wearing my latest Karen Millen dress and feeling fantastic. My hair was perfectly curled, my make-up immaculate. I was about to meet a typical potential boyfriend, a 27-year-old City trader called Hugo. On the surface he was every girl's dream. Wealthy, dark-haired, tall and extremely good looking. I'd been dreaming all day about what a fantastic date this would be.
Imagine my horror when I walked into the restaurant and found, instead of Hugo waiting for me with a bottle of champagne, an entire table full of drunken, leering City types. This was our first date and he'd brought along most of his colleagues. In fact it wasn't a date at all. It was a business meeting. I'd been asked along as a trophy girlfriend. The tall blonde who would look good on his arm and advance his career. I sat there with a fixed grin on my face all night as they told bad jokes. Not one person asked anything about me and Hugo paid me virtually no attention. I still can't believe I stayed there all night. Needless to say I didn't return any of Hugo's calls the next day yet on paper he had been exactly my Mr Right.
After leaving university I began my career as a freelance fashion stylist. I had a fixed idea of my perfect man. They had to be suited and booted, ambitious and well-off. I was very work-orientated and I wanted my boyfriends to be workaholics too. My social life revolved around expensive bars and restaurants. I thought I was having the time of my life but gradually it occurred to me that none of my relationships with these handsome young high fliers was lasting more than two or three months. It was one dating disaster after another. Then a close friend sat me down and said: "Emily, there are plenty of fish in the sea. The trouble with you is you seem to date the same fish over and over again."
None of these men had the remotest interest in me as a person, they just liked the way I looked. Take Rupert. Late 20s, glossy black hair, tall and a City broker. Ideal marriage material you might think until you were trapped in a bar with him for three hours.
We met through friends, he texted me and asked me out. I was looking my very best and had high hopes. I'm from east London and very down to earth. However on the date Rupert droned on and on about polo, shooting and weekend country parties. All he did was show off about how posh his friends were and how he never ate at home because his social life was "just so immense" and how he worked 18-hour days.
Last February a relationship with Tom, a 25-year-old workaholic City boy, crashed and burned. He worked incredibly long hours and so many of our dates were with clients or his colleagues. All they ever seemed to talk about was work. It was at this stage my friend said I was barking up the wrong tree. I wondered how I was going to break this destructive cycle and decided I would try online dating with lovestruck.com/london. Instead of targeting my usual Mr Right I started looking for Mr Wrong. Long-haired. Creative. Loves surfing. I typed all these suggestions in and back came a stream of men I would never usually have looked at twice.
HOWEVER I sat back and waited for my prospective Mr Wrongs to send me a message. The first person to get in touch was Nick, a long-haired freelance musician, which basically meant unemployed. Normally I wouldn't have touched him with a bargepole. We agreed to meet in a pub, not a five-star restaurant. It was noisy, hot and crowded but it was fun. We talked and laughed all night and I felt incredibly relaxed. We chatted about films, music, books and anything but work. The downside was I didn't fancy him but it made me realise just how boring my dates with City boys had been and we parted as friends.
The next guy was Justin. He shambled into a bar in London's Clerkenwell in a pair of baggy jeans with long shabby hair and a crumpled T-shirt. If only my friends could see me now, I thought. Justin was an artist. Halfway through the evening a bunch of his friends turned up and they were all crazy. Instead of a smart dress I wore jeans and a casual top and we had such a laugh. I saw him a couple of times but we didn't click.
Then eight months ago I met Oli Newlyn. He contacted me and when I saw his photo I thought he was attractive. Going by my old criteria he was definitely Mr Wrong since he was long haired and artistic. He lives in Brighton and loves the sea. We met at a pub in Islington which was full of football fans and immediately he said: "Can we move? These men are worrying me." He was sweet, shy and so different from my turbocharged City boys.
Oli, who is 28, is gentle, creative and romantic. We talked all night and then we just walked about town holding hands and laughing at silly things. He's brought out my sense of creativity, my pleasure in art, film and music. We sit at home and watch movies or we cycle along the seafront in Brighton or go on fairground rides on the pier. If I start to obsess about work, he wags a finger at me and says: "There's more to life, remember." He has totally changed me. I've moved out of London and now live in Lewes, Sussex. I am happier and more laid back. He loves his job as a graphic designer but he doesn't live to work. He's made me realise life is not all about money, it's about having fun. It's as if I have discovered my inner child and I really hope this will last as I am happier than I have ever been.
Mobile World Congress: romance switches to dating apps
The Daily Telegraph Monday, 14 Feb 2011 | By Rupert Neate
Love is in the air, or to put it more accurately, in the palm of your hand. Hundreds of thousands of Britons who find themselves alone this Valentine's Day will be turning to their mobiles, as smartphones leapfrog singles' bars and speed dating as one of the best places to find love, or at least indulge in a bit of flirting.
"There's nowhere better to look for dates than your phone," says Paolo Pescatore, a media and devices analyst at CCS Insight. "As phones become increasingly powerful they mirror the services available on your PC. But they have two key advantages: you can do it anywhere and GPS lets your phone know where you are and where potential dates are." He says traditional online dating sites will have to produce mobile apps soon or "risk being left behind".
A search for 'dating' in Apple's App Store will offer you dozens of different apps from Dating DNA and eHarmony to Internet Inferno's Sexy Chat Messenger. Several of the most popular apps were created by software developers in the UK. Mark Curtis, a former advertising executive, created Flirtomatic, an iPhone, Google Android and BlackBerry app, after "a light bulb went off in my head ... about five years ago ... and it occurred to me that the internet is about people talking to each other".
Flirtomatic is different from other dating apps, because it collects money from selling virtual currency - FlirtPoints (to give potential dates virtual gifts) - as well as advertising. Users can use or use them to pay for extra promotion on the site.
Brett Harding, managing director of Lovestruck, another British-born app, says that "without a doubt mobiles are changing the way people date". "Imagine you're in a bar and your phone tells you a girl who meets your requirements has just walked in." He claims Lovestruck has more than 80,000 users in London, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Flirtomatic, Lovestruck and dozens of other similar apps, are expected to the talk of the town at the Mobile World Congress annual telecoms industry jamboree in Barcelona this week.
Google builds mobile team to showcase ad opportunities, citing Lovestruck.com geo-targeting test success as catalyst
New Media Age Friday, 14 Jan 2011 | By Ronan Shields
Google is bolstering its European mobile sales team in a bid to promote its mobile ad channels, such as geo-targeting, to brands and agencies. It's still in the process of recruiting for its London-based mobile team but confirmed it will have increased six-fold in the year to March 2011.
Additionally, the search giant told new media age that the team selling into the UK will have grown five-fold over the same period. Google wants to increase advertiser interest in geo-targeted display ads and in-app mobile ads, said Ian Carrington, mobile ad sales director. "We'll continue to grow the teams in line with the demands of the market and the growth in mobile searches and display impressions throughout 2011," he said.
A "disproportionate amount of effort" in Google's mobile push will be directed at raising awareness of the high returns of geo-targeted display ads, according to Carrington. "We're at the tip of the iceberg with geo-targeting and some campaigns we've launched already show just how effective that can be," he said.
Carrington cited a previous location-based mobile campaign Google conducted with online dating site LoveStruck as a reason for its confidence in the channel. "We used real-time data from AdMob network to improve how the brand targeted Londoners," he explained. The conversion rate was higher than the expectations of Google or LoveStruck.
Brett Harding, MD of LoveStruck, said, "A year ago mobile wasn't even on our radar. It's our most important route to market now as the ROI is compelling."
James Connelly, MD of LoveStruck's mobile agency Fetch Media, said, "The cost per download was 75% lower than we'd budgeted for, so now everything we do on mobile will be geo-targeted."
He added LoveStruck is launching similar campaigns in cities across the globe as a result of the London campaign's success.
So when was your first time?
The Daily Mail Saturday, 13 Nov 2010 | By Frances Hardy
Cases of under-age sex have risen alarmingly in recent decades — and our survey bears this out. Almost half in the 20-29 year age bracket admitted they had lost their virginity before the legal age of 16.
By contrast, among the 30-39 age group, fewer than one in five women (19 per cent) had lost their virginity before the legal age of consent.
Among women of all ages, 57 per cent lost their virginity between the ages of 16 and 19. But in the oldest age range — the 60-pluses — almost half had their first sexual experience when they were 20 or older.
Only one per cent of women in their 20s remain virgins, which makes Jasmine Reader, 25, from South London, a philosophy student and part-time model, one of a tiny minority.
Jasmine, whose views, unusually, are not motivated by religious beliefs, says: 'Sex is supposed to be an intimate and loving act but people ruin the romance by sleeping around.
'A lot of men have been convinced they'd "convert" me to the joys of sex; others have called me frigid. But I simply believe sex belongs exclusively within a marriage.
'I don't care if it's an old-fashioned view. I inherited traditional moral beliefs from my parents and they have a long and happy marriage.
'I know that men find me attractive and I have no shortage of dates — I tend to use a website called lovestruck.com, which attracts professional young middle-class people — but I try to see them at lunchtime, so I'm less likely to be expected to go home with them.
'This way, I can get to know them without the pressure of having sex, which I intend to save for the man I marry.'
London Dating: Love The Lovestruck Lovebot
The Londonist Tues, 12 Oct 2010 | By Lindsey
Continuing our investigation of virtual routes to dating in London, we got a Londonist single to take a spin on Lovestruck.com a dating site that punts itself at the work hard, play hard London professional singles market with a workplace location approach to matching people up.
Lovestruck marries the traditional online dating mix of narrative profiles and multiple tick boxes with winks and a reassuringly bright and breezy feel. What makes it special is its copywriter, AKA the 'Lovebot'. This wickedly smart and funny virtual voice is a welcome guide to the minefield of online dating. It helps you construct an alluring profile, gets you messaging with confidence and gives top tips on date ettiquette. The Lovebot says hi with a cheery or cheeky compliment each time you log on and truly knows its dating onions. It implores you to write and spell properly, be upbeat and honest without spilling your guts and abhors text speak (hint: you should too). It also has some truly encouraging things to say to help you feel more 'dateable'. Everyone should have a Lovebot.
The site's functional USP is the 'free for lunch' and 'free tonight' facility. Rather than poring over profiles for yonks and pinging messages back and forth, Lovestruck encourages you to stick your hand in the air and say I'm free today, date me. Tick a 'free tonight' box and you just upped your chance of a date about tenfold. Trust us, this call to action works and opens you up to interesting prospects further afield. The Lovestruck app makes rapid dating easier and adds a frisson to the working day when a push notification on vibrate lets you know you've a hot date for lunch.
Of course the sandwiches might flop but at least you're out there 'testing the chemistry' and not wasting an entire evening of your hectic social calender on a dud date. If it's a definite no-go then you've an excellent excuse to escape: must get back to work. If your lunch ends up tasty, what efficient luck!
You can join Lovestruck free of charge but if you're serious about dating and you want to do anything messagey you need to pay for Connect membership at £29 a month (discounts for longer). So, for those who prefer to see their potential partners in the flesh first and speak, rather than message, you'll like the 'Laissez Faire' social events no pressure single mingles.
Apple soft-launches iAd network ahead of UK rollout next month
New media age Wed, 18 Aug 2010 | By Ronan Shields
Apple has soft-launched its iAd mobile ad network in the UK ahead of a full rollout next month, with dating website Lovestruck among the first advertisers.
Apple's trial includes a service that lets brands advertise their apps via banner ads which appear within third-party apps. Users can purchase the advertised app by clicking on an icon that appears within the ad.
Can your iPhone find you love?
Grazia by Helen Bownass , July, 2010
Hurrah! Grindr, the iPhone app that's revolutionised the gay dating scene, is about to launch a heterosexual version. And it's not the only one. Here, Helen Bownass goes iDating to find out if you really can meet a man via your iPhone...
Dating...It's all well and good but when, like me, you've tried blind dates (and made new friends and nothing more) and done internet dating (boring and time consuming), and you start to wonder if you'll ever meet someone nice. Dating becomes a pattern (back and forwards, meet, oh, you're actually 5ft 5in and touch your groin every five seconds). Surely, it's time for something new, more 2010?
After a chat with my gay friend Pip about Grindr-an iPhone app that uses GPS to tell you where there are gay men nearby (soon to launch a hetero version) - I decide to check out the straight apps already out there. Having been single for eight months, it's a world I need to be part of. Especially after a weekend where the highlight was watching four episodes of Come Dine With Me that I've seen before. Enough's enough.
So on Sunday night I download some dating apps on iTunes. Lovestruck lets you post a photo online, acceptable age range and, crucially, your location, then get connected to local single men. And then I pay £1.19 for Excuse Me, which times your phone to ring during a date so you can escape if it's boring, and £1.19 for Text-ometer, which promises to analyse what texts really mean. Finally, iFlirt (59p), gives me lots of flirting tips. Job done? I'm giving myself a week to find out...
Monday Greg messages me via Lovestruck and I agree to join him for a drink. It's painful. He's an IT bore- not the festival free spirit he led me to believe. He's wearing a nylon suit and gym trainers and is so shy he can barely speak. I ask him every question I can think of then escape to the loo for a quick freak-out. I decide to go for broke and set Excuse Me to go off in five minutes. And, hey presto, 300 long seconds later my phone rings. I make my excuses (a burst pipe leaking into my neighbour's flat) and leg it. I don't know if Greg knows I'm faking. I do know that i'm not proud of myself, but so grateful to technology it hurts.
Tuesday I'm eating weetabix when my phone tells me I've sparked with someone, which means I like the look the look of his picture and he likes the look of mine.
Wednesday When I check my mobile I see I sparked with Phil last night, operating under the name MrSweetGuy, but I was too busy flirting with Jamie to notice. As soon as I think of Jamie, his text pops up: 'I had fun last night, when are you taking me for sushi?' I decide to double check his text with Text-o-meter, which claims to analyse texts for their deeper meaning. It tells me he's not interested, but also that he's thinking about me. I test it with a different text: 'Best night ever, when can I see you again?' and again Text-o-meter tells me tells me Jamie's not interested. I disagree. This app obviously analyses punctuation and length and not the actual content. Dis. App. Ointing. Later, I get an email from a man on Lovestruck: 'Hello, I'd like to buy you a drink. Boom bar 6.30pm?' Boom, it seems, is the Lovestruck man's venue of choice. It's the third invite I've had to one of the less salubrious bars near where I live. I assume these men blanket email everyone and hope someone bites. Am I being too picky? Trying out a new dating approach does not mean abandoning all standards.
Thursday Mr Sweetguy cancels our date an hour before we're due to meet. I can't say I'm sad, he had a LOL text habit and called me 'hun'. Seeing as I'm wearing my new denim dress, I check if any men I've seen on Lovestruck are in the 'free tonight' section, ideally the one who's 6ft 3in and says, 'If I like you, you'll know it.'
Friday I've been chatting to a guy called Pete for a few days via Lovestruck so arrange to meet for a drink. He suggests a 'secluded' theatre bar. Eek. I tell him I don't think my mum would approve. He says if I don't like the look of him I'm free to do a runner. I don't do that but do tell him straight out that I have to leave in an hour. I'd never have done this before, but app-dating is so fast-paced you can cut to the chase. And though I don't fancy Pete (too metrosexual), he's very interesting. In the toilet I check iFlirt's advice: 'Sing him a few lines from a musical like Phantom Of The Opera.' Seriously? I'm off to meet my friends.
Sunday Decide I should try a spontaneous date this afternoon. I psych myself up for a look at the 'free for lunch today' section. No. I just can't do it. Instead, I go for a quick coffee 20 minutes away with a 30-something I've been chatting to online about F Scott Fitzgerald and filled Yorkshire puddings. Though I spend most of the time thinking about a third date with Jamie next week.....
iCONCLUSION The candidness of Lovestruck gave my dating mojo a much needed kick-start. Once you get used to the idea you don't owe a date anything, it's quite refreshing. However, the idea of meeting a stranger for lunch seems more peculiar than going for a drink. Yet despite my big talk, I think I'm too old -fashioned to fully embrace this. Yes, the iPhone dating is quick and easy, but it takes away the romance. Having said that, the apps have introduced me to someone I'd never have met otherwise. Someone who makes me feel a bit teenage every time he texts. I'll keep you posted.
Tunnel of love: Lonely hearts go underground
Metro by James Day, June 2010
Dating life hit the buffers? Phone apps to get lovestruck travellers actually talking to their crushes could get it back on track.
On my commute home a few weeks ago, I locked eyes with the cutest girl ever. I mean, she was perfect. After an eternity of nervous indecision, I'd reached my stop and missed my opportunity.
Fortunately, after clocking her work uniform and using some detective skills/innocent stalking abilities, I tracked her down and we met over some Greek yoghurt (it's a long story).
Sadly the fairy-tale ending I'd been hoping for didn't make it past first tub but surely the point is this: if you don't ask the question, you'll never know the answer.
Of course, that answer would have come far sooner had I mustered up the courage to ask her outright but who could do that in a packed carriage full of silent, snooping strangers? Panic not. As with most things these days, there's an app for that.
In a recent survey, London Underground users said they spotted an average of four fanciable people every day. It's a view shared by Hollywood heartthrob Orlando Bloom. 'I used to fall in love on the Tube all the time,' says the actor.
'You sit there opposite someone, your eyes meet, nothing is said, and then you both get up and go off into your own worlds. It's like this weird underground network and I've always found it fascinating.'
The Lovestruck app uses your real-time GPS location to put you in touch with nearby singletons.
It's available to users in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin.
While the app and its basic options are free, a subscription fee applies if you want a fuller range of benefits and prices start from £14.83 a month. I guess that's the price of love.
TrendHunter.com by Tiana Reid, June 2010
Lovestruck iPhone App Uses Work as a Connection:
The Lovestruck iPhone app is marketed distinctly toward single professionals. By finding people who work close to you, the Lovestruck iPhone app helps you connect and have dates during your lunch break, or post-work.
This dating platform is for the busiest of the bunch. This dating site is strictly used in city centers like Sydney, Birmingham, London, New York, Singapore, Tokyo, Glasgow and Chicago.
New ways to date
Look Magazine by Jenny Wood, May 2010
Lovestruck.com is aimed at busy professionals in the UK's major cities looking for other singles who work nearby. As well as online dating, a free-to-download iPhone app also alerts you when a fellow 'Lovestrucker' is in the area.
Lovestruck is Like Foursquare for Dating Your Way Around the World
Jaunted.com 18 May 2010
Are you our friend on Foursquare yet? Because you totally should be. But if you're one of the naysayers who doesn't quite understand Foursquare or other location-based social networking, then perhaps all you need is to try using it to jumpstart your love life. And there's a new app that wants to do just that: Lovestruck.
Lovestruck is basically a dating website, but perfect for single-and-looking travelers in that you can list yourself (and see others around you who are up for it) as available for lunch and/or available for drinks later. It's basically like the dating site version of Foursquare, except that it sadly lacks badges, unless you count hook-ups as badges.
All you have to do is create your profile, allow your smartphone to locate you, and then go ahead and browse hotties in your vicinity—so long as that vicinity is London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney or New York. Those are currently the only cities with Lovestruck support.
If you're the type who's invigorated by the thought of having lunch with someone new in every city—romantic interest or not—then Lovestruck could be the perfect tool.
Location-Based Love: A Dating App For Busy Professionals
PSFK Trends, NY by Naresh Kumar, 12 May 2010
Lovestruck, a dating site aimed at single professionals across the world, has developed an iPhone app for its services. The site is based on a member's work location and matches potential dates in the same/nearby location, facilitating a quick coffee meet up or after-work date. The app also has an 'Availability Control' feature which enables users to put statuses like 'Free For Lunch' and 'Free Tonight' to let other users know that they are up for a date for the lunchtime or after work.
The Lovestruck app is currently available for over a dozen major cities in the world.
Love online: 10 of the best dating websites
The Daily Telegraph by Angus Watson, 19 March 2010
If only Bridget Jones had lived 10 years later. Instead of choosing between an uptight man in a horrible jumper and a sex-pest, she could have found suitable, balanced boys online, met her pick of them at the local Café Rouge, and lived happily ever after with the most appealing. Since her adventures in 1996, online dating has become the best way to find love, certainly for anyone over the age of 25 with typical British social skills - that is, they'd rather poke themselves in the eye with a dirty stick than approach an attractive stranger on the train.
Your first step to true internet love is choosing the right website. They're all different. Some are for farmers, some for golfers, some for beautiful people, some for people who wouldn't look out of place crewing a pirate ship.
To navigate you through the minefield, here are 10 of Britain's best:
Lovestruck.com matches urban desk pilots with people in other local offices. The site's new feature is an iPhone application that buzzes when one of Lovestruck's 40,000 members who fits your criteria is nearby.
Top 10 Dating Apps on iPhone
Shiny Shiny by Anna Leach, 12 March 2010
Ah dating, love it or hate it, it's got to be done unless you are lucky enough to be a)in a relationship b)have a great cat and don't give a damn.
Anyway, it makes it all a bit easier when it's on your iPhone: saving you time, money and sparing you those awkward moments when you don't know what to say (just pretend you're off-line).
We have trawled the app store for the best iPhone dating apps and come up with ten.
#1 - Lovestruck
We like this app because it dings you when someone you might fancy comes within a set 100m radius of you. Harnessing location and adding it into dating, it makes dates more convenient and easier to organise. Focussing on city-living professionals, the app is free but you have to subscribe to the service on their website on iTunes.
Icebreaker app looking for love
Yahoo! News, MSN News, VirginMedia (via The Press Assocation) 7 March 2010
Dating site Lovestruck has launched an iPhone app which alerts users to potential dates nearby and lets them send an icebreaking electronic wink.
Lovestruck currently has 30,500 members in the London area alone and plans to roll-out its service across other UK cities this month. By geotagging your location from the smartphone, the app brings its entire database to the palm of your hand - wherever you are.
The app also allows members to arrange their coffee, lunch and after-work dates on the go, showing users which nearby singletons are 'free for lunch' or even 'free tonight'.
Brett Harding of Lovestruck: "Picture this, you're in a bar with your friends. Your iPhone vibrates in your pocket to let you know that a fellow Lovestrucker is either in the bar or fast approaching! Choosing to instantly wink or message them provides the perfect dating solution for busy single professionals."
The app can be switched off, so you won't receive pick-up winks from every Romeo in your vicinity at inopportune moments... like when you're out on another date!
Location-based dating: Lovestruck.com gets an iPhone app
Shiny Shiny by Anna Leach, 15 February 2010
When you glance at someone's profile on a dating site you'd expect to read about their favourite films.. but not to find out that they are 24 metres away from you. Well, wake up and smell the after-work cocktails, because as of next week you'll be able to.
I had a sneak preview today of an iPhone app that does just that. It's linked into location-based dating site LoveStruck and founder Brett Harding came in and showed it to us. The dating site specialises in hooking up single professionals who work near to each other - with the intention of making dates more convenient. It also provides a "filter" or barrier to entry in that members have to have a job. The site will also filters results for you according to what you're looking for: men 25+ for example.
I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that mobile phones are a natural place for online dating - don't need to have it open on your work computer, it's that bit smaller and more private. And building location in is an interesting idea. Location is The Next Big Thing for mobile apps and while "nearby" apps telling you where the post office is are very useful - we're still waiting for apps to come up with innovative ideas for it. And this Lovestruck app sure is innovative.
If you let it track your location, and set it to alert you, it will send you a push notification when someone you might like is within a 50m, 100m or 500m radius of where you are.
Say you're in the pub after work you can be notified that some guy you were chatting to is within 50metres of you. You can then message him through the app, or just wink. Crazy huh? Apparently they're working on a Augmented Reality version of this too...
If this all sounds a bit more Terminator 3 than romantic, you can switch that off and just use the app to browse the site as you would from a computer.
In what is quite a complicated app, there are several layers of privacy: you can give your exact location, be only identified by your tube stop, or hide your location to all but people you have favourited. The defaults are all set to the most private settings so you won't accidentally find yourself winking at your boss.
You can also set a status update letting people know that you're available for lunch or after work drinks.
Subscription to the full Lovestruck dating service is £24.95 a month, the same as Match, Meetic, Guardian Soul Mates and the Telegraph's Kindred Spirits. You can register for free and the site lets you look, wink and reply to messages on the free model. The app is free to anyone.
Pending approval on the Apple store, the Lovestruck app will be out in a week, if you're interested register to the dating site here: www.lovestruck.com and they'll notify when the app is out. Apps for Android and other platforms are apparently on the way too.
Online Dating: love is just a click away
The Daily Telegraph by Tamsin Kelly, 12 February 2010
These days, smart singletons are finding dates - and spouses - online.
It's lunchtime and lawyer Jane Kelly is busy tapping away at her laptop in a crowded City sandwich bar. But she's not catching up with work, she's firing off an email to her date for the evening, a man she's never met but whose emails make her smile, as they arrange where and when to meet for a drink.
''A few years ago, people would say something along the lines of, 'you are brave' or, 'surely you don't need to do that?' " recalls Kelly, 36. "Now the question is more likely to be, 'which site are you using?' Everybody's doing it - even some of my mother's friends."
According to the dating site Parship seven million Britons, half of all single people, will log on to find love this year. And they won't simply be looking to ward off temporary boredom or loneliness - one in five online daters will marry someone they meet online.
As Brett Harding, founder of Lovestruck says, ''the perception of online dating only being for the desperate vanishes when you discover your own friends are hard at it.''
As technology improves, searching for your perfect match online is becoming more sophisticated. Harding gleefully conjures up a brave new world of date-stamped profile pictures (if you're in your forties, that glowing university summer ball picture just won't do) and "real time" profiles.
Instead of tedious paragraphs about your GSOH (good sense of humour) and love of long walks, your profile will be linked to Facebook and Twitter, so prospective partners can check out your credibility with friends, and even what you did at the weekend.
Alarmingly, Harding predicts a time when first dates will occur via a brutal-sounding video call, installed on your iPhone.
''If the chemistry is there, you can agree to meet. If it's not, it makes sense not to waste each other's time,'' he says. ''The first date could also be a virtual one in a scene of your choice. Members will have avatars and will change their expressions and gestures by clicking a mouse."
For many, this will probably be a techno step too far. What if one wrong click results in an unintended gesture? But today, even for the technology-phobic, there's no excuse to be home alone when the modern way of looking for love is so easy.
Vanessa Mason, from Kingston, works for the bridal magazine You and Your Wedding, but had given up hope of ever finding her life partner. Then she met Matthew, a marketing consultant, through Lovestruck ("where busy people click"), a site that matches time-strapped City singletons by postcode. Matthew proposed on St Valentine's Day last year.
Vanessa says: "Once you're in your thirties it's so difficult to meet people. I really thought I was going to be left on the shelf with the ketchup. The prospect of yet another weekend alone finally propelled me into joining Lovestruck. The idea of finding love in your lunch hour appealed. There's the excuse of having to get back to work and the safety of daylight if it's clear that it's going nowhere. After my initial terror, I found myself lunching with up to three different men a week.
"After a few months I spotted Matthew's profile — well actually my grandmother and my sister did when I showed them the site. We liked the photo of him looking rugged after climbing a mountain in Borneo and the fact he'd worked in Switzerland for six years, which is where I was brought up.
We met for a sandwich near our offices for our first date. It felt really natural. Every time we met, we just talked and talked. But I only realised it was something special when Matthew insisted I go to Kew Gardens on a Saturday. Instead of quick drinks after work, we had the whole day to chat and lounge in the sun. I think what really made me fall in love with Matthew was how he ended up chasing me — a bit of old-fashioned romance rather than just quick emails and rushed meetings.
When Matthew proposed, he got down on one knee in our favourite spot in Richmond Park and presented me with the most beautiful diamond ring. I burst into tears of happiness.
We got married in August last year and our first baby is due this July. I'm so glad I did internet dating, because I never thought I could be as happy as I am now."
Matthew says: "I tried speed dating. I used to work in sales and I thought I could easily sell myself in three minutes. But I came out feeling I'd laid myself open, bared my soul to strangers and gained nothing.
Meeting Vanessa was the total opposite: a very slow burn where we really got to know each other. She is just such an amazing person and we have so much in common — our upbringing, our values, a love of nature and the outdoors. It seems almost impossible that we could be so compatible and that we have found each other."
The New Matchmakers
The Daily Express by Sadie Dodds, 16 January 2010
MARRIED TO THE JOB Brett Harding, 37, launched www.lovestruck.com in 2006 to try to unite professionals working in offices close to one another in cities across the UK. Brett says:
My best friend has just got engaged thanks to finding a lovely lady on my dating site and a female friend is about to move in with a guy she met on there. Best of all we now have more than 100 weddings and engagements to our name and those are just the ones we know about.
Last September I even received an e-mail from Vanessa, who used to work on Vogue magazine, to tell me that she'd met her Mr Right,
Matthew, through us and that they'd married in August. I decided to try internet dating a few years ago while I was a business consultant. I discovered quickly that the massive sites were full of single people but with no filter to allow me to quickly find like-minded professionals who worked in the same area as me.
That's when I came up with Lovestruck, a dating site that would introduce professional singletons who worked near each other. They could communicate via the site then test their chemistry over lunch with the genuine excuse that they had to get back to the office if it didn't work out.
Three years later Lovestruck is now available to professionals and office workers in cities throughout the UK. We've had 40,000 members through our door with around 7,000 active on the site at any one time.
Kiss those New Year dating blues goodbye
The Londonpaper by Laura Stott, 14 January 2009
Regardless of the weather or anything else, January is the best month to be single. One in four couples will split this month, which means plenty of Londoners will find themselves newly single. If you've just come out of a long-term relationship, it can be hard to know where to begin getting back into the dating game. Online dating, singles nights - there are no shortage of places for singletons to meet.
But if you've been put off by speed dating and are unsure how to get back on the market, here are our tips for dating success:
Being newly single can mean that your network of friends has been cut in two with people you both knew feeling pressured to choose sides. Build up your social network again by saying "yes" to everything you are invited to, whether it's parties, dinners, gallery openings or sports events.
If you haven't had a date since your split, make a late resolution to give logging on a go. There are dating sites out there for every type of group, from age to race and religion. So whether you are after a like-minded City lesbian (citypink.co.uk), a man in uniform (uniformdating.com) or just someone you have something in common with - there is no excuse not to find your match in cyberspace.
For workaholics who constantly check their watch or BlackBerry on a date, snack dating could be for you. Test the water with a mini date over coffee or a snack so you can briefly meet someone you like the look of without the stress of a full evening date. A quick rendezvous at lunch means you don't have to commit to a whole evening and you can escape quickly if it's not working out. This is also perfect for those who are nervy first daters. Singles wanting to meet for lunch, or even breakfast, can try London dating site lovestruck.com/london.
Above all, take things slowly. Repeat to yourself: "I do not need to meet the love of my life this month." Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to replace a lost love. You may even enjoy being single again, so make good use of your bachelor(ette) status.
Seven-card stud needs good hands
The Londonpaper by Fong Chau, 11 November 2008
Betting on the unknown is something poker players and singles do every day. Both involve big risks, and you'll crash and burn if you can't tell the truth from a bluff.
So in an effort to help the capital's singles improve their love chances, online gaming site and online dating site Lovestruck.com have set up a poker school, where techniques such as reading body language and spotting a bluff are applied to dating.
Patrick Binding, a 30-year old education consultant from New Malden, went to the first event at the Hoxton Pony Club on Thursday to see if lady luck was on his side. He has been single for a year and has grown weary of trying to pick up girls in bars. "At least this way there's an ice-breaker@", he says.
Spotting two beautiful women buying drinks, he says: "There's no way I could start talking to them with a chat-up line, but now we have something mutual to talk about, it's not as intimidating or threatening."
Property developer Lara Kler agrees. The 37-year old from Wood Green describes herself as "painfully shy" but with her winning cards in hand, she's much more confident. "When I'm in bars I'd never go up to a man and talk to him, but as I'm sat next to one I've got no choice."
In fact, as she's speaking, the man Lara was sitting next to at the table walks up and gushes how "sweet and lovely" he thinks she is. Maybe he's shown his hand too early, but she doesn't seem to mind. "The poker has certainly made things a lot more comfortable," Lara comments, as she returns to the seat next to her admirer.
And the event has succeeded where many other singles events fail: it has attracted men. Any woman who's been speed-dating will tell you about the awkward 30 minutes of the evening she has spent standing like a wallflower because there are no men left.
But with a competitive game to play, the men have arrived in droves.
Having attended a number of singles events, Joanna Fanning, a banking PA from Friern Barnet, is pleasantly surprised by the ratio of the sexes: "There's practically the same number of men as there are women here," she says.
"I think some men are put off going to a singles night, such as speed-dating, because it's like they're asking for help, when they should be able to find someone without it. But tonight is very different. The men seem more confident and it doesn't feel like a singles-only night. "Even if I don't meet anyone, I feel like I've had a really good evening out anyway."
Dating expert and Lovestruck.com's founder Brett Harding says: "There are of similarities between dating and poker. A lot of bluffing goes on and you've got to be sure before you show your hand."
Gambling with your heart may seem like a dangerous game but if you get it right, the rewards can be huge.
Six of the best dating sites
Daily Telegraph August 2008
Find love in your lunchtime
Cosmopolitan June 2008
Those in urgent need of romance will be delighted that Lovestruck.com has devised a way for us to find a man, like, now! As you click your way through potential love matches, their FreeForLunch and FreeTonight buttons show who's available for lunch or drinks after work, so hot dates can be arranged without wasting a second.
Dating: rites and wrongs of the game
The Telegraph Janie Lawrence 10 May 2008
It should be a pleasurable experience, but it's astounding how often a first date turns out to be just the opposite.
I give you the millionaire property developer who was so tight that he spent half an hour complaining that my gin and tonic had set him back £6.50. Then there was the vegetarian who was puce with outrage because I'd ordered a medium-rare steak. And don't get me started on my nightmare evening with quite the dullest man in Christendom (dehumidifiers anyone?).
As American comedian Jerry Seinfeld once put it: "Dating is pressure and tension. What is a date but a job interview that lasts all night?" And, in this post-feminist age, the rules of the Venus and Mars game seem even more complicated. So what does constitute modern dating etiquette?
The Pizza Express restaurant chain (admittedly not the most obvious romantic destination) recently polled 1,600 of its customers aged 18 and over and, if its results are anything to go by, it seems that the British are still a pretty traditional lot in matters of courtship.
Good manners are rated as very important, as is a good sense of humour, but getting plastered is frowned on by both genders. Men are more likely to be impressed by women who can't take their eyes off them and women still expect their date to pay the bill. More than 60 per cent of women said that it would contribute to a less pleasurable experience if they had to cough up, but then I'm guessing you didn't need a survey to tell you that.
If you did, then you might also be interested to hear that Sam van Rood, the Australian author of Teach Yourself Flirting and GMTV's self-styled Love Doctor, offers one-to-one dating tuition. "A lot of my male clients are confused about whether they should pay, or make the first move," he says. "Blokes brought up by feminist mothers were told women could look after themselves and, although the pendulum has swung back, they haven't adjusted to that yet." To them I say: Boys, it's not about the money but the "I want to know I'm worth 50 quid" principle. Happily for women, nine out of 10 men who frequent Pizza Express do appear to have adjusted sufficiently and expect to pick up the tab.
In fact, Sam advises that, for a first date, you should avoid restaurants (keep that for the third date) and instead go out and do something. His preferred options are ice-skating and rock-climbing. If that sounds too dangerous, head for an art gallery.
"You shouldn't be having any serious conversations so early, otherwise it becomes an eyeball-to-eyeball, 'You tell me your history and I'll tell you mine' session." Is political chat permissible? "Yes because it's non-personal and can be very flirtatious." But on no account, he warns, show your war wounds. Talking in bitter detail about ex-partners is never wise.
A successful date, on the other hand, brings up the prospect of a post-date "coffee". Ah yes, the coffee routine: as old as the hills and still going strong.
In fact, according to the survey, nationally only 13 per cent said they would stay on for breakfast (at 16 per cent, they're a slightly racier lot in Scotland). Whether it's lack of opportunity, lack of stamina or - in the case of 40-plus women - lack of a full complement of night creams, the older you are the less likely you'll be tempted to take it further than a kiss on the cheek. As for arranging a second date, 40 per cent of women see that as solely the man's job.
Does such a snapshot survey really tell us anything? "It shows the traditional ways are best," says Sam firmly. What about the many married couples who did extend their first date into the following morning? "There are exceptions, but if a woman sticks to the rules she's giving a clear message to the man how to play it. Sleep with a man too soon and he won't think you're a keeper." It may be the 21st century but, in the dating game, it's still a case of plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
Brett Harding, founder of Lovestruck.com, suggests some simple ways to ensure that your first date goes smoothly.
For the woman
For the man
Online dating with a twist
Evening Echo 9 April 2008
Fancy the guy you see in the coffee shop every lunchtime or got the hots for the girl you see in the car park after work every day?
A new website could now see those furtive glances you exchange become an actual date. Lovestruck.com, which recently launched in Dublin, matches people who work close by.
It's proved hugely successful since its launch in London last year, with 'lovestruckers' meeting for coffee, lunch or after-work drinks. And only two weeks after opening its doors in Dublin, 'LovestruckDubliners' are already making the most of this completely free service which could soon expand to Cork.
Brett Harding, founder of Lovestruck.com explained: "Like London, Dublin has thousand of singles of all ages working in the city centre. You probably pass people you fancy every day and never speak to them and they might work just around the corner. The site aims to prevent the chance of love - or lust - literally passing you by."
The free dating site also lets members see who are 'free for lunch' or 'free tonight' - a quick email later and they could have a date. "This ground-breaking feature offers immediate dating; no waiting, no endless emailing, no winking. It's live second-to-second flirting, and a great way to break up - or end - the working day," said Brett.
For the shy or work-conscious, the site also has an advanced privacy tool that allows their photo or narrative to be viewed at their discretion. "Internet dating with a side order of privacy," is how Brett sums it up.
Brett is keen to develop the site in Cork but first wants to gauge the level of interest here. Anyone who would like to use the service should email email@example.com - once 100 emails are received it will be set up here. For more information, or to sign up, visit Lovestruck.com
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe!
Company April 2008
You've met the guys, gone on the dates, but somehow something's always been...not..quite..right. But could your dating demands be ruining your love life. We set up one reader with her 'dream' and 'nightmare' dates to put her to the test. So who did she pick?
You're on your third date in a week, yet the man you're with looks exactly like the last two and has an uncanny resemblance to your ex. It's time to ask: why do you always end up with the same bloke?
Scientists say we all have a genetic dating DNA that makes us go for a certain kind of man. It's partly our Dad's fault - if we have a good relationship with him, we're drawn to similar men. Eek! Our menstrual cycle also pays a part - at the beginning of our cycle, we go for bad boys, and, when we're ovulating, we want marriage material.
But, if we only go for one 'type' of man, could we be missing out on the right man? To test the theory, we asked one Company reader to go on two very different dates. With the help of dating site www.lovestruck.com, we found guys who fitted her best and worst date criteria. So which man will win her heart?
The DNA-date tester Ellie Halls, 28, an events organiser from Buckinghamshire, tends to go for city slickers, who dress smart and talk smart. "I'm attracted to the confidence of city boys, but become turned off by their arrogance. I'm sick of meeting the same men time and time again. But I don't know if I can change my type."
The nightmare date 'Jazz Maverick' Time, 25, a website developer from Reading, is laid-back, arty and creative. He describes himself as a music lover who loves sleep, gigs, the opera and arthouse films. Oh dear...
Ellie says: "From start to finish, my dating with Tim was a constant surprise. I couldn't believe it when he called me just before the date to double-confirm the time he'd be there. I don't think anyone has been that courteous before. But, then, when he walked into the restaurant, my first impression was that he definitely wasn't my type. He had the indie, arty, band-frontman look, which i hate. But I thought I'd just go with it, as he was pretty handsome under the scruffiness. He made some interesting conversation and listened to what I had to say, which alot of guys aren't very good at. We chatted about everything. The waiter even had to come back twice to take our order. The only turn-off was he seemed unsure of what to to and whether to order drinks, and I found myself taking the lead, which was strange. I'm used to a man being in control. The time flew by and, at the end of the night, I found myself wanting to stay longer. I would have run a mile before, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well I got on with someone who wasn't part of my usual dating scene."
The dream date 'City guru' Andy, 27, is a banker and Cambridge graduate from London. His profile says he wants to meet someone special, fun and down-to-earth to explore London with. He's also Ellie's ideal fun-loving city boy.
Ellie says: When I arrived late, I was a bit flustered and couldn't find him. But when I did, I could see exactly why he was picked for my dream date. He was wearing a suit and looked impeccably dressed. He went straight to the bar and ordered me a drink, which i really liked! Once we started talking, I felt he was a bit too nice, though. Although the conversation was easy, we just didn't seem to click, and I wasn't as engrossed as I was on the previous date. I felt like I actually didn't have that much in common with Andy. It surprised me, considering he was, on paper, my ideal man. I sent him my email address, but I'm not sure I'll bother with a second date."
Ellie's verdict: "I'm really surprised! The date has shown me that the stereotype I've been looking for might not be the right one. Or at least I don't have to stick to it quite so rigidly! Although I think I want a tall, dark handsome stranger - he's not in the same mould I had him in before. He might even be more of a creative, thoughtful type, after all. I suppose I've learnt that the person I really want to date is someone I click with, rather than someone who fits into a certain list of characteristics."
Lovestruck.com's 4 steps to breaking dating deja vu
1. If you're attracted to a certain type, question it! What do you hope they'll offer that others can't? Try to expand your parameters by thinking about what makes someone attractive - believe us, it's not just looks!
2. You say 'tomayto', he says 'tomarto'. Opposites can - and often do - attract. Life would be boring if we had a partner who matched our every trait, so don't dismiss someone who thinks, acts or dresses differently to you.
3. Think long-term. Ok, he may not be George Clooney, but is he generous and kind? Remember that lust does not equal love (although it helps!)
4. How will you know someone isn't right for you if you don't give them a chance? Be optimistic and make that dating-type change. You may just surprise yourself.
Visit www.lovestruck.com to help you find the perfect man. You can even find out who's free for lunch or drinks after work every day!
Site to prevent love passing you by
Metro Ireland 26 March 2008
Finding love in your lunch hour may sound like the name of a romantic comedy, but it's the basis of a new matchmaking website. Lovestruck.com has been launched to match single Dubliners with people who work close by. LovestruckDublin allows members to see who is 'free for lunch' or 'free tonight.'
'You probably pass people you fancy every day and never speak to them and they might just work around the corner', said site founder Brett Harding. 'The site aims to prevent the chance of love - or lust - literally passing you by."
Moving Manchester March 2008
If you're single and like the idea of instant gratification, this is for you. A new Manchester dating site offers just that, thanks to its unique ability to match you with other singles who live and work nearby. Members can click a button which reveals they're 'free for lunch' and 'free tonight', so you can be on a date within minutes of registering. Whatever happened to The Rules?
Efficient dating with workday quickies
Hereisthecity.com 10 March 2008
Sick of Match? You're not alone - although we do love the Cupid & Fate ad campaign. Here's another option: find someone who works near you, then meet up with them this lunchtime - or after work - or, hell, during work (their suggestion, not ours).
Captivated by the retro-cartoon graphics and multitude of witticisms, I signed up for the free two-day trial. (Full disclosure: As I've already found my perfect man, the plan is to take my photo-less profile down before it goes live, so I won't be regaling you with tales of mid-day rendezvous. But if one of you single readers would like to sign up and do so, fab! Please get in touch.)
The profile questions are the ones you'd expect: do you smoke/drink/have kids, what do you like to do/read/think/wear, along with some space for your own words on your gorgeous self (again, their words, but see how nice it sounds?).
And then there's the important one: By what tube station do you work?
I entered Mansion House (in honour of my husband), and hit Finish. In searching the Little Black Book (cute, right?) for a guy between 35-38 who works in my/his area, one comes up. He looks good. A further nine work by St. Paul's, and another 19 work by Bank. In fact, the profile for one of the Bank guys is definitely going over to my catch of a single friend...
From there, we move west across London, past Victoria to...Canary Wharf, which features more bachelors.
And if you're open for business, you can select a tag that you're free for lunch/dinner/all day/not at all - just making that spontaneous coffee even easier.
Of course, the downside of meeting people around your office is that you'll run into them when getting lunch at Pret or stopping by the shoe repair place.
But the upside? Convenience on so many levels.
Dally not dear heart. Sign up now.
Thank you very much, we're here all week!