There’s an amazing Onion article (aren’t they all, though?) from 2002 entitled, “18-Year-Old Miraculously Finds Soulmate in Hometown.” It starts like this:
PESHTIGO, WI-In a miracle that defies statistical probability, Corey Muntner, 18, reported Monday that he found his soulmate, Tammy Gaska, right in his very own hometown of Peshtigo, WI.
Sure, the article mocks good ol’ fashioned small-town values, but also speaks to the omnipresent “soulmate industry.” Namely, how hard it is, apparently, to find one. (Note: a “soul-mate,” in literal or scientific terms, doesn’t exist; the actual word, in fact, was invented and trademarked by Hallmark in 1932.) Perhaps this is why in an uneasy economic climate, online dating continues to thrive. And it’s all very fortuitous, because for anyone who wants a piece of the online dating/soulmate-pie, they now have a powerful and flexible tool at their disposal: vldPersonals.
vldPersonals is an automated online dating and social networking software solution. It enables you to create a fully functioning and captivating dating or social website with many of the advanced features found on other major sites. vldPersonals’ suite brings to bear an impressive set of functionality: it’s customizable and brandable, allows users to upload all kinds of media content, and enables messaging between users. It’s easy and the customer support is included in their personal and commercial licenses. Better yet, you can also try it free. So I did.
I clicked on a sample template and was immediately impressed. All of the basics were included: member login, a search tool, thumbnails of members, and news feeds. In fact, it even let me log in as administrator, which I did (go ahead and try it: username is admin; password is demo.) The administrative dashboard was very intuitive. The left side of the screen enabled me to manage content: members, pictures, music, videos, and events, while the “quick stats” feature displayed joined members, number of log-ins, uploaded pictures, and other pieces of information that quickly morphed into website crack: enticing bits of data to endlessly and manically pour over.
The “Manage Members” section was also useful, as administrators will likely spend a good deal of time here. The page lists each user by username, and allows you to view their profile online, edit their information, and if they’re very naughty, delete them. All in all, a seamless and user-friendly experience. In fact, with a little bit of focus, luck, and TLC, I’d imagine one could get a site up and running within a few hours. It’s that simple.
In fact, after surfing around the Administration panel for a while, something dawned on me. Namely, the inherent beauty of this platform, and of sites built around user-generated content. And the beauty is this: after a period of upfront development facilitated by vldPersonals’ flexible and intuitive tools, there is relatively little to be done, content-wise, for an administrator of a dating site. Think about it: you set up the framework, provide users with tools to communicate, brag about themselves, upload content, and interact, and your role as the administrator is (again, relatively) limited to, say, managing users, and, to the extent you want to, writing blog posts (which, of course, vldPersonals enables.) At least grant me this: there’s a lot less day-to-day work to do compared to, say, a blogger who needs to write 4,000 words every day or an e-commerce site that has to wade through countless orders every day. Because for a dating site, your users are happily providing the content. In other words, if the template and tools are powerful – and with vldPersonals’, they are – the site can take on a life of its own. Throw in some online ads and you’re really cooking with fire. Not a bad model, eh?
Which brings me to my final point. While online dating continues to grow unabated, this package is particularly valuable for developers seeking to build niche or targeted dating sites. The list of such sites is seemingly endless; there’s sites out there for Trekkies, punks (food for thought: is looking for your soulmate online, using a computer manufactured by Microsoft or Apple – both corporations, mind you – truly “punk?”), women in jail, and lovers of Ayn Rand. Prior to vldPersonals, it would be costly and time-consuming to build a customized dating site from scratch. Not anymore. With vldPersonals, you can sleep happily at night knowing with just a little effort, you were able to play Cupid, bringing together lonely souls who now can enjoy a lifetime of deep fulfillment, spiritual happiness, and no more hassling from their doting, smothering mothers. And you might even make some money in the process.
After all, you know what they say about true love and money: they’re inseparable.