Mistakes Made On Match.com Profiles: Too Many Photos, Incomplete Bios, Headlines, Bad Usernames, Photo Captions, Desired Age Ranges & Other Self-Sabotaging Efforts

As messy, difficult, frustrating and vague dating is, online dating is even more challenging. Lack of proper etiquette, laziness, ease of setting up a profile, unclear reasons for signing up (lonely, play games, vanity, boredom etc.) has given online dating an unfair shake. With that said, Match.com the dinosaur of dating sites/apps has muddied the waters even more with a laundry list of questions and preferences.


On the spectrum of dating sites and apps you have two types of dating sites and apps: Easy set up, easy viewing and easy messaging (think Bumble, Tinder etc.). On the other side you have apps/sites that focus more so on profiles and less so on just photos: Match.com, Coffee Meets Bagel etc. Both have their pros and cons but Match definitely is one of the more confusing and error prone out there.  Depending on where you live, the gender ratio imbalance can be disheartening.


Green Dot, Circle, Yellow Circle, No Circle – Activity Status, Inactive Profiles

Before spending extensive time on your profile and or even investing in a subscription, it is best to get a sense of the available people in your area as Match may not always be worth the time and effort. I recommend creating a skeleton profile with a spam email so you can browse the profiles, use the filters to see if Match is worth your time. General rule of thumb (assume at least half the profiles are inactive and of the active profiles, assume only 1/3 are paying profiles).

It costs money to read messages and send messages and often times a hight number of profiles are inactive. Casting a reasonable net based on age and location as well as lifestyle and then adjusting figures based on activity criteria below will give you a good idea of how many people are active.

With each profile there should be a green dot, green circle, yellow circle or no dot nor circle to signal how activtiy status of each person. The Activity Status is intended to highlight how active a profile is Match.com. A profile’s status can be updated when they log in to the Match site, or when they open email notifications from Match in their personal email account.

Solid Green Dot: Online now status (online within the last 45 minutes).

Empty Green Circle: Online recently between 46 minutes and 24 hours ago. Sometimes, you’ll see more specific information, like “Active 1 hour ago” or “Active 2 hours ago.”

Empty Yellow Circle: Recently active between 24 hours and 72 hours ago.

In some places, you’ll see more specific information, like “Active 1 hour ago”, “Active yesterday” or “Active 2 days ago.”

No Dot nor Circle: Inactive, no activitity within 72 hours ago.

The no dot, no circle status is a rather vague measure as one cannot tell if a user has logged into the site this week or this decade. Proceed with caution.

Match.com Bio, Headlines and Prompts


No other app aside from eHarmony is so intrusive when it comes to bombarding you with questions. Is knowing someone’s favorite baseball team really that much of a deal-breaker? How many times to people state there body-types are athletic/toned or slender when they are actually more like average or curvy? What other app asks for income? Who uploads 22 photos to their online dating profile? (by the way, you only need 4–6 photos, advice on what to choose and what to avoid, read this). What is your sign? Who does that? Match.com.


For advice on how to craft your online dating profile, check out this guide.

There are some parts of your bio you should answer. Too many “I’ll tell you later” signals lack of effort or inability to open up about yourself. When it comes to the question “do you have children” you should answer yes or no — answering with “I’ll tell you later” is a bit odd and could turn away people from your profile.


Match.com Questions & Answers


Just because Match asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer it. Furthermore, online dating is meant to be treated as another avenue for meeting other people outside your day-to-day life. It is not meant to be treated like food ordering app where you filter everything down to a T. I am not saying you shouldn’t be picky but treating dating sites like a shopping cart on Amazon will leave you frustrated and anxious.

With that said, it’s important to balance detail and brevity. Too skim a profile can suggest you are not serious. Don’t be one of those people who list cliche, overly used and cringeworthy lines in their bio like ‘Just Ask’. Photos are indeed the most important item in your profile but too many people self-sabotage their efforts by ignoring the bio and and answers section. These items provide hooks and conversation starters for those viewing your profile.

When it comes to the questions, you should not specify a trait unless you yourself are willing to divulge that on your profile. If you seek someone who makes $150k+, list your salary. If you want a non-smoker, list your status. If you are 65 and list you are looking for someone 27–32 don’t be surprised why no one responds to your messages. Don’t lie about your age and list the age you think you look like.


Lastly, if you list San Francisco as your city but you list you are looking for someone 15 miles within Los Angeles, one can assume you moved are have not updated your profile and/or you are looking to move.

Preferences vs. Deal-Breakers


Online dating is not without its risks. There are many skeevy guys online (and women too). You should be cautious and on guard but there is a fine line between being careful and being oddly particular about whether someone is 6’1” or 6’2” or has auburn hair or brown hair.


Match.com provides a misleading sense of power over who one matches with and interacts with but it also does an uncanny job of turning one’s nice-to-haves into deal-breakers. Don’t waste your time going out on a date with someone who you absolutely despise and loathe but at the same time don’t dismiss a match who only has 31 of your 32 desired traits. ​

Match.com Profile Photos


When it comes to photos, Match has the least restrictive criteria. Don’t upload anything smaller than 400×400 pixels — just because you are not blocked from using a thumbnail 100×100 pixel photo doesn’t mean you should.


Also don’t use photos that don’t have you in them. Don’t repeat photos in similar locations with the same outfit. Don’t use blurry photos nor ones with harsh shadows. People want to see what you look like. Make sure you are avoiding any cliche photos in your profile with this dating photo bingo card.

For help with dating app questions (i.e. how to select photos, which apps to use, when/how to messages matches etc.) check out my Frequently Asked Questions page or contact me directly here ​for a consultation. ​

Match.com Usernames vs. Real Names

I wrote about usernames for another site, Plenty of Fish but the idea is the same. Usernames can be used for Match.com login screens so use one that is easy to remember.

Match.com Interests


Match has done a disservice encouraging people to fill out this section of their bio. It is the most vague, generic aspect of online dating.

Who doesn’t like to travel? Who doesn’t like dining out every so often? These cliche interests offer little insight. It’s up to you to provide context. Do you like Michelin star restaurants or hole in the wall places? Do you like glamping or backpack camping? Do you like resorts or do you prefer to explore big cities and small rustic towns? Don’t fill out this section thinking you are set. Provide context, examples, insight to reveal more about who you are and what you seek.

Match.com Paid Subscriptions – Is Match.com Worth It?

Even if you optimize your photos, bio and preferences on Match.com, there is no guarantee for success. The platform operates on a freemium business model where anyone can create a profile for free but it requires a paid subscription to access essential features like sending messages, reading messages. Of all the profiles on the site, I estimate about 10% of Match.com profiles to be either:

-inactive (have not deleted their account but should have),

-spammers (profiles created by using other people’s photos and information),

-skeleton profiles (those that created a profile without completing profile to stalk a person or evaluate the platform before investing time, energy),

-vanity profiles (those that created profiles that are seeking attention with no intention of meeting anyone or those that are lonely and are looking for a pen pal).

Not bad BUT there is a significant portion of users on the site you should not ignore – non-paid users. Many people who join do so with the intention to meet others but rather than paying for a subscription will wait to collect messages, likes, improved photos/profiles before deciding to upgrade. Others will upgrade periodically (for 1-3 months) and then take a break before upgrading again.

These non-paid users are unable to read/send messages but are able to send likes, winks and favorite profiles. These latter actions in my opinion mean little to nothing for the average person. I am an advocate of being direct with interest in sending messages (more on that here).

Match has evolved over the years and has adopted more of a gamification approach by providing matches or profiles to your homepage. A mere like of a photo is just that, don’t read more into it than that until you have additional indicators to suggest interest. Many people send accidental photo likes trying to close windows, make quick decisions without looking at profiles etc.

No Responses Nor Replies On Match.com

Not getting a response on Match is common as not everyone is a paid subscriber. To reply you either have to pay a subscription fee or hope somone buys the feature for you via Reply-For-Free.

Reply For Free: This feature allows free members to reply to paid subscriber emails. The paid subscriber pays the cost via an additional Add-On purchase.  Non-subscribers cannot reply to messages on match.com otherwise.

How To Spot A Fake Match Profile

Match.com does a poor job of verifying profiles upon registration. Be wary of newly created profiles, profiles with only 1-2 photos, empty bios or modeling photos. Reverse-image search photos when in doubt. You can possibly see if the person is real and a possible timestamp for when said photo was posted online.

Match.com Horoscope Compatibility Based On Zodiac Signs

Match allows users to input horoscope attributes to their profile. The idea here is that some folks either really belief in this stuff or at least are open or curious about it to engage in conversation and discussion. More on this here: https://www.match.com/cp.aspx?cpp=/cppp/magazine/article0.html&articleid=4585

The guide offers Aquarius, Cancer, Capricorn, Taurus, Gemini, Leo, Aries, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Pisces comp ability profiles and matches.

Never Pay Full Price For Subscriptions

I suggest before you spend time, effort and money on Match that you create a profile, browse profiles in your area (with realistic expectations, not too strict filters) and see if it is worth continuing before jumping right in paying for a service right off the bat (that is unless you are able to get a discount or free trial). Details on Match.com promotions, discounts and trials are available to all my clients.

Match.com 7 Day Free Trial Subscription and Info

Use at your own risk: https://www.match.com/cp/promo/free/terms.html

Match.com Free Weekend

Once or twice a year Match will offer a free weekend of communication.

Match Additional Photo Only

Usually marked for photos that are not big enough or clear enough for a main profile photo but suitable as other photos in one’s profile.

Match.com Additional Photo Only

Match requires visible, clear headshot like photos for main profile photos but other photos have more flexibility. If photos are too dark, distant or pixelated users might receive this warning.

Match.com Private Mode, Undercover

Some people like this feature so that they can hide from people on the site except for matches giving them control over who can see their profile. If you are concerned about privacy or want to drastically reduce your chances of who can contact you including others who have private mode, then go for it. It’s a feature I do not recommend. Same goes for Undercover feature – sounds shady.

Match – This Profile Is Unavailable

Assume they blocked you, has hidden their profile or their profile was deleted (by them or by the company for violating terms of service).

Match.com Quick Search

Match.com quick search is basically a simple search query that allows one to search for profiles without any advanced filters using only age, radius, orientation, location, keywords, photos present and online now.

About Eddie Hernandez 

Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas. https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/

Dating Profile Critique

For those of you who are remote or virtual dating help and are looking for an online dating profile critique you can read more about my services here.

For other helpful online dating tips check out my blog for more helpful advice: https://eddie-hernandez.com/blog/

Online Dating Frequently Asked Questions (Photos, App Choice, Wardrobe, Messaging, Bios and More): https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-frequently-asked-questions/

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