No barrier to entry – it is a classified ads system that includes dating (and various other types of) ads. You don’t need an account or even a picture, which is not the case with dating sites. And, men will still send women tons or responses, so you have a lot of competition and the ladies wind up with overrun inboxes. Plus, many of the responses they get are form letters or offensive photos. You can cut through the competition, but (1) you need to write well and (2) you have to SCREEN the women really well.
The barrier to entry is so low that men are often posing as women (with or without pictures) on the site, as practical jokes, as social experiments, or possibly worse. And, because anyone can see pictures without registration, many people do not post pictures (just as I do not when I post ads here). And, many of the women either don’t respond, or if they do, never follow through with past the email stage. There don’t seem to be as many HBs. I’ve still met some cool women here, but I screen well.
When women pay for sites…I’ve found higher quality women as far as looks and follow through (filling out profiles well, responding, IMing, talking on the phone). Eharmony does all the matching for you (you cannot search) but has some decent quality women…and is thought of as a more relationship oriented site (by everyone except my wing, Knack, who somehow met a lot of casual girls there). There is also an automated system of sending questions back and forth that may help with the more skittish women.
Jdate is a Jewish site which also has decent quality. Both JD and EH have better quality women on a whole than free sites, and the women are more invested, and more likely to meet you.
1. Put at least several pictures up, and screen them for good body language. You need at least one good profile pic where they can see you clearly. Also have one with women…and it’s fine to caption that they are friends, relatives, whatever. Also have one or more activity photos if you have them. If you have a dog, a pic with it will help. Some of these pics should tie into your identity which should be shown in your profile.
2. Use game in your profile…whatever style or combination of style you use in field (but use your own material when possible so that it is identity-specific). Examples: juggler type humor, Mystery type stories, PU101 style banter, Deangelo style cocky funny, etc… An example of identity-specific would be that you will find a lot of food-related material in my profiles. Many other people use travel, adventure, (playing) sports/hiking/marathons, etc.
3. I said it already…screen! Have an idea of what you are looking for and sub-communicate or communicate what qualities you are screening for, and then meet the girls that have those qualities. High value men have standards.
4. Work on the messages you send women so that they don’t look like form messages convey that you are showing an interest in her as a person–ask a couple of questions about her profile, make a comment or comparison, etc.
Good luck in your hunting.