Sunday, December 16, 2012

AARP Enters Online Dating Over 50 Marketplace



I read with great interest the recent announcement that AARP, the huge organization comprised of American senior citizens, has now officially entered the online dating over 50 world.

The organization has launched the AARP Dating website, which gives single adults over the age of 50 a place to meet—and hopefully connect and fall in love. Yep, AARP is getting into the online dating business.

“More and more 50-plus singles are using Internet dating sites, and we want to provide a comfortable environment for them to get out and take a chance on love again or go on fun dates,” said Myrna Blyth, editorial director of AARP’s media division.

Although it sounds like a logical move for AARP, to yours truly, Chad Stone the Middle-Aged Babe Magnet, it’s a surprising announcement. In the past, AARP hasn’t paid much attention to single Americans who fall into the “dating over 50” demographic. Furthermore, AARP takes itself very seriously. I have sent several editors at AARP the Magazine copies of my humorous memoir, Confessions of a Middle-Aged Babe Magnet: One Man’s Brave Adventure into Dating Again in the 21st Century. They have ignored the book, probably because it’s too much fun and it doesn’t fit into the money-centric focus of the organization.

That’s too bad, because there are lots of AARP members who are dating over 50 years old—and they are probably as clueless as I was when I started my dating after divorce adventure. Those folks could benefit from the lessons I learned and the hard-won dating wisdom that I acquired about everything from online dating to how to have a great first date.

I wanted to learn more about the AARP’s Internet dating site, so I visited. www.AARPDating.com. My web browser redirected me to www.humpbackjunk.com. This site offers a “Full-service local junk removal” service. (I am not making this up. Really.) So the poor, unsuspecting over 50 singles who type in www.AARPDating.com get the not-so-subtle message that they are not only over the hill, but they are junk to be hauled away.

Sorry, but that sounds like an episode of The Simpsons to me.

I re-read the AARP news release and discovered that AARP Dating was a “new dating content channel” on www.aarp.org, so I went there. Sure enough, the dating link was right at the top of the site. (But the image of the “full-service local junk removal” service still lingered.)

The introductory story gave a short overview of the new dating over 50 service. Basically, it sounds a lot like match.com. You’re allowed to poke around for a while, but to communicate with another member you need to sign up for a subscription. It’s $17.50 for one month for AARP members or $53.94 for one year for AARP members. If you’re an AARP member, you can also get a seven-day free trial.

I’ll post a more extensive review of the site in the future. But for now, let me officially welcome AARP into online dating. I hope they don’t try to be so serious about AARP Dating that they totally mess it up. After all, looking for the love of your life—no matter how young or old you are—should be fun!







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