Does Online Dating Even Work?!

Does Online Dating Even Work?!

Dear Evan,

I was curious as to what your real opinion is of online dating. I did meet my girlfriend online, but after a year of painful struggle, meaning hardly any dates despite being educated, employed, and reasonably attractive. Friends of both genders tell that their experiences have been hard in different ways. My guy friends (also educated, attractive) complain that they get no responses and female acquaintences tell me that they get so many emails, etc, that they don’t know where to start-and often do nothing. They don’t have time to “date around” several times a week.(actually neither would I). I assume that the problem exists due to security. Women, being more vulnerable than men, are more hesitant to date online, so you get a situation where there’s a lot more men than women. Aside from my own luck and the trendy radio ads and sexy commercials, it seems as if no one’s happy.

Geoff

Dear Geoff,

Glad to hear you found someone special, and even happier that you spoke up. Most of the people that write about online dating write about what’s wrong with it. It makes sense. I mean, that’s what news is – emphasize the bad, misery loves company, etc. Turn on the TV and it’s not about kittens being saved from trees, but drive-by shootings. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of kittens saved from trees.

Go to one of those websites that reviews dating sites and you’ll see the same. Average review will be 2 out of 5 stars or something like that. Why? Because people who get married from online dating sites rarely get back online to post happy reviews on websites. They move on with their lives, while everyone else complains about the sites and the awful people on the sites.

I don’t deny ANYBODY the negative experiences that they’ve had. I just urge people to find some healthier perspective on the whole thing. A private client told me just this weekend that she’s quitting online dating after three bad dates in a row. Here is what I wrote back to her:

First of all, I’ve had EVERY bad dating experience you can possibly imagine. I’ve had women write me nasty emails, insult me over the phone, ignore my phone calls, stand me up, refuse to thank me for dinner, refuse to reciprocate in bed… Are you getting the idea? And yet I still run around as this super dating advocate, because I believe it is the best prospect to find someone special. If you choose to wait for lightning to strike until you go on another date with the “right” guy, you might be waiting a long, long time. Like, FOREVER.

Abstinence isn’t the answer. Mustering the courage to persevere in light of bad experience is.

Listen, you might think I’m nuts to keep on preaching positivity. That’s fair. All I know is that it’s freakin’ HARD to meet someone. We have our small lives: our circle of married friends, our work buddies, a few single people, and that’s it. And as you get into your mid-30’s, the bar scene is really old and set-ups have become a bit of a joke. While it’s nice to say, “I want to meet someone organically, where our eyes meet, so I can feel chemistry”, that simply doesn’t happen very often. This is why I believe in online dating. Not because it’s perfect – not by a long shot. But because it creates opportunity where previously there was none. My first love, in 2003, was a Filipino woman that worked in the pharmaceutical industry and lived in a different part of town. I NEVER would have met her in “real life”. But I did meet her on Nerve.com. My best friend in New York is marrying a man she met on eHarmony. My sister is in love with a man she met on Nerve. My sister’s best friend is in love with a man she met on eHarmony. I have dozens of clients who are married, engaged and in love with people they met online. And these are just the people that I know well.

So let’s acknowledge the flaws of online dating: the liars, the bores, the flakes, the crazies, the morons, the perverts, the poor spellers, and so on. These people exist offline as well. They just have access to you online. So as I see it, you have two choices: quit online dating and make a supreme effort to go to as many parties, coffee shops and adult education classes as possible OR try to find a way to avoid the worst of the online daters. The third, and most popular choice, is to quit and wait for your soulmate to drop out of the sky, like “The Secret” for love. Yeah, keep praying, people.

Your best bet is to keep dusting yourself off, learning from your mistakes, and staying in the game. Sure, sometimes you’ll get burned. But sometimes, with enough perseverence (as well as luck, timing, a good profile and a positive attitude), you’ll fall in love. And if it hasn’t happened to you yet, you can say “What’s wrong with these terrible people on these awful sites?” Or you can ask, “How can I make this work for me, despite the obvious flaws?”

You know where I stand. But I’ll tell you, all it takes is one person – and you’ll be standing right with me.

4
5

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Comments:

  1. 31
    JB

    Scott, you are right. It all comes down to the picture. For a kick you should find a guy’s pic that’s a “10” put it up on any site and watch how ridiculous all the women act and the crazy things that they say and do….lol
    This profile I actually wrote in less than a minute with NO substance on purpose and because he was “hot” every woman “loved his profile”…lol
    go figure. Like Evan says it’s human nature. Everyone(men too) thinks they deserve the most attractive people on the site. Even if they’re a “3”.

    What it really taught me is that as a guy who’s maybe a “5” or a “6” I basically have very little or NO value online. Even with quality pics I still look like I look …lol I still try though but it’s “just another club in the bag” as far as meeting women. What are gonna do ? Hang out in the supermarket ?? …LOL

  2. 32
    Scott

    JuJu,

    I hear what you are saying, and NO, I’m not surprised by any of it. I think it just goes to show why internet dating does not really work for most men. Except for Evan (who is probably getting a kickback from a dating service), most of the comments I have read here from men are NOT positive.

    I didn’t include or even consider age because when I am looking at a women’s profile it generally indicates what she is looking for as an age range. If I don’t fit in, I don’t initiate a contact.

    As women, like you said, you have a choice. You just watch all the emails collect in your inbox. Men, on the other hand don’t have it that way.

    Maybe I’m not the “norm” for guys but I’d like to think there are a lot of men out there like me. When I do a search for women that I “match” with, I actually do read the profiles of those who I might not find “very” attractive at first glance. I do know from having relationships in my past, that personality and character can go a long way to making someone seem attractive. It’s the package, not just the picture. I’ve read profiles of women who became even more attractive after I took the time to read about them. If compatibility and personality were not a big factor in making a relationship work, then why some dating sites use them as the criteria for matching?

    From what your saying, it seems the dating sites would be more effective if we could punch in hair color, eye color, boob size, big butt, small butt, well hung, build, etc. and come up with matches in your zip code that way. Once you get that out of the way, then you can read the more superficial stuff in the profile.

    As far as kids? If a man is truly looking to integrate you into his life with his children, it can be done. It takes some work on everyones part. But like you said, YOU have “a choice”, because your inbox will be full again in the next 24 hours…

    :)
    Scott

  3. 33
    JuJu

    Scott,

    I am bi-cultural and use ethnic dating sites, as I would ideally prefer someone with the same background (that explains the different [from something like match.com] format).

    It’s exactly the same way for me, I don’t have to find the person VERY attractive, merely acceptable, appearance-wise. I couldn’t care less about the color of anything (I honestly could know a person for years and not even know their eye color (unless it’s brown, but only because that’s usually easy to predict)), and sometimes I wish the size was a known from the start =), as it could potentially completely ruin the courtship, but I have to disagree with you on all those criteria as being part of the person’s profile – I can see almost all the things that interest me in a clear full-height picture anyway =), and not all of them matter, to me.

    As for that relationship I had – at that point I wasn’t exactly looking to be “integrated”. It takes time for both parties to decide whether the introduction to the kids is even warranted, and we only survived 5-6 weeks. The first couple of weeks he came over every night, and we both somehow subsisted on 3 hours of sleep during that period, but it’s not sustainable long-term. If I felt that the man (any man with children) simply completes me, I guess I would have gone through the effort required, but the likelihood of that is negligible anyway.

    And as far as “kickbacks” are concerned – I could tell you about so many negative experiences of my own (with online dating), so much disappointment and disillusionment that sometimes took me prolonged periods of time to recover from. Only to harp on that would not be helpful to anyone including myself. In terms of quantity, if not quality, online dating still remains the best way to meet new people. Try to vary your methods some, though, participate in activities with your children and whatnot – some women just swoon over men they perceive as good fathers.

  4. 34
    Evan Marc Katz

    “Kickbacks”? Honestly, Scott.

    Everything I say, I believe, because I’ve seen it up close.

    I’ve helped people find love in both their 20’s and 60’s.
    I’ve helped Asian men meet Caucasian women.
    I’ve helped a pair of sisters find love.
    I’ve helped a woman in a wheelchair to get engaged.

    So while I’m not denying the source of anyone’s negativity – it IS a jungle out there – I can GUARANTEE you that every single person reading this can improve their success exponentially with new photos, a new profile, a new email technique, and a new understanding of the opposite sex.

    There are MILLIONS of positive stories out there. If you don’t have them, the answer isn’t to blame the system, however unfair it might be. It’s to do something different.

  5. 35
    Scott

    Evan,

    I would really appreciate hearing some of the success stories out there. Can you please post some legitimate details, including what their picture looked like, what they wrote, how they corresponded, where they met? You know, SPECIFIC details about specific situations, including the websites they used.

    While I find your words enlightening, you speak in very broad and general terms with no real specifics (unless I am missing them somewhere on your site) to back them up. What ARE these “success” stories? Do we get that information for free, or is that part of your “paid” services when we “work with you?

    Since most men are very detail oriented and very specific in nature, maybe that would help us to be more encouraged with this website dating that you are so excited about. Details, please…

    All of us men would like to know!

    Thanks,
    Scott

  6. 36
    Evan Marc Katz

    Scott,

    It would be no exaggeration to say that I have hundreds of customer testimonials. It would also be no exaggeration to say that most people I work with don’t like having their names and photos attached to a very Googleable dating coach.

    So, am I going to post the emails that I helped teach my clients to write? No.

    Am I going to post their essays and “out” them to the world? No.

    I trust that you appreciate my discretion on behalf of my valued clients. I’m not being evasive. I’m being honorable.

    However, if your appetite is still not satiated, click here to see a few success stories from the first 18 months of my business:

    http://www.e-cyrano.com/services.html

    Click here if you want to hear some more recent tales of success:

    http://www.evanmarckatz.com/testimonials.html

    And if you’re still skeptical about my “success” stories and “paid” services for “working” with me, well, there’s nothing I’m going to do that’s going to convince you.

    Have a good weekend.

    Evan

  7. 37
    Karl R

    I took advantage of the free advice that Evan has posted around, and it improved the number of responses that I got.

    I spent about 8 or 9 months last year using online dating. Nothing went past the first few dates. But I’d still say that online dating was very useful for me.

    By the end of that period, I had lots of experience with asking women out and lots of experience going on first dates. When I met an interesting woman at my church, I was calm and confident when I asked her out. On the first date, I was relaxed and able to be myself.

    We dated for 4 1/2 months.

    That experience also helped me be confident and relaxed when I met my current girlfriend (while out dancing). Our first date was about a month ago.

    Andrew Hunt (#20) said:
    “I sometimes dont get why confident people are online. They are capable enough to meet someone for real in a club or something.”

    People who hang out in bars and clubs have one thing in common … they like to drink. For many of us, it’s not an ideal place to meet someone.

    Obviously I have several offline options for meeting women. However, few places or activities provide access to a limitless supply of interesting women. Should I have a dry spell where I’m not encountering any new women, I can always turn to online dating to introduce me to women that I’d never run across through my normal daily activities.

  8. 38
    A-L

    I have to disagree with Juju and Scott here about the importance of the photo in online dating. Granted, if I find the picture repulsive, then there’s no way anything in the profile is going to help. With that exception noted, however, the #1 thing that draws me to a guy’s profile is what he actually writes. If your profile is funny or interesting and doesn’t just say the same stupid stuff as everyone else’s (I like watching tv, sports, working out and am looking for an attractive woman who takes care of her body to have some fun with…) then I am totally interested. These are the guys who I will initiate contact with rather than waiting for them to contact me, because they’re RARE! And unless they look totally repusive, it makes no difference whatsoever what they look like.

    Now if you have the same bland profile as everyone else, then the picture, height, weight, income, etc are all that you CAN be judged on. So, though I receive no kickbacks from Evan or anyone else, I agree with him that online dating can work, and the biggest key for me is writing a good profile (the it also helps to have good pictures, even if you’re no 10, for those who are more visually oriented).

  9. 39
    wu

    Internet dating trades on the superficial – a photo a profile nothing else. If you read women’s profiles very careful 99% are looking for the same thing, and they have been brainwashed by the superficial society we now live in. Every man is looking for a blond supermodel, every woman for a Brad Pitt lookalike. Thats why there are so many older single women about now – and increasing all of the time. How on earth did people find partners before internet dating Evan?!!! Stick to the tried and trusted and safer way, get out there and meet people instead of spending hours in computerland living a fantasy.

  10. 40
    Eden

    I don’t know if I’m just looking for a solution to my problem but this post is really good. I’m in love with 2 persons I met online and I’m not really sure if what I’m doing right now is good or not. One thing I’m sure though, that we don’t meet people by chance. So….whether it’s online or not, I’d still give my best to know people I meet.

  11. 41
    hunter

    on post #40

    I tell all single men, “Leave nothing to chance.”

  12. 42
    Stella

    Dating is just plain hard work. It was the first time around and for those who havent been so lucky, even harder the second time. As an attractive, successful, divorced woman with an eight year old child, dating is alot of work. And yes, dating off of match or eHarmony is a little embarrassing when you are among your married friends who dont remember dating when a kegger wasnt involved. But if it did not work, it would not be so popular.

    I routinely take stock of what it is that I want. Is it wanting too much, are my goals too lofty? It would be easy to compromise on the important stuff just to say I am with someone. But doing so is not fair to who I am as a person. I have alot to offer the right person and I truely hope that some day in the not too distant future I do stumble upon Mr. Right. I know the only way that will happen is to put myself out there – which most likely will be through a dating website. I am certain that I will amass a tome of laughable dating stories along the way. But some day it will happen.

    As far as what is important in an on-line profile – lets be honest. You can write like Hemmingway, but if the person reading it does not find you physically attractive in the least bit, you are doomed to failure. We are all human – and yes, some people get better looking as you get to know them and some get worse, but having some place to start off with looks wise, is very important. Being afraid to post your picture means you are not comfortable with yourself. Cant find love unless you love yourself first.

    And Scott – very cute!

    Stella

  13. 43
    hunter

    Yes, when a woman warms up to a man, the man gets better looking….when a woman, is done with a man, when she no longer wants him, the man is unattractive/ugly…..

  14. 44
    Selena

    Hunter, re:#43

    Yes I’ve found that to be true. And most often it is because the man has DONE something(s) that were unattractive/ugly.

    I will postulate that the same works for men regarding women as well.

  15. 45
    hunter

    on post #44

    I am not so sure men say the same, after breaking up. I have heard men say how much they miss their former girlfriends “D”-cups……LOL!…

  16. 46
    Selena

    Re#45

    Yeah, hunter I think you’re right again. When men breakup with a woman they were attracted to they are less likely to dispage her looks. More likely to describe her as a “crazy bitch”.

  17. 47
    Leighann

    I just stumbled upon this site and have been reading the very interesting posts. I am completely new here, but not new in the least to online dating. So here is my .02: Give it an honest try and be willing to put yourself at risk. You’ll find a 100 duds (relationship wise since everyone has value) both men and women, but it is that 101 that could be “the one” or just end up a darn good person to know. Stop bitching about all the negative, it is way too easy and so unproductive. Evan is right, if you don’t want to end up dying alone without sharing all the decent things in your life with someone you’ve connected to, then get up when the horse throws you, dust yourself off, and try it again (it gets easier btw).
    My preference is chat, but I am on eharm too. I’ve had 2 serious relationships come from online, one I am still in now. Without being online, I doubt we would have found each other, no, I know we wouldn’t have. My life is so hectic that I don’t always find the time for me to get out and be social, 2 jobs, blah, blah, blah…Pretty much like everyone these days who doesn’t want to hang out at a bar, or a gym, or a church social, or worse have your family try hooking you up.
    Pictures are weird, superficial, but so is the world, no getting around it, so deal with it. Just try and do the best you can. I’m not special, so I can pretty much believe if I am like this, so are most people. Someone is going to find you attractive not just by a picture but by what you have to say. Example: No, he’s not really getting my attention..read, read, read..but heck what a funny guy, oh wait, look at that smile, it’s kinda nice, and he dresses well (neat ,clean, trendy, sporty, laid back etc.)..read, read, read..we like the same books, and I love Scrabble,…those ears are kinda cute.. getting the picture here people, not everyone is superficial, in fact MOST are not.
    Connections are based on a zillion different things; some it’s the ability to provide, hence the people who want to know what you do and what you make. It is in our genetic makeup both men and women. But it also can be just finding out about the other person, and ice breaker, and way to get talking. Personally, humor and conversation do it for me (and a good cowlick), and because I am happily dating a starving artist, I feel I can say this. Neither of us are “pretty people”, we’re not “alike” and it was our differences that we found intrigueing and gave us so much growth potential. It’s been a year of conversation ( no rush and I’m no spring chicken nor am I nervous about a faster meet up, we live 10,000 miles a part), and we’re finally going to meet face to face, no web cam, no pics, no phone, and we have high hopes. If it doesn’t work, I’ll cry for a week, get my shit together and begin to look again with not one regret, and I’ll have a good friend. AND it will be online, though I am not against finding someone in my own backyard.
    Just take it for what it is, another way to connect. It works for some, not for others but don’t go knocking it for everyone. I hope you all connect someday, I hope mine works, there are billions of people on this planet, its a damn shame there is any loneliness at all.

  18. 48
    JuJu

    It’s amazing how similar everyone’s experiences with online dating are (and I am at least 10-15 years younger and childless). Men who lie about their height, emotionally unavailable or unstable men, freaks with gross houses, – I encountered all that, too. It’s SO HARD not to become bitter, but that’s the only way.

  19. 49
    JuJu

    Why was the link I posted edited out? My post doesn’t make sense without it.

  20. 50
    JB

    JuJu forgot to tell you about the women that lie about their weight or only put up “head shots” so you can’t see they’re actually obese or that they put “average” for their weight and then you come to find out that average means 215 lbs …lol Yes,I’ve encountered all that as well as women that lie about their AGE too ! Recently I met a woman on Yahoo and actually “hit it off” Let’s see if we can make it to the 2 month mark ?? ….LOL

  21. 51
    Stella

    JB,

    For every woman who has lied about her weight, there are two guys who lied about either their height, weight, amount of hair existing on their head or level of interest in a committment (read – just looking for sex). Lets face it, honesty is not humanities strong suit.

    The good thing is, just like learning to read the want-ads for a used car, you become pretty savvy to those folks who are not all on the up and up. Too bad there is not a “lemon law” for bad dates!

    Stella

  22. 52
    monica yeto

    thank you for sharing this because i totally agree to everything u said. i met my soul mate online. my bestfriend. love of my life. i cant live without him. he is my other half. i never expected it but it did happen. we found each other. i believe that we should be open minded to these things since we are in the information age. we cant deny the fact that its part our lives now. meeting someone online is not impossible. remember all love stories are unique. if become so critical about it, nothing will eve happen. i decided to take this risk, knowing that i might get hurt because we r distant (he is in the US army by the way). i have to admit it is painful but its fine. i love him and knowing that i do so much, we can never deny it no matter how much we cover our emotions…we will get hurt bec we open ourselves up. we become vulnerable. im not scared to open myself up because when u love, give or receive love…pain is part of it. the saying goes “its better to have love n lost than to never have loved at all.” its true. my love for him is stronger. learn to compromise. be considerate. more understanding. invest in that relationship. its hard work but its worth it.

  23. 53
    Karl R

    Stella (#51) said:
    For every woman who has lied about her weight, there are two guys who lied about either their height, weight, amount of hair existing on their head or level of interest in a committment”

    Stella, how do you arrive at this figure? Do you date both women and men? Since I date only women, I have no basis for comparison as to how honest or dishonest the men are.

    “Too bad there is not a ‘lemon law’ for bad dates!”

    There is. It’s called “No second date.”

  24. 54
    Mike X

    Yes, there are men who lie about stuff. A lot of them. And there are a lot of creeps out there who will copy and paste the same email to 50 women, or will write nasty first emails to women and completely turn them off. Unfortunately, that makes it that much harder for honest, normal guys to make an impression on a woman, or even get our emails to be read.

    I think Evan has touched on this many times: Because online dating allows you to be SO PICKY about every single aspect of your perfect match, people use those measures to screen out all their matches to find who they think is perfect. And of course, if you think someone is perfect, then so do 100 other people, and that perfect person just gets bombarded by email.

    I think that on these sites, there is a LOT of mail being exchanged between a FEW people. You know the Pareto principle? Where 80% of activity is from 20% of participants? I’d guess that on sites like match (which is the dating site the “beautiful people”), 90% of email exchange is between 10% of the users. These are the HOT women and HOT men who get lots and lots of emails. If you are not HOT, be prepared for a lot of disappointment.

    Notice I said email “exchange,” implying a back and forth. I know that women (hot or not) get lots of emails, but a lot of those emails are from guys they are not interested in. And average guys like me? Well, we don’t get anything.

    I’m 5’11, 170, athletic, grad school educated, with plenty of clear photos, and a profile written in the style of Evan’s first book – humorous, with plenty of information about me. I am a nonsmoker, no baggage, good salary, etc. Every email I write is customized, yet my response rate is one out of 40 if I’m lucky. I don’t only write to the hot model girls, either.

    I tell this to women not to have their pity, but just to let them know that no matter how hard they think online dating is, they should be thankful that they are not male.

  25. 55
    Stella

    Ah, Karl. Not to disappoint, but I only date men. I do, however, have many guy friends who have told me of their dating woes – for every one of their stories, I seem to have at least two.

    And Mike X – everything you have said is correct about on line dating. We do set high, almost unrealistic expectations of our future “dates” making it hard to find that perfect someone. I certainly have learned that lesson – told by one of my guy friends that I followed the 6-6-6 rule, and how was I ever going to find the right guy if I measure everyone by that standard. I have since broken myself of that rule (somewhat) and have met someone that is so not my “typical” date, but who is the perfect compliment to me and I am loving it!

  26. 56
    hunter

    on post #55

    I have heard women get into relationships, once they start seeing, a not so “typical” date.

  27. 57
    JB

    Mike X is correct. Most women have never been “a guy online” average looking or gorgeous to see how ridiculous it all is. Average looking women won’t respond to average looking men. Just like Evan says noone thinks THEY are average. I think more men are willing to “take what they can get” as opposed to women that are “3’s” thinking they’re gonna get that 1 guy that’s a “10”. I have been EVERYONE online including the “average” guy that I AM. It’s a fascinating study to watch what happens to different types of profiles…sometimes funny but mostly very sad. But hey ….even the “average” get lucky sometimes ….. ;-)

  28. 58
    hunter

    to Mike X on post #54

    Try rewriting your profile, until you get results.

    Stay away from the “beautiful people,” (they get hit on many times a day, and receive 100’s of e-mails) until, you get really good at dating.

  29. 59
    A-L

    Here are two recent e-mails guys sent me on match.com:

    want to talk (thats the entirety of the message)

    Hi u doing love my name is cleveland and im 5 10 light hazel brown eyes medium build about 180 im looking for a real realationship i hope u give me a chance im a good man i dont a picture yet but i would love to send u one my number 504xxxxxxx i hope u call

    I dont care how elitist Im being, Im not responding to those messages no matter what the guy looks like, how much he earns, etc. Unfortunately, 90-95% of the e-mails I receive are like this. And here is one of the better ones Ive received lately:

    i see you have alot goin on i to have rocs i raise them an bull mastiffs i have had the chance to travel alot i really loved it. u r so diverse it would take me a day to relay all ur xperiances to mine but i do find u intrestin an i would love to know more about you what part of new orleans ur from what college u graduated from. whats ur favorite quick meal. what type of work u do. At least hes read my profile. But is it really that hard to spell out words correctly and use standard English? Am I really asking for that much?

    But I think Mike X is right about 10% of the people on Match doing 90% of the communication. Eda and I had a discussion on a different thread whereby we discussed how race is a big factor in the (low) number of hits we get. Im 28, college-educated, moderately attractive, have an interesting profile, clear photos (head and full-body) that I tell everyone were taken in the last 10 months. I’m supposed to be at my peak of dating desireability and the garbage above is mostly what I receive. And when I initiate e-mails with guys, my response rate isnt that great. So I think online dating is hard for everybody except for the supermodels.

  30. 60
    Stella

    But isnt that what makes this whole thing amusing? Emails from the bull mastiff breeder.

    I think it is funny that all the guys on this think that the girls have the upper hand – and I would beg to guess that the girls think it is the boys that are troublesome.

    I was always amazed at how many guys emailed me pictures of their motorcycles and thought I was going to be game for a date. My profile could not be more conservative and waspy and I get Harleys – who cant spell and like to hunt.

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