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"Mickey believes in the open, honest approach to meeting people and it is with this in mind that he established Video Introductions...he decided to start the Concord service through his own experiences of being single... 'I saw my own unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the singles scene... I saw mutual suspicions between the sexes... I saw so much loneliness in bars, where it is difficult to establish clean, clear communication. There are so many deceitful games, and those who play the game best end up with someone. But they don't always win'." - Susan Hagen, Concord Transcript, Aug. 1979
eliminating dating guessing games
"...Video dating...operating on the principle that viewing a videotape of a potential date
is far less risky than a blind date or even a computer matched date."
- Wall Street Journal
According to various reports, a high percentage of people misrepresent something about themselves when trying to meet another person through personal ads, 900 number phone lines and web-based dating services. This causes a lot of frustration and disappointment for everyone involved, including the person who misrepresents him/herself in the first place. An actual meeting provides self-evident contradictions,singles depicting age and weight misrepresentation and the truth eventually comes out in instances of less obvious misrepresentations. Any date obtained through misleading claims is precarious at best and a relationship based on dishonesty is ultimately likely to fail. Both persons are negatively affected by this transaction and are deprived of valuable time, emotion, and more realistic relationship opportunities. Sadly, the perpetrator of this hoax lacks sufficient awareness of why this tactic is ultimately self defeating. Unfortunately, many of us are victims of a society influenced by advertising industry hype that encourages falsehoods and leads us believe that there are advantages and rewards to be gained through misrepresentation. Our program provides an approach which will not only help you avoid this type of situation, but also provides everyone with an opportunity for some critical self examination and an awareness of the long-term consequences of duplicitous tactics. Personal growth has been an important feature of Video Introductions program since our inception in 1977. Our program is designed to promote honesty, openness, fairness, mutual understanding, and a basis for trust in relationships.

"The very elimination of anxiety when the doorbell rings... will he look like Ivanhoe or Ivan the terrible?
- has already won video dating the hearts of singles throughout the land"
- TV Guide

In addition to dealing with the rather common occurrence of the man who overstates his height or financial success, or the woman who understates her weight or age, our program is designed to help screen out some other kinds of persons (and/or serve as a vehicle for personal change) for those individuals who seek out introduction processes that allow or encourage misrepresentation and false or unrealistic expectations. These individuals include:

The 10 Types of Persons You Want to Avoid in Your Dating Endeavors

1. Frivolous on-line participants who waste your time because they have no serious intent of ever meeting anyone.  fearful single These singles are sometimes low investment-low involvement singles with little to lose for their folly.

2. Fearful participants who may lack the courage to meet you. And of course, there are those persons who are afraid to meet you because if they did, their obvious misrepresentations would become readily apparent.

"... my mom has been exchanging e-mail letters with a man from out of state. They talked about meeting and how much they love each other. Mom uses a fake name and told this guy lies about her life. She's portraying herself as a young pretty girl: she's really a 53 year-old frumpy housewife. She is addicted to the internet and has been sneaking around to get on it. She also calls this guy. I know how addictive the internet can be. It can ruin your life by making infidelity easier."
- A letter to Dear Abby, advice columnist

3. Fantasy participants who dream about a relationship and may even take some initial steps to pursue one, but in reality fool themselves and others, because when things begin to get serious, these singles are unable to follow through with a real commitment.
perfectionistic single
4. Perfectionist singles who in reality, unwittingly arrange to make themselves unavailable to almost everyone because of their very unrealistic qualifications and expectations of others.

"We have as singles, a shopping list of who's the right person for us, and as a result this checklist gets in the way of finding the right person...If you want a tall've eliminated 2/3's of the men from the get-go. Then if you say you want an attractive person, and if you divide (the remaining men) into 3 equal parts of attractive, ordinary and unattractive, you've eliminated another 2/3's of the men. Mathematically speaking, if you go down to about 7,8 or 9 pre-qualified  results you've eliminated virtually your entire pool of available candidates, and so many people unwittingly do that... Open up your parameters, don't prejudge...and allow more people to come in before you start filtering them out."
- Norman Mickey, KNEW Radio, Sept. 2003
5. Selfish or naive singles who have demands of others which are way out of balance with what they have to offer in return.

6. Unscrupulous and manipulative users who connive to get what they want without regard to how it may affect you. Some sophisticated practitioners of this approach are Confidence (con-men) and women, prisoners, and persons who pose as a different gender, profession, background, etc .

"Garrison is already shopping for wife No. 9. From his jail cell, he took out a personals ad in the Bay March (2000)...It said: CEO, seeking single white professional woman, age 35-50, for walks on the beach, fireside chats and much more suspicious single ... San Francisco police arrested Garrison last year on grand theft charges after he victimized Baliantz. He met her in 1993 at a local church after he got out of San Quentin...for victimizing an earlier wife."
- Jaxson Van Berbeken, San Francisco Chronicle, July, 2000
7. Dysfunctional and abusive persons (including verbal and e-mail abuse). Although these persons are not always easy to spot at first, are you using a meeting method which attempts to identify these persons, track complaints and protect you?

8. Persons with unverified identities who seem too good to be true, especially on a web site or another medium that allows anonymous names and doesn't attempt to verify identify.

9. Persons you don't know much about who send you emotionally appealing or flattering e-mails or letters, when the person or company who sent them have a hidden agenda or a disguised financial motive.
"The lawsuit claims that phony e-mails with photos of beautiful women were sent to men (by asking them for a reply or for a date. Once the men paid their membership fee and e-mailed the women, they never heard back... To prove his contention, Fineman says he concocted a handful of cyber straw men - false profiles of men he believed no woman would want to be involved with. They were the internet's most ineligible bachelors: hard-drinking, overweight and out-of-work men. Their goal, he stated in their profiles, was to meet rich beautiful women who would support them. ...The offers rolled in... In some cases the plaintiff's made up profiles generated identical replies, although the names and photos were different"
- Monte Morin, Los Angeles Times, Dec 2002
10. Married persons.
"Norm Mickey is particularly appalled at the prospect of finding a mate through 900 dating lines...
they often set up people for disappointment...'a number of married people use these 900 lines.
You can put up a pretty good pretense over the telephone (Mickey said)'."

- Michael Robinson, The Oakland Tribune, Sept. 1993

What we do to better screen, identify, control and eliminate (or help educate), persons who are not currently suitable for our program:

"More than 30% of visitors to the top three stand-alone personals sites, are married according to statistics from Media Matrix, the New York based research firm... at two of these sites... the figure was more than 40% ( 32.8% married, 41.2% married, 48% married)... while the survey didn't attempt to measure how many of these married visitors actually sign up for dating services... a study last year by a Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. found that 18% of registered users at online dating sites are married."
- Brad Reagan, The Wall Street Journal, April 2002

A. Married persons are not allowed to become Video Introductions members in contrast to some personals sites that permit married persons to use their site to try to meet singles. In the 4/15/02 Wall Street Journal article "Bored of the Rings", Yahoo! personals, although claiming that the vast majority of their members are single, explained that they allow the inclusion of married person if they identify themselves as "married but looking" on the basis that they realize there are people that may be in relationships and looking for a change.

new member - photo not yet available

B. Photos are required - unlike photo-optional or non-photo sites. Any photos submitted should either be uploaded by the member or sent to us within 30 days of joining and absolutely before any contact between members can take place. Until the photo is posted, a "New Member, Photo not yet Available" illustration will appear in it's place.

Year photo was taken - confirmed by Video Introductions C. If photos are taken at our office V.I. Portrait Studio, or by a representative or another approved studio, members will be assured of the date the photo was taken. If the photo was taken in 2003, the space beneath the photo will read like this: Year Photo Taken: 2003 (Year documented by Video Introductions)

Year photo was taken according to members statement - not confirmed by Video Introductions D. If photos are not taken at V.I. Portrait Studio or by one of our representatives, or another approved studio, you can either send your photo to us or upload your photo through the upload process on the Video Introductions web site. Photos should be fairly representative of what you look like now and must specify if they have been photographically or digitally enhanced. Photos should be dated as to when the photo was taken if you submit a photo. It's OK to use an older photo if getting a more recent one proves difficult, but it should be identified as such. For example, a photo taken in 2001 and submitted in 2003 should designate 2001 as the year the photo was taken and will be listed as: Year Photo Taken: 2001 (Year member states photo was taken)

Year photo was taken - no date available E. Photos already on file and new photos submitted, in which the year is not specified or known, will be listed as: Year Photo Taken: Undated (Year member states photo was taken)

Please keep in mind that the classification Undated will include some photos that have been taken quite some time ago, so you may want to ask the person how old the photo is before meeting them. Although we'd prefer to have an up-to-date photo, we're aware that not everyone has the time, opportunity or inclination to get a new one. Therefore older photos are permitted as long as a member doesn't misrepresent when the photo was taken. If someone is purposely misrepresenting information about themselves, please alert us through our online member complaint procedure (see item K. below).

singles shakedown - unfair sales tactics

"Dear Video Introductions. I remember calling "Great Expectations" and feeling so disheartened. I could not get a straight answer from them as to how much money would be involved and I became alienated by what I sensed was a heavy sales pitch - without even a little human support or hopefulness coming from them... after feeling momentarily disappointed, I was fortunate enough to call Video Introductions next... My heart breaks when I think of all the people who do not make that second important call to Video Introductions...The person who answered was so nice... she really was an excellent example of what the whole organization is all about. Caring, helpful, professional, and also knowledgeable regarding human relationship and emotional growth issues... through your fine organization, it took less than six weeks to find the person who was the embodiment of everything I was looking for in a husband, friend and (hopefully one day) a co-parent to our children... how wonderful it was that you had a "Passive" plan... because at the time I joined I was a student on a very limited income. This is something that I also appreciate about your organization: that it is inclusive of everyone, regardless of present income"
- Jamie (married Video Introductions member Jan. 5, 1993), Alameda, CA, Sept. 1993
F. Videos are strongly encouraged (although optional). We make the video optional because some persons lack access to a video interview or suffer from interview shyness or language limitations. However we can do a videotaped interview of any member at the Video Introductions office or you may send or bring in your own.
In a "study of marriages of more than 8,000 couples, Professor David Olson, University of Minnesota found that 40 percent were characterized by dissatisfaction in all of the important elements of a relationship. Only 9% were identified as having the highest level of marital satisfaction."
- San Francisco Chronicle, October 1992
Video Introductions marriage photo - Mike and Carmen
Mike and Carmen Anselmo Family
- still happily married members, married Sept. 25, 1992
"Dear Norm - We were so glad you could come to the wedding. I never thought that evening when Lia dragged me into your office that I would meet such a perfect guy and we'd marry! It certainly worked..."
- Kathleen, Montclair District, Oakland, CA
video button indicating video dating interview available G. Video interviews of some members may be ordered by mail as an optional extra. For those who live locally, videos may be viewed at the Video Introductions office.
"Daters who have tried videotaping say it is the best arrangement because you get a good idea of what a person is really like and it limits the chances of encountering someone with annoying mannerisms that a computer would fail to spot."
- Changing Times Magazine
man posing as a woman H. Aliases and pseudonyms are not allowed in order to discourage misrepresentation and prevent fictitious, duplicitous and non-serious persons from becoming members. Members are required to provide real first and last names. If you learn that someone is using a name other than their real name, please let us know. Deliberate misrepresentation or the use of an alias or pseudonym is subject to expulsion from the organization. Our policy is in distinct contrast to web sites, phone lines and personals that allow or encourage members to use false names which can result not only in false representation, but also provides an opportunity for one person to register and pose as several different persons or a different gender, profession, background, etc.

Video Introductions marriage photo - Jasmin & Robert

"Dear Norman, I had faith that I would meet someone, but I wasn't expecting it to happen quite so soon... I want to thank you for everything you did to make this possible and I really appreciate the "personal touch" that you were able to offer... I've had a wonderful year with an amazing man & I have you to thank for that!"
- Jasmin, El Cerrito, CA, Dec. 2000
Jasmin and Robert West were married June 1, 2003

I. Real addresses are necessary for agency records. Home addresses are not given out unless a special problem arises (such as a criminal investigation). Post office boxes or e-mail addresses only, are unacceptable substitutes for obvious reasons.
Video Introductions Cupid "If Cupid had known people would catch the love bug by watching video tapes of one another, he may have traded in his bow and arrow for a camcorder... Polito was tired of the singles scene and hooking up with the wrong people, and told a friend she was going on a ''manhunt". But her search was cut short after seeing Anthony Bender's video tape a few days after joining the service. Leanell Polito and Anthony Bender met through Concord-based Video Introductions in November and plan to marry in May... Right away she knew it was love. "We knew when we saw the videos, the video is what did it. We we're talking (the first time on the phone) about when we we're going to get married and how many kids we were going to have...When I first watched the video, I said 'oh my God, he is exactly like me except in male form'...their first date...was such a success it lasted all weekend. "
-Kristen Bender, Concord Transcript, Feb. 1994
J. Notary public identity verification (for those who can't come into the office) is encouraged to help prove that the person really is who they say they are.Video Introductions Identity Verification Symbol These are available at notary publics worldwide at a relatively low cost (usually $10 or less in California). Members who make the effort to provide such notarizations will be specially identified on this site with a verification symbol, giving them greater credibility as relationship candidates. Members whose identity has been determined by a representative, or personally verified by a visit to our office will also receive this special verification symbol.
"Norm, I'd like to thank you for your honest, caring attitude in your treatment of me as a client. It is a pleasure to deal with someone such as yourself, who shares a genuine concern for the customer, and is not just looking for the 'almighty dollar'. "
- Guy, Livermore, CA, June 1991
singles investigation service suspicious woman K. Investigative identity verification and background checks are also available as a member option. These are more expensive but provide an even better method of proving that a person is who they say they are. This option is available so that a member may request identity verification or a background check of any other member in order to know more about this person before or after meeting them. This fee is paid for by the member who requests this optional service.

"I was hesitant when I arranged this interview. I expected to find a high pressure sales outfit. However I was impressed with the level of caring and professionalism."
- Charlotte O'Hare, Diablo Valley College Enquirer, Dec. 1990
L. Misrepresentations and inappropriate behavior can lead to termination or other action via our online complaint tracking system. This will help to eliminate deceptive, inconsiderate and harmful people from the program. Members are given an opportunity to respond to any complaint. It's been our experience that some complaints are simply misunderstandings which can be resolved through an effective communication process (we're also aware that a few people seem to complain unnecessarily and can benefit from taking a look at the role they played in a problem or misunderstanding).

"We found in each other the sharing and commitment we both wanted. Looking forward to sharing our love for the rest of our lives. We both want to thank you for bringing us together. Our shy personalities and quiet life styles would never have allowed us to meet without Video Introductions."
- Cyndi and Lance, Pleasant Hill, CA, June 1989
Video Introductions selection button M. Numbers of selections are limited on less expensive membership plans so that members will make serious, instead of trivial or frivolous, expressions of interest in you. This will limit your exposure to insincere and non-serious persons who have not invested much in the program and have little to lose if a complaint arises.

"Dear Norm, I just received my V.I. refund check today (due to a job relocation away from the area) and I was surprised to receive it so soon. I shouldn't be though, because it is typical of the way you all at Video Introductions have treated me since I joined: with warmth and the highest of integrity... more importantly it's a reflection of the type of people you are.
- Rob, Berkeley Hills, CA
N. Membership plans offering more selections cost more, resulting in a greater monetary penalty if a non-refundable termination of membership should occur, as the result of a serious legitimate complaint against the member which can't be resolved through counseling or some other means.
sad single woman
"We've gone beyond video dating. I wasn't content to have just a video dating service... the individual may have some need for personal counseling to deal with a dating situation properly... we have a Licensed Marriage & Family Counselor on our staff who does singles counseling on an individual and couple basis"
- Norman Mickey, "Nightbeat", KCBS Radio, Sept. 1988
O. Members are required to respond back to your expressions of interest in them within a limited period of time, giving you a definite yes or no answer as to whether or not they are likewise interested in you (or an acceptable explanation for the delay), or they face being inactivated. A member may also initiate inactive status with reactivation privileges for a period of time if they enter into an exclusive relationship with someone, or if they temporarily don't want to consider any new relationship prospects for other reasons.
"V.I. reflects its founder's professional counseling background. Singles and couples counseling is offered and there's an audio-cassette library with tapes 'Be Single and Happy' and 'How to Pick the Right Partner'. A singles drop-in support group is offered... plus an Ethics and Grievance committee. V.I.'s promotional pamphlet includes articles, essays, tips, quotes and rules on successful relationships... V.I. also throws parties and offers activities... More importantly, V.I. has its own 'Happily Married' binders."
- Robert Weider "The Best of The East Bay", Diablo Magazine, April 1988
P. More complete and relevant information about members is available than you're likely to find elsewhere, as a result of the various unique information requirements and options available through our program. openness and honest self-disclosure in dating More information options allow each member to access the level and amount of information they need to feel comfortable about making a decision - who to select, who to respond to, and who to actually meet. A member can pursue additional information about another member (for example, by carefully assessing their partner compatibility questionnaire), or from another member (such as asking them for more detailed answers in the comments sections of the member profile or compatibility questionnaire, or by requesting an up-to-date photo, video or an identity verification) before making a decision. More information lessens fear of the unknown and allows you to take an educated risk. Our program encourages your openness and honest self-disclosure which in turn leads to openness and honest self-disclosure in others. This lessens the likelihood of problems and enhances your results.
"It never ceases to amaze me the few businesses that show a genuine concern for their potential customers and I was impressed with you taking the extra time... Because of your honesty, no pressure sales and genuine concern for people, I'm looking forward to joining V.I. in the near future."
- Kathy, Walnut Creek, CA, 1987
bride and groom Video Introductions Partner Compatilbility Questionnaire searches Q. Partner Compatibility Questionnaire. Anyone who takes the time to seriously fill this out not only gives you both a lot of helpful information to better decide if you're right for each other, but the questionnaire process also gives you both a wonderful opportunity to learn more about who you really are. Through this process, becoming aware of something which is interfering with your objectives is the first step toward personal and relationship fulfillment.
"For 25 years he's provided singles with what he considers a safe and effective way to find love, not only videotaped personal profiles, but relationship counseling, verification of clients' identities, and his own specially designed "partner compatibility" software ...Norman Mickey of Video Introductions... He's spent much of his professional life trying to get people to overcome their aversions to admitting (their needs) ..."We're a society that feels ashamed to admit our deficiencies, especially something as personal as our ability to attract somebody," he says... "(some) people don't want to walk in our doors because they're ashamed... They'd rather stay home in their pajamas and go online with an anonymous name".
- Dave Gilson, East Bay Express, December 2002
In contrast, non-serious persons are not as likely to fill out the questionnaire or see it as a vehicle for personal change, thus allowing you to decide whether you'd rather focus on persons who may be better relationship candidates, by virtue of having taken the time and effort (an average of about 20 to 30 minutes for each part of the two part questionnaire) to seriously complete the questionnaire and provide you with maximum information about themselves.

Video Introductions Partner Compatibility Questionnaire information buttons If a member's Partner Compatibility Questionnaire has been properly completed and entered, you will be able to readily determine this by looking at the area beneath their photo on their Member Profile web page. If the member has completed the questionnaire, this area will display various buttons to click on which will give you additional information and help you to better assess compatibility with this person (note: some compatibility buttons do not appear if you have failed to log in to the members' area of the site, or if you attempt to access partner compatibility information from the profile of a person of your same sex). Also, you may want to check your own compatibility questionnaire to see if you have answered it correctly and completely. If for some reason you have not completed it or it lacks some information, please enter your answers to the questionnaire via the "Answer Compatibility Questionnaire" link on the main menu of the web site.
"Video Introductions in Concord. Highly personalized video dating service... unique... services include singles support group, low fee counseling, library of tapes on the singles life and variety of social events... Norman Mickey, social worker and founder... a singles advocate and self appointed local watchdog for the industry..."
- Nancy Bronstein, Contra Costa Times, August 1987
R. Personal growth is emphasized.questioning woman We want to better educate members and prospective members as to appropriate, ethical and productive dating behavior. You also have access and referral to a Licensed Counselor in the San Francisco Bay Area as an optional service for an additional fee (the Comprehensive membership plan entitles you to a free initial session if you should need it during the course of your membership).excited woman

Some persons may not understand how their thoughts, attitudes, perceptions, beliefs and behavior interact against them to cause negative consequences in their life and the lives of others. No one wants to be the cause of their own problems but some persons simply don't know how or why to deal with things differently. Life is a learning process. We become a part of this learning process through your association with our program. The relationship information and tools that we provide, help to provoke some insights about better ways of coping with relationships and related personal issues. In addition to being a dating service we're an organization committed to promoting greater self and other-awareness and personal growth opportunities. You may be amazed at what you learn and how it can change your life.

"We surely are thankful to Video Introductions to make it possible for us to be so very happily married. Also Norm, thank you for all of your advice and help to both of us - as it got me back active and it got Dan as a new member, a wife! Proof! V.I. works!!!
- Arlette, Pittsburg, CA, 1985
S. We're open to suggestions from you. single woman in store single man in bar
"For anybody that's single, you know how difficult it is to meet somebody who's nice... How could you get all of that information by just looking across a cocktail lounge or being in a store and seeing someone? You just don't walk up to them.... Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a process to find out about that person without feeling threatened? Well, there is such a thing in Concord - it's Video Introductions!...if you're interpreted in caviar and you're selective about the way you want to find it...Video Introductions... certainly does beat the 'meat' market scene, hands down!"
- Heather Woods, Televents, April 1985

Our procedures and safeguards serve to limit the number of members we choose to service. They also drastically limit the kind of persons you'd rather not have as members and improve the quality of those who do join. Of course it is impossible to eliminate all questionable persons, but from this perspective a smaller membership is better. We will never be able to claim that we have the largest number of members compared to other dating services (many of which quote grossly exaggerated membership figures without giving you a way to preview all of their members and confirm their membership claims), but we will be able to say that we have taken several precautions to limit your exposure to persons who misrepresent themselves and help you screen out certain types of persons that you would like to avoid.

"Jim, a 30-year old attorney, looks earnestly from the video screen... On another screen, businesswoman Greta, 59 is being reviewed by a potential date... One thing is certain: They'll never give a more open honest view of themselves than they do in front of Video Introductions camera"
- Bev Borgman, Contra Costa Times, Feb. 1984
We do not however want to give the impression that we are a snobby, elitist singles organization. One of our objectives is to give everyone an awareness of better ways to interact with others and find healthy relationships, regardless of income. We have made a tremendous effort over the years to provide a quality program with helpful personal growth information, resources, and caring services for singles available for rich or poor alike, with low or no-cost membership options and other alternatives available - as opposed to the more lucrative industry practice of focusing primarily on profit-driven marketing and deceptive and/or high-pressure sales to maximize revenue at the expense of attention to customers needs and helpful personal service afterward.

"The general consensus is that video provides a more realistic assessment of compatibility than other mediums... We found Norman Mickey of Video Introductions to be extremely helpful and informative. His rates are comparatively low and the full details of your contract and commitment are carefully spelled out in advance."
- Noel Phillips, Open Education Exchange, "Meeting People in the Bay Area", Spring 1982
Related Note: In a further effort to provide help to disadvantaged singles who may be deprived of healthy marriage opportunities, Norman Mickey while a representative of Contra Costa County Social Service Dept. supervising work and training programs for public assistance recipients, participated in former President Clinton's task force commission recommendations on welfare reform. Norman Mickey personally originated and proposed to the chairpersons of President Clinton's task force, the innovative concept of enabling single welfare recipients to leave government public assistance through marriage via marriage assistance services (rather than focusing only on traditional employment, training and work incentive programs). This concept was subsequently supported by President Bush's administration with plans for demonstration projects to provide marriage assistance services to public assistance recipients.
"President Bush is seeking welfare legislation with...more support for marriage... the administration's proposal to spend $300 million on demonstration projects like premarital counseling and pro-marriage education campaigns.
- Nina Bernstein, New York Times, June 2002

If you would like to find out more about becoming a member of a long established, humane and caring, quality singles organization with an exemplary reputation since 1977, please click here to see how to go about becoming a Video Introductions member.

"Getting back into the dating does one go about creating the right frame of mind.
This was the question we took to Norman Mickey, director of Video Introductions, for an expert's guidance."

- Single Again magazine, 1978

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