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, 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
10. Married persons.
What we do to better screen, identify, control and eliminate (or help educate), persons who are not currently suitable for our program:
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.
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.
C. If photos are taken at our office portrait studio, or by a representative or another approved photographer, members will be assured of the date the photo was taken. The year the photo was taken will appear in the space beneath the photo. If the photo was taken in 2016 it would read like this: Year Photo Taken: 2016 (Year documented by Video Introductions) or whatever year it was taken.
D. If photos are not taken at our office or by one of our representatives, or another approved photographer, 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)
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).
F. Videos are strongly encouraged (although optional). We make the video optional because some persons lack access to a video interview or video camera, or may suffer from interview shyness or language limitations. We can do a video interview of any member at the Video Introductions office or you may send or bring in your own self prepared video or upload it on our website.
G. If a member has a video, the video can be reviewed on our website from a viewing screen on the Member Profile of that member. A video interview that is done at our office or by a representative serves to confirm your identity upon ID verification. You may also upload a self prepared video on our website or send it to us and we will upload it for you. However a video submitted by you may not confirm your identity if a staff member or a representative is not able to determine that you are indeed the person shown in the video. A video can be any length but should preferably be at least 3 minutes and not much longer than about 10 minutes (long videos may take longer to come up on the viewing screen so please be patient when awaiting a longer video). A video cannot mention how to contact you since members must reciprocate an interest in the person who selects them in order for contact information to be exchanged.
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,
"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.
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. 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 another method or a representative, or personally verified by a visit to our office will also receive this special verification symbol.
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.
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).
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. This serves to increase successful results and positive experiences for members.
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
O. Members are required to respond back to your selection of 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. If a member doesn�t respond back to your selection it doesn�t count as one of your selections.
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. 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 initiating a Relationship Information Request to that member (such as asking them for more detailed answers in 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.
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.
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.
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 whose gender preference is different than yours). 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.
R. Personal growth is emphasized. 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).
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.
S. We're open to suggestions from you.
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 or 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.
However we do not 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.
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.
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.
"Norman Mickey, a former Social Worker, is scrupulously honest in facilitating introductions and operates his business with the highest of integrity.
- Open Exchange Magazine Jan/Feb 2001
"There will never be another member club like Video Introductions. All the unique features that I found in your service didn't exist in any other. I belonged to at least 3 different services before I became a member of Video Introductions so I have something to compare it to.
- Brenda Gregory, San Jose, CA, May 2011
Copyright 2000-2017 Norman Mickey