The Profile Coach.com, meanwhile, offers 12 "proven" profiles for . "I felt he was less than honest, a manipulator and downright stupid," says Ms. Chele Frizell, a 34-year-old nurse in Dayton, Ohio, swiped a My headline from a friend: "Those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand." She confessed her theft in a missive to the My Space page of Holly Payne, 34, of Hollywood: "I totally copied your headline, but in Spanish. A favorite among women: "If you love mushroom ravioli, romantic nights by a fire, and spring camping trips, please reply!
Sample: "There is a shallowness, a fakeness to much of the 'singles scene.'" A number of blogs offer free headlines for social-networking profiles, including, "Ernie's train of thought has derailed." For , offers 20 personal essays and 100 headlines, all updated weekly. " And for men: "I guarantee I can change the oil in your car in 10 minutes flat." Laurie Crane says three men copied her profile, apparently thinking it would spark her interest.
who visit online dating and social-networking sites are a growing number of dullards who steal personal profiles, life philosophies, even signature poems.
Copycats use the real-life wit of others to create cut-and-paste personas, hoping to land dates or just look clever. Original souls who discover they have been replicated say it's unethical and creepy.
Hugh Gallagher, a 36-year-old writer in New York, is one of the copied. Gallagher's college entrance essay, which he penned nearly two decades ago and later appeared in Harper's Magazine. "I came across a guy who completely STOLE my profile message," posts one woman in Michigan.
In a recent survey of more than 400 online daters commissioned by Engage.com, 9% of respondents said they copied from another person's profile; 15% suspect their own words were stolen. " The quest for originality has spawned the services of online-dating coaches and profile writers. Dave Mizrachi, 34, of Miami sells an "Insider Internet Dating" course for $97. Mizrachi includes his own dating profile, advising men to use it as a guide. C., says he has received about 10 emails asking permission to copy his dating profile, which is headlined, "Wanted outlaw princess." Said princess is someone who "while climbing a tree can be all woman, while letting you know she can climb higher than you would ever dare." Among Mr.
A profile of a man in Redmond, Wash., includes this postscript: "Shame on the woman who plagiarized my narrative and stole it for her profile! But at least 25 people on have stolen his lines, including: "I get a lot of women emailing me, (which is great for an ego boost)." One man uses Mr. A recent search on brought up more than 90 profiles with such lines as: "I want an opposite. "Everybody steals the same lines so they are not original anymore." The Internet makes plagiarism anonymous and easy. Garansi's requirements: "Chunky is fine but lumpy is how I like my mashed potatoes, and rolls are only good when served with dinner." He says he refuses people who ask to copy his work.
A yin to my yang," or "You know that woman who is the first person on the dance floor at every party? They were cribbed from sample profiles posted online at by dating coach and profile writer Evan Marc Katz. Nearly half of high-school students and nearly 40% of college undergrads confess they copy online sources, according to surveys conducted by Donald Mc Cabe, a founder of the Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University in South Carolina. "People are still trying to develop a sense of how to present themselves online," says Joseph Walther, a communication professor at Michigan State University. "I'm not Cyrano de Bergerac," he says, referring to the 19th-century play about a man penning love letters for a rival. Cambria Lovelady, a 31-year-old editor in Austin, Texas, went on two dull dates with a man and afterward reread his online profile. "Either they lack imagination, or they just don't know who they are," says Mr. Online administrators say complaints of copied profiles are rare. Look at what everyone else is saying and then SAY SOMETHING DIFFERENT," advises the site.The book "Online Dating for Dummies" tells readers not to fret about copying. He had copied her entire "About Me" paragraph including, "I'm afraid of heights and large birds." And Dale Sherstobitoff, 42, of British Columbia copied this from someone else on Plentyoffish.com: "I am the type of person that likes to think of my glass as half full." Tracing authorship can be complicated. If a profile is sufficiently creative, its author could theoretically sue a copier under copyright law. "As a practical matter, what you would probably try to do is try to get the site to take the copier's profile down," says Jeffrey Neuburger, of law firm Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP. Last year, released online dating tips, including the importance of a strong "About Me" paragraph. Yahoo Personals provides two examples with the plea, "Don't copy these profiles exactly." But a quick search shows plenty have."I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees" and "I write award-winning operas" are among Mr. They worked well enough for Jim Carey, a 38-year-old pharmaceutical salesman in Bothell, Wash. A year ago, he arranged to meet a woman for drinks. "I mean he had to have copied and pasted the whole thing and then just changed gender specific things to fit his own!!He says he wanted women to know he was funny but was too lazy to think up anything. " Online daters feel pressure to stand out and believe they must sell themselves like a product, say researchers at Georgetown, Rutgers and Michigan State universities who are conducting a joint study of them."You are not making money off of somebody else's work; you're just trying to market yourself," says self-confessed copier Jeff Picazio, a 40-year-old computer-systems manager in Boynton Beach, Fla.After hunting for some copy-and-paste help -- including borrowing the line "you will soon learn that I'm a raging egomaniac" -- Mr. A search on My brought up more than 700 recent comments that accuse others of stealing headlines, user names, songs, background designs and entire profiles. to her profile: "To the girl who copied my profile -- and denies it..s-!