I was interviewed for this article earlier today. Here are my responses: maybe you (WLIB users) will find them interesting:
Q: As a moderator, do you think we are seeing a rise in people trying to make contact/date using online options like weliveinbeijing?
A: It's only natural when males and females are interacting in an online environment to try and get to know one another intimately.
Q: Would you agree, particularly with sites like your own, that the majority of activity comes from western men in Beijing trying to date Chinese women?
A: I'm not sure what you mean in terms of "the majority of activity." (Front page views? Forum discussions? Article views?) Seventy percent of our users are Chinese, most of whom reside in Beijing. We don't really know what they talk about amongst themselves,
considering private messages are, well, private. A cursory look at our forum will reveal that conversations are multinational and tend to drift between the typical "I'm a foreigner and wonder why Chinese people do this" to some more asinine topics.
Of course there are Western men who spam female users with cookie cutter "hey baby" messages, but we usually neutralize the problem quickly. Many permutations are applicable: Western men chat up Chinese men, Chinese females chat up Western males. People talk.
While some members of our community get to know each other online and later meet in person, we would like to stress that weliveinbeijing.com is not a dating website, but an online community and resource center. Think of it as Slate meets Facebook.
Q: Do you have rough figures for;
(a) the amount of hits your site gets a week/month on the dating/classifieds?
Q: We don't have personalized ads, if that's your question.
(b) how many people put up profiles of themselves a week/month?
A: About 40 members join the community per day, on average. The figure fluctuates depending on how heavily we promote the site on any given weekend.
Q: Do you have to take down many classifieds because they are inappropriate?
A: Our classified section is primarily for housing and employment. We rarely encounter inappropriate housing and employment ads.
Q: Just generally, do you have any thoughts on the changing ways in which dating/romance in Beijing is developing?
A: Since I moved to Beijing in mid-2006, I've noticed that Chinese females have become more assertive and less obsequious towards Western men. Good for them! And of course, the rise of social networking websites has made meeting your fellow Beijing residents
easier than ever before. I think both trends will continue in the future.