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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,
"...Video dating...operating on
the principle that viewing a videotape of a potential date
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.
is far less risky than a blind date or even a computer matched date."
- Wall Street Journal
"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.
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
- 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.
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 man...you'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."
5. Selfish or naive singles who have demands of others which are way
out of balance with what they have to offer in return.
- Norman Mickey, KNEW Radio, Sept.
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
Guardian...in March (2000)...It said: CEO, seeking single white professional
woman, age 35-50, for walks on the beach, fireside chats and much more
... 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."
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?
- Jaxson Van Berbeken, San Francisco Chronicle,
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 Ineedanewgirlfriend.com)
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"
10. Married persons.
- Monte Morin, Los Angeles Times, Dec 2002
"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.
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% (Match.com 32.8% married, Dreamdates.com 41.2%
married, Friendfinder.com 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
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 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)
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)
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.
"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"
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.
- Jamie (married Video Introductions member Jan.
5, 1993), Alameda, CA, Sept. 1993
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
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..."
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.
- Kathleen, Montclair District, Oakland, CA
"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."
H. Aliases and pseudonyms are not allowed in order to discourage
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.
- Changing Times Magazine
"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.
"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. "
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 a representative,
or personally verified by a visit to our office will also receive this special
-Kristen Bender, Concord Transcript, Feb. 1994
"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'. "
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.
- Guy, Livermore, CA, June 1991
"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."
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).
- Charlotte O'Hare, Diablo Valley College Enquirer,
"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."
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.
- Cyndi and Lance, Pleasant Hill, CA, June 1989
"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.
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.
- Rob, Berkeley Hills, CA
"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"
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
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.
- Norman Mickey, "Nightbeat", KCBS Radio, Sept.
"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."
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 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.
- Robert Weider "The Best of The East Bay",
Diablo Magazine, April 1988
"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."
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
- Kathy, Walnut Creek, CA, 1987
"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".
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.
- Dave Gilson, East Bay Express, December 2002
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..."
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).
- Nancy Bronstein, Contra Costa Times, August
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.
S. We're open to suggestions from you.
- Arlette, Pittsburg, CA, 1985
"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"
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
- Bev Borgman, Contra Costa Times, Feb. 1984
"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."
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.
- Noel Phillips, Open Education Exchange, "Meeting
People in the Bay Area", Spring 1982
"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
game...how 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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