Shooting Times Interview
The Shooting Times issue on 26 October 2006 included an interview with Mike O’Brien:
Where did the idea for a countryside dating agency come from?
I have always lived in the country, and noticed over the past few years that a lot of people who separate or divorce can find it very difficult to meet new people. This is much more of a problem in rural areas, as quite often the only local meeting place is the village pub, which may be frequented by your ex-partner.
How long has the agency been set up for?
The agency is a website, which went live in May of this year.
How does it work?
It is free to enter your details on the website, but if you want to communicate or make contact with other people you have to pay a small monthly subscription.
What is unique about your agency?
Firstly it is a web based agency so anyone can register and place their details on the site for free. Secondly it is aimed specifically at rural people, so you should be able to find someone with similar interests, assuming you are looking for country people.
Does it cost to join?
It is free to join, but if you want to contact or communicate with other people there is monthly charge of £15.99
Do you think that the dating scene is harder in the countryside than in urban areas?
I think it is much more difficult to meet new people in rural areas, as we have small communities where everyone knows each other, and the chances of meeting anyone new people are really restricted unless you go into the local town, or are prepared to move house.
In urban areas there are so many more opportunities for people to meet, and I think everyone is just more tuned into going out and making new friends.
How many people are signed on to your agency?
There are currently over 85,000 people signed up.
Do you cater for any age group?
No, we welcome all age groups and we have people from 20 to 80 on the site.
What is the success rate?
We don’t really measure the success rate, as we provide a platform for people to meet each other, but don’t get involved beyond that.
Do you partake in any countryside pursuits yourself?
Yes, I shoot and my wife hunts, so we are very involved with country pursuits.
What do you think makes the perfect dating agency?
In our case it is a combination of having a user friendly website combined with a good number of people with similar interests.
What would advice would you give people who say that they are embarrassed to join a dating agency?
We have a “Tips for Success” on our website, and this aims to address the various issues that may concern people about joining a web-based dating agency. It explains how to get the most out of our website, and how to go about communicating and eventually meeting others in a safe way.
Any interesting stories from your dating agency days?
At the moment it is still early days, so we don’t have any marriages to announce yet, but we hope they will come along in due course.