July 11, 2011 -- Have you caught the latest episodes of "The Bachelorette"? The big intrigue has been about Bentley, but as a "20/20" "We Find Them" Web avenger, I would point out something else.
The recent "We Find Them" special showcased how easily some women develop strong feelings for men they meet on dating websites. They base these feelings on photos, written profiles, online chats and sometimes phone calls, but not a single in-person encounter. The women in the episode were then scammed into giving thousands of dollars to complete strangers thousands of miles away, all before the first date.
Now consider Ashley and the remaining suitors. All of them are talking more and more about visible, palpable signs of interest. Ashley looks happier, more present and "in the moment," and she acts interested. The guys are past the stage of talking about where they are from, careers and past girlfriends. The focus of the show -- for viewers and participants -- is where it should be: on the interactions between Ashley and each guy. For viewers, this is where the entertainment is; for online daters, this is where you can see what you're missing if you limit yourself to "virtual" information.
It's like hiring. When we set out to hire someone, the first thing we do is review his or her resume. We look at education, work experience, special skills and past successes. And sure, the more we consider a resume, the greater sense we get of the candidate.
And yet we never hire people based on resumes alone. We call them and ask all sorts of questions, all the while noticing red flags or signs of a good fit. Then we interview them in person, asking questions to see how they do under pressure, how well they get along, how personable they remain as they stick to their prepared talking points.
Then we have our colleagues meet them and do the same thing. We might even share a meal or two. We then go through this again with more candidates. And when we think we have found the right one, we call their previous employers to verify their background and ask more questions.
Finally, we make a decision. This is the person we want to build a relationship with. We call the candidate and hope he or she feels the same.
So when you embark on your next online dating adventure, think of where you are in the hiring process. It will help balance the emotional with the rational side of love and happiness, and remind you that there's no "virtual" substitute for a face-to-face interview.
This work is the opinion of the columnist, and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.