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UK online dating group Compa (http://www.compa.co.uk) has extended its free access period until 1 July 2005 as it continues to attract new users to its group dating service.

Compa is different to most online dating sites, as it is aimed at groups of friends looking for love or friendship, rather than individuals. This means that you can register your housemates or colleagues as a group, before searching for like-minded groups to arrange a night out and meet new friends.

With Compa, online dating becomes fun, rather than scary. Why? Well, people behave differently in groups, as any sociologist will tell you.

The chances of finding love (or a new boyfriend / girlfriend) are much higher with Compa, since users meet 2-6 people on each date (you choose).

Compa is the original UK group dating site, having launched its beta site just four months ago in November 2004. It has attracted a wave of press interest (http://www.compa.co.uk/?action=misc&subaction=press) and is in talks with numerous brand partners, the first of which will be unveiled shortly.

Compa CEO Ed Fitzhugh spent several years in Japan, where one-to-one dating remains something of a stigma, and it was this experience that prompted him to avoid the usual web dating model, preferring to bring something brand new to the UK.

"Compa makes a lot of sense for people who might be a little shy or too nervous to contemplate one-on-one dating. But more than that, it removes the serious element and allows people to have fun and relax with their friends... while meeting new friends," he said.

"The feedback we have had so far from users - and the press - has been nothing short of tremendous and we will be unveiling some exciting new services and partnerships in the coming months, as the site moves closer to a full launch, when it will become paid-for," he added.


For more information please contact Ed Fitzhugh on 07793 721444 or email ed@compa.co.uk.

<Notes for editors>

What is Compa.co.uk and how does it work?

Compa.co.uk is a relaxed, fun and different way to meet new people, have fun and maybe find love along the way! Popular in Japan, a Compa is like a group blind date - you and a few of your mates go out with another group of the same size.

It's comfortable, fun, unstressful and you are making new friends while sizing up the other group for relationship potential!

Unlike speed dating or online dating, group dating with Compa is very relaxed - there is mercifully no danger of spending a whole uncomfortable evening with a person you have nothing in common with, and you have more than three short speed-dating minutes to make a judgement about the people you meet.

The Compa website works a lot like normal online dating sites. The big difference is that rather than being one on one, you register on the site and then go out in groups of between 2 and 6.

You can search the site's database for groups in your area. Search by location, number of group members, sexuality of group etc

How do I join Compa.co.uk?

Joining the original UK group dating service is easy and basic membership is free. No need to waste hours filling in pointless information like how many children you want to have and who your ideal dinner party guests would be (yawn).

Each group need to nominate a captain who organises the group. The captain signs up the group, enters the email addresses other members of the group, who will subsequently receive an email with their unique account ID and password info. Once the profiles have been filled in, and have been approved by a moderator, the profile goes live and other groups can see the profile and contact you.

When you have found another group you like the look of and want to contact them, you will need to upgrade to full membership. Dating has never been this laid back.

Sign up today: http://www.compa.co.uk/?action=group/new

Does online dating really work?

Of course! Nowadays it is harder to meet people and we all want the same things - to go out, have fun, meet people and also hopefully find love along the way. Compa offers a new twist on the online dating formula - you meet other groups of people rather than just individuals. You might find your dream partner, even if you don't you have extended your social circle, met some new people and had a good time.

Is it safe?

Meeting people at Compa is about as safe as social arrangements can be. You are not alone with a single person, you are always among friends, so no concern about going out with an axe murderer or worrying about your drink being spiked while you are in the loo! However, normal safety concerns still apply and there are a few rules you should follow.

For added safety follow these simple rules:

- Don't give your home address or telephone number to strangers.

- When communicating between captains, each captain will see the real email address of the other, so it might be a good idea to use a free generic email account like hotmail, yahoo etc

Published on: 12:00AM on 24th March 2005