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If you're interested in online dating, you're not alone. Online dating is getting more and more popular as time goes by. In a recent survey it was found that 39% of heterosexual couples first met their spouse online. That's a 17% increase from what the numbers were in 2009. For good or bad, online dating is a common and oft-used way to meet new people.
For better or worse, the days of randomly meeting someone and falling in love at a party, in a bar, or at the supermarket are going by the wayside. Many people find that meeting someone online gives them more control over who they meet as well as an overall safer experience. After all, if you meet online you can actually do some research on a potential date before ever meeting up with them in person.
Tuesday, September 27th
Match has been around a long time - since 1995, in fact. That's a lot of years to be able to perfect the process of finding the perfect match. One thing they boast about is that they service 24 countries/territories and have sites in 15 languages. While it's likely you'll want to find someone physically close to you, Match is a global matchmaking site.
What you get for free
Your features are pretty limited with Match's free version, but it's nice to be able to dip your toe into the online dating scene without a financial commitment - at least to start. With a free account, you get limited messaging, up to 6 top picks a day, unlimited likes, and see who Super likes you. Of course, you get a lot more features if you subscribe.
When you first sign up, you put in your first name, email, and birthday. Then they ask for some basic information - height, body type, relationship status, have kids, want kids, education, smoking, drinking, ethnicity, religion, interests, information about the type of person you're looking for, and a chance to upload a picture. You can skip all of those if you'd like to add that later. You're also given the chance to upgrade right away to the premium subscription or to stick with the free version. As a final step, you are asked to put your cell number in to receive a text code to verify you are at least a real person.
Match does have a couple of subscription plans.
Fantastic FAQ section
Match has a great FAQ section we recommend you check out as well. Not only can you get help with your profile, read all about how their site works, and get help with technical issues, but you can also get great advice on how to stay safe as you explore the world of online dating. This includes 2 free "Garbo'' background checks on potential dates for free members and 4 free ones for subscribers. If you need more than the free ones, you can purchase them for a small fee. Garbo will search public records including arrests, convictions, and sex offender registry information before you decide to meet up in person. You can't be too careful these days.
The reviews we found on Match were mixed. Some customers were very happy with the site, but others complained. One we read said that if you are a subscriber but want to message someone that isn't, they'll never receive your message until either they decide to subscribe or until you pay for them to be able to read it. We did read that subscriptions auto-renew - they are at least upfront about that - but we did notice complaints about having trouble getting the auto-renew to actually stop even after canceling. There were a lot of complaints about nothing but scammers messaging them as well. However, as you research online dating sites, you'll soon see that these complaints are commonplace: there's no one service that is loved by every user, and Match fares better than most in overall satisfaction.
Best choice overall
While not the cheapest option out there, Match remains the best choice for a solid online dating experience. The profile process definitely takes time to create, but is very thorough, which helps narrow down the choices when you're looking for the perfect match. Give the free account a try and see if Match works for you.
Zoosk has been around since 2009. They are one of the leading dating sites and are proud of their Behavioral Matchmaking technology, which learns from how its users interact to give you a superior match.
Free to try
Zoosk lets you sign up for free and then entices you with extra features that you can have if you subscribe. You can't actually read any messages you receive without subscribing though, which is somewhat pointless. They do say that the free version is really only to get a feel for the site before you subscribe. Once you actually want to start talking with someone, you'll need to plunk down some cash. We could see the basic information of matches they had in mind.
Zoosk did tell us if a match had their photo verified. That means that the user had submitted a photo of themselves and that Zoosk verifies that the picture they've provided is an accurate representation of how they look: no catfishing on those profiles. A person can also have a Facebook verification badge which means they've linked their Facebook profile to their account. Does this guarantee that what you see is what you get? Of course not. There are always ways around that for someone who is determined to be deceptive, but it does add at least a little confidence.
Hard to find FAQ, but helpful when you do
Speaking of confidence, do take the time to check out the FAQ section. Though, to be honest, it isn't easy to find once you're logged in. We had to google it. Once there though, you can find a lot of information about how to stay safe, how to manage your subscription, and video tutorials covering a variety of subjects.
Getting your profile set-up
Profile set up has a number of options. There are plenty of the things you'd expect - relationship history, ethnicity, industry, body type, gender, children, how much education you have, if you have children, religion, if you smoke, height, who you're interested in, and so on. There are also places where you can add interests and a little blurb about yourself.
Options for premium
Subscriptions for Zoosk come in 1, 3, 6, and 12 month options. 1 month is $29.95, 3 months makes $19.98/month, 6 months is $12.50/month, and a full year is, ironically also $12.50/month. We don't see an advantage to going a full year in that case, but if you don't feel like resubscribing for the next 6 months then it would be a little more convenient. All payments are a one-time fee. For example, while 6 months is only $12.50/month, you'll pay a one-time fee of $74.99. Once you are subscribed you can then go ahead and message people, chat, and see people that have viewed you.
Better reviews than most
Reviews were mixed, but more positive than some others we've come across. As a general rule, Zoosk took the time to respond to unfavorable reviews. Some complaints are about scams and the responses from Zoosk ask them to contact customer service directly because they have a team dedicated to removing fake profiles. Other complaints are about auto-responses that Zoosk says can be created and turned on/off by users and aren't scams. Overall, we were impressed with their willingness to respond and didn't see anything to be too concerned about.
Free version isn't great, but good customer service
While we didn't love that Zoosk really only lets you get a generic feel for the website with the free version, we did really like some of the other features such as photo verification and the great options for profile set up. Zoosk is very willing to help resolve any issues you may come across and they do their best to minimize scammers. This dating site could be your ideal fit if you've been frustrated with some of the downfalls of other popular apps.
Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB) is an app that was launched in 2012 by three single sisters. The founders and their app made their way to Shark Tank in 2015 and got the largest offer in Shark Tank history - $30 million for the whole company. Ultimately, the sisters went with their guts and turned down the offer, retaining the company for themselves with no regrets.
A different approach to getting matches
CMB's platform is a little different where they emphasize "quality over quantity." The founders' research revealed that dating apps were generally used by men, and of the people that used them, the men were twice as active as the women. This led them to create a very different method of online dating.. Every day at noon, they recommend men up to 21 "bagels" to decide if they like or want to pass on. Then the app curates "bagels" for the women based on men that have already "liked" them, evening out those off-balance statistics a little. Once you start having conversations, CMB suggests topics to discuss, making those first few chats less awkward.
One thing we really liked was that the free app allows you to go ahead and like, pass, or chat with suggested matches. Of course, if you want to know if others have read your message, see if your bagels have been recently active, get a monthly profile boost, be able to change your mind on a previous bagel, you'll want to subscribe. They are pretty comparable to other dating apps. CMB has one level of subscription and you can save money by buying more than one month at once. One month will cost you $35, 3 months at a time is $25/month, 6 months is $20/month, and 12 months is $15/month. You'll shell out more money up front in the one-time payment, but if you go for a full year you're getting more than 50% off the month by month option.
How to use "beans" to do even more
If you don't like the suggested bagels that show up daily, you can always check out those in the "discover" list where you can use "beans" - in-app currency - to "take" a bagel. In order to "like" a bagel in your discover list they will need to have liked you first, or you need to spend beans in order to send a like. You can earn free beans by inviting friends to the app, following Coffee Meets Bagel on social media, or signing in each day during your first week. Occasionally there will be other ways, but those are one-time deals you'll have to catch. Other than that, you'll need to buy beans on top of your subscription cost. It feels a little complicated, but you'll get the gist of it quickly once you're on the app.
Poor reviews no cause for great concern
We never love seeing an "F" for a Better Business Bureau rating, but in this case, we don't find that - in and of itself - cause for concern. Reviews were few and far between, and there had only been 16 complaints in the last 3 years. Coffee Meets Bagel hasn't responded to any of those complaints, giving them the "F" rating. However, we did come across a number of poor reviews in other places. Customers felt they were being scammed as they downloaded the app and started the process. Still, there were very few reviews written compared to how many people use the app so if this style appeals to you, give it a try.
Fun verbiage added helps to ease anxiety
Over all, Coffee Meets Bagel has a very intriguing way of approaching online dating. If you are one that would prefer fewer potential dates to look at and like the way their algorithm works, then this just might be the app for you. Plus, the bagel and bean verbiage throughout adds a dab of fun to the otherwise anxious dating process.
Plenty of Fish started in 2003 in Canada and has become one of the largest dating websites out there. They've definitely got the advantage of experience, and it's one of the few sites where there are more positive reviews than negative.
Lots of questions lead to better matches
Plenty of Fish is a platform that does take a bit of time to get up and running on because they have questionnaires that require some effort to fill out. Their Chemistry Test's goal is to get a feel for where you are in a few categories - self-confidence, family orientation, self-control, easygoingness, and social dependency. After that you'll take another quiz called The Relation Assessment. This is where you'll go into things like your personal interests and what you're looking for in a future relationship. The good thing is the site gets a feel for you and who you might be interested in. The bad thing is the time it takes to complete the quizzes.
Live streaming is kinda fun
One thing that sets Plenty of Fish apart from the competition is their live streaming option. You can follow different popular live streamers or even start your own. Just like other live streaming options you can join in the chat with that person or others also watching the stream. It is quite the unique way to interact with potential matches.
Lots of features available in the free version
This is one of very few sites we've reviewed that allows (nearly) restriction-free messaging without paying a membership fee. You do have to have an unrestricted account - one that hasn't been blocked or marked inappropriate - and you are limited to messaging 55 people a day. There are also a couple of other limitations such as the age gap can't be more than 22 years difference - unless either party is under the age of 22, in which case the gap is cut to 9 years - and only women can share pictures, giving females a little bit of protection.
Definitely more affordable
If you'd like extra features such as being able to see who has viewed your profile, read receipts on messages, and being able to see all of a person's profile information, then you're going to want to subscribe. As with many sites, Plenty of Fish doesn't tell you subscription information unless you create a profile, but from our research, this is what we found: 3 months is $20/month, 6 months is $15/month, and 12 months is $10/month.
One of the better reputations out there
Plenty of Fish has a "B" rating from the BBB, which is kind of a middle-of-the-road rating. Basically that means that the company is hit and miss if they respond to complaints. There were only 35 complaints in the last 12 months though, so not really something to worry about. Similar to other competitors, there are always bad reviews, but Plenty of Fish also had quite a few good ones. Most of the bad reviews we came across were frustrations about fake profiles. From our research, this is the bane of all dating sites. Just know when you go into it that you'll have to sift through some seaweed, so to speak, to find those fish.
Check out the site before you subscribe
While any free-to-use site comes with a large number of users to sift through, it is refreshing to have a way to check it out for a while before shelling out a subscription cost for those coveted extra features. If you are watching where you spend your money, Plenty of Fish is a great option to check out.
EHarmony began in 2000 and was known as one of the very first algorithm-based dating sites. The goal of the company is to help its members find real love through predicting compatibility. With over 2 million successful relationships in 125 different countries would suggest they have found a great way to accomplish that.
Extensive quizzes give you info about yourself
EHarmony has a very extensive compatibility quiz and personality profile to help you find out more about yourself and not just help you find that special someone. After all, it's hard to know who you will be happy with when you don't always know much about yourself and what you value in a relationship. The compatibility quiz is 80 questions and has all kinds of things from how you communicate, your attitude about relationships, and even random shapes where you have to pick your favorite. The test was created in part by some top-notch psychologists and they advise you not to think too hard about the shapes questions in particular. If you are a basic member then you take the quiz, but you don't receive the PDF analysis that gives you some tips for your first date, advice for relationships, and more. If you want the analysis but don't want to subscribe, you can order it as a stand-alone for $140.
Video dates: a great way to meet
When you go into your Match Profile you'll be able to see the profiles of matches so that you can get a feel for who they are and what they are looking for. E Harmony also understands how hard it can be to get the ball rolling so they provide you with a couple of ways to start an interaction with someone. You can send a smile or you can start with an icebreaker to get that conversation started. When you're ready for a little more, a video date is a great way to start out. It's a low-stress way to meet for the first time without having to worry quite as much about if it's "too soon" or if you should go out for coffee or for dinner. Video dates happen right within the app so no phone number exchange is needed.
Limited basic account
Finding out about subscription costs requires creating a profile. We did uncover that E Harmony is one of the more expensive options out there. When you first join you get two days to sign up for 50% off your first month and first month only. The full price is 6 months for $46/month, 12 months for $30/month, and 24 months for $21/month. Features are quite limited with the basic account, however, including only being able to see the blurred picture of a match. Your first response to a message is free, but beyond that you'll need to put out nearly $300 in order to chat with anyone.
Pay attention to the fine print
EHarmony has some pretty unhappy customers, mostly related to customer service and their billing/subscription policies. The consensus is that they are often unclear about the policies and when people try to get refunded they are denied. We found that if you looked closely at the fine print then you could avoid the complaints of most customers. One person didn't realize that the 50% off was only for the first month of your plan, rather than the whole plan, for example.
Great site even though it's expensive
EHarmony really does have quite a bit going for them in terms of their commitment to helping people find real love. We liked the fact that you answer many different kinds of questions and that it seems easier to find someone compatible. In order for you to take a chance on that though, you'll have to shell out a pretty penny.
OkCupid started back in 2003. The four co-founders met at Harvard in 1999 when they created SparkNotes. SparkNotes had a cool feature: fun personality tests and quizzes. Over time, this transformed into its own app and was renamed OkCupid. While not psychologists, the foursome were curious to see if they could improve online dating by using mathematical algorithms. The success of the app suggests they were on to something.
Many features are free
OkCupid has some things going for them. We loved that you can use the full site for free - mostly. We didn't love that in order to see subscription prices we had to create a profile. They were pretty tight-lipped about the dollar figures in a typical search. We did get a number of likes right off the bat, but a subscription was required to see who they were.
Lots of options
There were a number of different gender options to choose from and you could select up to 5 of them to both describe yourself as well as who you are looking for. There was an option to have a "pro-choice" badge on your profile to show your support. There was not, however, the option for a "pro-life" badge if you would want that.
A la carte options in addition to subscriptions
You have two choices when it comes to subscriptions on OkCupid: basic and premium.
OkCupid's help page indicates that many options are available a la carte as well if you want to pick and choose - a nice feature if you think you'll only need something temporarily.
Incognito option, but does cost extra
OkCupid also has what they call Incognito Mode. It can be turned on and off at will. When it's on, only people that you've liked or messaged will be able to see your profile. When you decide to go Incognito you can look around a little more privately, knowing that you're not going to be getting a bunch of messages from people you may not want to hear from. After searching around on the website and the help page, we found that an Incognito subscription is an add-on from either Basic or Premium. We couldn't figure out how much of an extra charge it is though.
User-friendly and orientation inclusive
Overall, OkCupid has some great things going for it. The website was very user-friendly and easy to navigate, which was nice to see. If you are looking for a site that is very inclusive of all orientations and has one of the lowest per-month costs, then you should absolutely check them out.
It's Just Lunch was started in 1991 by a woman named Andrea McGinty. It has since been bought out by Riverside. Other than that, information on the history of the company as a whole is a little hard to come by.
Old-school dating matchmaker
When you first get on to the website you find a professional-looking site with information about how the service works. This was nice as some dating companies require you to sign up before you get any hint of how their particular system works. It's Just Lunch is a much more "traditional" dating service in that you are paired with a real-life matchmaker. There is no online component to this company.
How it works
Here is how it works. You have a 30-minute phone call - remember those? - with a person that takes some information from you. You get assigned to a matchmaker who gets to know you a little better over a video chat. If they feel they can match you with other customers of It's Just Lunch then you'll get offered a package for a specific length of time with a guaranteed number of dates within that time. Once you have a mutual agreement - you've seen pictures and heard about your potential date and they also agree to the date - your matchmaker sets up a reservation and all you have to do is show up and hopefully have a great time.
It's Just Lunch does ask for feedback after the date in order to improve the quality of future dates for you as well. One thing we really like is that they verify that the person is who they say they are, including age, with ID. Although there is no actual background check done, some level of verification is better than most other dating services out there. Also, no personal information is ever shared unless you share it with a date yourself. This helps keep things safe.
Very expensive, but "you get what you pay for"
As far as pricing goes... you really can't find any information on that except what they say on their website, "You get what you pay for." In our research we were led to believe packages range from $1,000 - $5,000 so make sure you're serious before you sign up. You do get the option to "pause" your package if you decide to go exclusive with someone but want to keep the option open in case things don't work out after all. As expected, there was no indication that any money would be refunded if you end up getting married and don't want to finish your time out.
Overall good reputation
It's Just Lunch has a "B" rating with the BBB. We did notice that they were responding to complaints and there were only 31 complaints in the last three years. Complaints were mostly about incompatible matches, problems getting the number of dates in the time frame, and lack of communication with the matchmaker. However, we found other positive reviews as well. These reviews indicated that people were generally happy with their matchmaker and how the process went. Take it or leave it.
The biggest downside is the cost
It's Just Lunch is very unique and has a lot of things going for it with an actual human helping to make dates instead of spending hours searching through profiles. We give it a slightly lower rating due to its extremely high cost.
Chemistry is the sister company to Match and was started by Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist. Dr. Fisher developed the questionnaire the site uses and believes it predicts compatibility based on traits such as adventurousness, decisiveness, and empathy.
Not a very professional landing page
When you first visit the site the first thing you notice is the lack of information. There are pictures of attractive people and if you scroll down there are tips for meeting offline. While such tips are important, the landing page tells you nothing about why you might want to sign up with Chemistry as opposed to the many other options out there. It's not the most professional we've come across, that's for sure.
Chemistry has a game-like aspect to it
While Chemistry is a premium offering from Match, it differs in that the point is to start things out with a game-like feel to it. The theory behind that is that a game releases dopamine, which could put you into a better frame for romance. You start out by taking an in-depth personality test which then leads to personalized matches to hopefully trigger some "chemistry." The goal is to meet new people in a more fun and interesting way while you get to know information about the other person that you may not otherwise uncover about them for a while, letting you get to know them at a deeper level than most dating sites tend to foster.
Free account only to let you get a feel for the site
Features in the free versions are pretty limited. You can send messages but in order to read someone's response you have to subscribe. Basically the free account is to let you get a feel for the site. As with a number of other online dating platforms, Chemistry is pretty closed off when it comes to subscription pricing. In our research we found that there are 1-month, 3-month, and 6-month options. One month is $34.99/month, 3 months will cost $21.66/month, and 6 months will be $12.49/month. It looks like if you sign up for 6 months then you get a profile booster to help more people see your information, which is a nice bonus.
Mixed reviews, but they seem to be doing what they can
The reputation of Chemistry is mixed. While they aren't rated or accredited by the Better Business Bureau we did notice that the parent company of Match did respond to the majority of complaints. There were quite a few complaints across a number of platforms, most of which were issues with fake profiles and problems getting accounts canceled. Things like that are typical with most dating sites we have evaluated. They do provide a way to report any fake or predatory users and have a no tolerance policy - they do what they can to be on top of things.
Mid-range site gets mid-range rating
Chemistry is kind of a mid-range dating site which is why we gave a mid-range rating. There wasn't anything of major concern to worry about - as long as you follow basic safety measures - but there also wasn't anything to write home about.
Elite Singles was started in 2009 by the founders of a German dating site - eDarling. The thing that sets Elite Singles apart from many of its competitors is that they primarily focus on singles that are a bit more established in life as well as having some higher education. Not that you can't join or necessarily find other singles that haven't yet finished their education, of course. It's just that's what the majority of the pool is made of. Because of that, most members are between about 30-55 years old. They also attract people that are interested in an actual relationship rather than just a quick hook-up.
Answer questions before you can access
Elite Singles has a personality quiz to help the algorithm find matches. It also lets you search on your own, using your own criteria. As with a few of the other dating sites out there, you must complete the quiz before you get access to the site. This can be a little frustrating, for sure, but Elite Singles isn't the only one out there with this model. The nice thing is that you know matches you get will have gone through the same process. Plan on around 15-20 minutes to complete the quiz.
On the spendy side of things
Elite Singles is definitely on the spendy side. You do get to create your account for free - and get the results of the questionnaire - but in order to do much of anything with any matches you're given, you'll need to sign up. And by "much of anything" we mean that even match pictures are blurred with the free account. Signing up for the most basic subscription is $59.95 for one month. A three-month subscription only saves you $2/month, coming in at $57.95/month. The most economical is - as expected - to get the 6-month subscription which comes in at $44.95/month.
3 day cancellation
Although we couldn;'t find it on the site, we did come across some outside information indicating that you can cancel for a full refund up to 3 days after you subscribe. If you want to risk it, you could check out Elite Singles for 3 days and theoretically get your money back if you aren't satisfied.
More poor reviews than other dating sites
While all of the dating sites we reviewed have a mix of reviews, ones for Elite Singles were more than just the average complaint of fake profiles and poor customer service. Customers were also complaining the site was not user-friendly and had very few local matches. Other comments were that many profiles don't have pictures with them, giving you no idea about the kind of person you may be talking with. Still others commented about lots of scammers and email phishing. Despite all of that, the site looks professional and a lengthy review we found gave them high praise.
High prices and poor reviews led to low rating
The idea of having a site catering to older and more educated singles can be appealing to some. We found that Elite Singles is one of the highest-priced options out there, but as in a lot of things in life - you get what you pay for. They earned the rating they did due to the high cost as well as the higher-than-average complaint rate. You may want to see what our higher-ranked dating sites have to offer before making the investment in Elite Singles.
Friend Finder started out in 1996 as Various, Inc, founded by Andrew Conru. What started out as a typical dating site ended up branching off into a number of different spin-offs including a quick hook-up site with a similar name. There are also ones based on race or religion.
Has a very social media feel to it
Something unique about Friend Finder is that it acts almost like a social media site. You can not only upload pictures of yourself - common to most dating sites - but here you can also add videos and even a blog post. This does make it easier for matches to get to know you a little better than your average site and vice-versa. The Friend Finder Magazine - a place where you can write articles, send polls, include stories or even advice - is also unique to the site. There are quite a few customizable features that you can, of course, tweak as you see fit. Options are things like privacy settings, email, messaging, browsing experience, and filters such as who is online, who has photos/videos in their profiles, and even the type of membership a person has.
While Friend Finder does have a free option, it is one of those where it's mostly there to give you a feel for the site. You really can't do much at all, including send or read messages from other users. What you can do is create your own profile, including adding photos, videos, and blog posts. You can also join chat groups and forums.
Two paid membership levels
Two different membership levels are available - gold and silver. Each offers 1, 3, and 6-month options. As with most sites, we had to do our own research on pricing and what is included since the site doesn't give much information until you have an account. What we found was that silver gets you limited features while gold will get you all of the available features. Specifically:
Great BBB rating
We did find an "A+" rating for Friend Finder on the Better Business Bureau. Not only does the company respond to complaints made on the BBB site, there were only 37 total complaints made in the last 3 years. That is really good. However, we did find that there seem to be a higher than usual number of fake profiles to wade through and there were reports that customer service doesn't seem to be very quick at answering. These reviews don't quite match up with the BBB's assessment, so we suggest you go into Friend Finder knowing you may not get a response if you have a question or concern.
Trying to be everything for everyone
Friend Finder has some unique features not found in our other reviews and yet they seem to be trying to be too much for too many people. There were a couple of reviews that mention it's mostly people looking for a casual fling rather than a serious relationship, despite their sister site for just that purpose. Friend Finder isn't going to be a good fit for most people looking for love online.
Hinge was started by Justin McLeod, who comes from a family of entrepreneurs and wanted to be one himself. During his second year at Harvard the school threw a "last chance dance" where people could confess their love to their crushes before the year ended. A Facebook group for the dance was also set up so people could keep in touch. This gave him the idea for Hinge.
Unlike most of their competitors, Hinge is an app only platform with no web-based site to go along with it. You can read about them using the provided link, but you will have to sign up using your phone. Given that smartphones are in the hands of nearly every person these days, that probably isn't a problem for most people.
Swipe through friends of friends
Hinge is another swipe-based app where you are going off of physical attraction to a picture of a potential match. Where this company differs is that they only let you see friends of friends and third-degree connections using your Facebook information. Since you can sign up using either Facebook or your phone, we're not quite sure how this works if you sign up with your phone number. However it works though, it does give some level of comfort that at least you can tie a match to someone you know fairly easily. They claim that they are the "app that's designed to be deleted" so that you can go on your "last first date." They want you to put your religion, education, and day-to-day life out there so that they can help find matches that would be good for you.
You can "like" parts of a profile instead of the whole thing
To activate your profile you have to answer 3 prompts that others will be able to read. These can be switched up any time to keep things fresh. Rather than a general "like" of a profile, Hinge enables you to like certain parts of a person's profile. They've found that interaction is more likely and of better quality if people like things such as a specific picture or prompt, so that's what you do here.
8 free likes per day
Speaking of "likes," everyone with the free version gets 8 free likes per day. Their research has told them that if people had more, their matches were worse, and fewer meant people were spending money to buy more. 8 was the magic number so that's what everyone with the free app gets. Not only that, but you get told everyone that has "liked" you upfront. One review we read said if you only have the free version then the faces of those that "liked" you will be blurred though. This makes it not terribly helpful.
Upfront dating goals
We liked that your dating goals are front and center so you're aware of what a potential match is looking for. Another nice feature is you'll get a little nudge to respond to someone that's messaged you to cut down on accidental ghosting. Of course, if you meant to ghost them then that's a different story. Lastly, you'll get asked about your dates so that they can learn more about your type and suggest better matches.
Very affordable membership fee
Hinge is definitely on the more affordable side of the dating app world. With the premium subscription you'll get to send unlimited likes, see those that have liked you in a grid-form rather than having to swipe each profile, and set some advanced preferences. This honestly won't set you back very much money. 1 month is $9.99, 3 months is $6.99/month, and 6 months is $4.99/month.
Not always on the up and up with what you can do with membership
Despite the positives described above, Hinge is on the low end of the reputation scale. Most of the complaints we came across were similar to others we found - fake profiles, deleting of accounts without explanation of what term was violated, and dishonest practices. One customer said that he went ahead and did a 6-month subscription only to be shown profiles that he couldn't swipe on unless he bought "roses" for them. It seems that Hinge will get you in with a lower subscription but then require you to spend even more to be able to use the features you would expect to come with the subscription itself.
Try some others first
There are a number of things we liked about Hinge - including the fact that at least the matches are friends of friends - but we are a little put off by all the negative reviews we came across. We suggest trying some higher-rated dating sites unless you are particularly drawn to what Hinge offers.
Tinder was started in 2012 as a different way to find a match. From the beginning there was a desire to gamify online dating. Rather than taking the time to read through profiles, the point is to decide if you want to get to know a person based on not much more information about them than their looks. You swipe right if you are interested and swipe left if you're not.
Reputation for short-term relationships
If you're looking for a serious relationship, Tinder may not be the site for you. While there are apparently plenty of people that have met their soulmate via the service, there are quite a few people on there just looking for a quick hook-up. While the site says you can add passions to your profile to help you connect with people that share the same interests, other reviews talk about how that's not really a thing.
Lots of users - for better or worse
One plus is that there are lots of users, so your likelihood of finding someone nearby is higher. However, you may have to wade through a number of fake profiles and those wanting something more - or less - than you're looking for in order to find them. They do have a video date feature that lets you meet online before you take the step to meet in person.
Three different membership plans available
The free version of Tinder lets you match, chat, and meet - and that's about it. To do pretty much anything else you'll need to buy into one of their subscription tiers. There are three options for that: Tinder Plus, Tinder Gold, and Tinder Platinum. Each one increases the features you get.
With any plan you can also buy boosts in increments of 1 for $6.99, 5 for $6.30 per credit, and 10 for $5.40 per credit. These will allow you to be one of the top profiles in your area for 30 minutes.
Not the best reputation we found
Tinder doesn't have the best reputation. Most of the complaints we came across - and there were quite a few - had to do with the vast amounts of fake profiles and customers being randomly booted from their accounts for seemingly no reason. There was no way to appeal either. Not only are people frustrated at being kicked off the platform, but they obviously don't get any money left on their subscription refunded either.
Lots of complaints from customers
Tinder wasn't one of our favorites due to their higher than usual complaint rate and the fact that you're matching based only on looks. While it does take time to read through someone's profile, it also takes time to start up a conversation with a person only to find out you have nothing in common and/or a number of deal breakers, sending you right back to swiping and having it happen all over again. For quick one-night connections, Tinder works - but use a different dating site if you want more than that.
Bumble was started in 2015 by Whitney Wolfe Herd who was one of the co-founders of a competitor dating site. Things went south in that relationship and after some time, she was convinced to go ahead and create another dating app. Her goal was to create a site that was safe and comfortable for women - which is what is unique about Bumble. Women make the first move every time. The app has expanded to include a friendship site as well as a business site for professional networking.
Women make the first contact
Bumble works much like Tinder in that you swipe right if you're interested in someone and swipe left if you aren't. The catch is that in heterosexual relationships, the female is the only one that can make the first contact. Sign up is an easy process and can be done by either your Facebook account or your phone number. Once a match is made you have 24 hours to send the first message. Then a match has 24 hours to respond back. Once those first contacts have been made you can talk back and forth without limits. They feel that this shifts the cultural norms and encourages gender equality from the start.
Automatically blur unwanted images
Bumble also has a feature that automatically blurs a nude image in their system, letting you be the one to decide if you'd like to view it or not. Something we liked from our research was that, as a company, they worked to get a law passed in their home state of Texas against sending unsolicited nude images.
Daily subscription option
Subscriptions for Bumble are as unique as their business model. This is the only company we came across that gives a daily option. Since the free features aren't much to write home about - you can create your profile, swipe, and send messages, but we did see that you can only read the first message to come into your inbox - you can pay for just a day and see if it's worth it to you to pay for longer.
Bumble give you two paid plans to choose from - Boost and Premium.
With either plan, you can also buy groups of "spotlights" which get you to the front of the queue and seen by more people in your area. Those $4.99 for 1, $12.99 for 5, $29.99 for 15, and $49.99 for 30. Boost and premium already come with 1 spotlight per week and 5 "superswipes" which lets you add a heart to your swipe indicating extra interest.
BBB gives a "pattern of complaint" notice
Bumble has an "F" rating with the BBB. Not only that, but they have a "pattern of complaint" notice at the top and it doesn't look pretty. The patterns the BBB mentions are threefold - the site's "no refund policy" is preventing customers from getting billing disputes resolved, accounts are being deleted without warning or explanation, and customer service is either very slow or doesn't respond at all. Considering these issues are bad enough to elicit a notice from the BBB, we'd say this is a dating site to stay away from.
Try a different company first
While the premise of Bumble is an interesting and unique one, we feel that you are probably better off either sticking with the free version or just trying out a day to make sure you're really interested before you plunk down more money - especially considering Bumble's less-than-stellar rating from the BBB.
Some online dating services have been around for almost 30 years, while others are still fairly new. With so many options out there - and as many price ranges to go with them - it can be daunting to try and figure out which one is the best fit for your personality and budget. There are a number of features that you should consider as you compare:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and rated the best online dating services available today. We hope this information puts you on the right path to finding the relationship you are looking for!
Meeting potential candidates at a dating website is far more effective and convenient than scouring the bars and night clubs week after week. Meeting singles online has many benefits including the amount of singles to choose from, the ability to learn important details about a person before you even talk, and the opportunity to preserve your privacy. Your approach with dating websites will be far more effective if you follow these tips:
A well written, honest profile that is upbeat is a great way to capture the attention of potential candidates that would make a good fit. Sign on regularly to look for communication from potential dates but make sure you aren't too quick to share personal information with those you meet online.
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