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The dating scene has certainly changed over the past several years. More and more people are trying online dating. In fact, a recent survey from the Knot found that 19% of brides surveyed had met and started their relationship with their spouse online, that's 1 out of every 5 couples getting married met each other through the use of an online dating site.
While some of the first online dating sites were introduced over 20 years ago, today the number of online dating services is extensive. For many, the sheer number of possibilities can be a challenge to figure out which one will work best for them. The good news is that there is no right answer for everyone - the type of relationship you want and the features of the dating sites will likely drive you to a specific service.
Sunday, January 17th
Almost everyone has heard of Match - and for good reason. They have been on the online dating scene since 1995 and are considered a pioneer in the industry. This legacy continues to keep Match as one of the most well-known sites on the market today and renewed efforts at marketing are keeping it at the top of the online dating game.
As a new member, Match lets you to search the member database for free. To access email and chat features, a subscription will need to be purchased. There are two subscription option: a basic and a bundled service. Both subscriptions allow you to send and respond to emails, see who has viewed and/or liked your profile, and have the ability to remove members from your view. In addition, you will receive invitations to participate in in-person Match events in your area, a feature which is rare for online dating services.
If you purchase the bundled subscription, you'll also have access to "email read" notifications, have your profile highlighted to members in your area, and participate in the First Impressions service. First Impressions ensures that your profile is included in the very first matches that are shown to new members in your area. The bundled subscription services will definitely step-up your dating game and help get your profile more traffic!
Setting up a profile is a breeze, but will take a little time. You will list information about yourself: your age, height, marital status, body type, smoker, drinker, occupation, income, pets, and kids. You also provide your ideal wishes for your matches. Finally, you write a description about yourself, upload your picture and your profile is ready to start working for you!
Match will find potential mates for you through the use of their matching program, but you also have the ability to search the member database. The search functions are unlimited so you can be sure you have the most flexibility to find exactly what you are looking for. Typical searches will include looking by age, gender, and zip code search, along with keywords, profile types and reverse matches (people who are looking for profiles like yours).
Another great feature for Match is that they offer a 6-month guarantee. If you sign up for a 6-month subscription and haven't found your true love at the end of that time, they'll give you another 6 months absolutely free. Be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of the guarantee so that you meet all the criteria to collect your next 6 months free.
While there are a great number of positive things going for Match, there are a couple points to consider as well. The Match model has been around for a few years and fits like a comfortable pair of jeans. However, there is a lot more variety in the online dating market right now. Sites that cater to niche audiences, or apps with edgy interfaces, push the creativity envelope and have taken some of the momentum out of Match's dominance.
Still, when it comes to finding a date online, Match is king of the hill. With its huge membership base, ease of use, low price, and 6-month guarantee, Match earns the top spot as our best online dating service.
Touted as the #1 Dating App by App Annie and Techcrunch (for iOS in terms of all-time revenue), Zoosk is a favorite among online daters. The App Store reviewers give it a 4.5, while the Google Play reviewers give it a 4.0. But one thing is certain, with such a large membership base, they have something going on that is appealing to many online daters.
Zoosk takes what you like from many of the different dating sites and pulls it all into one easy-to-use app. All members can set up their initial account for free. Your profile only takes a few minutes to complete and then you are off and searching for your perfect mate. Zoosk also allows you to verify your pictures and military service listed in your profile to improve your reputation on Zoosk. Verified profiles receive more messages and connecting with someone who has verified their picture and military service will give you confidence that you are talking to the person whose profile you liked. Basic users can search for free, but you will need to purchase a subscription if you want to send messages to others.
Zoosk is an affordable option among its competitors, especially if you are just using the basic subscription. If you purchase 6 months up front, your monthly equivalent is only $12.50/month. The only downside is once you move into upgrade territory, the costs can continue to climb. Plus, there is not visibility to the cost of the subscription upgrade features until you have purchased the basic subscription. But all things considered, Zoosk definitely offers a lot for the price of the monthly subscription.
Zoosk's Behavioral Matchmaking technology is constantly learning from you and the other members to help pick out matches its members may be most interested in. SmartPick is a feature that uses this technology, along with your preferences, to provide you with one suggested match a day. Carousel is another way to review several suggested profiles and choose who you like and then connect via a chat if there is mutual interest in connecting. Zoosk also has the ability for keyword searches on its member database to find people based on age, religious preference, body type, ethnicity, kids, smoking preference, and education level if you would prefer to do the searching yourself.
To enhance your experience on Zoosk, you will spend more for additional features. You can purchase coins to boost your profile, unlock matches in Carousel, buy virtual gifts and use Go Invisible for 30 minutes. You can also purchase subscription upgrades for features like: Hide & Seek, Instant Crush and Premium Messaging. Hide & Seek puts you in charge of how visible your profile and searching activities are to other members. Instant Crush allows you to select up to 5 crushes per day to hopefully get you noticed. Premium Messaging allows you to send messages to any member and they will be able to reply, even if they do not have a subscription.
With its ease of use and quick profile setup, plus the massive membership bases and affordable price, Zoosk earns high marks and is definitely worth considering during your online dating search.
Coffee Meets Bagel is shaking up the world of online dating. Coffee Meets Bagel recognizes that men and women approach dating differently which is why they provide differentiated service for men and women. They focus on a "Ladies Choice" philosophy that provides women with a daily list of up to 6 suggested bagels that have already liked her profile. This allows her to focus on quality (not quantity) and puts women in control to determine if they want to take things further and chat, a feature that most women appreciate.
Men are also given a suggested list of bagels each day, but these bagels have generally not seen their profile, so they are given a longer list of suggestions to "like" or "pass". Then they must wait to start a conversation until a bagel they "liked" wants to connect. A new list of suggested bagels is delivered at noon every day for both men and women. All users have the option of scanning through the "Discover" list of bagels and can use "beans" to "take" a bagel, indicating his/her interest and increasing the possibility of a true match. Usually these bagels have not seen the user's profile and will only be able to chat one both parties like the other's profile.
One of the best things about Coffee Meets Bagel is that you can use the site for free from the beginning with no restrictions. If you want to speed up your search, that is when you will start to shell out the bucks. Beans will need to be purchased and will help you "take" bagels from your "Discover" list or unlock other app features like the photo lab report. Prices range from $1.99 for 100 beans to $24.99 for 3000 beans. You can also purchase a premium subscription that will cost you about $20 a month (if you purchase 6 months at a time). The premium subscription will get you a chat activity report on your bagels, free "takes" each month and more beans with each purchase.
Signing up with Coffee Meets Bagel is easy. You complete your profile by answering some questions about yourself and your preferences. You will even include a couple of icebreakers to snag your special bagel's interest. Adding photos are easy and it's recommended to change them often to keep your profile fresh. They even have a Photo Lab where you can upload a picture where members can vote on picture options to help you pick the perfect photo to increase interest in your profile
Unfortunately, there is not much information about success rates for creating lasting relationships with Coffee Meets Bagel. However, for those that want to focus on serious relationships, receive a shorter list of quality suggestions and avoid the long lists of scrolling and searching, Coffee-Meets-Bagel is a great option. The app is easy to use, and the bagels and beans vocabulary keep things fun.
You can easily sum up OkCupid's offerings in two words: Flexibility and Variety. OkCupid has something to offer everyone and they have really thought about how they can create an inclusive online dating experience. The site is flexible as it allows for several different types of relationships to be matched across different types of non-binary genders. It provides variety by allowing you to match against several different types of interests, like politics or religion.
One of the best features is that you can utilize a fully functioning OKCupid site for free! You can get matches, you can send and receive messages, all without paying a cent. But if you want enhanced functionality, you can subscribe and get even more.
There are two subscription levels: A-list and A-list Plus. With A-list you can remove the ads, boost your profile and get priority messaging with mutual matches. This will allow you to fast-track your path to finding your perfect match. An A-list membership is only $9.95 / month with a 6 month subscription. With A-list Plus, you can really get things moving because you get daily profile boosts and increased attractiveness with your profile. The A-list Plus membership is $31.50 / month for a 6 month subscription.
OkCupid also has a feature called Incognito Mode. Using this feature makes it so that your profile is only visible to those you like or message so you are not getting a bunch of random emails from people you are not interested in. There is an additional charge of $9.95 / month for a 6 month subscription to utilize this service.
OkCupid isn't without controversy or bad reviews. Customer service complaints seem to be the majority of the issues. There was also a recent policy update regarding messaging that has some members upset. So be aware, but the complaints seem in line with similar complaints received by competitors.
OkCupid earns its spot near the top due to its inclusiveness and low cost. Both of these make it a favorite among many users. Plus, the website and the app are well-designed and intuitive to use.
Everyone has probably seen the commercial with Dr. Neil Clark Warren describing his patented Compatibility Matching System and the 29 Dimensions of Compatibility. eHarmony has been around for many years and has many success stories to show why they are the leader in the compatibility/personality testing style of online dating.
They are no longer alone in this market, but they have the proven track record to back up their claims for success. A Bloomberg study even stated that eHarmony marriages have a divorce rate of 3.86% compared to the national average of 50%! Plus, they offer a 3 month guarantee that will give you an additional 3 month subscription for free if you are not satisfied with the matches provided after your first 3 months. What do you have to lose?
To get started is free. You can take the online questionnaire and even view initial matches before signing up for a subscription service. If, however, you want to start communicating with any of the matches provided to you and see the profile pictures, then you will need to purchase a subscription. You can purchase subscription services in varying lengths, but the more months you purchase up front, the less expensive the monthly cost will be. You are even able to break down these two subscription options into 3 installments, rather than having to pay the entire fee upfront like many of eHarmony's competitors.
The questionnaire is lengthy and will take some time to complete. To get your best matches, you need to take your time with the questionnaire and answer each question honestly. Questions on the questionnaire range from self-descriptions, personal interests, important qualities, relationship styles, family relationships and general information. Upon completion you receive a personality profile about yourself and a compatibility profile with traits you would find appealing in a mate. This will provide you with valuable information about the type of person you are and what you are looking for in a mate. For many this can be very illuminating.
Once you have completed your questionnaire, sit back and let the Compatibility Matching System find your perfect matches. This process will eliminate 99.7% of the people that are not right for you so that you do not have to sort through profile after profile. This also means that you will only see people that match to your compatibility profile and will not be able to search the entire eHarmony database.
eHarmony continues to receive solid reviews and has made slight tweaks based on user feedback. Most of the reviews were positive and the small amount of negative feedback we did find is typical of all online dating apps and focuses on negative customer experiences and lack of options for the LGBTQ community. eHarmony has been responsive to the complaints and has developed a partner site to provide more options for the LGTBQ community.
eHarmony continues to be a player in this space, even though the operating model has not changed much since eHarmony was originally launched in 1997. They may need to rethink things in the future to keep up with the creativity that is coming from other pockets of the market, but it's still a great product and has millions of successful relationships to show the product works. If you are looking for a serious relationship and want to invest a little more in that desired future, eHarmony would be a great choice.
Plenty of Fish is another online dating app that has a personality component to its matching algorithm to provide you with better quality matches. At Plenty of Fish, they use the Plenty of Fish Relationship Chemistry Predictor model that bases its matching criteria on 5 dimensions: self-confidence, family orientation, self-control, social dependency / openness and easygoingness. The downside to matches based on personality tests is that to get results, you have to spend some time providing the input to the predictor model, so the personality questionnaire is quite lengthy.
The free membership plan at Plenty of Fish includes messaging, which is unique among its competitors, so you are able to communicate with matches of interest. However, you will need to purchase a subscription if you want to unlock the extended profiles, see if emails are read, remove the ads, understand the number of views for your profile and help you stand out in a search. If you purchase a 6 month subscription, the per month cost is still only $9.99 / month, making Plenty of Fish one of the more economical plans.
Like all the apps, Plenty of Fish has some negative reviews. One of the biggest complaints is with profiles disappearing or being deleted without explanation. As you can imagine, this is very frustrating to the users, so be wary of this possibility. Hopefully that is a temporary glitch and it is now easier to make great matches on Plenty of Fish. They get a rating right in the middle because the service is not unique, but the economical price will sure help your pocketbook.
Chemistry is taking a hands-on approach to setting up matches for its members by providing them results from a personality test developed by Dr. Helen Fisher. All members (even free memberships) can have access to the test and the results to learn more about their own personality and what types of personalities would be ideal for them to have in a partner. This unique approach to providing more details behind the magic is a great benefit to all members and helps Chemistry stand out among its competitors.
Setting up your profile is relatively easy, but the personality test does take some time to complete. Like anything, the more time you spend on thoughtfully answering the questions, the more you will get out of the results once you receive them. Once the personality test is complete, you can add your profile picture and begin searching the database for a potential match, or sit back and wait for the program to find a good match for you.
Once you have found a match of interest, you will need to purchase a subscription to reach out and chat with your match. If a 6 month membership is purchased, the per month charge is only $6.49, making Chemistry one of the more economical dating service on this list. In addition to the email and chat features, a premium subscription also provides you with enhanced search and match options, along with the ability to see who is interested in your profile.
While all of the apps reviewed on this list have some negative reviews associated with them, Chemistry has more than its fair share. Most of the complaints center around fake profiles, so use caution with the site and follow online dating safety suggestions to ensure you do not get taken in by scammers. Due in part to this safety concern, we have rated Chemistry in the middle of the pack, with the hope that the fake profiles will be removed to improve the integrity of the site.
Elite Singles caters to the elitist in all of us. 80% of their members have a university degree, so the types of people you will meet through Elite Singles will most likely be different than another personality based dating service reviewed on this list, but you will also pay more for the pleasure of rubbing elbows with the "Elite".
Getting started with Elite Singles is easy, but a little time consuming since you need to answer the personality questionnaire. No purchase is necessary to complete this step and you will receive your personality test results regardless if you choose to purchase a subscription or not. With a free membership, you will also be able to receive partner suggestions, send smiles and likes to other members and upload photos, but you will not be able to see clear photos of those you are matched with until you upgrade. You will only see a blurry picture, which is very disappointing.
If you choose to purchase a subscription you will then have access to unlimited communication with other members and have access to the intelligent matchmaking service. Upgrading your subscription to the Premium Classic subscription allows you to see all member photos, all visitors to your profile and receive read receipts when communicating with other members of the site.
There are some drawbacks to EliteSingles. The first is that you will not be able to search the broad membership base directly. You will only be introduced to potential matches based on the site's matching algorithm using the 5 factors of compatibility obtained from your personality test. This can be a good thing because it frees up your time to focus on building great relationships, rather than hunting through the online database. Another drawback is the large number of complaints on fake profiles. These complaints go with the territory of online dating, but there did seem to be more than usual for this site. The final concern is the price. It is one of the more expensive options on this list.
While the idea is strong and there are several fans of the dating service Elite Singles provides, we rated this one in the middle because of the cost and the number of negative reviews.
FriendFinder brings many features together, but it almost feels as if they tried to bring too much together into one dating service. Members can create their own blog, join a special interest group, post pictures or videos, rate other members on the hot or not scale, flirt, hotlist and search for their special someone while the list of features continues on and on. The result is an app that lacks focus and clarity on what features are most important to make FriendFinder stand out among its competitors.
Creating an account is easy, but there is a lengthy questionnaire you can complete. Some of the responses help create matches for you based on what type of friend you are trying to find. Others help build your profile so that others can get to know you better as they search for matches. You will also set your preferences for the type of friend you are seeking. These preferences can be changed at any time in the Cupid Finder settings.
You can create your initial account for free and search the member database. But like many others on this list, once you want to chat or send an email to a potential match, a subscription service is required. FriendFinder offers two membership levels, a Silver membership and a Gold membership. The silver membership allows you to view and contact all members, access recorded video introductions, and provide partial access to the blog, group and magazine features. If instead you choose the gold membership, you have unlimited access to all the features and will show up at the top of any searches made by other members so that your profile is seen more frequently. Unlimited chat is also available for an additional charge.
Flexibility and options are good, but the number of features FriendFinder currently has built into their app detracts from the intended purpose of the service. This makes it difficult to be efficient and focused on making a special connection with someone, which is why we have ranked FriendFinder towards the bottom of our list.
Just like you would hire a personal trainer to meet your fitness goals or a financial planner to meet your financial goals, It's Just Lunch can be the professional matchmaking service you hire to meet your relationship goals. It's Just Lunch's professional matchmakers will take the work out of dating for you and help you find a perfect match. They are so confident in their process that if they take you on as a client, they guarantee that you will go on dates.
It's Just Lunch follows 6 easy steps to create the ultimate matchmaking experience for you:
It's Just Lunch does not disclose the cost of this service on its website. Clients are provided a contract after the initial phone call that will disclose all costs and guarantees of the service. It is a fee-based matching service and like with anything, you get what you pay for. It's Just Lunch markets itself as bridging the gap between online dating sites and millionaire matchmakers, so it will be more expensive than the other online dating services on this list.
Mixed reviews are available on It's Just Lunch. There are many positive ratings raving about the high touch experience and customer service received. But there are also many negative ratings with claims of false advertising, breach of contract and inability to contact customer service and receive satisfactory resolution on complaints. Even the Better Business Bureau has mixed reviews on It's Just Lunch by location, ranging from A+ (Palm Desert, CA) to F (Hallandale Beach, FL and King of Prussia, PA). In addition, many of the reviews (both positive and negative) indicate that it took longer for the matching process to take place than they thought it would.
It's Just Lunch is designed for the busy professional who wants assistance finding the right match and is willing to pay for the help to do so. The service is not for everyone and has the potential for a hefty price tag, which is why we rated this service at the bottom of the list.
There are a number of factors you should consider before choosing an Online Dating Service. Some of these include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Online Dating Services available today. We hope this information helps you start your next relationship right away!
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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