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Instead of manually searching through millions of members, eHarmony approaches online dating differently. You first complete an in-depth questionairre covering all facets of a relationship. The result is a detailed personality profile which is shared with you, along with your compatible matches. These matches are determined based on "29 dimensions of compatibility" derived from the 35 years of clinical research of Dr. Warren, the founder of eHarmony.
The basics of the service, including the questionnaire, are free. If you want to take the next step and begin communicating with your matches, you purchase a membership. Memberships start as low as $28.95 / month (6 month subscription). This makes eHarmony one of the more expensive dating services in our review, but the additional cost can be a great time saver in weeding out inappropriate matches. One note, the monthly fee is billed in one installment unless you purchase the 12 month membership, then you have the option of billing in 3 installments. Eharmony also offers a risk-free 7 day trial membership to new members.
The questionnaire is very extensive and takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete. It's important to take your time and answer the questions truthfully, as your compatible matches will be based on your responses. Questions 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. Both provide very useful information that actually puts into words who you are and what type of person you are looking for.
By producing matches based on your compatibility profile, eHarmony eliminates 99.7% of people that are not right for you. This also means that you are only able to view the profiles of members that are deemed compatible - and therein lies the only potential downside of eHarmony. You can't search the member database yourself, it's done for you based on the answers to your questionnaire. The service also doesn't offer any alternative lifestyle options.
Still, for those interested in a serious relationship, and don't want to spend time browsing through long lists of potential dates, eHarmony provides a quick way to find people who are already compatible with you. This program receives high marks delivering quality over quantity and is among the best of dating services we reviewed.
Note: Great Expectations appears to no longer be in business.
Great Expectations comes up far short compared to the other services reviewed. With good name recognition, and tenure that pre-dates the internet, we definitely expected more.
Great Expectations has a different approach than the other dating services reviewed. First, you must live in an area that is serviced by a Great Expectations branch. (If there is not a location near you, then you are diverted to their on-line service). However, if you happen to live in one of their serviced areas, you fill out a quick application with your name, age, address, income, phone number and email. From there you are taken to another information gathering page covering what you are looking for in a mate and a few more details about yourself. The information is gathered and a representative from Great Expectations contacts you by phone for a face to face meeting where you complete the screening process. Once this is finally done, and you sign up for their service, you can search through thousands of members.
It's free to submit an application which will start the screening process. Great Expectations points out there is no obligation to submit the application. The word "obligation" implies that at some point there will be a fee but that information is not given on the website. This is important to remember; more on this later.
The website is very shallow on information. If you don't fill out the forms fast enough you are kicked out by the site and will need your user name and password to get back in. However, you don't select a username and password in the sign-up process so you have to call your local branch for assistance; available hours vary by location. Also, if you neglect to answer all the questions on the initial form, you will continually be returned to the top of the form. At this point you will have to go back to the home page and start from scratch because the form will not accept any information that you try to add. The whole event can be very frustrating and would easily be fixed with some minor programming.
No pricing information is given until you go in for your face-to-face interview. This consists of additional questions to complete your profile; but the real reason is to speak with you in person to convince you to sign up for the service. The price of their service varies by location but usually starts at $6,000 - yes, you read that right. As you can imagine, if this information was posted on their website, they would receive far fewer respondents. As it is, this price can be negotiated down by 50-80% or more - but that's still more than any other service in our review. For this price, you get a "professional" photo shoot, video greeting, and access to other members that have supposedly been pre-screened for criminal records.
Also, you'd better be prepared to sign up when you attend your initial interview. Typically you'll be advised that they can only offer you a negotiated deal for their services at that time. Once you leave their office, the price will resume to it's full $6,000 and you will forever be unable to reduce it. This kind of a hard sell puts undue pressure on the consumer and is frankly rather insulting. Oh, and once you sign the contract, you're locked in - there is no money-back grace period offered.
They also offer additional services, such as photo touch-ups, online access, and mailgrams - but be prepared, these cost hundreds of dollars each.
One appealing feature of Great Expectations is that they periodically host parties and events in your area exclusively for members, which can be lots of fun. Although these events also cost extra, they give you the opportunity to meet other members face-to-face without needing to talk with them first.
The idea of going through a screening process and attending member parties sounds great. However, the problematic website, high cost, relatively low membership, and hard-sell attitude make Great Expectations a great dating service - to stay away from.
Online Dating Services
To help you find the Best Online Dating Services, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of E Harmony and Great Expectations.
Online dating has come of age. Today millions of people across the country - and the world - have found the advantages that online dating brings. From the comfort of your own home or apartment, you can browse through hundreds of pictures and profiles, strike up dozens of conversations, and date as often as you like.
To meet the needs of all these daters, many online dating services have been created. Each brings to the table a unique perspective, target audience, or feature set that appeals to various segments of the dating market.
Are you interested in a long-term relationship or a more casual affair? Do you want to browse through potential candidates or let the system choose your ideal matches? There are dating services that cater to these and all sorts of special needs.
When evaluating the different online dating services, there are certain factors you will want to consider. 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!
Online Dating Tips
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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