A lot of people sign up for free services just to check people out, browse, or to get a little ego boost now and again.
One way to think about paid online dating is viewing it as a sorting mechanism: It is a win-win that could ultimately lead you down the aisle. But not all paid sites are equal.
Free Online Dating Sites Vs Paid Dating Sites
You don't need us to tell you that giving a random website your credit card number is no guarantee of a good dating experience. Much like when you're scoping out the scene for a match, being diligent and picky will do wonders for your experience.
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Why is it so good? Well, first of all, it has a fantastic matching algorithm. When you sign up for the site, you have to complete an exhaustive survey about your beliefs and preferences. It takes a while, and it might feel like a bit of a chore. This is really handy. If your preferences change over time — if you start being willing to see women with kids, and you start messaging them, for example — the site will naturally adapt by changing your search results accordingly.
And if you told the survey that you want one thing, but you actually want another, Match will still provide for you, by taking your behavior into account. Find out more at Match.
Why You Should Always Pay For Online Dating
The site is all about giving you a really tailored, focused experience. The site gives you handpicked matches every day, rather than encouraging you to go out and find people yourself. This approach will frustrate you if you enjoy browsing dating sites at random—which is understandable, because that can be a great way to waste time.
However, this feature has major upsides.
Five Paid Dating Sites That Are Actually Worth The Cash
It takes guesswork out of the equation, and it encourages you to slow down and be intelligent in your assessments of other users. As well, once you have some matches, the process of selecting one is made easier by the ingenious profile design, which allows you to find out a lot about other users very quickly, by providing a collage of their most important attributes. To top it all off, eHarmony has an easy interface and famously excellent customer service. Find out more at eHarmony. Zoosk is basically the opposite of Match and eHarmony in every respect except quality.
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Rather than feeling like going to a matchmaker, it feels like playing a video game, or like checking out attractive strangers at a club. Like Tinder, the interface is pleasingly minimal. This is especially true of the mobile app, which is sleek and bug-free.
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To pay or not to pay: That is the question. If your goal is to get a date—or find a mate—are you better off with one type over the other? In the Consumer Reports Online Dating Survey , more than 9, people who had used an online dating service in the last two years were asked which one they had joined. Forty-eight percent said Match, a paid site, but PlentyOfFish free and eHarmony paid tied for second most popular, with 23 percent apiece.
But in terms of overall satisfaction, our survey found that free dating sites actually score a touch better than paid ones, probably because they're a better value. Although our survey found that no dating site or app sweeps online daters off their feet in the satisfaction department, OkCupid is rated highest overall by respondents, and Grindr, a free app for gay men, is also near the top. Some experts argue that paid sites attract more serious users. Even Tinder, despite its reputation for attracting users seeking causal romance, may deserve a more open mind.
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On a site like OkCupid anyone can send you a message, whereas on the free app Bumble or on Tinder or eHarmony, only people you are matched with can get in touch. Perhaps beyond just charging for messages, sites could adjust the price according to how high quality someone's engagement seems to be.
Best Online Dating Sites – Comparing Free vs. Paid Subscription Sites
In the meantime, the bottom line is that while some users think quality does come at a price, there are benefits to free dating services as well. Online daters may be best off trying both types. Our survey suggests that 45 percent of online daters have tried multiple dating websites or apps. Please call Member Services at Welcome to Consumer Reports.