Plenty Of Fish vs OkCupid – Which Free Online Dating Service Should You Choose?

Dating for free…that’s for me…

And then there are the free online dating services. You put up a profile, you peruse their profiles, all for less than the price of… well, anything.

Two of the more popular sites are Plenty of Fish and OkCupid. Wondering on which site will be your Mr./Mrs. Right? Here are a few tips to pick the free online dating service that’s right!

[Read more…]

Worst Online Dating Sites – Dating Sites To Avoid

Knowing which dating sites to avoid will really get you off to a great start in your search for cyber love. With the inability to know exactly who someone is, we online daters trust the sites to do most of the dirty work and to keep us safe and secure.

So what are the warning signs that a dating site is bad news? Well firstly the privacy and safety of it’s members is of utmost importance to any credible site. However hot the people may look to you as you browse through, if the site does not have a good security system then you won’t be going on any more dates because you will have been scammed out of all your money!

Another crucial factor that you must bare in mind is the actual reason that you signed up in the first place – to find a compatible match! Unfortunately the bogus sites don’t actually care whether you meet anyone interesting or not, and their supposed ‘matches’ are done at random.

[Read more…]

Date.com Review

Date.com

Date.com is one of the mid range players in the online dating market. It is simply set up with a decent color palette. At the start of the sign up process, it does ask for sexual preference, so that niche group is covered. However, it does not seem as if all niche groups are covered as well. This is a site aimed at your average online dater. There are no hard and fast numbers regarding the amount of people that have registered, but there were over 20,000 new accounts this week at the time of this writing. This is not a huge, slick site, but it does have features that make it stand out in the crowd.

The profile is really one of the strengths of this site. There is basic information that you fill out on registering: height, body type, hair color, and so on. It does not make you write profile text at that point – and you never have to – but that is where the profile really takes off. It asks such questions about what celebrity you resemble, what you like to do around your city, and who you would “do lunch” with if you could. Naturally, there are the generic “tell us about yourself” fields, but the creativity of the other questions is appreciated. The profiles are laid out in a basic fashion and can get rather long if you fill out your profile entirely. It also has places for you to specify your ideal date.

The search mechanism is straight forward. It has the basic age range, location range basic sort of search. Then it has search by profile attribute as its advanced search. There is also the ability to search by who is online and by who has viewed your profile. Functional, but not exciting.

The free benefits are a little lacking. You can only create a profile and show interest in a specific member. When you upgrade, you can send both emails and instant messages. They also have video messages and a chat room, though they seem to hide these two great perks. You can also upload more photos with a paid subscription. The price per month is $19.95, and you can pay via paypal, check, credit card, or mail.

Date.com Pros

  • Nice, detailed online profile.
  • Cheaper than other online sites
  • Decent search engine.

Date.com Cons

  • Not very many free features.
  • Difficult to find information on features.

This site is a fair site for finding online love. It is a step up from basic, but not really by much. The profile is a great feature, but the lack of free benefits limits the amount you can find out about the site. There are a fair number of people who come up in searches, but there are no statistics that say how many people frequent the site. This makes one wonder whether or not it is worth buying a full membership. The price to upgrade is reasonable and won’t break the bank, but the question is still, “is it worth it?”

LavaLife Review

LavaLife

Lavalife was started in 1997 and has grown into one of the major players in the online dating market. They now have over 1.7 million members with more than 700,000 messages sent per day. The site also owns many companies that cater to niche markets, though the main site is targeted towards a more mainstream clientele. Lavalife’s strength lies in its technology. It has chat as most places do, but it also has a “party” five times a day that is completely free. You can upload photos, but you can also upload videos. They even have a special feature where you can call a potential match with complete anonymity. Truly, this is a site on the cutting edge of online dating technology.

Lavalife is unique in that it has three separate profiles depending on the type of relationship you are looking for: dating, relationship, and intimate. It is possible to have profiles in all categories and each profile asks different questions slanted towards that domain. For instance, the intimate section asks what things turn you on, while the dating section asks what things you enjoy doing on a date. The questions are by no means earth shattering, and the profile is moderately detailed. The navigation is slick, though sometimes it gets confusing trying to figure out what section you are in. The large home page button is a savior, though. In all, the categories are another strength of this site.

There is nothing particularly special about the search function. You can give an age range and a location, and then go from there. If you are looking to narrow via body type, hair color, etc., then you can do an advanced search and save it for future use. It is a functional, basic search function that gets the job done.

The free membership allows you to search for singles, create profiles in all three categories, and post 30 pictures to the site. The really nice thing is that you can respond to emails and text messages for free. That is a perk that not many sites can boast. For $34.99 per month, you can send unlimited instant messages and emails and see who has viewed your profile. In addition, there is the free party time five times per day. All you need is a nickname and a photo, and you’re in.

LavaLife Pros

  • Online dating technology at its finest.
  • Multiple profile types.
  • Respond to emails for free.

LavaLife Cons

  • A little on the expensive side.
  • Site layout is a bit confusing.
  • Could use some more creative search functions

LavaLife is highly recommended for those who like technology, certainly, but it does well as a standard online dating site, too. It has a robust collection of freebies, categories of profiles, and a large membership base. Although it does not cater to the niche market and its search engine is a little on the old fashioned side, there is much to like about the site. Even for the price, this is definitely a place to go if you want to meet up with someone new. However, even for free, you may still meet the partner of your dreams. That’s the great thing about Lavalife: cutting edge technology, great bargain.

PerfectMatch.com Review

PerfectMatch.com Frontpage

Looking for your perfect match? If you haven’t yet found him or her on Match.com or eHarmony.com, you might be tempted to try your luck with Perfectmatch.com, best described as a conflation of the two sites.

As with Match.com, Perfectmatch.com allows you to design your own search criteria and search freely for other members, and like eHarmony, it generates a compatibility profile based on your answers to questions in eight core areas within the “Duet® Total Compatibility System”: romantic impulsivity, personal energy, outlook, predictability, flexibility, decision making style, emotionality, and self-nurturing; it then sends you ‘perfect matches’ that fit your compatibility profile.

With a basic (translation: FREE) membership, you get to complete and review the results of your Duet® compatibility profile, receive ‘perfect matches,’ whose profiles you can view in full, search for matches, and choose from a variety of “icebreakers” to send to other members, which are pre-selected multiple choice questions that can be sent with the intent to get to know a match a bit better before taking the email plunge (which is quite the plunge considering emailing other members requires membership with a hefty price tag attached).

With a premium (translation: PAID) membership, you are granted unlimited access to other members’ profiles, and may contact other members via email correspondence. There are other “advantages” of paid membership, but pay them no attention — really, you’re paying for the opportunity to correspond with other Perfectmatch.com hopefuls.

I’m going to work backwards here and start with the Cons to this particular online dating website before the Pros.

PerfectMatch.com Cons

  • Very Few Matches In My Geographic Area. Okay, in a perfect world, I’d quit my job and commit myself full-time to the practice of searching for a mate. However, in the real world, I’m going to need to find somebody in the same city, or at least the outskirts. This shouldn’t be hard, as I live in a big city, but Perfectmatch.com found me only one perfect match in my city, and others within 100+ miles. When I set my own search criteria (for example, non-smoker, college degree), the site found only 5 matches for me, none of whom lived in or near my city, and one of which was a woman named Kim, even though I clearly stated I was a female looking for a male.

    And while it hints at allowing you access to more matches with a premium (PAID) membership, it should really be enticing you to WANT to upgrade to a premium membership by giving you a decent snapshot into the desirable members in your zipcode with whom you’ll be able to make contact once you upgrade. Nobody wants to pay for a full pint of beer without sampling the taster, and nobody wants to pay a high membership price for what appears to be < one local match.

  • You Need A Perfect Income To Pay For Perfect Matches. The website offers a membership of three months for $36.95/month, and six months for $33.33/month. Now to be fair, I’ve been spoiled by my Match.com membership, which I purchased several years back at an extremely affordable rate of $16.99/month for six months. It renews every six months at that same rate at which I initially subscribed. Comparing current prices for other paid sites, it appears that, according to this site, three months at eHarmony.com is comparable at $39.95/month, and $29.95/month for six months, whereas Match.com wins the price war by a landslide at $19.99/month for three months, and $16.99 for six months. So perhaps if you felt investing in a membership eHarmony.com was money well spent, you will be willing to pay a similar price at Perfectmatch.com.
  • Profile Setup And Format Not Conducive To Efficiency Or Productivity. Two major problems jumped out at me after I began navigating the site. First, because creating an ‘about me’ section is optional and the opportunity to create that section only comes after the pricing is revealed, many people won’t make it to that step in the process. So there are innumerable incomplete profiles floating around on Perfectmatch.com that are nothing but answers to personality and compatibility questions, but missing a personalized ‘about me’ summary and pictures. Which brings me to the second major problem, which is a profile that doesn’t reveal whether a profile is active or inactive; in other words, you don’t know if the person checked his or her profile within the last 24 hours, or the last 24 years. Most other dating websites will provide information regarding the person’s activity on the site, so that you’re not waiting around for a response to an email from somebody who has long forgotten that Perfectmatch.com compatibility profile they filled out six months ago.
  • Compatibility Profile May Be a Bunch of Hooey. Call me a skeptic, but I found the compatibility profile, which it claims “actually describes and explains complete personality types” to be scant and suspiciously brief. Can answering a total of six true/false questions per core ‘compatibility’ area really describe and explain my personality and those personalities with whom I’ll develop romantic chemistry? According to the website, this Duet® compatibility system “has proven to be the most sophisticated and effective than any romantic matching tool on or off the Internet,” which, besides being a grammatically incorrect statement, appears to be an unfounded assertion given the lack of research I could find on the internet supporting this tool or explaining the research methodologies used to arrive at this conclusion.

PerfectMatch.com Pros

  • Serious Users Encouraged. By developing a compatibility profile reminiscent of the eHarmony compatibility system, this site gives the impression that it is one of the more serious dating sites, intended for members who are really searching for a relationship as opposed to casual dating or a fling. The price, also, weeds out those who aren’t looking very seriously for a relationship, as the people looking for casual dates will more likely end up on the free dating websites. We’ve all met our share of the type who participates in the online dating game merely for sport, and Perfectmatch.com is not conducive to such players. So if you’re in the dating game looking to win someone’s heart – and for someone to win yours – this website is designed for people like you.
  • Access To Dating Advice And Support. Okay, for some of us, the ability to make a good impression on a first date is pretty intuitive, but for those who find online dating awkward and intimidating, this site includes dating articles, dating tips, and an advice column written by the site’s founder, Dr. Pepper Schwartz. Plenty of users won’t find these accessories particularly helpful, but the nervous dater might feel more at ease equipped with these suggestions and tips.

Bottom Line

In the romantic comedy “Must Love Dogs,” Diane Lane found love with John Cusack after meeting him on Perfectmatch.com. If you haven’t found luck with the more popular paid dating sites (Match.com and eHarmony.com being the frontrunners), and you aren’t finding the serious daters you were hoping for on the free sites, then you might want to try Perfectmatch.com. Please comment and add your story if you find that you have a positive experience with the site. But unless your life is a romantic comedy, don’t expect to find your John Cusack as easily as Diane Lane did.

FriendFinder Review

FriendFinder

FriendFinder is one of bigger online dating sites, boasting over 1.4 million active members on its site. The main site has limited niche group involvement, but there is one click access to the other niche sites under the FriendFinder umbrella if you’re looking for a specific demographic to date. The site design is a bit busy with things stuffed together on one page and it takes some studying to understand what everything actually is. Even when you do figure it out, it is still too much on one page and I wish they did some streamlining to their site to make it easier to navigate.

The FriendFinder profile is nothing special to look at. It is really just a picture and text boxes. The questions asked are not thought provoking ones, but are generic “tell us about yourself” types of questions. The basic stuff (hair, weight, eyes, etc.) are the only things that are covered in any depth. Again, the profile suffers from too much info jammed onto one page. However, it is fully functional as you can send email, upload photos, send flowers, send bling, and read the profile all from the same page.

The search function is interesting in that you can only do a basic search as a non paying member. In order to search by more specific terms, you must pay to upgrade. Even then, though, there is nothing really special or creative about the search function. You can see who’s online now and who is new in your area, but that is about it. The search engine is one of the least busy pages on the whole site, though, and that is a good thing.

There are virtually no free benefits. You can create a profile and perform a basic search. FriendFinder has a tiered paid membership scheme. You can become a silver member for $22.99 per month. This allows you to view and contact members, get higher placement in searches, contact new members, and obtain partial access to blogs, magazines, etc. To become a gold member, you have to shell out $34.99 per month. This give you all the benefits of a silver member plus placement at the top of all searches, full access to magazines and blogs, and access to members’ instant messaging nicknames. Full access to introduction videos and customer support are also included.

FriendFinder Pros

  • Large, popular site
  • Tiered paid membership
  • Niche sites for different demographics.

FriendFinder Cons

  • Busy site design.
  • Very few free benefits.

FriendFinder is not a bad site. It is a little difficult to navigate at first, but you get used to it in time. It is chock full of features, but you need to be a paying member to access most of that. That’s understandable, but to hold back the advanced search functions is not very cool. It is nice that they have a tiered payment plan so that you can determine how much you want to spend, but the prices are high. You would expect the silver package to be a bit more reasonable. Still, it is comparable to other sites.

FriendFinder could easily be a first stop site in the online dating world. It has a lot of features, a lot of members, and is comparably priced. I’d recommend you take a look but with the caveats mentioned above.

Zoosk Review

Zoosk Frontpage

Zoosk boasts eight million singles coming through their doors via Facebook. Indeed, the close association with Facebook is one of the perks of membership at Zoosk. It has even been featured in such prestigious places as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Newsweek. What makes Zoosk stand out is that it really has the feel of a social networking site. It even has a newsfeed of sorts from the main homepage to let you know what activity is happening on the site right now.

The profile is slick and cleanly laid out. There are the usual vital statistics and text boxes for more focused writing about yourself. A creative thing about this profile is the presence of “ice breakers”. You can select up to one hundred questions that you would like someone to ask you to break the ice. Also, the profile has a section where your friends from other sites like Facebook can write testimonials about you. These are two unique things to this site that make the profile fun and thoughtful.

The search mechanism is rather straight forward. You can do a basic search from the search page that outlines such things as age and distance. You can also go for a more advanced search by selecting which attributes in particular you are looking for. If you collect enough coins, you can boost your profile to the top of the search results for a while and gain prime space on the main page of someone who may be interested in you. It is a way of standing out among the crowd.

Coins are just one of the many things you can do for free on Zoosk. You can gain coins by performing specific actions or by opting in to advertisements. These are great ways to collect coins, but you can also buy them at about $0.10 per coin. What do they do? It is unclear at first, but they are not only good for boosting your profile. You can use them to send little gifts with your flirts and messages in order to stand out in someone’s inbox. It’s a cute touch and just another of the things that makes Zoosk fun.

Free members can also respond to mail sent directly to them, and this is a rare perk in the online dating community. The only thing that paid membership gets for you is unlimited contact with singles, prime search placement, chat, and the ability to see who has viewed your profile. This is available for $29.99 per month and can be paid using credit card, paypal, or check.

Zoosk Pros

  • Lots of perks for free members.
  • Seamless Facebook integration.
  • Lots of interesting, fun features.

Zoosk Cons

  • Relatively high membership price.
  • Search is a little basic.

There really is not much to dislike about Zoosk. It is one of the most fun sites out there in the online dating community. It is nicely laid out, works with Facebook, and has lots of fun little things you can do to gain someone’s attention. Its free benefits are phenomenal, and the price of subscribing really isn’t too much more than other sites. This site is highly recommended as a first choice site. There really are very few that can compare to the fun and to the bargain that Zoosk brings to online dating.

Senior People Meet Review

Senior People Meet

Seniorpeoplemeet.com is a site aimed at the senior dating spectrum of the online dating community. There are many younger people on this site, too, who are looking to meet older people for dating relationships. This is definitely a niche market site and not a primary site or big player in the industry. This site claims the largest number of online seniors and also states that they have one million seniors registering every year. The site is laid out in a simple three column scheme – not too busy but not simple, either. The colors are soothing and navigation is a breeze with top tabs to hop from one thing to another.

The profile is rather simplistic, but it does have some interesting questions that are unique to the site. It asks about reading and the theater. It seems not to focus so much on movies and music, but to focus on sedate, almost genteel activities. There are three text boxes, but they are not required for the profile. Of course, you can make of your profile what you wish by filling out these boxes. There is also the ability to put audio and video on your profile if you have the capability. Not the most exciting profile, but functional.

There are a few search mechanisms that can come in handy. You can search by the norms – location, age, etc. – and the attributes – height, weight, hair color, etc. You can also search by zodiac sign, who has looked at your profile, and who has actually taken the time to write in their text boxes. That’s incentive! There is also the ability to search by match which is determined by age, body type, and marital status. Some nice search features here, but nothing to knock your socks off. Functional, as well.

Free benefits include the ability to make a profile and perform all searches. You also get to see who has looked at your profile, but not much else, really. For paid membership, you get to send and respond to emails, see who is flirting with you, see who added you as a favorite, view member videos, and chat via instant messaging. You get this all for the price of . . . $14.95 per month! That is an incredibly good price compared to all of the other sites. This site is well worth that price.

Senior People Meet Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Pretty interesting profile
  • If you’re a senior, this site is for you.

Senior People Meet Cons

  • Not many free features
  • Layout is functional, but not slick

This site is recommended to seniors. If you are, run, don’t walk to this site. It is easy to navigate, fun to use, has enough technology for older nerds, and is reasonably priced. If only the other sites would take a page from Seniorpeoplemeet.com. It is not trying to bilk you out of your money chasing pie-in-the-sky true love. It is simple, straight forward, and real and perfect for the senior dating niche. The only negative is that they don’t have a site for younger people that is as nice as this one.

Mate1 Review

Mate1 Frontpage

Mate1 claims that hundreds of thousands of singles find their mate on this site. That may be so, but Mate1 seems like a mid grade player in the online dating sphere. Mate1 is targeted at your normal dating crowd, but there are many niche groups listed on the home page if you are so inclined. The layout is decent and not too cluttered. It is a nice dark blue with things easy to find by top menu navigation.

The Mate1 profile is in depth and creative. It asks the standard questions and has optional text boxes to write about yourself. However, there are questions that are asked about work habits, diet, and sense of humor among other things. The thing that really makes this profile stand out is a list of different “favorites” that you can identify. For instance, there is a box for favorite food and one guy put Doritos. There is about thirty of these boxes that are fun and interesting.

They have quite a few search features at Mate1. You can search by location and attribute like most sites, but there is also the ability to search by keyword. Typing in the keyword “writing” returned dubious results, but the attempt was a nice touch. There is also a match search, but there is really no indication as to what it matches.

You can post a profile for free at Mate1, conduct all searches, and view the main profile picture. For your membership, you can email all members on the site, chat, listen to voice profiles, and view additional photos. For $1.95 you can sign up for a three day trial, but it is impossible and frustrating to try to find long term prices. Instead, the site continues to bounce you to the three day trial. That makes it impossible to find out how it compares to other sites. Of course, the price for three days is reasonable and a nice feature, but that isn’t going to get you the real deal. If we extrapolate that price out, the monthly fee may be something like $19.50 per month. That would make is reasonable compared to other sites, but, again, we cannot be sure of this price.

Mate1 Pros

  • Offers a three day trial
  • Creative and interesting profile
  • Extensive search functions

Mate1 Cons

  • Does not list price per month
  • No free features to speak of

Mate1 could be recommended as a first line dating site, but it is frustrating to be denied the price per month. It is not easy to comparison shop this way. It is really nice that they offer a cheap trial, but that gets you no closer to making a decision based on your finances. Mate1 has a slick layout and many members. Its profile is interesting and fun, but we need to know at what cost. This site is recommended, but with the caveat that it may be more expensive than some other sites. If it is expensive, there are better sites out there with more features to offer. Buyer beware.