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!

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When Worlds Collide

Twice at recent social events, men have recognized me from my online dating profile and, emboldened by the knowledge that I’m looking to date, asked me out. Hey, that’s great, I like a guy who remembers how to approach me for a date in person rather than via the semi-anonymous comfort of internet space. But both men have taken offense at my polite “no thank you,” and have endeavored repeatedly for a different answer. It seems as if they mistook my online presence as a sign that I was desperate and would accept a date with anyone who asked.

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Survival Tips For Your First Date

Do you find it easy to arrange a date online but have trouble making it past the first date? Creating a good first impression can be daunting, but once you master the ‘first impressionist’ art, you’ll find the first date a breeze. Better yet, you might even find it… Keep in mind these easy tips for breezing through your first date and paving the way for your second date and beyond!

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Why Won’t You Date A Single Mom?

The following is a guest post by H, a single mom.

What is it with men not wanting to date single moms? Do you think I am looking for a baby daddy and hoping that after date 1.5 you can move in with us and start watching my kid so I can go have drinks with the girls? Do you assume I have some serious baggage and my kid is a delinquent? Prior to becoming a single parent, I may have made some similar assumptions myself, so I can empathize with your fears. At the same time, allow me to clear up some of the misconceptions you may have about dating a single parent, more specifically a single mom, since I happen to be one (and let me just put it out there that I am single and I am a catch).

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Don’t Worry, Be Funny

It’s good to be serious about finding your soulmate on the internet; it’s not so good to be just plain serious. It’s a proven fact (or a fact that will eventually be proven) that taking oneself too seriously causes health problems and certain death. And nobody wants to die of seriousness before finding their perfect mate! So when you create your online profile, make sure you show your lighter side.

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Don’t Sweat Your Response Rate

In light of the emotionally – charged comments you’ve offered regarding your own personal online dating experiences, I notice a consistent sore spot is the disappointing dearth of responses to your attempts at contacting prospective dates. I observe that some have arrived at the mistaken impression that men suffer more ignored emails than women.

Let me assure you that this is in fact not the case. I, a woman of good intellect, better looks, even better sense of humor and average height (hey, nobody’s perfect!), have sent out many an unanswered email, and I will admit that early on in the online dating game, a few empty inboxes after such judicious searching induced some disappointment.

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Filtering: Not Just For Water Anymore

For those of you who like using but don’t like having to filter through all of the unwanted emails, in today’s tip I bring you good tidings of online dating joy! now offers inbox filtering services tailored to your filtering needs! Just go into your messages and you’ll now find a tab marked ‘Filtered mail.’ Click on ‘Settings’ next to the ‘Filtered mail’ tab, and emails from users falling outside of the criteria you’ve set will be automatically transferred to the filtered mail folder.

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How To Filter Your Online Dating Prospects

Dear Kinley,

I have been on for like 2 months now. What the heck is up with me only
getting men from India or “separated” men. gggrrrrr… any suggestions?

Single, Semi-attractive, Funny, Level-headed Woman in Portland, OR

Dear SSAFLHW in Portland, OR,

I did a bit of research and it appears that while on some sites you can change your message settings to filter out men in other countries or men who are separated, on you can only block specific members from contacting you.

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

As with, 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 hopefuls.

I’m going to work backwards here and start with the Cons to this particular online dating website before the Pros. 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 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 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 is comparable at $39.95/month, and $29.95/month for six months, whereas 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 was money well spent, you will be willing to pay a similar price at
  • 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 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 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. 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 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 If you haven’t found luck with the more popular paid dating sites ( and 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 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.