Statistically speaking, there’s plenty of evidence that dating apps work—especially for those among us whose endgame is meeting a long-term partner. There are stats that say marriages among people who met on an app are less likely to end after the first year, and despite a big cultural annoyance about the process, the vast majority of Americans think that, ultimately, apps are a good way to meet people. Even anecdotally, a lot of the people I spoke to for this piece—all of whom self-identified as dating app haters—nevertheless met their long-term partner on an app.
The OkCupid app is much more like a traditional dating site than most apps, because that's what it used to be, and still is, with the added convenience that you can now use it on your phone. You set up a profile which includes questions about things like your interests, lifestyle and what you're looking for in a relationship. You then get to browse profiles which will display a match percentage based on how much you have in common. People who use OkCupid find this a helpful way to filter through potential dates and find someone with whom they're going to have lots in common.
eHarmony is another serious dating site that prefers to connect its users based on personality. With its focus on marriage, it's a solid choice for those in their 20s or early 30s who want to upgrade to a paid dating app. For those dating in their 40s and beyond though, it is worth noting that eHarmony's CEO has pointed out that the average user used to be ''36 to 37 years old," and that "now it's closer to 30."2
If you feel like most of the people you match with don't end of looking like they do in their profile, there's science to back that up. A study of 80 online daters found two thirds of users lied about their weight by 5 pounds or more with no correlation to whether the user was male or female. Having this knowledge in your back pocket can be useful while scrolling through Tinder or eharmony and result in more matches and long term connections.
Damien has a "keep it 100" mentality, offering sage wisdom such as, "Money can't buy happiness." He's a designer at a popular clothing company and asks a lot of questions about my job. I answer, but he continues to press on the subject. "How do you know who your consumer is?" he quizzes me. "What kind of data do you use?" Our date starts to feel like an informational interview.
What it'll cost you: For free, you get to create a profile and send unlimited winks. The full membership, however, that allows you to send and receive private messages, chat with the instant messenger, and see who's viewed your profile is $29.95 for 1 month, $19.99 per month for 3 months, $16.66 per month for 6 months, and $11.67 per month for a year.
The app does an incredibly good job at collecting feedback from singles, using it to help increase your rate of success. Members are given a report card-style dashboard that shows them why users liked or passed on their profile, down to the specific reason, such as low-quality profile pictures, as well as offering ways to improve their likelihood of getting “liked.” For any online dater, this dashboard alone is a good (and free) tool to gauge how their profile is performing compared to others.
Specify Relationship Type. You’re not limited to looking for a long-term relationship. In fact, you can search for friends, penpals, people to casually date, to date short-term, or to just hook up with. You can search within a specific age range, and you can even use the site if you’re married. However, you can also specify that you’re only interested in members who are single.
The bulk of the profile form was under the heading “My additional details” and consisted of a series of 36 different text boxes designed to allow free-form responses. Each box provided a prompt in the form of a question or phrase, such as “The best or worst lie I’ve ever told,” “Five items I can’t live without,” or “How planned do you prefer a date to be?” The guiding phrases seemed designed to delimit possible responses and to “frame” the information the users provided, while providing space for an individualized answer.
Clover is a nice, clean, easy-to-use app with plenty of Australian users and a couple of interesting features. Like Tinder you get to look at a list of possible matches that you say yes or no to. But unlike Tinder you can filter your matches based on things like their relationship intention, interests, occupation and religion. Once you find someone you're interested in you can like them, message them or play twenty questions to find out how similar or different you are. Clover also offers on-demand dating which basically allows people to shortcut the small talk and go straight to setting up a meeting. The app is free but setting up a search filter on user profiles requires the premium version which starts from $29.99 per month.
Social verification: Many sites employ a method known as social verification to help prevent wrongdoers from gaining access to you. This goes above and beyond just asking for your email. Many sites now ask you to verify your identity through your Facebook or Google login. This, combined with highly trained scammer prevention teams, has made online dating safer than it has ever been.
Tinder also has a rival in China that it needs to keep an eye on. Tantan, a Chinese Tinder clone that has the added bonus of censoring phrases like “hook up buddy” in the chat, sits in fourth place on iOS. Though it is currently focused on the Chinese market, where Tinder can’t be used without a VPN due to its Facebook ties, Tantan could become a threat if it moved into the global market.
OkCupid is a well-designed and fun matchmaking service. The most important features, messaging and viewing other profiles, are free and the site is LGBTQ-inclusive. Our findings are in line with 2016 Consumer Reports data that found users were most satisfied with OkCupid over numerous other dating services. With free dating apps becoming more popular thanks to Tinder, people are gravitating toward predominately free online dating services. Setting up your profile is fun because of the unique questions you’re asked, like what your ideal date would entail and whether you’d prefer to be weird or normal. You also answer these questions from the perspective of your ideal mate to ensure you are paired with compatible people. Along with up to six photos, you can also add more information to your profile about your lifestyle. In our tests, OkCupid gave us the most matches. On top of that, about half of them were an 80 percent match or higher, meaning they are much more likely to be a compatible match. To eliminate the likelihood of being bombarded with too many messages, you can only see messages from users you’ve “liked,” which we thought was a clever feature. The free mobile app is also well designed and easy to use.
In recent years, OKCupid has added some limits to the messaging service. In previous years, you could message anyone you want and that got the conversation rolling, kind of like Plenty of Fish. Today, while you are still free to message anyone you’d like, the other person will only see it and be able to respond if they liked you back. So this is why it’s very important to take filling out your profile seriously as it could keep many from liking you and, therefore, messaging you. It can be frustrating, though, to send out a lot of messages and wonder if they’re ever going to message you back. Chances are they never read your message because they never hit the “like” button.
“I’d been on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble for four years and I didn’t have any luck,” says Jill Cimorelli, a social media influencer who lives in Los Angeles. “Eight months ago I tried Hinge, which limits the number of matches because it connects you with people you have mutual connections with [from Facebook and other social media platforms.]"
MocoSpace has been around since before app stores existed. Since 2005, it has been a leading site for meeting new people. They also have Android and iOS apps that are absolutely free. If you’re afraid they’ll try to sell you to a $30/month membership fee, don’t worry. It doesn’t exist. They also have more features than many other dating apps — with chat, instant messaging, and even some games in addition to highly customizable profile pages. The app experience is different from the competition, and users who return for several sessions are rewarded with a community that keeps them coming back for years.