You discover potential matches based on searching instead of getting match suggestions, which gives you more control over your online dating experience. For each match you see, you also see the percentage match rate you have with that individual, giving you not just another conversation starter, but an actual data-driven indication (based on the profile questions you answered) of how well you and someone you find in your search results may match. OKCupid has a fun, laid-back feel to it, and users generally adopt a similar attitude when interacting on the site, making it a legitimate choice both for people looking for casual flings, and those in search of more serious, long-term relationships.
Your profile isn’t just pictures and a bit of text about you. It includes questions such as “You should message me if…” and “Six things I could never live without”. Users can look at the answers on other peoples profiles to see if they match or can relate to their own answers. Based on your answers, OkCupid will make a list of the user’s personality traits.
Sites with specific demographics have become popular as a way to narrow the pool of potential matches. Successful niche sites pair people by race, sexual orientation or religion. In March 2008, the top 5 overall sites held 7% less market share than they did one year ago while the top sites from the top five major niche dating categories made considerable gains. Niche sites cater to people with special interests, such as sports fans, racing and automotive fans, medical or other professionals, people with political or religious preferences (e.g., Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc.), people with medical conditions (e.g., HIV+, obese), or those living in rural farm communities.
LatinAmericanCupid.com: This is the best site for dating Latin Americans. You will find some beautiful women (and men), particularly if you do a search around the larger cities in the U.S. such as New York. I’ve been a member of LatinAmericanCupid.com and can tell you that it is also a great site to use if you plan on venturing outside the U.S. to countries such as Peru or the Dominican Republic.
Matching with potential profiles is quick and streamlined—which is good if you’re a busy parent. If there is one thing that is missing from the matching experience, however, it’s learning about your potential match’s children or family situation. This isn’t always something you’d look for in an app, but when the site is geared toward single parents, it’s an important factor.
Like many dating sites, Zoosk offers free browsing and message services. However, it does not let you respond to other members until you pay for a membership, then you can wink and chat your heart out. There have been complaints that Zoosk sometimes matches you with members that are not a geographic match. And communicating with other users can be frustrating if the other user has a free membership. The site doesn't tell you who has paid and who hasn't. Still, Zoosk is a good option for 20-somethings.
Signing up is pretty simple with Amigos. You have the option of using one of three different languages once you get in to the site: English, Spanish or Portuguese. Once you’ve got your preferred language, you can answer basic questions about yourself, like age, location and what you are looking for, and upload photos to your profile. You can also write a little bio about yourself to try and make yourself stand out.
The online dating world is awash with apps (including ours, which we’re pretty proud of, coincidentally), but for many singles, seeking out the very best dating apps can be a little perplexing. Do you shoot for the most aesthetically pleasing offering, or do you test out the app with the highest number of users? Do you delve into the expansive and whimsical world of niche dating apps, or look up something a little more established?
Not a whole lot of people are going to dive into a premium membership at POF since its messaging is free. However, you can upgrade and receive extra features that free users can’t. For example, you can upload up to 16 pictures with a premium membership compared to eight pictures for just the free one. Also, you don’t have to deal with being bombarded with advertisements and can see who has been peeking at your profile. You get read receipts for your messages, can see who is online, have the ability to view new members and can unlock extended profiles.
Much like Happn, Grindr is a dating app that alerts you when other members are nearby. Much like Tinder, Grindr is a dating app with a social reputation as a big player in the casual dating market. While the app does have legions of fans who love the fact that it can provide quick, fun connections with other men seeking men, in recent years Grindr has been working to provide for gay men more inclined towards monogamy too.9
An endless roster of actively seeking singles (even ones with really niche preferences) are now accessible on your commute, and profiles are swamped with Uber ratings, food preferences and requests that we follow these complete strangers on Instagram (like we weren't going to stalk you anyway). With all this to consider, how are you expected to find time to pick the best dating apps to bless with your presence? How do you know what apps have the 'best' single people lurking on them?
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.
It’s very quick and easy to set up and use. The profile creation is pretty standard. You add photos, age, profession, and interests, and you can also specify what you feel like doing, whether that’s taking a walk in the park, seeing a movie, or having a drink. Happn has some nifty integrations — you can use Facebook to set up your profile, hook up your Instagram account to automatically add photos, and add Spotify to see if your musical tastes align.
In order to sign up, you must have a Facebook or Instagram page as that’s the only way to make an account. It will import some of your basic profile information, but you will also have to add other things, such as sexuality, relationship status, height, the type of female you are (i.e. lesbian, FTM, bisexual, gender fluid) and so on. HER recommends an upload of eight photos for your profile, but you can veer off of that and add more or less if you want. They do have a verification process, which is good because you know you are talking to real people and not catfishers looking to capitalize on your photos.
Why it's awesome: What initially began as a Facebook app developed in 2007 has grown into a company with 35 million users in more than 80 countries. Rather than asking its users for dating questions, Zoosk picks dates for its users based on a user's on-site activity. If you shoot a message to Jake Doe, for example, Zoosk says it'll use that action to determine which types of profiles to show you going forward."Zoosk is fun and flirty," Spira says. "It does cater to a younger crowd – more of a millennial crowd."
I was on Clover for quite some time, but had since forgotten it existed until I started to compile this list. It strikes me as a less-successful hybrid of OkCupid and Tinder with a relatively small user base, even though I live in an urban area with plenty of people who use a wide variety of dating apps. Clover says it has nearly 6 million users, 85 percent of whom are between the ages of 18 and 30.
Once you’re a full-fledged member of The League, the fun begins. While there is a free option, most users opt for the paid membership option at $99 a month or $250 a year. As a paid member, you receive up to seven prospects each day during Happy Hour; tap the heart button if you like the prospect, or the X if you wish to move on. If you do match with another member, you have 21 days to contact each other. If you continuously fail to contact or reply to members, you will be deemed “flaky” by The League and it may send fewer prospects your way in the future.
A number of attributes were regularly referenced or implicated (as desirable) by both men and women; many users sought to associate both themselves and their ideal matches with these qualities, which included creativity, intelligence, “passion” (roughly defined as an enthusiasm for something), maturity, confidence, selflessness, honesty, morality, and a good sense of humour. User M7-36 writes that he is looking for “honesty dammit! Someone I can trust, someone I can love.… She has to have good morals and someone who is not selfish,” while F3-32 likes “spending time with people who think about the world beyond themselves.… You are a grown-up.”
When searching for profiles, you can see everything that the other user has on their page, even without a paid membership. Christian Mingle doesn’t hide anything just because you didn’t pay a membership. Plus, with the detailed profile, you get a great illustration of who you are looking at and then can decide whether or not to take the leap and send them a message.
Looking for a match who's a bit more mature? According to Choice 1.1 million Australians are on Zoosk and of those the majority are over 30. Zoosk tries to bring you the best of both the traditional dating site and the swipe-format dating app. You complete an extensive profile and compatibility quiz which will deliver you "smart matches" that Zoosk picks for you. But you can also browse user profiles at random and tap yes, no or maybe, Tinder-style. If you want to contact members on Zoosk you have to pay for a subscription, but on the plus-side that means you'll only hear from people serious enough about this whole online dating thing to front up some cash. A Zoosk subscription starts at $29.95 for one month.
OkCupid is another one of the biggest names in the dating biz. After creating a username, you’ll start filling out a very long profile, to which you can link to your Instagram account. You can answer questions, giving both your answer and what you’d like your potential match’s answer to be — this creates a percentile score for users that reflects compatibility. You can also choose to make your answers public and note how important they are to you.
When it comes down to actually putting yourself out there and creating a profile, all apps ask for the basics: name, age, location, a photo, a short blurb about yourself, and (usually) if you can stand a person who smokes. Beyond that, it can be a bit of a crapshoot. Some apps, like Tinder, value photos over personality. Others, like eharmony, make you fill out an endless questionnaire before you can even think about browsing for your match. Still others, like Zoosk, ask so little that you're left to wonder what's being used to actually match you with like-minded singles.