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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?

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.

Coffee Meets Bagel limits the number of profiles you can view at one time, forcing you to consider the profiles you do see more carefully. It’s also marketed as a ladies choice app, which means women must initiate contact with a match first. Setting up your profile is fast and only requires a few quick facts about yourself and your appearance. After you write six phrases about yourself and three phrases about what you like in a date, you can start using Coffee Meets Bagel. There is no desktop version of this dating service, though, so you have to have a smartphone, Facebook account and cell phone number to use it. A Facebook account is required because, according to the website, matches are more successful when two people have mutual friends. The app accesses your list of friends to do this but won’t post anything to your page, so there’s no need to worry. This dating app uses “beans” as currency. You can earn beans by logging in often, by purchasing them or by completing certain tasks like using the app’s Photo Lab. You then use beans to unlock special features in the app and to “like” other user profiles. The service gives male users 21 curated matches every day that they can either like or pass on. The women, in turn, get to see which men have liked them and decide whether to like them back. If they do, the matched pair can then chat for free. In our tests, the maximum number of profiles we could like before running out of beans was five a day, which we would think keeps most people from being flippant about their matches. In our tests, our accounts got an average of three matches, which was rather low compared to other services we tried. The messaging feature also has a seven-day time limit for conversation between two people, which kind of forces you to decide whether you want to take action on that potential love connection.
For those seeking for an exclusively app-based experience, there's also Jdate's JSwipe, a location-based, Facebook-connected dating app that includes popular features like profile swiping. While JSwipe is primarily targeted at relationship-minded Jewish singles in their 20s or 30s, world of mouth has it that grandmothers love swiping through to find a match for their grandkids - so much so that the company refers to themselves as 'Bubbe-approved'!
I also must say that the navigation is pretty easy. Zoosk will give you recommendations of who are your matches and who has been on most recent and is most compatible with you, and you can include that in your filter. But what I like about Zoosk is unlike EHarmony and Elite Singles, you have the freedom to search for all singles from all age groups and ways of life. It will recommend singles for you, but you can go outside that property. You can look for someone in New York from Florida if you want. Now that’s going to make for a hard relationship, but it just goes to show there are no limits on who you can search for and who you can message with a membership.

Although the user base isn’t as large as that of Match.com or eHarmony, it is growing – and unlike eHarmony, Chemistry.com also allows same-sex matching. Free users can take the personality test, see photos, and get matches; however, you must subscribe to contact other members. The cost to join is $39.99 for one month, $26.99 per month for a three-month subscription, and $20.99 per month for a six-month subscription.
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