For many modern daters, the name “Tinder" should be accompanied by the Darth Vader theme song. The truth is, no app embodies the “necessary evil” aspect of swiping the way Tinder does. And it’s not even Tinder’s fault: As a pioneer of the current dating app format, Tinder’s utter ubiquity means everyone has an opinion about it. And because, as we've established, the dating rigamarole kind of sucks in general, that means a lot of people have negative opinions about it. But you have to hand it to Tinder, they really did change the game (for better or worse).
As a result, when considering what's available these days in free online dating terms, the message is pretty clear: Finding people online to go on dates with doesn't cost you much money — or any money, for that matter — so you can save your hard-earned cash for the dates you actually go on. If online dating is something you're thinking about, you really have nothing to lose by trying out a free dating site.
Until at least 2011, Nerve allowed users to search for appropriate matches using delimiting criteria such as location, age, sex, and sex of desired partner. I restricted the search criteria so that all the profiles I chose were from individuals living in a single Canadian province, all were either men seeking women or women seeking men, and all were aged 25 to 35 years. Profiles were selected according to 1) whether they showed up in this search, 2) whether users were seeking “opposite-sex” matches only, and 3) how much text users provided (500 words minimum). The purpose of this was to delimit the scope of the data, to target the groups most likely to try to tap in to normative gender presentations, and also to make sure the profiles had enough text for an analysis.
How does it work? Let’s face it, meeting up with a complete stranger for a first date can be awkward and hideously cringeworthy. But it’s less so when the date itself is a total riot. This is where Doingsomething.co.uk comes in. The site is all about the actual dating experience and let’s you pick a match based on the date idea they’ve suggested. And the more fun and unique the date the better. So, rather than nervously meeting someone for a luke warm coffee in a crowded chain, you could be trying out your culinary skills at a sushi-making masterclass or bonding over super-strong cocktails at a hipster speakeasy. It’s basically about finding someone who wants to do the same things as you at the end of the day, isn’t it?
OK, so it’s time to get serious with this one. The personality test on EliteSingles asks questions about how you look physically and what you’re like as a person. Are you tidy? Patient? Positive? Honest? And what is it you’re looking for? Don’t worry, you can answer the questions on a scale, rather than a hard and fast yes or no, so you can hedge your bets. It’s a pretty thorough matching process which is intended to weed out any duds, but make a cuppa and get comfy as it can take up to 25 minutes to complete.
OkCupid is one of the most popular dating apps out there. You've probably heard of this one before. It boasts over 40 million people although we're not sure how many of those are daily active users. It uses a more traditional dating site method. It'll ask you a bunch of questions and try to find matches based on similar interests. It also has some more modern dating apps features, like swiping away profiles you want or don't want. It'll ask you to subscribe to a monthly payment plan to unlock all the good features. The app has some strict, ambiguous rules about some things and the app itself is occasionally slow and buggy. Otherwise, it's actually not half bad.
Even within these categories, however, there's room to find your niche. With apps catering for specifics like religious dating and gay dating, it's vital to find the community that is best suited to your needs. And, if you're a busy single professional looking for a long-term relationship, then you might want to try finding your community with the EliteSingles dating app.
Zoosk is another one of the most popular dating apps out there. It has a ton of users although we're not sure how many of them are active. It's a fairly standard dating app. You'll create a profile, meet people, and hopefully things go further. Zoosk uses an old-school social media style for their service rather than the more modern quick match style like Tinder. However, that also makes it a prime candidate for spam bots and other such stuff. This one is kind of a wildcard, so use it at your own risk. The service also has two paywalls and we're not big fans of that.
I was actually happy to see that OKCupid took some time to make sure people that sign up are serious about dating. Along with you having to fill out your basic profile questions, like age, education, hobbies, sexual orientation and all that, it takes you through a ride of, yup, you guessed it…..Personality test questions. It’s not nearly as painful and tiresome as eHarmony, and it is optional and multiple-choice based, but it can take some time. More on this in a minute.
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.
Hinge offers quite a different take on the dating app concept, with profiles that focus on ice-breaking facts like someone's unique skills, best travel story or ideal fake sick day. You get the opportunity to like specific parts of people's profiles to start a conversation and you don't have to match to get in touch. Hinge also offers thoughtful features like conversation reminders to reduce 'ghosting' caused by busyness or just plain forgetfulness.
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.
The downside to this app is it's built-in elitism. It's meant to feel exclusive, and the language used in the marketing materials isn't exactly warm and fuzzy. For example, one of the website's taglines is, "We do the scouting and the vetting, you do the matching and the petting." Still, if an exclusive and upscale dating app experience is what you’re looking for, The League could be for you.
And here’s the kicker – if you want good results, not only do you need to excel at all this stuff, you also need to put a ton of time into it. The average user spends about 12 hours per week on dating sites, according to academic research. When you’re already working 60+ hours at your day job, that means kissing a significant chunk of your free time goodbye.
And then I found that CMB and OKCupid were just not as user friendly. I didn’t love the app experience and it seemed like most people were just looking for hook-ups there too. What I like about Hinge is that it’s not just driven by people’s pictures. When you build your profile, you’re forced to answer a series of questions — anything from your favorite movie to your best travel story or dream dinner guest. They’re all good questions because the responses give you a sense of who the person is and their interests.
Why it's awesome: Before there were apps on which one could swipe right and left on a dizzying number of potential connections, there was Match. Yes, Match is the mother of all dating sites. Launched back in 1995, its decades in the business help it bring a ton of insight to the table for singles looking for all kinds of connections. And with its more recent push into mobile come a few new features that have helped make the ancient site more relevant, including its very own version of Stories, popularized by Snapchat and, uh ... adopted by everyone else. Match users can shoot little videos of their day or add voiceovers to photos and post them to their profiles for other users to check out. "Match is the family brand," Spira says. "It's the one where someone could see their grandmother on, and someone could see their grandson on. It has the largest critical mass, and they have done a fabulous job of keeping up with the technology."
Over the past 15 to 20 years, Internet-based dating has become a tool utilized by increasing numbers of “singles” in their search for romantic partners. Unlike the print personals of the past, which were restricted in form due to the space constraints of paper publications such as newspapers, online dating advertisements—or indeed, profiles, as they have become—are enabled by the more flexible medium of the Internet. As such, they have the capacity to support large amounts of text through which users can construct more nuanced versions of their “presenting selves” (Goffman, 1959). Online dating sites, like many other Internet-based social media tools, operate through a mode of communication that requires users to develop a new and complex literacy. This literacy of self-presentation reinforces and re-inscribes the tendency toward promotionalism that permeates contemporary economic, cultural, and social life.
The experts say: For those nervous about dating, this site puts the control in your fingertips allowing you access to thousands of profiles and the ability to chat to potential dates at the rate which works for you. It is well known and therefore attracts a wide demographic, allowing you to widen your dating pool or limit it with their advanced matching facility.
Searching is easy with Amigos. You can filter out your searches on the bottom so you can zoom in what you’re looking for. You can search by age, location, sexual orientation, race, interests and so on. You can also filter by who is online and who is a new member. The only downside in finding potential matches is there may not be a whole lot of matches in your area.
Tinder is still top of the dating game, but it’s beginning to be challenged. While Badoo is going head to head with Tinder successfully, Happn and Pure show that carving out a distinct niche can give a service a chance in the competitive dating space. The US is clearly the biggest market in the world for dating, in terms of revenues and downloads, but the presence of high-spending users from Australia and the UK show there are plenty of other countries where people are looking for love and are willing to pay for a helping hand.
The EliteSingles approach: If you’re a professional person trying to find love, your choice of app is crucial to the degree of success you experience; there are a lot of singles out there who may only end up wasting your valuable time. This is something we understand innately at EliteSingles, and it’s the reason that our core user base is primarily educated, professional singles between the ages of 30 – 55.
No, we’re not kidding. You know those fancy new fridges that pair with a smartphone app to show you the contents of your fridge while you’re away from home? Now there’s a dating app that goes along with that, allowing you to find a mate based upon the contents of their fridge. Samsung's $3,000 Family Hub refrigerator now has a dating app, Refrigerdating, where you can browse user profiles with information not only about their personalities, but their fridges. The New York Times reported that's how creator John Stonehill met his wife of nine years; he perused the contents of her fridge the first chance he got. He helped develop the app for Samsung, which launched in early 2019.
We know Canada and the people in it. So whether you're looking for single women in Toronto or eligible guys in Vancouver, we've got you covered. Our members come from all walks of life. You can narrow your search to specify if you're looking for Asian, Jewish, Muslim or Christian men and women - just to name a few. We understand dating is about more than just attraction and there are things that are important to our members beyond shared interests and hobbies. Whether it's a shared religion, family background or cultural heritage, our search function allows you to define what it is you're looking for in a partner.
If you’ve ever used a Cupid-family dating site before, you may be familiar with the CupidTag system. This system lets you apply tags to your profile, and see tags on other profiles. You can also narrow your searching with tags, so it’s easier to find who you’re looking for. Tags might range from tidbits about your job (“pilot”) to hobbies you enjoy (“kayaking).
The League operates under a similar limited match system as Coffee Meets Bagel. In fact, you may even have to wait to sign up, whether that's a few days or a few months depending on the user base available where you live. After you jump through those hoops, you're given three matches per day based on the preferences that you outline, which include proximity and age. While getting started on The League can take a while, the app’s acceptance process does ensure that the people using it are taking it seriously. The League will actually kick inactive users off after two weeks, which ensures the people you're matching with are actually using it.
After you fill out your profile, Zoosk uses a matchmaking algorithm to match you with others. There is no 30-minute questionnaire for Zoosk; rather, Zoosk figures out who you are based on your actions, not your answers. It uses a Dating Insights Feature that distinguishes it from other sites. This is where the science begins to come in, and science was my one bad subject in school, so I apologize I can’t go into the charts and graphs of all this. But basically it uses who you search for, who you interact with, what you are filtering in your searches, what kind of users are looking at your profile and showing interest in you and who you like in the carousel, and then Zoosk puts that information together and recommends matches for you to engage with.
At events such as Lifts of Love, in Banff, Alta., for example, people are paired on ski chairs, do a few runs, après-ski together and hope there are sparks. “We’ve had amazing luck with this program,” says a spokeswoman for Mount Norquay which is hosting the event Saturday. “Last year two couples met and are still together. Most people here don’t really online date. They prefer to meet face-to-face.”