Twelve million people in the United States used over 100 online dating websites in 2008, and those numbers are only growing: Industry analysts expect that the Internet dating service market will grow from $900 million a year in consumer spending in 2007 to $1.9 billion in 2012.
“Like it or not, dating has gone digital…”
An online survey of 7000 recently married people found that 17 percent of respondents met their spouses online. And another survey of 1,500 unmarried people in committed relationships found 20 percent had met their current girlfriend or boyfriend online.
Here are eight of the most talked-about dating websites in the market (Men’s Health version). Some are free, some are for religious purposes, and some are downright sleazy. Let’s check it out.
Match.com is the first, largest, and most global dating website. The primary means of communication are e-mail, wink, and call. The call feature is unique to Match: It allows users to call one another using dummy numbers on their real telephones. When you don’t want someone to call you anymore, you simply remove her from your phone book. In case the date you’re on isn’t working out, you don’t have to wait until you’re home to check out other singles.
Plentyoffish.com a. k. a POF; Almost every compilation of dating websites will includes this popular dating site. Notable features include the heavily-trafficked forums, the usual compatibility questionnaires, and the rarely free, much-loved “Who’s Seen Me” button. It’s definitely one of the best deals on the Internet, with free access to such a large and bustling community—but the website is not for anyone who cares about site design. This site best for anyone who is looking for a cheap fix—think of this site as the MySpace to OkCupid’s Facebook.
Chemistry.com is a “sister site” to Match.com. What sets it apart is its hyper-intense science-based matching algorithm, designed by Helen Fisher, Ph.D., a biological anthropologist and the site’s chief scientific advisor. Based on your answers, chemistry.com gives you a personality title—for example, Director, Negotiator, Builder, Explorer—and from there, you’re matched with others who should be good matches, based on scientific research.
EHarmony.com depends heavily on its matching system, which is constantly revised by a team of scientists. They rely so heavily on this system, in fact, that there is no search function on the site. You may not message any user deemed incompatible by the algorithm. Until recently, you couldn’t even see the pictures of those with whom you did match. The greatest benefit to this pay-only service is the corollary to these perceived flaws: They do all the work for you (and you can just about trust they’ve done their work correctly).
JDate.com is known for catering specifically to people of Jewish faith or heritage looking for love, but it isn’t exclusive to Jewish members. It doesn’t have a very extensive matching algorithm, but it does have a loyal following
OkCupid.com is almost entirely free, with a small cost for luxury options, like a specialty search mechanism and removal of ads. The site employs a mathematical algorithm based on your answers to a series of questions, and based on that algorithm they tell you what percentage match, friend, and enemy you are with any given user. The most stand-out feature for the site is the staff blog. Recently they even began offering a service called MyBestFace, which analyzes the pictures you have posted and tells you which one will generate the most responses. This site is suitable for who want to look for best value, transparency, and extremely tailored search capabilities.
True.com’s purpose is to provide a safe online environment, so it conducts background checks on all its users, focusing on criminal records and whether or not you are married and trying to use the site for affairs. For example, by checking against a criminal database, any user who has a U.S. felony or sexual offense conviction is prevented from communicating with other members.
Lavalife.com allows you to post three different profiles at one time, answering different questions for each of them. Lavalife has three different sections: Dating, Relationships, and Intimate Encounters. You are allowed full anonymity to pursue who you want, how you want. This site best for anyone who willing to pay for a huge range of features or anyone who wants more than one type of relationship to pursue.