Online Dating, Part 3; DATING SITE CHEAT SHEET; The love is in the details…

Hey there darlin’s

I promised you the big reveal in part 3 of the Online Dating Blog series, a guide to deciphering the hieroglyphics in the world of online dating sites out there in the jungle of love.  THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS TO CHOOSE FROM! YIPEE!  And each of these companies have their own unique way of going about it, knowing about each is crucial. So if you have not already signed up on one OR you are signed up on a dating app, but its ALL FROGS, read on, cause it’s about to get REAL up in here!  

To be absolutely clear; I am not being paid by ANY of these companies. Zero. Zip. Nada.  I will try to present each in a fairly non biased way, citing PRO’s and CON’s, (though bear in mind what I may consider a PRO or a CON might be different for you)  so that you can get really clear on which of these dating apps, could be a good fit for your search for love.  I have plundered (oh I mean researched) all the interwebs has to offer on this subject AND by adding feedback from coaching clients, I have created a super short cheat sheet for you all.  It is not meant to be the end all, cause that darlin’ (could be a book not a blog) however I have tried to zoom in and highlight where it matters.  So each dating site will have an Overview + Pro’s and Cons’ and then I will then offer my experience and opinion, as a Dating Coach FOR WOMEN for each.  Ready?  Let’s do this!

In alphabetical order;

Bumble.com

Overview; One of the newest kids to the online dating party. What makes Bumble unique, is that it is a female led and driven dating app. Created as a reaction to Tinder, by one of Tinder’s co-founders Bumble aims to make the online dating-sphere an equal playing field for both men and women. Women often feel uncomfortable on male-centric dating platforms, however, what makes Bumble unique is its female-first initiative. After two users match by mutual right-swipe, in order to start conversing, the woman must reach out to the male. If she does not initiate conversation in 24 hours, the match will disappear.

PRO; Women have to make the first move, which means far less random and sometimes incredibly inappropriate first time messages from users that have been so problematic on other apps

PRO; Rates very high on quality of people who are members, as one may imagine, the women and men who join Bumble, whose marketing campaign is VERY clear about the female led interaction, creates a filter right from inception.

PRO; The option to add all your various social media handles makes it easier to verify if a match is a real human, and not some cyborg, a self-proclaimed prince looking to transfer money into your account or an internet troll. 

PRO; Free (though as you may learn, that CAN be a con too) they are launching a premium package for $9.99/mo which allows you to see matches who have liked you already first, extend the 24 hour time slot so those matches are not lost forever just because you, had a life or something.

CON: Being newer, the volume of members is lower than the competition @ 1 million. That is not necessarily a bad thing however you will feel this ‘small pond’ much more intensely if you live outside major cities.

CON; Visually driven. You get a photo, age, location, job title and education history and MAYBE a brief bio, if they have added it.  And yes, physical appearance is important however…real love and lasting love, is based on way more than that!

CON; No user led filtering system outside of Age, location and male or female, Bumble offers little in the way to narrow down the options, including what TYPE of connection a user is looking for… love? Casual? Play? But hey, you CAN always make that first move, assert your goddess, and ask!

Opinion;  Okay, so this feminist says HELL YEAH to Bumble in general… female led and driven? OH HELL YES however, being new to the block and with a long way to go in gaining members and filters, I would love it to be sooo much more than it is. If I was single, I would have a profile on it, fo’ sho’.  I would recommend this as a secondary app for sure. But not necessarily as your one and only venture into online dating.

 

Eharmony.com Eharmony.co.uk

Overview; What sets eHarmony apart from other online dating sites is their proven compatibility matching system based on 29 Dimensions® of Compatibility. This site makes each user take a fairly lengthy psychometric test and compatibility questionnaire upon joining, then uses that to send you matches they think are a good fit, based on personality. eHarmony is dedicated to finding loving, long lasting relationships for singles that are serious and dedicated to finding "the one".

PRO; Scientifically proven compatibility method and are responsible for nearly 5% of all marriages in the U.S.

PRO; Over 2.3 million users

PRO; They send you matches, which if your ‘picker’ is a bit broken… well, let them do the picking. I can tell you I definitely needed that element.

PRO; Paid site; this weeds out a lot of people who are just looking for sex and/or not very serious about finding a lasting relationship. They also often run specials for woman to join for less and charge men more, again filtering out people who are not really committed to finding real love.

PRO; Lots of Behavior and future desire filtering. Want a partner who can keep up at the pub every weekend? There is a box for that. Want someone who NEVER drinks or only a few times a year? Tick box for that too.  Want someone who has kids?  Wants kids? Doesn’t have nor ever want kids? Tick Tick Tick!

CON; Paid site; the cost for Eharmony is around $240 per year, which at the top end of most dating sites today.

CON; Does not offer same sex matching. They did release a separate site for same sex singles in 2009 (due to a court ruling, ahem), compatiblepartners.net.  However reports are that site are not great due the algorithms still using heterosexual data to find matches. There is a fair amount of stigma since Eharmony was resistant to offering same sex matching due to the founders Christian beliefs.

CON; They send you matches. You cannot search through users and choose who to message. You can choose to not message matches you are sent. Physical attribute filtering is very limited.

Opinion;  Full disclosure, I met my husband on Eharmony.  For me, at that time in my life, AND for my clients who are really struggling to pick the ‘good ones’ or consistently dating people who they are not compatible with, I highly recommend this site. The high price tag, the long questionnaire aspect really weeds out A LOT out of the jungle. This is a dating app dedicated to LTR and LTR only, which if you are tired of dating guys who are not really looking for a relationship, is a huge plus. Everyone I have coached has reported that the dates they went out on from this site were at the very least enjoyable and a real eye opener.  Even if there was no spark, the personality matching was spot on so the dates were fun, convo was good and they left discovering more positive traits in a partner to add to their search list then negative ones. Many, even fell madly in love.

 

MATCH.COM

Overview; Match.com is one of the most popular online dating sites. With tens of millions of members from very diverse backgrounds, Match.com is a leader in online dating and has been and industry innovator since 1995. Match.com services ALL types of relationships, from casual connections to long term relationships. Match.com has lead to more dates, relationships, and marriages than any other online dating site. Consistently rates #1 in the USA and # 3 in the UK, on average.

PRO; Easy of use, join, fill out your profile and some pics and off you go.

PRO Over 23 millions users monthly

PRO; You can search members and choose who to contact AND they provide matching based on your profile.

PRO; Paid site, Starting at $107/ 6months, + 6 months free if you don’t find a match. So you get the benefit of some financial weeding but a lower price point then some other paid sites.

PRO Serves both heterosexual and homosexual community looking for love.

CON; Any algorithms used are scrubbing the personally written profile alone, so no behind the scenes, in their head, maths.

CON; Match.com can become a bit of a meat market. You can filter like a boss, however that does not stop someone who is just looking for fun from contacting you. Do your own homework on each person’s profile!

CON; You can search and pick. For SOME of you, looks can be deceiving and you fall prey to it every time. (one of those a pro for some and a con for others situation.

Opinion;  Engage beast mode. Really spend some time sorting out you, your wants, needs and desires before engaging with Match.com.  Match.com is closest to the real world; It has the most users and some of the most mixed reviews. Who you choose, how you choose and filtering like a boss lady is crucial in this particular arena! Match.com is the 2nd highest offender in dating burnout AKA I quit, I cannot bear to go on another bad/dud date syndrome HOWEVER once you master and unlock you, that all changes!  I have met and coached couples who found each other on Match.com.

 

Okaycupid.com

Overview; Okaycupid definitely has the numbers and no matter what kind of relationship you are looking for, from friendship to the love of your life, they have you covered. Easy to use and even some filtering and matching algorithms at work.

PRO; It is free to use; paid options are available that include additional site features at around $20/mo.

PRO; Decent filters and optional questionnaires to narrow down the hunt + Excellent privacy options.

PRO; Extremely participation driven. The more you use it, the more your profile gets bumped up, matches are made etc.. so it helps to address the common complaint of being sent matches that have not logged on in ages.

PRO; Fairly easy to use with a clean interface.

CON; Advertising on the website – because the site is mostly free, they make most of their money through ads.

CON; Participation is the key in all aspects of the site - for example, if you turn on anonymous viewing of profiles for your account, you cannot view who has looked at your profile. The more you use it the more your profile gets bumped up, this can be a pro or a con.

 

PlentyofFish.com

Overview; PoF got its start in 2003 and is now one of the world's largest free dating sites. 32,milion members call PoF home, earning it the title of #1 free dating site worldwide in 2011. Currently it still ranks #1 or 2 in UK, USA and Canada. It is designed for variety of singles on the site actively looking for friendship, casual dating, and serious relationships.

PRO; Good filter options.  Starting most importantly with what type of relationship you are seeking. They also have a feature that you can select that IF you do not, say check the ‘casual’ box that people who did tick that box, cannot contact you. That stops the just here for a good timers from leading you down the path a bit.  Profiles are chock full of info from income to children and loads in-between.

PRO; Matching algorithms. POF offers a chemistry predictor questionnaire and matching. However unlike Eharmony, you can still peruse EVERYONE if you so desire.

PRO; Loads of extras for free as well.  Additional phycology based questionnaires, option to leave testimonials about people and them for you (and the option to delete them!) and even more for minimal upgrade fee of around $10/month

CON; Always remember that a site being paid site, does create a financial pressure to those joining to be serious about their search for love. It’s not the end all, be all, but something to bear in mind.

Opinion; There is really very little bad to report about Plenty of Fish. It is arguably one of the best free sites out there and I would definitely recommend taking some time to fill out a detailed profile, tick lots of boxes and take it for a test drive.  User reviews vary, however that can be said about any dating app AND how to use these sites and knowing exactly what you’re looking for and need, before diving impacts the experience GREATLY.

 

Tinder.com  

Tinder has become one of the most popular dating apps (it was the most mentioned dating service on Twitter in 2015). It currently has over 40 million active members. It is free but is launching a paid subscription based service as well soon, details TBA. Set up of Tinder is easy, with no real profile set up to speak of as it pulls your facebook profile, allowing you to delete images as needed.

PRO; Free and easy to use.

PRO Huge active user pool of over 40 million people online + just a huge buzz about it so everyone is joining.

PRO; Good woman to man averages. For every 4 women on Tinder there are reportedly 6 men. For my same sex folks, I apologize I could not uncover any details and no way of revealing in factual detial if some of the ‘6 men for ever 4’ touted above are looking for women or men.

PRO; Tinder reports they are working on making the app more accessible and user friendly for transgender and no gender identifiers. If that comes to fruition, it will be a huge PRO for this community!  

CON; No real filters to speak of… men/women, age.location and that’s about it.  So no narrowing down the search field beyond that is possible.

CON; Reputation. Tinder has gotten loads of good press, even celebrities are using it, however it is also known as a hook up sight (thought they report that 80% of users polled said they were looking for relationships)  So Tinder is a first stop on the casual sex train of dating apps and without filters, and everyone being able to contact everyone, stopping initial contact from someone looking for that and just that, is not possible. There are literally instragram accounts dedicated to Tinder horror stories. Mostly unsolicited dick pics galore and really abusive trolling by men and woman when someone is not responsive or not giving the response they desire.

CON; Visual driven. Again, looking with our eyes alone is never the best way to seek out love.

Opinion; I am not a fan. The negative feedback and stories I hear and see far  outweigh the good; from the dick pic horror stories, to the abusive messages to the overall jaded feeling people are having in this swipe in a second style of app.  (And all those things CAN and DO happen on other sites, but seemingly at least, nowhere near as often).  If match.com requires ‘beast mode’ Tinder requires ‘JEDI MISTRESS MODE x1000.  HOWEVER I do hear a few rare gems from women really doing well on this app, and its usually because they are extremely confident, take no shit, boundaries like a boss, Teflon skin kinda’ chicas. And we can’t all be them, or even be more like them without doing the work first.

In closing...

I hope this helps you navigate the often murky waters of choosing an online dating site and that your quest for love hottens up, real quick!

Wanna know a secret? I often recommend clients come off certain dating apps, if they are willing, till we have had time to get absolute clarity on what they are looking for, boost the confidence way up and work on building some real self-worth. Like I said in part 1 & 2, Volume is not always a good thing, especially when you are not sure what you want or need. In life, in shopping AND in love! Lol

This cheat sheet does not cover ALL the sites out there in the universe, as that list is truly endless, however I have attempted to lock in on the most popular and/or newest on the market. Zoosk and Badoo are just two that could have easily made it onto this list (and maybe next time will!)  A good site to check and one of many MANY resources I used when creating this cheat sheet is http://www.datingsitesreviews.com The overviews are a bit selly but the blow by blow details are quite in depth.

Have I missed a dating site you need to know about? A site you love or hate?  Come over to my FB page and post a question or tweet me; and I will get right on that! 

Twitter @JessicaEOpert

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jessicaelizabethopert/

 

Happy FEMfriday!

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