You’ve probably heard about these dating sites: OkCupid, Match.com, eHarmony, Tinder (mobile app), and Plenty of Fish. With millions of daily users and new subscribers, these sites are the standouts in online dating.
And no, you don’t have to be desperate to try them…even if 23% of Americans still believe that you are, according to the latest findings of Pew Research Center.
As of 2015, approximately 15% of adults in the US have used online dating to find all levels of romance: from the meet-and-sheets to the celibacy makes the heart grow fonder and keeps away STDs. After all, just with a click your dating pool can extend as far as…the entire world.
Isn’t that awesome? Well, definitely yes and possibly no.
Although online dating can provide more options in finding a potential partner, it also comes with the drawback of potentially exposing yourself to predation of all kinds: particularly romance scams and even physical violence.
Of course, this isn’t to create or increase fear. Being aware and taking precautions, however, diminishes risk. In fact, I have been an advocate of online dating for some time, especially for LGBTQIA* community–you just have to be smart about it.
That’s where ConsumerAffairs comes in.
Who knew ConsumerAffairs offered a free guide to online dating? I certainly didn’t. And looking back I wish I had. Well, thanks to ConsumerAffairs’ Kessler McLaughlin, now I do.
Written by online dating expert Mark Brooks, the guide is very user-friendly and uses tabs for easy access. It covers the above-mentioned sites as well as others that are lesser known or geared toward a niche market (e.g. JDate, ChristianMingle, PositiveSingles, Geek2Geek, DatingforSeniors, etc.).
For most sites, Brooks has included his own review at the bottom of the site page, providing important facts, such as search algorithms, email network systems, location and language accessibility, and target audience. Moreover, beyond expert reviews, the guide includes user reviews, when available, for each site: Match.com alone has 1,859 reviews.
About the reviews…well, they are quite direct. Some online dating users are quite disgruntled: some complained of scammers and limited dating pool in their areas. Still, there were those who were satisfied with their experiences.
I think it’s a matter of what you’re seeking, which brings me to being single.
I have used online dating for over a decade: from PlanetOut (defunct) to OkCupid. I owe a major thanks to Match.com for my marriage and POF for disillusioning my belief in both meeting someone online or in-person.
Still, I have been very successful with online dating. The shortest relationship (OkCupid) lasted just over a year. The longest (Match.com) was 5 years. So, it’s possible. 😉
If you’re interested in online dating, but don’t know where to begin or wish to see what services are available now, check out ConsumerAffairs’ guide:
Best Online Dating Sites and Services for 2016.
While you’re at it, read Pew Research Center’s 5 Facts About Online Dating
*LGBTQIA – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/sexual, questioning/queer, intersex, asexual.