Has Valentine’s Day got you down? Is meeting that special someone proving more difficult than you ever thought it could be? Maybe it’s time to change your approach to dating.
Dating websites have come a long way since Match.com launched in the mid-1990s. And the stigma of meeting someone online is all but gone. These days, dating sites offer many opportunities to make a good first impression without the pitfalls of the dreaded “pick up.” You can be sure that the person on the other end wants to meet someone too. With all the personalization features these sites offer and the traffic they receive, the right person is probably out there somewhere right now.
Arguably the best known of the matchmaking websites, Match.com boasts a membership of over 20 million. The site uses your profile to personalize the matches that it delivers to you. It also offers a high level of search customization; the Mutual Match function, for example, allows you to find people who are looking for someone like you. While viewing member profiles is free, a subscription is needed to contact someone (member conversations happen via email, chat and instant messaging). Membership plans range from one to six months.
eHarmony believes that a detailed member profile will result in a better match, one with more long-term potential. So a personality test, aimed at determining values, beliefs, characteristics and, ultimately, compatibility, is the first order of business for new members. You can then peruse profiles of members who have been “pre-screened.” This approach leads to more suitable choices than one in which anyone can say whatever they want about themselves. Membership plans range from a month to a year.
An open-to-all dating website, OkCupid relies on self-commentary and social interaction from those in its community. The site gathers profile information through entertaining and insightful quizzes and social networking activities, such as instant messaging, blogs, public forums and email. All this is then incorporated into the matching-up process. Users can find others based on their “match percentage” — how often and how strongly their answers match up with those of others. The site is free to all.
DateHookup avoids complicated procedures in favor of open and straightforward access. Minimal information is required to start, so new users are up and running in no time. Searching and finding others is also easy. Members can contact each other through email and participate in blogs and forums; social networking plays a bigger role here than at many other dating sites. The site expects you to exercise your own judgment as to whether the matches are valid and worth pursuing. Membership is free.
POF (as it’s typically called) relies on profiles created through a “chemistry test.” This test tracks five personality dimensions, each of which contributes to building a romantic relationship. Members can view profiles and send messages to people who interest them. The heavily used and well organized forums are there for the viewing without even signing up. Video and audio chat capabilities are also available. The site is free to use, though a paid version may improve one’s chance at a love connection.