Dating sites: are they worth it?

Posted by Judy Johnson On Sunday, 25 November 2012 15:03
You've got mail! So pay up...
It's no secret (unfortunately) that I've been giving the online dating thing a go since the summer. I can't say it's been all that successful but I haven't let that stop me from browsing. It's a bit like shopping, only you have to buy before you try - and you don't get a refund if it doesn't fit. 

After being on one site for a while and enjoying it but wondering if 'my type' is out there on a different money-making love machine, I took a look around at some other sites. I have to say I was surprised and disappointed, so much so that I thought I'd share the pros and cons...

Guardian Soulmates
I read the Guardian. I like the Guardian. So I thought that maybe, my Mr Right likes the Guardian too and is lurking in their mini dating site. Whether or not he is, their site is pretty brilliant. Setting up a profile is easy, and you can browse first without signing up if you're as indecisive as I am. 

The best bit though? You can see who's viewed your profile and read your messages without paying a penny. Because why on earth would you want to pay if you have no idea if the people interested in you are people you're interested in? You can even send little automated messages like 'Tell me more' or 'I'm not subscribed yet' if you don't want to pay but don't want to leave them hanging. Such good manners. 

Oh Match, your annoying adverts almost got me. After a few vinos I signed up, without really realising that's what I was doing, to this maze of a site to see if maybe my ideal man was hiding in there. I'm sorry, but this site is the most annoying site to ever be made and I really should have seen the signs given their awful advertising which makes me want to poke myself in the eye. 

The profile details take ages to fill in, even if it is mostly multiple choice - but where's the fun in that anyway? You can even search for men by the trait they've given themselves like 'confident' or 'sociable' - I really don't see value in that at all. Most infuriating though, is that you cannot click on who's 'winked' at you (I've always said, I hate a winker) or see your messages, or even who has viewed your profile, without paying. And it's not particularly cheap. How does anyone find romance this way? Not wanting to wind up broke, I declined, hoped that none of the winkers or viewers were my dream man and deleted it (which took about a dozen clicks). 

Plenty of Fish
Ah, the free one. If you haven't heard of this site, where have you been? Getting married or something, probably. The free dating site is just as you would expect a free one to be. It's fairly easy to use, the profile pages are pretty simple and it has a lot of members. Before I get too cynical, I do know of a few people who have actually got a relationship out of it - so it can't be all bad - but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of frogs to be avoided first. 

I don't know if this works the other way, men seeking women, but all I can say is of the unluckier ones I know who use the site, there have been plenty of cases of photos being sent over. Of naughty bits. It's fair to say the men on this site are pretty forward. Which is funny, because given that it's free, they've got all the time in the world to find their perfect match...

Each to their own of course - I've also heard OK Cupid is worth a go and I'm sure eHarmony sees very little sexting or whatever the online equivalent is. There's also newer site Doing Something, Zoosk (again with the annoying adverts) and My Single Friend which I tried once and gave up on, despite thinking it was a decent setup. 

I think I'll go back to my gut instinct and stick with the site I liked in the first place before all the dating nonsense started...


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