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Matchmaker and online dating expert Carmelia Ray points out that “as a user, you want to have the most selection and options.When you’re putting in your search criteria, and it’s coming back ‘no matches found,’ that’s a bummer.” To find the most popular options, we turned to Alexa, a web-traffic analytics company.
Zoosk took it one step further — you’ll pay a monthly subscription for low-quality matches.
Since our tester was a straight woman, her experience with online dating is weighted more toward receiving messages than sending messages.
(According to a study from Ok Cupid, the majority of women don’t send the first message in online dating conversations — but they get great results when they do.) To keep our judgments as objective as possible, we used a rubric to categorize each message: Unfortunately — but perhaps not all that surprisingly — the majority of the messages we received on traditional dating sites were mediocre or downright bad. To send someone a message, both users have to indicate they’re interested by “swiping right” on their profile.
(Same-sex matches have no restrictions on who can message first.) Bumble is a great app for women who want to set the tone of the conversation and avoid a flood of unwanted messages — or for men who want a break from the pressure of making the first move.
If you know you’re looking for a long-term relationship and you don’t mind paying for online dating, consider
That said, the fact that Ok Cupid, Tinder, and Bumble are free definitely stands out.
We can confidently recommend Ok Cupid, Match.com, Tinder, and Bumble.
At per month it’s the most expensive option out there, but had the highest number of blank profiles.
Meanwhile, Plenty of Fish lives up to its name — we received twice as many messages compared to Ok Cupid.
We tested any with at least a million active users in the US.
It’s impossible to know exactly how many users are active on a given site or app (especially because mobile users aren’t reflected in Alexa data), but we’re definitely in the ballpark.
We still got a few bad messages, but the overall quality was better compared to the traditional dating sites we tested.