Looking for love online? You have plenty of places to try and find your perfect someone. We’ve talked about how to find the right site for you, but this week we’re looking at five of the best, based on nominations from you, the Lifehacker community.
Earlier in the week we asked you which online dating sites you thought were the best, whether you found your match on one or you’ve tried them all. You nominated several, from the mainstream to the marginal, but these five stood out. Here they are, in no particular order.
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Match.com boasts a userbase of 17 million active monthly users, all either looking for love right now or just creepily stalking their exes. Either way, that’s a lot of people out there you could potentially connect with. Match is a premium service—you can sign up for free, browse users, send “winks” and get matches for your own profile (once you’ve filled out the lengthy profile questionnaire), but if you want to actually contact anyone and converse with them, you’ll need a premium subscription to the service to do so. On the one hand, it sucks that Match requires you pay up just to communicate with other users, but on the bright side, you could argue that making people pay just to reach out weeds out the people who, well, you really wouldn’t want to talk to anyway. iOS and Android mobile apps let you take your search for love on the go.
Those of you who nominated Match shared some of your success stories meeting your significant other there, but also all noted that Match felt the most mature of all of the dating sites you tried—the most elegant, or at least grown up. Where a lot of the services are either aimed at younger people or more casual encounters, many of you said Match felt like a service you were using to go on dates and find real long-term partners. It wasn’t unanimous though—many of you bemoaned the cost associated with Match, and said your experience yielded a bunch of dead accounts and unresponsive people, which sucks when you’re spending money to communicate with them. Read the good and the bad in the nomination thread here, or this thread here.
OkCupid is completely free, meaning you don’t have to pay to see more matches or to unlock specific features that may make it easier for you to find someone interesting. At the same time, because it’s completely free, the array of potential matches you get can be wild and varied, to say the least. There are entire blogs around the web dedicated to the types of people you’ll find on OkCupid, and part of it is because the service is rapidly growing, free, and accessible to everyone. Granted, that also means that if you’re looking for the most possible matches, and the service is very proud of its matching algorithm. When you sign up, you fill out a remarkably lengthy profile full of questions that will be used to help other people find you, and to help you match other people. Mobile apps for iOS and Android help you take your search with you on the go, and stay in touch with people you plan to meet.
Those of you who nominated and praised OKCupid were some of the few who pointed out that you met your significant others there, and your match was—at least for the time being—a success, so congratulations! Seriously, so many success stories in the nominations thread. Many of you bemoaned OkCupid’s buyout by Match.com, and mentioned that OkCupid keeps a wealth of statistical data about who uses the service and how successful its matches are. You also explained that if you do go OkCupid, QuickMatch is the way to go—you’ll meet interesting, compatible people that way. Read more in the nomination thread here.
Tinder is a bit less of a comprehensive matching site the way you might think of one. It’s a little more…to the point, as it were. It’s a mobile app only (iOS and Android). You’re presented with images for each of your potential matches, and with a swipe or a tap, you can either dismiss them entirely or add them to your “like” list, full of people you may want to contact for a date. You have to log in via Facebook—Tinder uses Facebook to do its heavy lifting, and uses your likes, shares, and other profile information to help match you up with other users. Once you do though, you’re off to the races liking and dismissing people. If someone you liked likes you, then you can communicate. If not, keep trying. It’s probably the simplest approach to online match-making ever, kind of a blend between an online matchmaking site and speed dating.
On the other hand though, many of you pointed out that a lot of people use Tinder for hookups, and because the service is so simple compared to other, more robust matchmaking sites. One the bright side though, no one can message you (and you can’t message anyone) unless you both liked each other’s photos, so there’s that. Some of you pointed out that the fact that Tinder cuts the BS and the bloat from online dating is what makes it so powerful, and shared your success stories with it. Go in with an open mind and be ready for weird people, and you’ll be fine. Read more in the nomination thread here.
While not technically an online dating site, Meetup did earn your praise in the nominations round for helping you find great things to do that you’re actually interested in, and meet interesting people while you went out to do them. After all, for many of us, it’s not meeting people that’s the problem, it’s meeting people who like the things we like or enjoy the pastimes we do. In that vein, Meetup was one of your favorite ways to meet people in general , and perfect for making friends with others who enjoy the activities you do—and if something develops from there, then all the better. If you’re more interested in taking the long road, this is a great approach, especially as you start to be seen hanging out at similar Meetup events in your community.
One of you noted that you started a Meetup group in your community specifically for singles, and it was a huge success, since you had more control over the entire experience, and the whole thing was stress-free. To be fair, Meetup isn’t designed for dating, and in many cases people aren’t looking to use it as such, but it can be a great way to get out, do interesting things, and meet people—which, if you’re looking for love, can be half the battle. Meetup is free, and odds are there’s already a singles group on the site in your area. Read more in the nomination thread here.
Plenty Of Fish
Plenty of Fish (or POF) tries to combine the ease-of-use of a simpler matching service with some of the brains of a more robust, comprehensive dating site. It matches based on mutual likes, but the more information you add to your profile, the more intelligently it’ll try to match you. It has a speed matching feature, called MeetMe, which will present you with singles in your area that match your interests quickly, so you can cut through the fluff and contact someone about a date. Alternatively, you can browse matches by interest or by people who live nearby. At the same time though, it retains some of the simplicity of other services—if two people like each other’s profiles, you’ll get a notification to connect right away. How much effort you put into finding a good match—whether you go by mutual likes and location only or you fill out your profile with tons of information—is entirely up to you. Oh, POF is also free, and offers mobile apps, just like the other services.
Those of you who nominated POF shared your success stories, which were also great to hear, and praised it for walking that line between being detailed and smart but also super-easy to use and find people to meet with. Many of you noted that the service is free, and others bemoaned the fact that POF users aren’t necessarily active and getting responses may be difficult. Read more in this nomination thread or this thread.
Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to put in your vote for the community favorite:
No honorable mentions this week because the nominees dropped off pretty quickly after that – but there were plenty more nominees if you’re looking for more than these five. Head back to the call for contenders to see them. One thing we’ll note though—more than a few people pointed out that with dating services, you do hand over a ton of personal information when you fill out these questionnaires and fill out your profile. That’s a lot of information being harvested from you, especially in the case of the free services, that’s used for who-knows-what. That said, you are trading that information for a service that the dating site provides—helping you find a match. Just be eyes-open about that transaction before you sign up and fill out all the things. Finally, when you do get into online dating, don’t forget toi make time for it to get he best possible results, and of course, be on your best behavior.
Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn’t included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Don’t just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.
The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Title photo by hakandogu (Shutterstock).