These days I get asked a fair few questions about dating, especially online dating. And a really common question is which dating sites and apps are the best. Thinking about it, I realised I’d signed up to heaps of different sites – god knows what I’ll do when I finally end up in a relationship. I don’t even know how many sites I’ll need to delete profiles from, or the passwords to get into them to delete stuff!
Rather than give you all a set list, I thought it might be interesting to compare the various sites and apps under various headers, as they all have their pros and cons. I also get asked a lot to try out new apps and sites, and so it’s quite interesting to see what features the newer sites add in.
I’ll start with a couple of my default options – POF and Tinder.
I actually think Plenty of Fish probably has one of the better site names. The site manages to achieve a tone which appeals to both men and women (the former can definitely be a challenge), and as your profile requires a ‘headline’, the fish theme seems to provide the least creative members with some material for various sea-based jokes!
The site has been around for some time now, and is one of the most widely recognised. It’s predominantly free, which is at the core of its popularity, and very easy to use. Though if you’re looking for a serious relationship, this wouldn’t be my first choice of website!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx
Number of Options – 10/10
One of the most well-known and ‘socially acceptable’ sites around, POF is an easy-to-use free online website. As a result, it attracts a full range of men. From those who would pay to date online, to others more speculatively casting a net and dipping their toe in the dating pool. If you want to play the numbers game then this is your site.
Serious Contenders – 3/10
POF offers you a full range of honest options to tell other daters what you’re looking for. And that includes ‘Casual Dating/No Commitment’, ‘Want to Date but Nothing Serious’, ‘I want a Relationship’ and ‘I am Putting in Serious Effort’. In my experience, regardless of what the profile says, the majority of men are on POF for non-serious dating. Like every site, there will be exceptions, and I have three very good friends who found life partners on the site, but this was some time ago, and I can’t help feeling the POF demographic has changed as online dating has become more and more mainstream.
Ease of Set-Up – 8/10
The site is pretty easy to both set-up and use. It asks you enough questions to establish who you are, and what you want, but doesn’t take so long to set up that you give up in the process.
Free Services – 8/10
Arguably the best functioning free site around. There are paid options, which allow you to see more information about a person, and see whether your messages have been read and deleted, however the free service still allows you to communicate with other members and see their photos and profiles.
Site Layout – 6/10
The site is relatively easy to use and visually attractive. The adverts can be frustrating, and confusing, and on the computer version of the website, it’s a little annoying to have to scroll past pictures of other singletons to get down to the profile you’ve opted to see. However, this is a necessary evil, as the advertising is one of the reasons the site can offer so many free features.
App – 10/10
POF has a really simple, yet comprehensive app. The app has most of the functionality of the online site, and is easy to use, and available at the touch of the button. The theme of the fish blowing bubbles every time the app pauses is quite apt.
Information about your Date – 8/10
The site asks daters to answer a range of questions about themselves. There is information about appearance, education, job role, dating intention, and opportunity to write free-hand. In order to activate a profile, you have to write at least 100 words about yourself.
User Verification – 0/10
Anyone can set up an account, with any photos. So do be careful, you might not be speaking to the person you think you are.
Value for Money (Paid Services) – 5/10
If you are a paid member, you can see which of your messages have been read, which have been deleted, and you feature more highly on user searches. However if you are frequently online – particularly using the phone app – you will still feature highly on searches, and in reality, if someone hasn’t replied to a message, it shouldn’t really matter if he’s read it or not. One of the realities of online dating is that until you meet someone in person and start communicating outside of a dating website, you shouldn’t worry too much about not hearing back from someone. Unfortunately online dating is a numbers game. Personally I wouldn’t spend money on confirming someone has rejected you without even reading your message!
A good distraction site. If you want to try out online dating, this is a good site to start on, but I wouldn’t expect to find your future husband or wife on the site. There are of course some exceptions, however I would use the site with your eyes wide open! Remember that people haven’t paid to create a profile, so could may not have overly serious intentions. They may also not be at all what they seem – I caught one guy using a not too well-known American actor’s photos as his own! And for want of a less snobby description … the majority of the guys on the site are quite chavvy!