This is a question that comes up a lot. Should I pay for online dating? The answer is kind of yes and kind of no. I’ll explain so it’s easier to make a decision. There was a time, maybe about 5 or 6 years ago when it was clear you went on free sites to hook up and paid sites to find a relationship. That is no longer the case. What I have found to be true is the user needs to be willing to change their online behaviour to receive the desired results. For example, if you set up a profile on OKCupid (free), and you say you are looking to just casually get to know people and make some friends, you will be approached for everything from hook-ups to relationships. However, if you go on OKCupid and it’s clear you are just looking for a relationship, you will deter most of the people looking to just hook up. Notice I said “most” – as we all know, there are many people out there who will message you regardless of what you say in your profile. Just press Delete for those.
I’ve compared results many times trying to determine the best site to recommend but the results vary so much, it is difficult – even for a dating coach! What I do know is almost all successful matches come from eHarmony, Match.com, Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid. Just when I think I’m onto something and really convinced that say “women get better results on eHarmony”, I get two emails from women who met their match on OK Cupid.
Here are some stats to consider from a recent study:
Messages sent to paid sites were 46.9% more likely to get a response than those sent to free sites. Of the successful messages, those sent to paid sites were 44% more likely to progress to a date. So essentially you are twice as likely to set up a date if you take a proactive approach on a paid site.
And here is a snapshot of a recent article featured on YourTango.com:
There was another study published in Current Psychology that gathered a group of 145 participants (86 female and 59 male) and asked them to simulate signing up and paying for and online dating site upfront. Afterward, participants were told that the website had found a match, but the person was missing a couple preferred qualities. Then, researchers informed them that a friend was offering to arrange a blind date with someone who sounded like their perfect match. Participants had to go on dates with both matches but were given an hour to split between them. Now, we’d think that any sane person would devote 50 minutes to the superior match and 10 minutes to the inferior one, just to scope that person out. Researchers, however, found that the time people gave to the inferior match depended on how much the dating site cost. For instance, men who paid $50 upfront spent 49 minutes on the online date, while those who paid nothing spent only 28 minutes on the same date. By extension, people who pay for online dating services are more likely to contact matches more selectively. At the same time, the study does not measure what people consider and investment. Money is an obvious one, but what about time? People who use free sites may spend so much time completing quizzes, filling out the profive and doing surveys that they’ll end up seeing those hours as commitment.
Confused yet? Let me help you make a decision.
If you are looking for a serious relationship, my advice is to use a mixture of paid and free dating sites. For example, try eHarmony and OK Cupid for 90 days and then switch to Match.com and Plenty of Fish if you’re not getting the results you want. Then from there, you want to pick the two sites that you’ve experienced the best results from and continue with them until it’s time to take your profile down because you’re now in a successful relationship.
To your authenticity,