“Our real-life and online identities are more and more interwoven.” Because of this cultural shift, online dating sites now have unprecedented reach into our lives. Reams have been written about online dating, but as far as we know, no one has put the sites to the test.
They are gatekeepers to a massive population of potential partners; they control who we meet and how. So Consumer Reports decided to survey almost 115,000 subscribers about online dating and their experiences with it.
You can find the right person more effectively by choosing the right site, which means determining the demographics it caters to and figuring out whether a large or niche site will best serve your needs.
Our survey found that Ok Cupid and Tinder, both free, were more popular among millennials than Generation Xers and baby boomers, who were both more likely to use a paid subscription-based dating website or app.
Many dating sites rely on matchmaking algorithms the same way that Netflix uses them to recommend movies.
So if you live in the Denver area, you’re a single heterosexual man in his 50s who loves to travel, and you don’t believe in astrology, your matches may reflect women who have similar interests.
“You’re generally going to be best off starting your search on the ‘Big 3’: Match.com, Ok Cupid, and Plenty of Fish,” says Scott Valdez, founder of Virtual Dating Assistants, which helps people write their profiles and then manages their accounts.
She signed up for JDate, an online dating site for Jewish singles.
“All kinds of people are doing it,” says Caploe, 54, a publisher who lives in New York City.
But the responses from the more active group suggest they’re highly frustrated.
They gave online dating sites the lowest satisfaction scores Consumer Reports has ever seen for services rendered—lower even than for tech-support providers, notoriously poor performers in our ratings. Well, finding a mate can be arduous and exhausting.Our survey included many people who at some point had used a dating website or an app, as well as a subset of 9,600 respondents who used them in the past two years.