Online Dating: Choose Carefully

by d

I’m willing to try (some) new things. Like free dating sites. I don’t throw my contact info or picture around willy-nilly though, I have to feel like it’s worth the investment of my time.

I decided to poke around and test the waters at a few places, make a study of it for Subterfuge. Of course, only time will tell which ones really work. But these are my initial impressions.

Mingle2

I learned about Mingle2 via TheOatmeal, which is a funny site. Mingle2 was coded by the same guy, in record time, and he’s making money from it. I figured I might as well put some faith in this guy whose whacky comics make me laugh.

Oh, my god, no.

First off, there’s nothing Mingle2 is doing that OKCupid doesn’t do better. Both allow you to create a profile, post photos, and take quizzes. The quizzes were what interested me, as OKCupid’s quiz engine is phenomenal.  So, what does Mingle2 have? Nothing they’ve been moved elsewhere.

What sort of matching does Mingle2 have? Well, there’s the old Hot Or Not function–we’ll show you a picture and you tell us if you’d want to meet him. You can run a search, which is a bit clumsy. …and that’s it.

The only information Mingle2 requires of you is your login info, and the bare basics: height, hair color, body type, ethnicity, marital status, religion, whether you drink or smoke, and if you want or have kids. That’s it.

When you compare this is the dating giants like eHarmony and Match.com (aka Chemistry.com), which ask pages and pages about your personality and habits, this is… well.. stark. And a bit pathetic. There is no matching going on there. Filtering is hidden away in your settings.

Consequently, my first communique was from a man in his 60s. Ew. In fact, most of the hits have been from men who are older than I’d like, and almost none of them have written much about themselves. (In fact, I left my written portion almost totally blank, and I still got a bunch of messages.)

Throwing yourself into the abyss is more useful.

Match.com/Chemistry.com

Match.com now directs you to Chemistry.com, I have no idea what’s going on over there and I don’t have enough interest to Wiki it. Anyway, Signing up isn’t too troublesome. They ask some odd questions, though, like telling you to match shapes based on perspective… is my spatial awareness now a key to my ability to find love?

The questions put you into one of four personality types. (Four? Seriously?) I’m a Director, whatever that means. Apparently I can match just as well with any of the other three types, so this is useless.

Like Mingle2, you only get about 2000 characters to write a statement about yourself. This tells one just about nothing. All you can do is browse these ‘matched’ profiles.

Boring. Not worth it.

eHarmony

eHarmony is all about making money. They do not give up. I am SO glad that, when I last gave it a test, I signed up under an address I don’t touch anymore. They email about twice a week with various nonsense, almost all of it trying to get me to pay them money. The site is pretty much useless without a subscription. You can’t talk freely to other members, there’s a limited number of interactions you can perform.

Call me crazy, but I don’t like to feel like I’m wading through a sales pitch on every page.

PlentyOfFish

Better than many of the others because it’s free, but it does have a ton of ads. Ironically, I was assaulted by ads looking for “big, beautiful women!” to join another dating site… and “LOSE TEN POUNDS WITH THESE TWO EASY RULES!”

Search isn’t great, and again the space to talk about yourself isn’t much. Or perhaps the problem is that there isn’t much in the way of prompting to get you to write more.

Oh, and guess who showed up in my first results? The WHY OH WHY guy!

OKCupid

No secret, this is my favorite. It’s full of amusing distractions, like quizzes and other toys. The search is quite powerful, and the profiles are almost always interesting.

Plus, the matching algorithms are scary good.

That said,

Fuck this shit.

I’m gonna go email my old classmate about grabbing that bite he suggested.

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