Online dating sites allow singles to make connections through the anonymity of the Internet. These sites initially allow singles to expand their social networks and get to know potential matches in non-threatening ways. Some services are free, and others charge for monthly subscriptions.
Whether they’re looking for someone to share a romantic evening with or someone to share in their household bills, the recession hasn’t diminished the desire for many singles to go online to find a date. In fact, some online dating sites have seen a recent up-tick in use and membership since the economy has hit a sour note. Match.com reported its membership grew 17% in December alone. "In a tough economy, you want someone to appreciate you for who you are and not because of your jobs or material possessions," said Greg Waldorf, the CEO of eHarmony, in a Reuters interview. eHarmony has also seen a spike in membership since the recession began.
If the recession has you looking for love, here are some the places you might want to try:
Match.com: Match.com has consistently been the most popular fee-based online dating services. According to its literature, it currently has approximately 15 million members and adds new members at a rate of about 20,000 per day. A one-month subscription costs about $35 per month, but longer-term subscriptions cost less per month. Match.com features a user-friendly interface and allows users to search through profiles and interact through email.
eHarmony.com: This sites claim to fame is its matching service. While other sites allow users to browse through profiles, eHarmony uses a detailed questionnaire to match users based on “compatibility.” Users can only see matches selected for them. eHarmony claims an average of 236 eHarmony members get married in the U.S. each day thanks to this service. A one-month subscription to eHarmony costs about $60, but longer subscriptions are cheaper.
OkCupid.com: This is a free dating site that makes it quick and easy to join. It offers limited compatibility testing with personality tests and quizzes that users can customize. Users can interact through email and instant messaging, and can get “matched” and browse other profiles. You can also see who’s looked at your profile. OkCupid has a social networking feel and can be linked to your Facebook account.
Lavalife.com: With a little more then 5 million member, Lavalife isn’t as large as Match.com. It does have some unique features, however. With Lavalife, users can choose to create a profile in three different sections -- dating, relationships and intimate encounters. Lavalife also allows users to interact through email, live chat or voice messaging. Setting up a profile, browsing user profiles and receiving communication is free, but you have to have a paid subscription to initiate contact. A one-month subscription costs about $30.
YahooPersonals.com: This service both allows searching and provides matches based on your profile. Setup and searching is free, but you have to purchase a membership to communicate with other members. YahooPersonals has a large membership but of over 10 million members and a one-month membership costs about $30.
Chemistry.com: A spin-off of Match.com, Chemistry.com is geared towards those looking for a serious relationship. Similar to eHarmony, the site provides matches based on personality tests and uses tools to guide communication, which include the option to meet offline. Chemistry.com also gives you the ability to provide feedback to matches to adapt future matches. The site only has about 3.7 million members so far, but offers different subscription plans that generally cost around $50 a month.
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