to Choose an Online Dating Service
ready to try online dating, however the question beckons in your
mind, "What Online Dating Service should I select?" After all,
there are thousands of services to select from.
To make that
answer easier, it's first important to understand the differences
between online dating services. There are five specific types
Online Dating Services
General online dating services are mainstream sites that give you
full searchable access to their database. You are the key determinant
in who you select to date. Such services include Match.com, Yahoo!
Personals, Date.com, FriendFinder, LavaLife,
Relationship services have you first fill out an in-depth compatibility
test (that usually takes 90 minutes to complete), then use
that test to match you with others. Unlike general online dating
you don't have control over who you are matched with. You
can only communicate with people the service says are compatible
with you. The biggest relationship service is eHarmony,
which is also responsible for up to 33,000 marriages a year,
according to one study. Seeing eHarmony's
success as a relationship service prompted Match.com to
enter the arena with its own relationship service, Chemistry.com.
Both PerfectMatch and Matchmaker are
now trying to position themselves as relationship services.
3) Niche Online
There are thousands of niche
online dating services that target
specific interests and passions. The theory behind these sites
is that if you can find someone as passionate about something
as you are, then it will help the relationship succeed. For example,
if you're passionate about animals, there's AnimalAttraction.
If you're into a vegetarian lifestyle, there's Green
Friends. Are you rich or have a thing for rich people? Then
Match. Over the age of 50? How about Senior
Match? If you're into the gothic lifestyle, there's Gothic
Match. The possibilities are endless. When I appeared
on MSNBC's "The Situation with Tucker Carlson," I even let
him know there
was a dating site for women who love men that wear bow ties.
However, he indicated he was happily married, although he
enjoyed his research into the topic of discussion.
4) Social Networking
Social networking sites like MySpace are becoming more popular
for not only forming friendships, but also going out on dates.
It is estimated that social networking services took up 2% of
the online dating marketplace in 2005 and that number is only
growing. What people like about social networking sites is that
most are free and millions of people are using them. Some of
these social networking sites are aiming to introduce more dating
concepts, which could deal a huge blow to online dating services
that are charging $49 or more a month. Other popular social networking
sites include Friendster and Orkut.
Online Dating Services
Merging online dating services employ both online and offline
techniques to help you find love. Two sites, Peek
a Bio, and
Chick N Chit allow you to post a private profile then print out
cards (like business cards) that you can hand to people you run
into offline so that they can go online and learn more about
you. The cards contain the Website URL and your handle to give
them full access to your profile and the ability to communicate
with you from there. Hopefully we don't start seeing these appear
In order to
select an online dating service that is right for you, you must
first know what your goals are. Are you out just to date or to
find a serious relationship. Know what you want so that you can
sign up for a dating service that best meets your needs then
meet up with others that match what you are looking for.
wrong with signing up for more than one service. For example,
you may want to try out eHarmony and Match.com at the same time
and see which type of service serves you best. Be sure to review
some vital profile tips and online dating tips in order to maximize
Joe Tracy is an online
dating expert and the publisher of Online
He is also editor of the Relationship Views newsletter.