A hefty price point doesn’t guarantee the absence of fakes or catfishes, either. (Before the Tinder Swindler hype, in 2019, some guy on match posed as a millionaire and stole $80,000 from the woman he was talking to. In 2020, money lost to online “romance scams” hit a record high.) For what it’s worth however, many free sites are just as big as paid ones on privacy and safety, requiring users to verify themselves through Facebook to increase transparency about age and first names. Plus, no paid sites have the safety features that Tinder does, which was the first of the Match Group apps to offer 911 assistance and location services to make meeting a stranger safer.
The aesthetic experience certainly isn’t what your money is going toward, either. Many of the older, subscription-based sites have been slow to modernize their UX designs, still relying on the very 2000s style of bombarding you with notifications for every wink, message, and whatever else.
We’ve all accepted that online dating is great for finding a friend with benefits, but telling family members that it’s getting serious with that person you met online still takes convincing. However, recent studies show that meeting online can foster a pretty reliable romantic foundation.
A 2017 study cited in the MIT Technology Review found that people who meet online are more likely to be compatible and have a better chance at a healthy marriage if they decide to get hitched. Another study found that heterosexual couples who met online were quicker to tie the knot. These stats don’t take anything from correlation to causation, but they do make the case that people who sign up for dating sites that require thoughtful responses are in a better spot to settle down.
There’s an unspoken assumption that people on free dating sites are young, horny people with no disposable income and that people on paid dating sites are mature, employed individuals who are ready to settle down.
Which dating sites are actually free?
Waters get muddied when basically every damn dating site has some sort of paid and free version. Truly free apps let users access its key features as a baseline, and then offer paid perks such as the ability to see everyone who has swiped right on you or boosts for your profile for a certain amount of time. Free-but-not-really apps are the ones that are technically free to use, but where you have to pay to do just about anything, including read or respond to messages (opens in a new tab) .
Premium memberships of “freemium” apps are an affordable way to transgenderdate profile get more control over your pool of potential boos, but they probably don’t do much to expedite the grueling swiping process. When Tinder first released Tinder Gold, it beat out Candy Crush as the Apple Store’s top-grossing app. People were that willing to pay to see who swiped right on them. That might be handy knowledge if you’re looking to get laid, but it’s hard to tell if it would help find someone that you like enough to share your life with. No one I know has kept a paid version of a free app for more than a month.
At any rate, there’s a certain serendipitous feeling that comes with the possibility that, out of the millions of users Hinge could have shown you that day, your soulmate popped up in the crowd of 8 likes you can give out per day (compared to the unlimited likes that come with Hinge Preferred).
But nowadays, eharmony, Match, Tinder, and OkCupid have rather similar age demographics, all with surprisingly close splits between people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s
There’s no one dating site that everyone is particularly psyched about. Swiping exhaustion and creepily persistent users are an omnipresent part of all online dating. Sorry, but a paid subscription isn’t a metal detector that pulls all of the upstanding, faithful singles up out of the crowd. When there are sites that can offer millions of users for free and success stories to prove they work, why not try them before spending $40 per month elsewhere?