Should you pay for a dating site
Here is the pick of the best dating sites. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Friday 18 January Why should you pay for online dating? Supposedly the best things in life are free - but is that true of online dating? With more and more cropping up each month we've selected the top dating sites that are worth a little investment…. Join a reputable dating site such as Kindred Spirits. Top recommended online dating sites: Parship Takes matchmaking by personality one step further.
Read more from Women. More from the web. But I intend to show, just by doing some simple calculations, that pay dating is a bad idea; actually, I won't be showing this so much as the pay sites themselves, because most of the data I'll use is from Match and eHarmony's own public statements. I'll list my sources at the bottom of the post, in case you want to check. If your goal is to find someone special, 20 million people is a lot of options—roughly a quarter of all singles in the U. So let's now ask the real question: They closely guard their number of paid subscribers, with good reason.
Nonetheless, we are able to deduce their base from known information. We'll give eHarmony the highest subscribership possible. So, having given eHarmony the benefit of the doubt at every turn, let's look at where that leaves their site:. And the ironic thing is that although they basically admit their sites are filled with chaff, pay sites have little interest in telling you who's paying and who isn't. In fact, it's better for them to show you people who haven't paid, even if it means they're wasting your time.
We'll show that in the next section. First I want to show you what 29 to 1 , advertised people to real, feels like. Here are some single, attractive OkCupid users. And here are those same people behind a subscriber wall. That's pay dating in a nutshell. They're a public company, so we can get their exact subscriber info from the shareholder report they file each quarter.
Here's what we have from Q4 Remember, sites like Match and eHarmony are in business to get you to buy a monthly subscription. There's nothing wrong with profit motive, but the particular way these sites have chosen to make money creates strange incentives for them.
Why should you pay for online dating?
Let's look at how the pay sites acquire new subscribers:. As you can see from the flow chart, the only way they don't make money is to show subscribers to other subscribers. It's the worst thing they can do for their business, because there's no potential for new profit growth there.
To get sign-ups, they need to pull in new people, and they do this by getting you to message their prospects. If you're a subscriber to a pay dating site, you are an important though unwitting part of that site's customer acquisition team.
Of course, they don't want to show you too many ghosts, because you'll get frustrated and quit, but that doesn't change the fact that they're relying on you your messages are their marketing materials to reach out to non-payers and convince them, by way of your charming, heartfelt messages, to pull out their credit cards. If only a tiny fraction of your message gets a response, hey, that's okay, you're working for free.
Wait a second… you're paying them. Now let's look how this skewed incentive affects the dating cycle, especially on sites like Match. Even more so than in real life, where fluid social situations can allow either gender to take the "lead", men drive interactions in online dating.
Our data suggest that men send nearly 4 times as many first messages as women and conduct about twice the match searches. Thus, to examine how the problem of ghost profiles affects the men on pay dating sites is to examine their effect on the whole system. The effect of the second fact is to magnify the effect of the first. For a user trying to meet someone under such constraints, a feedback loop develops. Here's what happens to the average guy:. Basically, because the likelihood of reply to each message starts so low, the average man is driven to expand his search to women he's less suited for and to put less thought and emotional investment into each message.
Therefore, each new batch of messages he sends brings fewer replies. So he expands his criteria, cuts, pastes, and resends. In no time, the average woman on the same site has been bombarded with impersonal messages from a random cross-section of men. Finally, in the spirit of "don't take my word for it", here's how eHarmony and Match. Okay, Match is double counting to get "12 couples", since a couple that gets married also gets engaged. So we have 6 couples per day getting married on the site, or 4, people a year. Let's round up to 5,, to keep things simple. My first observation is that Match.
It turns out you are Remember this is the minimum ratio, because from Match's perspective, we've made a lot of very favorable assumptions along the way. And it also doesn't matter that some portion of Match's customer base is overseas, because however you account for that in their subscriber base, you also have to adjust their marriage total accordingly. Their higher rate shouldn't be too surprising, because eHarmony's entire site philosophy centers around matrimony, and furthermore that's the primary reason people go there. It's explicitly not a place for casual daters.
As they've told us, their member base of , people turns over every 6. And what of the other A major selling point for the big for-pay dating sites Match and eHarmony is how many millions of members they have, and they drop massive numbers in their press releases and in talks with reporters. Of course, there's a solid rationale to wanting your dating site to seem gigantic. When people look for love, they want as many options as possible.
However, as I've shown above, the image these sites project is deceiving. So next time you hear Match or eHarmony talking about how huge they are, you should do like I do and think of Goliath—and how he probably bragged all the time about how much he could bench. Then you should go sign up for OkCupid. I believe it does not , and here's why. Remember, to get that 4. That's obviously false, but I did it to be as generous as possible to Match. If we want to make the same comparison for eHarmony, since their site is so much more focused on matrimony, we really should get a more realistic marriage rate for the nation as a whole.
The Census's definition of "single" is anyone over 18 who's not married or living with a romantic partner. That includes prisoners, senior citizens, college students, shut-ins, swinging bachelors, and your friend who's been dating the same guy for a year but doesn't live with him. I don't think it is a stretch to say that half the Of course, nearly everyone on eHarmony is looking for a partner. Again, this is just an educated guess, but I believe it's in the neighborhood of the truth. Note also that this implies that the Again, this is just an educated guess.
That's why I left it out of the main article. OkCupid is a leading free online dating site. We're growing like crazy due to the buzz about our product, and in particular the user experience that has changed the way people think about online dating. Along with the rest our team, you'll be improving the presentation and usability of the best dating site on Earth.
Send a link to your portfolio, examples of your markup, and tell us why you're excited to join our team. This article was posted on Wednesday, April 7th, at 9: You can follow any responses to it through the RSS 2. You can also leave a response or trackback from your own site. Thanks again for reading. This article was great. One of the best I think, simply because my single, older mother was using both of those sites.
I pleaded her to please just try OKC, and finally she gave in. No pic, Just 45 words and a banner. I had dates every weejebd ubntile the ads wee replaced by net dating which wiorked until or so. I figure e harmoney will go broke with all the tv ads alone for tis big July free 10 day weekend. People are not kids and do not meet those silly questions. Be adult and let us e mails and show member and non member pics. Jeremy Botto No offense, but it seems like you drastically misinterpreted what was going on.
The point being made was that the women were fed up with only getting impersonal replies. I like getting notes on this blog, it makes fuel talk and gives workers to feel like they are able become involved in the conversation. I tend to agree. Can you do an analysis of free sites? My only gripe about Okcupid. The subscriber non-subscriber feedback loop is very interesting.
Best Online Dating Sites – Comparing Free vs. Paid Subscription Sites
I never thought of these businesses as using their subscribers as acquisition vehicles. I am wondering, however, if the calculation of the number of eHarmony users is unnecessarily complex.
In the beginning of the calculation, you stated the simplifying assumption of no one paying month-to-month. You got that right. OKC is free and works much better than the pay sites. Hotter chicks flock to paid sites because they know the men are serious. Most people on POF are of the lower classes of society as well.
Find out which type makes more sense for you
Just read the spelling on profiles. Compare it to lavalife or eHarmony especially. Another thing pay dating sites do, they show women immediately that the man at least has his shit together enough for a credit card. Received 3 views and a wink in the first few minutes. You should also consider the role of affiliates! I believe one reason for the low response rate is that many affiliates have no interest in starting a relationship with you, no matter how great your picture or your profile.
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For the uninitiated, the basic scenario is this: Person A can get paid for successfully recruiting Person B to join a particular site as a paying member. Yes, they get paid, but that is not the only reason, and perhaps not even the primary reason, they signed up as an affiliate. However, I believe many of the affiliates are only in it for the money! Specifically, they exist for two, or maybe three, reasons: Another way of viewing the affiliates is that they are commissioned salespeople. Affiliates are very prevalent on adult dating sites.
Do eHarmony, Chemistry, Match. If so, can you cross reference the affiliate data with your other data on response rates, etc.? Keep up the good work!
I think I can learn a lot from your blog and from the comments from other readers! Your right no pay no play. I have better things to do with my money than blow it on dating web sites. Christian you are an amazing analyst my friend. Having been a member of both, on and off, you are write on target. When my subscriptions have lapsed they continue to send me new people to meet. Obviously these people are getting my profile too, not knowing that I am no longer able to respond.
Are Paid Dating Sites Better Than Free Ones? - Consumer Reports
No wonder so many people did not respond to me!! Same pictures, same verbiage. Some get around the filters and point you to their profiles at the free sites. This article did nothing to dissuade me from it, but it did reinforce my decision in that direction. This blog is an eye opener. This article is just the motivation I needed to cancel my subscription. I would probably still be an awkward date-a-phobe otherwise. I have tried too many sites. They make you believe that you can find someone but then you have to pay I have no credit card or money to get a prepaid credit card.
The basic premise of this article is this — Fake or Inactive profiles cause women to stop emailing which then causes everyone to not achieve their goal of meeting someone.