Online dating, chapter 14: Rating the sites

As I worked on staff bios for our website redesign on Friday, I was answering questions over Gchat about my astrological sign and the age range of men I date. My three coworkers had created a profile for me on OkCupid, where one of them met her boyfriend.

I mean, why not?

Now that I’ve been around the online-dating block, I can give my opinions on Match, eHarmony, Christian Mingle, and OkCupid. I tried looking around for something like this when I was considering Match earlier this year, but I didn’t find a whole lot.

So here we go.

Match.com

How long I used it:
3 months earlier this year (roughly $64 of my life savings)

What it’s like:
It’s a bit like a laid-back cocktail party – structured, with everyone on good behavior.

Design and ease of use:
Eh. For one of the world’s most popular dating sites (and most expensive for me thus far), the website and app were pretty meh. I didn’t like the app much at all and rarely used it because it wasn’t entirely user-friendly. The website was a bit cluttered. Overall, its entire customer-facing platform could use some work.

And, as a content/copywriter, Match’s copywriting seemed to be written by someone with a severe lack of love for the AP Stylebook; there were punctuation errors and clichés everywhere. I even went onto their corporate website to see if they were hiring in the marketing department. They need me.

My thoughts on the menfolk:

Obviously it had its faults, but I enjoyed using Match. You do have to make sure you don’t contact anyone you’re not interested in, and that you’re brutal in your choices. I made the mistake of writing back to someone who wasn’t my type at all, just to thank him for a compliment, and Match started giving me matches more like him. Their algorithm is sensitive, apparently.

There was a great mix of men, some who deserved a little drool (like that fireman – hel-lo). I interacted a lot and had fun.

Would I do Match again? Probably, especially if I moved to another state. My most compatible match was a great guy who I emailed back and forth with, and I got legitimately excited every time I heard from him. And then he fell off the face of the earth. Bummer.

eHarmony

How long I’ve used it:
I used eHarmony for three months in Austin, and now I’m on it again here (for a scheduled three months). It broke the bank at $26.85 this time around. I don’t remember how much it cost way back when. Probably more around what Match cost.

What it’s like:
For me, it’s been like a black-tie affair held at a church, with everyone on holier-than-thou behavior.

Design and ease of use:
It’s beautiful. The profile pages emphasize photos, and all the information is laid out clearly. I’m a big fan. The app is also well done. You can tell eHarmony put money into their graphic design and user experience departments.

My thoughts on the menfolk:
I filled out the million-question personality test what… five years ago? And I can’t find a way to go through and make sure my answers are still the same. Even after redoing my match settings, I’m getting paired with men who are way, way not my type.

One guy, a hyper-conservative man who contradicts my views in his profile, was listed as a “highly compatible match”, and he emailed me five questions. Did he look at my profile? Did he see just how incredibly different we are? And not in a cute, potato/potahto way; in a we-won’t-be-on-speaking-terms-after-the-first-date way.

I may very well not be the right customer for eHarmony. Friends of mine have had wild success with eHarmony. Me? Nope. It’s been – dare I say it? – boring.

Christian Mingle

How long I used it:
One evening (“Browse for free!”) several months ago.

What it’s like:
If it’s a cocktail party, I never got out of the car – I looked in the window, then kept going.

Design and ease of use:
I remember thinking, “Oh, gosh. This is terrible.” I didn’t even try the app. The website is clunky and honestly feels kinda pointless when eHarmony is out there. I was on it for a few hours, then deleted my account and told it to forget I existed.

My thoughts on the menfolk:
Didn’t stay long enough to see.

Side note: I still hate that they use songs about loving God in their commercials. “Love Song for a Savior” by Jars of Clay is supposed to be about falling in love with God, not your newest match.

OkCupid

How long I’ve used it:
Since Friday night. And it’s free to look around and send messages – I haven’t ventured into the paid version (yet).

Lazy update: Last night I paid $20 (the most expensive plan, but I didn’t want to commit to any longer just yet) to use the paid version of the site for a month. More on that in a subsequent post.

What it’s like:
Where Match and eHarmony are the cocktail affairs, OkCupid is the bar where everyone’s just hanging out. Some are already drunk and absolute idiots, but there are quite a few cool people to talk to.

Design and ease of use:
OkCupid’s interface is no frills, but incredibly user friendly. Both the website and app are simple and laid out intuitively. Maybe my UX and graphic designer friends will disagree, but I’m a fan of OkCupid all around.

My thoughts on the menfolk:
People on OkCupid are far more active, and I’m having fun browsing, answering and sending messages. I’m having way more fun on OkCupid than I did on Match or so far with eHarmony. Yes, OkCupid has far more people looking for a one-night stand, but it’s easy to weed them out. Overall, I’m happy with OkCupid, and I’m shocked by that.

I’ve sent a number of messages to some guys who seem really great and have heard back from all of them. Just kidding: none of them have replied. Them’s the breaks, though, and if you don’t like rejection or being ignored, online dating definitely isn’t for you.

More on all my conversations in another post, including the 25-year-old who contacted me because he has “a thing for women that are older than me.” I never thought I’d feel like a cougar at 32.

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