After encouragement from friends and some research, I decided to give it a run and use a few websites to meet new women for dates. A few people I know have met their significant other VIA networking websites, so I trust it works and is not just for creepers.
Before diving into it, this article is very short and simplified. Plenty of conversation can be had pro and con for dating sites, this is simply a brief sharing of my experiences.
There are some social stigmas that are attached, typically people are seen as only joining because they are unable to procure dates within their area, or have social issues relating to people and use distance/digital as a personal filter. Regardless of the stigmas, there are several positives and I figured it was worth a shot. Also having been on several dates within the last few months, I sought to use this as a way to meet people that are not in my normal circle of friends.
After having active memberships on several of the notable sites, here are a few negative points about my experience using these services, and why I will not renew any memberships once they expire:
- It’s a business that’s all about the money.
- They all advertise join for free, but once you join you can’t communicate unless you cough up the cash. As a person in business I understand they exist to make money, but it gets to the point of being obnoxious.
- Once you sign up you immediately get bombarded with the BECOME A SUBSCRIBER TODAY screens and emails to unlock all the features. Normally with a new member discount offer, the longer membership you buy the less it cost per month. Never fails that they are auto-renew subscriptions, which means if you forget they will automatically charge you for extending the membership instead of asking if you want to continue.
- You are constantly sent offers to sign up at 50% of normal rate, then the next day the email states 60% off. It never ends until you whip out the plastic.
- Lack of transparency leads to continual frustration . . . again all about the money.
- So once you sign up for your profile, buy your 6 month membership, it’s time to start mingling. Most profiles only have one photo and N/A for nearly every question (which usually indicates someone registered but doesn’t take it serious, they just wanted to check out other people). You get your one or several “matches” per day where you get to review their profile. Scrolling through the endless pictures of dogs you finally get to photos of them . . . with friends . . . and you start to ask “who is it?”
- Once you run across someone that you scroll through their pics you can identify, more than once, you decide to send them a wink or smile or take their bagel, or whatever quirky flirtation the site utilizes. Then you wait . . . but what are you waiting for? You don’t know. Because you can’t tell if they think you are not worth it and ignoring you, or if they are not a paying member and will now be bombarded with SUBSCRIBE NOW TO GET YOUR MESSAGES emails from the icebreaker questions you sent them.
- Side note – as of today 9/12/16 I currently have 10 sent messages pending a response on eharmony, several nearly a month long. Ignoring or can’t respond because they aren’t full members? I’ll never know. I’m no James Franco . . . but also not living with my parents and “D&D Dungeon Master” shown as my career . . .
- This point in particular is what tipped me over. After getting into an email battle with a highly notable site (cough cough . . . catholicmatchless). After realizing this could happen, emailed customer service to confirm or see if this was the case. They said yes it’s possible, so I sought to cancel my membership because I didn’t want to pay for a service that is not reciprocated .I.E. sending messages to a wall that can only come down if someone pays for it. They don’t offer a refund, so I even pulled out the terms of service that a refund can be requested and reviewed by customer service . . . it was declined and they offered a voucher to return for a few months at no additional cost . . . you mean give me what I already paid for? Thanks no thanks.
- Commercialization of people is never a good thing.
- Using it at a networking site does not make it a bad means to a good end, but a few points to consider may help put some perspective on how to properly navigate.
- A tip that I’ve received several times is “not getting responses? Dating is a numbers game, the more you put out there the better chance of getting a response.”
- Um, NO. People should not be treated like numbers, and the reason I even joined is to connect with people who are serious about connecting. It isn’t a sales statistic or a target you’re trying to hit, they are people you are interested in learning about, and deserve to be respected as such. Some women who did respond to me were surprised when I would mention that I had only exchanged messages with them or only a few others, and had a somewhat serious approach to meeting people for dates and not just hookups.
- I started to find myself being guilty of immediate judgments and not being satisfied with what was being shown to me. You are only given so many matches per day, so if none of them caught your attention . . . your attention
desires to move on to more. Scrolling through the discover, or others in your area pages seemed to feed a desire for scrolling VS choosing . . . because there is always the “what if” factor that there is someone (or something) better.
- For men in particular this is very dangerous because this is the method of the hookup culture and pornography. Which is why tinder is so popular . . . endless swipes or clicks until you find what you like.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not against spending money to meet people. The only way to meet people is to invest yourself (in person and resources), this is simply another model to do so.
I now see why they advertise so much . . . their customer turnover/retention has got to be a huge number, and it isn’t from people being matched up. Their rates are so high because their customer acquisition price is probably a huge chunk of their costs.
Why can’t people just scroll through facebook in the suggested friends page and ask people out that way? Oh wait, that’s too creepy . . .
This isn’t meant to deter you from using online dating (well maybe), but to hopefully give some insight about a few things no one pointed out to me before jumping onto the sites.
For nearly 1.5 years of utilizing several different sites to their potential with nothing to show for it, I think I’ll switch back to using that money to buy random ladies drinks at the bar or dinner.
If you have similar or different experiences, I’d love to hear them. Comments or emails are welcome, please feel free to share.