Updated Review: Match.com: Beige Toyota of the Online Dating World
No doubt that at some point in your dating adventures you've checked out Match.com, easily the most popular fee-based dating service in the world since it's inception in the '90's. Match's success can be attributed to many factors, not the least of which is a highly successful media campaign.
Dating websites often develop a tone and personality of their own. Match offers a middle-of-the-road appeal, attracting the average, mostly vanilla citizen.
Match generally doesn't particularly attract the artsy or sexy crowd, like OKCupid. It's not focused on a youthful, more superficial demographic such as app-based Tinder. Match resists the sleaze factor often associated with PlentyofFish, and doesn't have any identified niche, like Geek to Geek (Gk2Gk) , BBWCupid, or Bumble. Nope, Match appeals to ordinary people who are looking for a safe environment to meet a "normal" person. Match's subscribers usually need to have a job to be able to afford the membership fees (translation: no bums) and aren't necessarily within the 18-30 year old bracket. Match is indeed the Beige Toyota to Zoosk's Red Jeep, or Jdate's Black BMW.
What We Like:
1. An easy to navigate and attractive website featuring not only dating profiles, but articles and forums by relationship experts, real life members, and authors.
2. A huge member base, which increases your chances of meeting someone in any geographic area.
3. The detailed search function. Match offers excellent an search function, which enables fine-tuning of the criteria for your potential date.
Example: Checking the boxes in a search for "men within 10 miles of Seattle between the ages of 35-45", without any other specifics yielded 2000+ candidates. When we added a few preferences from the many categories, (height, weight, education level, ethnicity, and career type, etc) our options for potential matches narrowed significantly, but offered the opportunity to fine-tune matches according to specifications.
Too few member results? Simply increase the mileage range, lower or increase your age parameters, or decrease the number of specific criteria you are hunting for.
4. Daily Matches Every day, you will receive up to 11 highlighted members which the wizard of algorithms deem a higher than normal compatibility based on your two profiles. You have the option to indicate Yes, No, or Maybe. ((Warning: Hit “Yes”, and the other person gets notified))
5. Reverse Matches Reverse Matches offer the lazy-bones a way to see who Match suggests would be a good choice for you, based on your profile, without searching. Just click on Reverse, and watch who shows up for your perusal. ((Warning: Results may make you laugh, roll your eyes, or wretch))
6. Bucket List on Profiles help highlight interests: SSIA
8. Events. In selected cities, Match.com has launched a series of hosted events for their members to meet up in a social settings, trying to taking some of the awkwardness out of a 1:1 situation, and allowing a natural environment for singles to meet. This trend towards social and group dating can be seen on many sites. However, read one funny blogger's experience of her Event date that didn't quite go so well.
What We Don't Like Quite So Much
1. It's kind of a mixed blessing, joining a fee-based online dating site. Obviously, requiring the public to cough up a monthly fee means that the members are generally pretty motivated to find a match. Plus, by charging a fee, you weed out a lot of the skank factor. On other hand, there are some decent free online sites that are..well.. free.
Match is relatively expensive, with the "value plan" subscription at $119.94 x 6 months, or $239.88 annually. Try it for 3 months for $68.97.
2. Difficult and maddening subscription cancellation policies. MANY members complain about difficulty cancelling a subscription. It's important to know that once you commit to a trial membership or installment membership, as seen in our pic above, you are obligated to complete the number of payments prior to cancelling. To make matters worse, memberships are auto-renewed, unless you contact Match, giving them a "reasonable amount of time to process the action", which is a non-disclosed period, even after substantial searching. Grr!
3. Free Basic Memberships--Suck! Match offers a widely advertised free "Basic Membership", which sounds good, (who doesn't like free?) but during this time a user can ONLY create their profile, search/view profiles, and send Winks (the bane of our existence) but cannot actually contact members to initiate contact. The only exception is when a paid member (not another free trial member) initiates email communication, free members may reply.
4. Misrepresentation about Match's member size. We suspect that the reason Match.'s membership size is so elephantine is because many so-called members" are simply folks creating initial profiles to try out the free features of Match, only to abandon ship when they find they can't really communicate within the site. But the place marker of their profiles, pics included, remain intact, thus enticing others. Maddening.
Should You Join Match?
We recommend that people always join two dating sites: one paid and one free site to double their exposure and their dating pool. If you're thinking of trying out a fee-based dating site, make it Match.com, simply for the reason that it's sheer size can offer you more bang for your buck. Don't bother joining as a free member, since you won't be able to do anything more than poke around, and you can't actually contact anyone who interests you. Try the trial membership (not basic, but trial) only if you are quite clear that you will need to cancel the auto-renewing feature WELL in advance of the expiration date. HINT: put it on your calendar with an alert to cancel by an upcoming date.