Unbiased dating site reviews? We'd sure like to see them. Everyone has a bias one way or another, so The Dating Gurus try to put personal feelings aside as best as we can when writing our reviews.
Another Facebook-based online dating site? Is this just another case of "run the other way...and fast"?
Actually, founder Justin Krause fully admits, right there on the site, that Facebook can be "creepy," thus defusing the whole issue.
We liked Circl.es' utter simplicity: after only a few clicks, we were on. No laborious profile-writing. It's fun, free, and yes, it does have privacy controls.
We didn't like the low availability of matches, but we assume this will go away if Circl.es' membership base grows.
In our only (so far) dating site review that seemed to generate both "I love it" AND "I hate it" responses, we felt it was only fair to present both sides of the eHarmony scale.
The Pros: We liked the fact that there is a dating site available for singles who are seeking a long term committed relationship, instead of a casual hook-up or casual dating. For this reason, prepared to be very patient, as the matching process takes a while. eHarmony was founded by Christian theologian and well-known author/psychologist, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, and there are remnants of this traditional (to our minds) philosophy embedded in the site.
The Cons: Sigh.. where do we begin? The cost, which is substantially more than most dating sites out there, poor member matching, the inability to see pics from the beginning, the feedback we've been reading about poor customer service and cancellation issues, and tons of complaints about inactive member or subscriber profiles (who signed up for a trial, realized they couldn't communicate fully, and abandoned ship, thus causing poor response to contact).
The latest trend in online dating? Going offline as quickly as you can!
How it works is you make some degree of initial contact online. Then the site hustles you off-line and into the real world as quickly as possible. Pulling from your Facebook information, Grouper assembles three guys and three girls, you included as one of them, and sends you off to a cool location for libations.
What we like: Grouper's innovative approach; safety in numbers (as you meet in a group, not alone); good-looking bunch of people on site.
What we don't like: Grouper's unsavory background (you'll just need to read our review for details); drinking as pretext for dating; and Grouper's insistence that you grant them access to your Facebook.
We admire HowAboutWe.com for being iconoclasts. They've certainly tried to shake up online dating and set it on its head by turning everything around backward.
Instead of forcing users to spend a lot of time writing dating profiles, How About We tries to dispense with most of that and connect you with dates quickly.
What we don't like: the option to upload your few required factoids directly from your Facebook. Can you say, "Goodbye privacy, hello stalker"? Bad idea if you care about online dating safety.
JDate, the online dating service designed for Jews, have been around since 1997--that's eons in Internet time.
JDate is where Jews go to meet Jews. Except when they don't. You see, that's been one rift in the JDate.com community: the decision to allow Gentiles into the fold (they designate themselves as "Willing to Convert").
JDate.com has a robust interface for paying members, not-so-robust for "free" members (you can't message anybody).
Single month membership is quite expensive ($42.79), though drops to about $23/month if you sign up for a six-month plan.
OKCupid.com is the darling of many people because it's fresh, fun, and...free. But really, the monetary free-ness of OK Cupid (OKC) is the least of its good qualities.
For one, OKC gives the user freedom to write what they wish (within boundaries, though). Compared to a highly restrictive dating site like eHarmony, OKC is like a breezy walk in the park. Let 'er rip!
Also, OKC has a pretty effective algorithm that strives to match you up with people who might be just what you've been looking for.
But OKC can start to feel a bit exclusionary. Since its target market is under 30 years old, urban, childless, and arty, anyone outside of that demographic can start to feel rather lonely after awhile. It can still work, but may take you somewhat longer, and have less of a pool to choose from the older your demographic is.
PlentyOfFish.com (POF) is one site where we did have a hard time keeping our personal feelings in check. POF's best quality is that it is free. You can upgrade POF and get a number of minor extra features for $5.95 and $9.80 a month.
What really turns us off is POF's ugly, barebones interface and the type of person it tends to attract. Mind you: we're not referring to either you or us, of course! It's those trolls and creeps--male and female both--who seem to be fishing for one-night stands, not solid relationships.
Since POF is free, it's at least worth a look. But if you're not interested in 42 year-old women wearing PINK apparel and tramp stamps...or shirtless men flexing their muscles (and guts) in front of bathroom mirrors...you won't find many "fish" on this site.
You know the guy or gal that your friends warn you about? "Don't even go near him," they might say. "You're in for a world of hurt if you do!"
That's exactly what we're telling you about True.com. The question isn't should you run away from True.com--the question is how fast can you run away.
True.com's initial ad campaign was born in the wicked bowels of MySpace.com. Should that less-than-savory demographic tell you something?
One huge problem with True.com is that it sends out false positives in the form of "winks" to members. So, that smokin' hot guy who looks like Johnny Depp's twin brother and who winked at you...? Guess what: he didn't. That wink was artificially generated by True.com's software.
Then, should you wisely decide to cancel your very expensive membership, you'll find that it's harder than calling the electric company on the day of a city-wide blackout. In other words, they want nothing to do with you unless you're forking money over to them.
True it ain't. Stay away.
In our opinion, Zoosk's identity crisis, circling from typical dating site--> casual "fun" dates--> a serious romantic social network, now playing to singles as well as couples--> is confusing to the consumer, who are mainly young 20-something's accustomed to having their personal lives splayed over their FB page (as is an option with Zoosk).
We've heard lots of member complaints about stale profiles which linger on from free/trial memberships, as well as the ever-present complaints of difficulty cancelling memberships after poor results with dating connections.
Read the full review of Zoosk.com here