Dating Services Reviews

Match.com

The large amount of dating web sites suddenly available online has created unique groupings according to their approaches and styles. While some dating sites pride themselves on demanding its users to fill out lengthy profiles and utilizing successful compatibility equations, others attempt to post tons of active (and sometimes inactive) profiles on their sites to increase their appeal. Quite often, the extended features of a specific site can determine its overall credibility. One example of this is Match.com.

Match.com is a compilation of over fifteen million profiles of people supposedly looking for love now. While many of the profiles on Match.com were made by now inactive users, they still offer the strongest database of online daters you can find. As one of the largest and most publicly recognized dating sites, they have no trouble finding new users looking for love. We signed up for a profile as a male user and explored what the site has to offer.

Signing Up
It's quite simple to get started on Match.com. When you visit their main web site, www.match.com, you will be greeted with a very brief questionnaire. You will be asked if you're a man or a woman, whether you are seeking a man or a woman, what age group you are seeking, and where you are located. Once you submit your answers, you will be transferred to a page with your search results. You will see a full page of profile pictures displaying the best matches for your search specifications. This page of possibilities, however, waits in the background as a sort of bait. A pop-up window will cover most of that page.

That pop-up will ask you to sign up for a free profile. To view your search results and browse the profiles available on Match.com, you must sign up for a free profile, at least. They will ask you for a username, a password, your email address, your birthday, zip, and if you want to receive email updates or not. We chose to receive them.

Your Profile
Once you have finished filling in your basic information, it's time to fill out your profile. The profile form is not as lengthy as many other dating sites' forms, such as its sister site eHarmony.com. The Match.com profile will ask you for basic information about yourself, such as you physical characteristics, your personality traits, your personal preferences, interests, common activities, employment, ethnicity, and even education. Once you have finished filling out your own information, you will also be asked to help describe the kind of person you looking for. You fill out information about your desired match, such as their physical characteristics, their interests, etc. Many of the options include the chance to deem the choices "Must-have" or "Nice to have," in order to narrow the search even further.

Next, it's time to fill out the "Dating Headline" and the "Describe Yourself and Your Ideal Match" sections. You are required to enter at least something in each of these areas; the "Describe Yourself" section requires at least 200 characters. At many points during the Match.com profile process, users are given the opportunity to type specific answers and information in order to create a more unique profile. Finally, once everything else is complete, you will be asked to upload a photograph of yourself. According to Match.com, you are around fifteen times more likely to receive attention from the other users with a photograph on you profile. Posting a picture, however, is not mandatory.

Pricing
Once you have finished your profile and are ready to view your matches, you will be asked to become a paid subscriber. At Match.com, a paid subscription will allow you to send and receive emails to other users, utilize their instant messaging service, and see what users are interested in you. For a one-month subscription, they charge $34.99. If you would like a three-month membership, they will charge you $19.99 per month. For a six-month membership, they charge $16.99 per month. Match.com also offers a six-month membership for $17.99 per month that includes the "First Impressions" service (your profile will be shown to new users first), a "read email notification" service to tell you when your messages have been received, and a "highlighted" profile page that makes it stand out visually. The different pricing options allow for many users in different to at least try out their services.

If you decide against signing up for a paid subscription to Match.com, you can still utilize some of its tools. With a basic (free) membership, you can still send winks to notify users you are interested, create a favorites list, and browse the available users.

Features
Match.com is full of extra features that enhance the online dating experience and provide people with better tools to find their best matches. The first noticeable feature is the ability to search and browse through profiles. Many web sites, particularly those dedicated to a lengthy profile and compatibility process, don't promote the act of simply "browsing" possible candidates. Their search engine is quite good, actually. Once you've made a search, you can keep narrowing it down by basic information, appearance, lifestyle, background and basic values. Searches can be done for "mutual matches" to find people looking for the similar things, or for the "reverse matches" to find people looking for your personality type. You can even name and save a search you have made to return to later on. While some people agree with this approach, others suggest that part of true love is the initial and ongoing attraction present from the first moment one person sees another. Match.com definitely promotes the idea that you should find someone with similar interests that you are initially attracted to, and move forward from there. The search and browse feature is not available at all dating sites.

Once you are signed up as a member of Match.com (not necessarily a paid "subscriber"), you will immediately begin to receive your "Daily 5." This is a group of five people that, according to the Match.com compatibility system, should spark your interest. You are given a brief glimpse at each of the five users' profiles, as well as the ways in which you are compatible. For example, when we looked at our first Daily 5, we were first introduced to a woman and told: "she shares the same birth month as you," "like you, she's athletic and toned," and "she'd like to have kids someday." These connections were made from the profile details we filled out earlier during the sign-up process. Although the matches they made were not perfect, they did provide a good starting point for someone just joining the site. The Daily 5 feature also notifies users of profiles that they might have overlooked while browsing. It also allows users to respond to each of the five suggestions, choosing "Yes," "No," or "Maybe." These answers will help the Match.com system determine a more specific approach to finding your next Daily 5.

The "Mutual Match" feature allows you to compare your profiles to other users' profiles side by side. They will tell you how many ways you match with that user and show you in a clear and easy-to-understand chart. They will even provide you with a match percentage that shows exactly how much your profiles match up. This is a perfect example of how the Match.com system relies more on basic interest- or personality-based matching than true, scientific compatibility. The system, however, does successfully connect similar-minded people interested in dating.

Match.com also provides a service they call "Profile Pro." For a price of $39.99, a Match.com professional will personally work with your profile to make sure it is as strong as it can be. The professional will review your entire profile and edit things you might have never thought about. They will also write text to add to your profile, or re-write existing text to make it sound a little better. The enhancements will increase your results in searches and help you receive more attention from desired users.

Official subscribers can utilize the "Singled Out" feature. This will provide users with personalized matches made specifically for them according to the information they've provided to the site and the actions they have taken. A step further than the Daily 5 feature, Singled Out may also point out interesting profiles that someone might have otherwise overlooked completely.

Other Reviews
Many reviews are written on dating sites today to help people sift through the available options and choose the right service for them. Among the general reviews of popular dating sites currently active, Match.com receives the highest overall ratings. Although the user reviews are usually a bit lower than the professional reviews, Match.com receives universal accolades for its massive database of profiles and its fantastic search engine tools. The general complaints about the site revolve around the existence of scammers and spammers within its profile database and an overall lack of customer satisfaction. The matching systems don't always work as desired and some people have sworn to never use the site again.

The major review sites have given Match.com a good overall score while the users actually rate it lower. This is greatly due to the fact that the only people who generally visit review sites and write comments are people who are unhappy with a product. For example, dating service review sites that focus their ratings on user responses have lower scores for Match.com than others. DatingSitesReviews.com, according to its all user-based reviews, gave Match.com a 2.5 out of 5. Similarly, the user-review site eDateReview.com gave the site a 1.94 out of5. Other sites that gauge their results on the reviews of professionals gave the site a much higher score. Village Matchmaker gave Match.com a 5 out of 5, and Consumer Research named the site "Best Online Site for Dating" for 2009. DatingSites.org also gave the web site a 4 out of 5 and ConsumerRankings.com gave the site a 9.8 out of 10. The reviews from About.com varied, offering both professional and user reviews. While the professional review gave the site a 4 out of 5, the user reviews gave it a 3. out of 5.

Conclusion
Choosing the right dating site for you is a tough task. You can spend hours, even days, just researching all of your options and understanding which service offers which features.

Those of you seeking an in-depth, scientifically based, compatibility-focused dating service should probably avoid Match.com. The web site seems to cater rather well to casual daters as well as those willing to take their time with the process. Match.com will connect you with other people who are interested in dating and have similar interests; that's about it. While you will be able to describe yourself in-depth and with as much detail as you're comfortable with, your profile will not dig deep enough to truly decipher who you are compatible with.

Match.com essentially provides a well-designed search engine. That search engine explores their massive database and picks out profiles according to what you find to be interesting. While this is a fantastic starting point, one that works quite often according to evidence, the process won't precisely connect you with a scientifically compatible partner the way other sites claim to. Match.com is offers a more laid-back approach, one seemingly more appropriate for those looking to date rather than fall in love.

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