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So what's up with this Tinder thing? No digital dating service is as hot as Tinder right now. You've probably seen friends swiping away at a mobile dating app called Tinder. And all that swiping has added up to phenomenal growth over the last couple of years for the app. According to some estimates, 50 million tablet or smartphone owners now use the app to swipe through local dating prospects and hopefully match up with some of them. On a daily basis, this culminates in an average of 1.5 billion swipes and 21 million matches. In fact, just this last January saw Tinder surpass 1 billion total matches. So, needless to say, Tinder is very popular right now-so popular you might feel the need to give it a spin. But before you hit that 'download' button, you need to ask that critical question: is Tinder the right online dating tool for you? Before you install Tinder on your phone, here are 10 critical facts to help you figure out if it's the best digital dating tool for your needs. 1. Tinder is available only through mobile app. Let's start at the very beginning: unlike many of the other online dating services we've reviewed on our site, Tinder is not a website. Instead, it is found strictly via mobile app to be used on most smartphones and tablets. As we'll discuss below, the way the app functions relies very much on the touchscreen features on mobile devices. You just couldn't do Tinder on a laptop or desktop. If you're not a savvy user of mobile devices, this fact alone might give you pause when considering Tinder as your digital dating tool. If you and your smartphone or tablet can't be separated, read on. 2. Tinder keeps it simple. If you've ever tried to create a profile with many of the top online dating sites like Match or eHarmony, you know that it can be a pretty lengthy process involving uploading photos and filling out drawn-out questionnaires. This is partially due to the type of audience these sites are trying to serve, people who are looking to be matched on a deep level with people they could potentially spend the rest of their lives with. But what if you're just looking for someone to meet up with for some casual romance? Tinder is specifically built to get you looking at and matching up with people quick. Users are asked to provide one photo and a 500-character blurb about themselves. That's it. Then, based on their mobile device's GPS, Tinder sends them a photo and a quick description of someone in their area. If they like what they see, they swipe to the right. If they want to pass, they swipe to the left. If they swipe right, and that person does the same thing with their image, they are officially matched by Tinder and can start exchanging texts with one another. What does this mean for you? It means that if you aren't looking for some deep, potentially lifelong connection but are more interested in just meeting up with new people casually, Tinder could be right up your alley. If you're fed up with casual relationships and want something more substantial, you might want to swipe left on Tinder and try one of the established online dating sites out there. 3. Tinder can be really superficial and focused only on casual hookups. This point can't be overstated. Yes, all dating sites seem to be fighting a constant battle between trying to supply their members with as many options as possible while keeping out the creeps and perverts, but Tinder wears its shallowness on its sleeve. Originally touted as casual sex app, Tinder has progressed a little more toward promoting healthy relationships, but it's still pretty open about how superficial its whole approach is. Sally Newall, writer at Marie Claire, comments: "This dating service is extremely superficial up front. Members rate other dater purely on their photos and a short one liner. There's not much depth in actually getting to know the daters until both members have matched. This may leave out potential matches that could work out long term. Generally the personality is overlooked because this app focuses on an all or nothing approach to rating pictures... It is still very casual sex-focussed. Many men are only on Tinder for a quick hook-up, so if it's a serious relationship you're after this app might not be for you." This superficiality can be rough on daters who are honestly looking for real, long-term relationships, says Huffington Post dating expert David Wygant: "This app is far from making love connections. It's all about look connections! Unless you have a very thick skin, you should stay well away from places like Tinder. They'll destroy what little confidence you have. Imagine sending out 100 hearts and not one-person contacts you back. How are you going to feel about yourself?" 4. Tinder offers free and premium subscriptions. Like so many digital dating services, Tinder offers what we call a "freemium" model: consumers can download the app and get access to a certain range of features for free, but if they want to use the app's full range of features they need to pay. This means if you want to try out Tinder without risking any greenbacks, you can. Just know that you won't be using the full app and it will be designed to nudge you toward their premium package (a.k.a. Tinder Plus). A recent update to Tinder, however, made Tinder Plus more pricey than most of their users were willing to pay. But more about that later... 5. Tinder does feature auto renewal. Like its online dating counterparts, once Tinder users sign up for Tinder Plus, their subscription is renewed and their account is charged automatically every month. This can cause some confusion and frustration with Tinder users, but it is written in their terms and conditions and on their iTunes pages for all users to see: "Your account will be charged for renewal within 24-hours prior to the end of the current 1 month period. Auto-renewal may be turned off by going to the user's iTunes Account Settings after purchase. No cancellation of the current subscription is allowed during the active subscription period." So if you do get Tinder Plus, you can deactivate the auto-renewal feature, but you must do it before the end of your current subscription comes up. Our advice: if you're not sure you want to continue with the service, don't wait until the last minute to deactivate this feature. 6. The refund process for Tinder is less than clear. When you subscribe to an online dating service and you want a refund, you can go straight to the site to get that refund (depending on which site it is, you might get that refund and you might not). But when you use Tinder, because you purchase the app through an app store like iTunes, Google Play, or another app store, refunds have to be obtained through your app store. Unfortunately, we're unable to tell how well these app stores respond to refund requests, since Tinder is not listed with the Better Business Bureau. This doesn't necessarily mean their customer service in regards to refund requests is bad or good. There is simply nothing to point one way or the other-which could be a good thing. No news is good news, as they say. 7. Tinder lets you block people you've been matched with and report members. Too many dating sites let undesirables hang around your profile, stalking you virtually while giving you very little power to stop them. But Tinder, in the spirit of keeping things simple, first only gives people who you've been matched with access to you. Then they give you the ability to unmatch that person, removing them from your Matches, removing you from their Matches, and disabling their ability to message you. Important note: once you unmatch someone, you can't undo it. That person is permanently banished from your Tinder life. So unmatch with caution. Also, if you come across any member that you feel is violating Tinder's rules, you can report them to Tinder, whether they are one of your matches or not. Whether or not these measures actually work to keep Tinder daters' experiences safe is a big question mark. Again, there aren't a lot of complaints out there to draw from. Overall, most reviews we read from publications were generally positive about safety and the ability to control who can see you and who can't on Tinder. 8. Tinder is overrun with men. It's raining men. At least it is on Tinder. Attracted by the simple, straightforward, and visual approach of Tinder, men have flocked to the app, if only for the ability to gawk at local women without being reproached. Unfortunately, this has created a very competitive field for males. Of his Tinder experience, David Wygant laments: "I saw women very close to my age and they still didn't respond. They were probably swamped by every man within a five-mile radius of them. The odds are stacked so far against guys on sites like this. If you've ever tried online dating as a man you'll know what I mean. It can be torturous." 9. Tinder's recent update ticked off a lot of members. If there is one major misstep Tinder has made, it is their most recent update. This update placed daily limits on how many likes free users could use per day. If these users wanted to be able to go back to having unlimited likes (like they did pre-update), they would have to pony up $9.99 per month for the privilege. The algorithm used to serve dating options to users was also tweaked. Tinder apparently thought their users were ready for this big of a change and predicted that they would see an astronomical uptick to $150 million in annual sales by 2016. They probably didn't anticipate the firestorm that ensued. Angry app users bumrushed iTunes to voice their disapproval, leaving thousands of one-star rating and scathing reviews in just a couple weeks after the update. Ultimately, this tsunami of user discontent dealt a serious blow to their standing on iTunes and fundamentally changed the overwhelmingly positive relationship users have had with Tinder forever. What does this mean for you? It means you will still be able to try it out for free, but your daily likes will be much more limited than what users had in the past. It also means that some of the praise you'd heard about the app over a month ago might not be so true today. 10. Tinder can turn your dating life into a game (and that's bad). Users have reported that just using Tinder is fun, even addictive, even if you don't find that special someone. Some people flip through Tinder just to ridicule the photos that come across their screens. However, longtime users also report that Tinder's superficial approach to picking potential mates has tainted the way they view dating, relationships, and people in general. Dayna Evans at Gawker reported her Tinder fatigue in these words: "Not until I used the app for a year did I begin to process the effects Tinder was having on my ability to find men attractive or desirable. Tinder is fun and lighthearted until it no longer is... I'd swiped right on everyone I liked already and was left with the Sisyphean task of swiping left until eternity... Tinder had bludgeoned my brain, stripping all the fun out of seeking chemical attraction in real life and in real places." Should You Swipe Right or Swipe Left? So is Tinder a keeper for you, intrepid online dater? There seems to be no doubt that Tinder provides an engaging, fun platform for meeting potential mates. But maybe all that fun also pushes out the more serious, yet important, business of forming long-lasting relationships. Bottom line: if you're looking for casual hookups and are willing to pay $10 a month for it, Tinder is perfect. If you want a more mature, level-headed approach to relationships, you might be better served on Match or eHarmony. Have you had a bad experience on a dating site or app? Maybe you met the love of your life? Make your voice heard and leave your review today!
Free dating sites like OKCupid can seem like a no-lose proposition. After all, what do you have to lose in trying out a free dating site? This is exactly what the folks at OKCupid are banking on. Since its founding in 2003, the dating site has grown to a relatively small but enthusiastic 1.8 million members--a small fraction of the memberships on sites like eHarmony or Match.com and a tiny drop in the bucket compared to PlentyOfFish, which boasts upward of 80 million members. Regardless of the number of members, the real question is whether or not signing up for OKCupid is a smart decision for you as a consumer...and price is not the only factor. When it comes to online dating, you need to be ready to contend with not only scammers and sleazy people, but also shady companies. To help you make an informed decision, here are ten things you absolutely need to know about dating site OKCupid before you sign up. 1. OKCupid is the most affordable of the top online dating sites. All of the top online dating services offer free subscriptions, sometimes for a limited time and sometimes forever but with limited access. OKCupid is no different. In fact, their free subscription is one of the best among the top dating sites. For free, you can search and view complete profiles and communicate with other members, which is hard to find among free online dating subscriptions.If you're looking to get more attention on OKCupid, however, paid subscriptions are available. For anywhere from $4.96 to $9.95 per month, you can significantly increase the quality of your OKCupid experience, as the PCMag editors explain in their review of the site: "Members who sign up for the... A-List premium service enjoy an ad-free experience, photo albums, read receipts for sent messages, additional filtering options (for example, you can only choose to see four- or five-star-rated people in your results), the ability to see who's rated you highly, higher placements within search results, and more." 2. OKCupid lets you pay to supercharge your profile temporarily. One unique feature about OKCupid is that any member, paying or not, can pay to get more eyeballs on their profile temporarily. PCMag explains: "OkCupid lets users boost their profiles' visibility by shelling out some extra coin. Boosts are available in single boost ($2), five boost ($1.90), and ten boost ($1.70) packages. In fact, OkCupid claims that you'll see a whole day's worth of activity within a few minutes. A boost puts you ahead of the non-boosting pack in results for a total of 15 minutes." This is something that most of the top online dating service provide but not usually to free members. But does it really work in terms of getting you more attention? After trying the feature, one editor at PCMag admits: "Out of the 2,601 times I was placed in front of someone, five people actually clicked through to my profile. I'm not sure if that's great for two bucks, or horrible for thousands of impressions." 3. OKCupid's matching system is hit or miss. A significant number of complaints found on review sites like bestcompany.com or Consumer Affairs make it clear that, for these members at least, the matches are less than magical. Said Melissa, one former OKCupid member, on her bestcompany.com review: "I tried several dating sites while I was single for about two years, and I thought there was definitely room for improvement on OKCupid. Even though I filled out my profile thoroughly and created detailed settings, the site seemed to match me with a lot of people who didn't share similar interests or values." Based on her experience, Melissa ended up giving OKCupid a lackluster 5.0 out of 10 rating. PCMag's editors seemed to back up Melissa's review in their assessment of the site's matching feature: "There's little difference when comparing users who were a 65 percent match and those who were an 85 percent match. Additionally, 90 percent matches were few and far between." 4. Many OKCupid members have used the site for years. Despite whatever shortcomings OKCupid might have, it's worth noting that large numbers of customers, even some of the unhappy ones, have used their services for years. Many have found dates. This should indicate that plenty of members are able to find a meaningful experience there. Of course, for a good deal of customers, things do go wrong, and when they do... 5. OKCupid's customer service leaves much to be desired. If you check out OKCupid's page on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website (which is always a good idea when checking out any company's credibility), you'll find that OKCupid has been slapped with a big, nasty 'F'. The reason why? Out of 96 complaints filed by members against them, OKCupid completely ignored the BBB's request to resolve the complaints 57 times. Only 14 complaints have ever been resolved. This should be a huge red flag to you, dear consumer, that OKCupid's customer service is not their strong suit. Their customer service is so poor that many of their members' complaints and reviews describe it as "nonexistent." One OKCupid member, Kyler from London, Ontario, writes on Consumer Affairs: "Emails have been sent to them weekly, there is no reply. I basically got told over the phone that they don't even check them. They told me over the phone, in a very singsong voice, that OKC has no phone support of any kind, and so I asked if there was any way to reach them, I was told no." In other words, if you choose to sign up with OKCupid and something goes wrong, don't expect any help from their customer service team. 6. OKCupid members report that their profiles are suddenly deleted. The vast majority of OKCupid reviews and complaints tell of members-some new and some long-time members, some free and some paying-trying to log into their profiles, only to receive what seems like a typical "our-site-is-currently-down" message, as described in this complaint: "When I attempt to log in to my account, I get a message stating that 'we are having technical difficulties, please try back later,' which from what I understand from reading complaint forums regarding their site, is their way of saying 'your account has been deleted.'" No matter how many times the member comes back, their profile is just gone for good. Then, when they try to contact their "nonexistent" customer service, frustration ensues. The same customer says: "Attempts to reach them via their customer contact form have all gone unanswered, like always." Out of the dozens of reviews and complaints I read, I would estimate 80 percent of them mirrored this same scenario, but none of them hinted as to why. Many former members speculate that this is all part of a plot by InterActiveCorp, which owns both OKCupid and Match.com, to drive more members to Match, which costs much more. Nothing has been proven, of course. 7. OKCupid's auto-renewal feature ticks members off. Every dating site has this problem. When members get a paid subscription with OKCupid, they are also, in the fine print, signing up to have their subscription automatically renewed at the end of the subscription period and have money taken out of their bank account or credit card. For example, if you signed up for a three-month subscription with OKCupid, at the end of that three months you would see a charge on your bank account for another three-month subscription. Because this is in the fine print, many members overlook it and are shocked when the second withdrawal happens. The best way to avoid this is to first read the fine print before you sign up. Once you click 'submit' or 'sign me up', you are contractually obligated to abide by their terms and conditions, whether you read them or not. Second, keep an eye on your renewal dates. Create a reminder on your smartphone. Finally, when you see the date coming up and you don't want to renew, go into your settings and cancel your A-List plan. If you wait until the last minute, you could find that OKCupid's system takes too long to process your request and your subscription is renewed against your wishes. 8. OKCupid's tests might make you think twice before answering. OKCupid staff and members have created hundreds of tests. This means there are plenty to choose from and it gives members more creative things to do on the site. Unfortunately, this also means that some tests created by members go way over the awkward line, deep into creepy territory. And there's more at stake here than tests that make you feel like you need to disinfect yourself afterwards. Online dating expert Julia Spira cautions OKCupid members about tests that are too political or sexual in nature because your responses are accessible to anyone on the Internet: "You need to think every time you push the send button... only pick the questions you would tell your mother [the answer to]." If you have a test answer that you want someone to see, but not the whole world, you have the option to answer it privately. Even then, err on the side of caution. 9. OKCupid doesn't do a great job of keeping scammers out. According to member complaints, OKCupid suffers from a large number of scammers, the kind who pretend to be eligible but in-need bachelors or bachelorettes in order to get members to send them money or personal information. This is the dark side of the site's free features; anyone can get into the site and gain access to thousands of people without paying a dime. Former member Diedre of Los Angeles complains on Consumer Affairs: "OkCupid has scammers and very few legit people. After going to the FBI dating scam site and learning about what these Nigerian or Russian scammers do and say, I recognized about 95% of the men contacting me were frauds. I even checked out a site where they posted scammers' fake photos and many of the men from OkCupid were there. OkCupid doesn't even get rid of these guys from the site!" In other words, if you're going to venture into OKCupid, make sure you brush up on the tell-tale signs of online dating scammers and how to protect yourself from them. 10. OKCupid members report that the quality of members has gone downhill. Unfortunately, scammers aren't the only people you'll want to avoid on OKCupid. Maria of Oakland, California, a former OKCupid member, puts it succinctly: "The free aspect of the site actually works against it." It's also worth noting here that OKCupid has very few features by way of keeping out unsavory people. When anyone can use the site without thinking about the investment they're putting into it, and the sites provides no filter, the quality is naturally going to be lower than what you might find on a site like eHarmony or Match.com. Maria goes on to list the types of people she encountered on the site: "People who will never read a single word of your profile but will message you anyway regardless of the fact that your profile makes it very clear they are not what you are seeking. Profiles with no photos and/or information. Repulsive scumbags with no realistic sense of what losers they are... Fragile narcissists who will take time out of their useless lives to write you and inform you of their opinions about what they do not like about your profile... Married men cheating on their partners. After a while it just felt like digging through a very large pile of manure trying to find a pony." In their defense, OKCupid does provide features to "hide" other members that you don't want to associate with. Their help page reads: "If you keep seeing a profile you don't want to see anymore, you can hide it. That member will no longer appear in your sidebar matches, Welcome matches, Match Search results, your Visitors list, or anywhere else on the site. Hiding profiles works both ways, meaning that hiding a user will also hide your profile from them." It's unclear if the members who complained tried this trick or not. It's also unclear if this feature actually works as described by OKCupid. Should You Settle for 'OK'? For many online daters, "free" goes a long way. They will put up with bad customer service and very negative experiences when they don't have to pay a subscription fee. That seems to be the case with OKCupid. The question you, online dater, must answer is if you are one of those people. If you are looking for a safer, more positive experience, and a site that will actually respond to your customer service issues, and you don't mind paying upwards of $20 per month, you can probably do better with Match, eHarmony, or Zoosk. Have you had a bad experience with an online dating service? Maybe you found the love of your life? Make your voice heard and leave your review today on bestcompany.com's online dating page!
If you've been shopping around for an online dating service, chances are you've at least heard of PlentyOfFish. Few dating sites are as big-or growing as fast-as PlentyOfFish. This fact alone has earned PlentyOfFish plenty of attention from the media and online daters alike. However, before you sign up with PlentyOfFish, you should know that online dating services can be very helpful, but also very frustrating, especially if you go in unaware. This goes for PlentyOfFish, as well as any other dating site. On the other hand, if you take the time to learn the plusses and minuses of PlentyOfFish, you can make an informed decision to sign up with them or not. To get you started, here are ten things you should know about PlentyOfFish before you sign up. 1. PlentyOfFish is easily the biggest of the top dating sites. In terms of the number of registered members, PlentyOfFish doesn't just surpass other top dating sites; it towers over them. With over 80 million members, you could add together the memberships of Match.com (21.5 million), eHarmony (15.5 million), and Zoosk (25 million), its nearest competitors, and still not have as many members. And, as if that number weren't high enough, PlentyOfFish claims to be adding 50,000 new singles per day to its ranks. What does this mean for you? It means that, in terms of sheer quantity, PlentyOfFish is going to give you access to more potential dates. Whether those potential dates are high quality or not is another matter entirely. 2. PlentyOfFish is not known for their technical support or customer service. Red flags appear en masse when you take a look at PlentyOfFish's page on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. The BBB has awarded the site a big fat 'F' for flat-out bad customer service. Of 187 complaints filed with the BBB against PlentyOfFish, only two complaints have been resolved with the company. For the rest of the complaints, PlentyOfFish didn't even bother to respond to the BBB's requests. Unfortunately, this kind of neglect seems to be the modus operandi for customer service at PlentyOfFish. To be fair, PlentyOfFish does provide a help page and an email address and phone number for reaching customer service. Sadly, a survey of complaints to the BBB reveals that many communications via the phone number and email address fall on deaf ears. Here is the complaint one dissatisfied customer left with the BBB: "[T]here is no way of getting ahold of customer service or management because the voice mailbox is FULL. The company is not addressing ANY customer calls." When I tried to visit their help page to gauge its helpfulness, their help page was down for maintenance... at 8 o'clock pm. But more about this later. Needless to say, PlentyOfFish seems to struggle with-or just ignore completely-their service obligations to their customers. If you decide to sign up with them, be prepared to go it alone with little or no help from the site. 3. PlentyOfFish has its share of personality tests. Most of the online dating sites have personality tests (Zoosk doesn't), and PlentyOfFish is no exception. As part of their Relationship Chemistry Predictor, they give their members 73 questions to answer, all of them designed to measure members' "five personality dimensions" and match them with other members who have taken the test. Likewise, their Relationship Needs Assessment puts members through 100 questions to surmise what the member needs in a relationship. If you look on eHarmony or Match, you find something very similar. It goes without saying that these kinds of tests and questionnaires aren't everyone's bag. Some online daters just want to do the searching themselves and not have a mysterious algorithm try to tell them who's right for them. For these folks, PlentyOfFish and their "personality dimensions" might be a bit of a turn-off. 4. PlentyOfFish gives members a lot of features for free. This is one possible reason why their membership is so huge. Unlike the free trials that are offered by other top dating sites, PlentyOfFish actually gives away a ton of features for free. For instance, you can upload up to eight images to your profile, use their Relationship Chemistry Predictor, search and view other members, communicate with other members, and even send them virtual roses. Even when you do get a paid subscription plan, it is generally cheaper than a comparable plan with eHarmony or Zoosk, about the same price as Match, and only a tad more expensive than OKCupid. The downside: for the paid PlentyOfFish subscription, the only new features you get are better placement on searches and slightly more bells and whistles on your profile. 5. PlentyOfFish goes down...a lot. As I write this post, their site is down for scheduled maintenance...at 8pm, which would kind of be prime time for online dating activities. I wish I could say this is an uncommon occurrence for the site, but that's just not true. Apparently, over the last several years, PlentyOfFish's website has gone down on an almost monthly basis to the chagrin of many of its members. Granted, some of these instances have been for scheduled maintenance, but not most of them. Either way, these interruptions have become a running joke with members and prove frustrating to PlentyOfFish members who are in the middle of conversations with one another. 6. PlentyOfFish offers little protection for its members from bad behavior. Honestly speaking, this site was designed to attract a different crowd than, say, the soulmate-seeking people over at eHarmony. This is evidenced by many of the features offered, including one that lets members create their own instruction manual to educate other members on their "seducing style" and how they prefer to be seduced. This plan includes such classy options as "Approach Me," "How To Date Me," and "How To Sexually Seduce Me." Throw in the ability to rate people's pictures, and nominate a "Hottest Girl" or "Most Attractive Guy," and this site practically throws down a welcome mat for unsavory daters. To make matters worse, however, PlentyOfFish does not give members the ability to block other members from seeing their profile. Unfortunately, there isn't much a member can do when other members do start to get out of hand. To see how bad this can get, read this story from one angry PlentyOfFish member: "This is the second time in a year that I have been stalked by a FREE member on PlentyOfFish, have requested assistance from Customer Service, and have been ignored. I am an upgraded user, pay dues, and believe that should provide me the benefit of some SERVICE from Customer Service. A FREE member by the name of**************** has contacted me, been politely declined, daily accesses my profile, been politely notified by me to cease accessing my profile because I find it intrusive and voyeuristic, and has escalated into accessing my profile more than once a day apparently just to prove a point that he can. This is stalker behavior. If he was standing in front of my house, I could have him arrested for this behavior." 7. PlentyOfFish does not screen for un-dateable individuals. While many dating sites have recently put safeguards in place to keep out un-dateable (i.e. married) people, PlentyOfFish has not. This angry complaint by one PlentyOfFish member is all too common: "I was guaranteed a single man. He turned out to be married. Company did not screen this person well. I am very angry. Site needs to do better." This is yet another instance of PlentyOfFish allowing a wild West environment to prevail on their site. This is what their "Help" page has to say on the matter: "POF has no tolerance for users who are rude, upload fake pictures, married, use sexual language in their first email, upload nude photos or break our terms of service in any way. Any user caught doing so is deleted. Users who are deleted may not sign up to the service again." ...But there is little evidence that PlentyOfFish actually backs up this threat. 8. PlentyOfFish makes it really hard to delete an account. Setting up a profile on this site is easy. Deleting an account--not so much. An unbelievable amount of complaints with the BBB against PlentyOfFish revolve around this scenario: member signs up, member sets up profile, member gets tired of PlentyOfFish and tries to delete their profile, PlentyOfFish website allegedly gives them a bogus error message, PlentyOfFish customer services does not respond to pleas for help, and member smolders with hatred. In many cases, paying members who are unable to close their profiles or accounts simply watch helplessly as PlentyOfFish withdraws money from their accounts again and again. Whether this is some play to keep their membership numbers high or just an act of supreme ignorance, if you're going to sign up with PlentyOfFish, you should 1) be very wary of getting a paid subscription and 2) accept that once you create a profile it's going to exist on the site forever. 9. PlentyOfFish's auto-renewal feature makes lots of members angry. At the end of a paid subscription period, PlentyOfFish, per their terms and conditions, takes the liberty of renewing your subscription and taking another payment, whether you ask them to or not, as exemplified by this customer complaint: "I signed up and paid for a three month trial only. Later realized that they retained my credit card information and proceeded with unauthorized withdrawal automatically once the three months was up. When I informed them that it was an unauthorized transaction, they basically said ***** luck, and I should have read the fine print. They will not return the money and I have no idea what they have done with my financial information." Given these frustrations, it is recommended that, if you must sign up with PlentyOfFish, you stick with their free subscription and avoid a paid subscription. 10. PlentyOfFish has a history of spamming people who never even registered with them. Nearly all dating sites have a history of abusing their members' inboxes. They send some emails that are relevant to the dating experience, like match notifications or notifications when someone is interested in meeting you. But then they send you lots of other emails and they give your email address to their partners so they can send you lots of emails, too. But the most unusual complaints about PlentyOfFish come from people who never registered with the site but receive their emails. One individual complains: "I did NOT sign up for POF. This is the second time someone is entering my email address as his/her contact info. I do not want an account with POF or any emails from POF." Another would-be online dater says: "I never completed the registration and I constantly get e-mails from PlentyOfFish. When I try to unsubscribe, it takes me to an account to complete information that I do not want to complete to fill out a profile. I have tried to message to stop and my requests are ignored." In this case, if these complaints are to be believed, PlentyOfFish is fairly liberal about how it obtains and uses email addresses. It certainly doesn't reserve its deluge of emails for members only. As with any website, be very careful about who you give your email address to and always read the fine print before you click or agree to anything. Plenty of Reasons to Look Elsewhere With so many negatives to dating on PlentyOfFish, why have so many people made it their online dating service of choice? Surely, the number of free features and the membership numbers have something to do with it. It's easy to fall for a dating site when all of your friends are already there. However, we recommend that you shop around for a dating site that is going to make you happy, keep you safe, and take your needs into consideration before you commit to anything, even a free trial. Have you had a bad experience on a dating site? Maybe you found the love of your life? Make your voice heard and submit a review today!
If you've been shopping for an online dating service, you've probably seen a lot of Zoosk ads. Zoosk is a relative newcomer to the online dating scene, having first shown up in 2007, but it already boasts a sizeable membership. At around 35 million registered members, it has a larger membership than Match.com (about 21.5 million) but is considerably smaller than the massive Plenty Of Fish (80 million). So what does this mean for you? It means that Zoosk potentially has more possible matches for you. But, as you surely know by now, online dating isn't just about quantity. You want quality options when it comes to finding someone you can enjoy a night out or the rest of your life-with, although, unlike eHarmony or Match.com, Zoosk doesn't promise you a soulmate. So what can you expect to get from signing up with Zoosk? That's a question you should probably get the answers to before you sign up and definitely before you pay for a subscription. To help you get to know Zoosk before you take the next step, here are ten big things you should know: 1. Zoosk has an 'A' rating from the Better Business Bureau. They've had it since 2012. But what exactly does that mean? If you go to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) page for Zoosk, you see this message: "BBB has determined that Zoosk meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints... BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services." In other words, Zoosk might have its share of bad customer experiences, but they're also very proficient at addressing these complaints once they've been filed with the BBB. According to the BBB, in the last three years, Zoosk has successfully resolved 382 complaints, most of which were about billing/collection or product/service issues. In that same time, only 18 complaints have not been able to be satisfactorily resolved. As a comparison, Plenty Of Fish currently has a big fat D+ from the BBB for failure to respond to most of the complaints they've received. This is a pretty good sign that Zoosk's customer service is better than average. 2. They have a secret matchmaking formula...sort of. Yes, most of the top online dating services claim to have their own secret sauce, and Zoosk is no different. While the matching formulas of eHarmony or Match.com have more in common with the matchmakers of olden times, Zoosk's "Behavioral Matchmaking" technology operates more like the algorithms on sites like Amazon, which watch what you search for and what you click on and then recommend things that are similar or related to them. That's right: no effort to connect you with potential soulmates based on your responses to lengthy questionnaires. "When you do things such as send a message, accept a connection, or express interest in someone," explains Zoosk's site, "Zoosk’s learns more about your preferences and is able to use that information to help introduce you to people who we believe you’ll be interested in." Zoosk recommends its members provide as much detail and information they can on their profiles, consistently visiting the site, responding to messages, and updating their SmartPick™ Survey. This highlights a big difference between Zoosk and eHarmony or Match.com: their focus is not necessarily on establishing long-term relationships or marriages, but on giving people as many dating options as possible. 3. Zoosk's pricing is on par with other top dating sites. One of the reasons Zoosk's membership continues to grow so fast is that they give away many of their features for free. With a free membership, you can create a decent profile, search for and view other members, and see possible matches for you. On the other hand, Zoosk has, in the interest of their business, geared their site to strongly encourage free members to convert into paying members. They do this by making it nearly impossible to communicate with other members unless you get a paid subscription plan. Once you decide to go with a paid subscription, you are able to communicate with any member, as long as they don't block you. This will cost you a good amount, and as with most paid dating services, the longer the period for which you subscribe, the less you pay per month on average: 1-month subscription: $29.95 3-month subscription: $59.95 6-month subscription: $74.95 12-month subscription: $99.95 This is on par with what you could expect to pay for a subscription with eHarmony or Match.com. Zoosk's three-month subscription, for example, is about $8 more per month than Match's. Their six-month subscription is just slightly cheaper than eHarmony's and a couple of dollars more per month than Plenty Of Fish's. Additionally, there are a few features on Zoosk that require both free members and paid subscribers to purchase Zoosk coins. Zoosk’s virtual currency can be used to Boost your profile, send virtual gifts, and unlock Carousel matches. If you’re interested in these premium features, expect to pay: 50 Zoosk Coins: $4.99 250 Zoosk Coins: $19.99 750 Zoosk Coins: $49.99 4. Zoosk no longer charges an activation fee In the past, many online daters complained about Zoosk's one-time $24.95 activation fee. This is no longer the case, as Zoosk no longer requires new members to pay the fee. Zoosk customers should be happy to see they're only paying for a subscription plan. Although Zoosk does ask if members would like to add Premium Messaging to their plan for an additional $9.99 per month, but, that's an optional feature. However, Zoosk users should be aware of Zoosk's reactivation fee. If you've canceled your premium account in the past but want to give Zoosk another shot, don't be surprised to see a $24.99 charge on your statement. 5. Don't expect a refund If you plan on canceling your 6-month contract after three months or don't use all 750 of your Zoosk Coins, don't expect a refund on those. Zoosk's Help Center further clarifies by stating, "Zoosk maintains a policy that all purchases are non-refundable, including Zoosk coins and partially used subscriptions." Also, any pending payments will become immediately due at the time of cancelation. Before signing up read Zoosk's Terms and Conditions to learn more about their cancellation rights. 6. Zoosk uses recurring billing. Another complaint that resurfaces again and again against Zoosk is that of recurring billing. This is when at the end of one subscription period, they automatically renew your subscription and take a payment out of your bank account or credit card for the renewed subscription. Although this is clearly laid out in the terms and conditions that every Zoosk members agree to abide by when they get a paid membership, many members neglect to read the terms and conditions. They're usually the ones breathing fire when Zoosk takes out another year's worth of subscription fees from their account without their permission. In order to avoid this recurring charge, turn off the auto-renew feature of their subscription term. If they procrastinate until after 24 hours before the end of their subscription, their subscription will be automatically renewed and their account will be charged. 7. Zoosk customers sometimes feel cheated by message notifications. So you sign up for a free membership to try out Zoosk and then receive a notification that someone has sent you a message... but you can't read it unless you get a paid subscription. The BBB page for Zoosk tells the rest of the unfortunate tale: "So they pay for a membership only to find that the message they received is an automated message and not a message from an interested party. Consumers state they feel tricked into paying for a membership, believing there was an interested person." Remember what I mentioned earlier about how Zoosk does everything they can to turn free members into paying members? This is one of those tactics, and it makes a lot of members furious. Just another thing for you to be aware of when signing up for Zoosk. 8. Zoosk will spam you, unless you disable your email settings. As is common with so many online dating services, Zoosk includes in its terms and conditions the ability to send you emails-lots and lots of emails. Some of these would be the kind that you would expect from a dating service, such as notifications when someone wants to talk to you. But then some emails will be for services that are irrelevant to your online dating experience, often from Zoosk partners who have been given your email address. In some cases, this can add up to as many as 10 to 20 emails a day, as was recently complained about to the BBB by one Zoosk customer. According to Zoosk, you cannot stop the deluge of emails just by canceling your subscription. The only way to stop or limit the amount of email they send you is to change it in your settings. If you do sign up for Zoosk, make sure you go to your email settings first and either disable it or put it at a setting that is most comfortable for you. 9. Zoosk subscriptions through their mobile apps can get messy. At four-and-a-half stars, Zoosk has the most highly rated dating app on iTunes. They also have apps on all the other major mobile app marketplaces. This is very convenient for on-the-go singles who don't want to limit their online dating experience to their desktop or laptop. However, if you do sign up for Zoosk through iTunes or another mobile app marketplace, things can get pretty inconvenient very fast. As mentioned above, the typical Zoosk member can cancel their subscription right from their account settings. Customers who sign up through an app store, however, find themselves jumping through numerous hoops, often without getting their subscriptions canceled before their auto-renew date. One member complained of having to work through iTunes and send a written letter to corporate headquarters postmarked within three days of enrollment to fix the situation... and then still not getting the desired cancellation: "[The] Zoosk website did not update even though iTunes account reflects no auto-renewal and subscription has been cancelled. Zoosk website still shows account is active with subscription going to renew in 6 months. Received emails from Zoosk denying refund and canceling account stating I never cancelled through iTunes. I responded same day but they still denied by refund of $74.99. Should not be my fault if their system does not update accordingly." Zoosk declined to offer any kind of refund to this customer. Their response? "I understand you are inquiring about a purchase via iTunes, however, at this time we are unable to locate a Zoosk account using the email address you provided... If the transaction is processed via iTunes, Apple requires customers who purchase a Subscription on iTunes to cancel those Subscription renewals through their App Store on their iDevice, or through their iTunes Store on their computer." In a process that is obviously less than clear, this Zoosk subscriber is stuck getting the runaround from both Zoosk and Apple. Bottom line here: #1 dating app or no, you should be very wary of getting a paid subscription through Zoosk's mobile apps. Zoosk is available on iOS and Android. 10. You should make sure Zoosk works in your area before you start a paid subscription. Yes, Zoosk has around 35 million members, but that doesn't mean any of those members live in your metro area. Especially if you live in a rural area or an area with low Internet usage, you might find some slim pickings on Zoosk or any other dating site for that matter. Consider this sad story from one Canadian Zoosk member on the BBB website who realized he or she wouldn't be able to accomplish much unless they got a paid subscription. And that's when things got really disappointing: "It was then when I realized in my area there are no active female users. And unless this company expects me to drive 500+km to 'meet' someone, which is what they seem to advertise, then it's basically worthless. There was one 'recently online' person in an 80km radius of where I live... I am not saying Zoosk may be a bad service, I simply don't know. What I do know is: it is not feasible to use it where I live, and I feel like I have been slightly cheated." To avoid this situation, make sure you use the free trial to see if there are enough people in your area to make the service worth it before you pay. Judging by this story, this is not always clear. If you're on the fence about it, I would recommend that you err on the side of caution and not go for the paid subscription. Historically, Zoosk has not been known to offer refunds for this sort of complaint. Know Before You Zoosk As with any online dating experience, you can gain a lot of peace of mind by slowing down and educating yourself before you sign up or get into a paid subscription. It's especially important to remember that everything on Zoosk' site is designed to turn you into a paying customer, from their ads to what they will and won't show you. You can control your relationship with them much better by seeing what other members have said about Zoosk, seeing how they rank and checking out the fine print on their FAQ pages. Then, when you're ready to get into a serious relationship with them, you'll be informed and empowered. Have you had a bad experience with Zoosk or another online dating service? Maybe you found the love of your life? Make your voice heard and submit a review today!
When it comes to online dating success, it's hard to argue with 438 marriages daily. This is the claim of eHarmony.com: they've "helped 600,000 couples tie the knot and counting," and it certainly highlights their focus on lifelong relationships instead of quick hookups. Started in 2000, eHarmony's whole approach to online dating has focused on matching people with the right points of compatibility for a long-term relationship-in other words, helping online daters find The One. However, before you jump into a relationship with eHarmony and the commitment that comes with it, you need to do your due diligence and make sure it's what you're looking for. For starters, here are ten things you should absolutely know about eHarmony before you sign up. 1. They're scientifically proven...sort of. If there is one message you'll hear again and again in eHarmony's commercials and online ads, it's that their method for matching compatible people is "scientifically proven" to increase potential for dating and marriage. The founders of eHarmony say they've created a formula that identifies members' best possible matches based on what they've dubbed the "29 Dimensions of Compatibility," which are a host of attributes from emotional temperament to physicality to values and beliefs. Based on this magical formula, eHarmony claims: "[It] matches singles based on a deeper level of compatibility, not likes and dislikes, but true compatibility. Do you and your potential mate resolve conflict in a similar fashion? Are you both romantics at heart?" Keep in mind that everything about this formula, and the way that eHarmony is set up, is designed to help people find that one person that they could spend the rest of their life with. If you aren't ready to settle down with one person, if you just want to play around and keep your love life casual, eHarmony is not the dating site for you. You should also know that although eHarmony claims that their formula is scientifically proven, a fair number of critics have questioned this claim. One of these critics, Benjamin Radford at Discovery News, said in his article "Is eHarmony scientific?": "Does their 'science' greatly improve the quality or odds of a match? How good is their tests' construct validity? After all, many matches are made without a hint (or claim) of scientific basis for the pairing. Though the company and its founder, Neil Clark Warren, insist that the tests are useful, they have yet to be scientifically validated." 2. It's one of the priciest dating services out there. Yes, eHarmony offers a free membership package, but as is customary with most dating sites, if you want to do any serious communicating with other members on eHarmony, you're going to have to shell out for a paid subscription. These don't come cheap, as reflected in their three subscription options below: One month = $59.95 per month Six-months = $39.95 per month 12-month = $18.95 per month This places eHarmony as the most expensive of the top online dating services, more expensive than both Match.com and Zoosk. For those members who can't pay their subscription up front, they also offer installment payment plans. These higher subscription costs have the double effect of chasing away less-than-serious daters and, as a result, keeping membership on eHarmony relatively low-15.5 million compared to the 21.5 million members on Match.com or the 25 million on Zoosk. 3. They have ID verification tools. One of the most common complaints on other dating sites is dishonest and even fraudulent profiles, and nearly all other dating services decline to screen their members for this kind of nonsense. One of the standout features of eHarmony then is the requirement for members to verify their identities. This forces every member to show that they really are who they say they are. eHarmony also proactively flags and closes accounts where profile information doesn't match the dater's actual identity. For instance, eHarmony has been known to close accounts if they discover any of the following conditions: Member is married (not legally divorced) Member's personal information does not coincide with information listed in public record Member's behavior violated eHarmony's Terms and Conditions of Service Unfortunately, this feature can't catch all the creeps out there. eHarmony members occasionally complain of people who seem nice when they first pop up as a match, only to be revealed as monsters later. But eHarmony still leads the pack when it comes to attempting to keep out sketchy members. 4. They offer blocking features. Another common complaint on other dating sites is the inability to keep unwanted members out of your profile. eHarmony tackles this problem with their "blocking" feature, which lets members permanently remove a match from their list of matches, stop all communications between the member and the blocked match, and keep the blocked match from seeing the member's communication with them. Also, if members want to keep someone from seeing their profile or harassing them there, they can report that someone directly to eHarmony. 5. Their customer service is more responsive than most. You never want to have to take a problem to customer service. This is especially true about most online dating services, where customer service ranges from non-existent to downright hostile. eHarmony stands out in this regard. In our survey of all the billing related concerns that were filed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in the last year against eHarmony, their customer service team showed uncommon care and patience with customer billing concerns, even when the problem was due to the member's negligence. This was the case with one complaint where the member was demanding a refund because they didn't want to continue with the subscription that they'd already committed to. eHarmony's customer service team replied: "Though the consumer is ineligible for a refund per our Terms and Conditions, as a one-time courtesy, we have issued a refund of $79.80." If you've looked at enough complaints about online dating sites and the customer service responses to those complaints, you know that this kind of patience and generosity is uncommon. And it definitely distinguishes eHarmony from the rest of the online dating world. 6. They keep a record of everything you do on their site. As with many popular online social networks, eHarmony records and keeps all the information you share on their site. Even long after you've closed your account with them, they still hold on to that comment you said to that one guy/girl and that photo you uploaded that you wish you hadn't. And it's all part of what you agree to in their terms and conditions when you sign up. In their defense, eHarmony claims to use this information to improve their services or to contribute to studies or similar companies. They don't typically use this information on an individual basis but gather data from a huge number of online daters to look for trends and patterns. So it's highly unlikely that the eHarmony team is looking at that one embarrassing photo you uploaded, but it remains a point of frustration for current and former eHarmony members. 7. They automatically renew your subscription. Of all complaints that former eHarmony members have, this one is by far the most common. It all comes from this one eHarmony policy: "In order to ensure uninterrupted service, all eHarmony subscriptions will be automatically renewed 24 hours before they expire." By default, member accounts are set to renew at the end of their subscriptions, but users can turn off this feature right in their account settings whenever they want. To avoid auto-renewal, this must be done 24 hours before expiration at the latest. And this is where things get dicey. In many BBB complaints, members claimed that they tried to disable the auto-renewal feature but were unable to. Sometimes they blamed technical issues. Other times, they blamed a lack of communication between them and customer service. And still other times, they had indeed turned off the auto-renewal feature but eHarmony had charged them anyway for another subscription. Another sticking point in this area is eHarmony's installment-based payment plan. If you choose to use this plan instead of paying for it all up front, you will not be able to turn off the auto-renewal feature until you've made all your payments. If you are thinking of signing up for a paid subscription with eHarmony, we would strongly recommend two things. One, keep an eye on your subscription's expiration date. Two, decide well in advance whether you are going to renew or not. Those people who forget when their subscription expires or try to disable the auto-renewal feature at the last minute usually end up having to jump through all kinds of hoops to get their money back. 8. They don't let you search on your own. eHarmony is so sure about their matching formula that they insist on letting you view only those people they consider a possible match for you. You tell them your personality traits, and then they generate matches for you based on your input. Trina of Salt Lake City, Utah, complained about this feature via ConsumerAffairs.com: "You can't go in and search on your own. They recommend that you lower your expectations in a match and settle for what they want to send your way." If you are looking for a service where dating prospects come to you and have a better-than-average chance of matching you, then eHarmony could be the right fit for you. If you want to search for potential dates the way you would shop for a new sweater on Amazon, with full control over search criteria and the ability to filter search results, you probably want something like Zoosk, Match, or OKCupid. 9. Some members experience low numbers of matches. Sometimes there just isn't a good match for your personality and preferences on eHarmony. This could be because you are especially unique. It could also be because you live an area with fewer eHarmony members. Justin of Lakeport, California, had this to say on ConsumerAffairs.com about his shortage of viable matches: "The vast majority of 'highly compatible' matches lived much too far away to be a reasonable dating prospect. And among those who lived within a 'reasonable' distance, the majority had been inactive for more than a month." Geographic distances can be a big challenge for online daters anywhere, but especially for those who live in rural areas or places where Internet usage is low. If you live in one of these areas, you should take this factor into consideration before you sign on with eHarmony or any other online dating service. If you live in a highly populated area with average or better Internet usage and you still get slim pickings in the match department, you will likely be one of those unfortunate eHarmony members who are forced to play with their personality and preferences inputs in hopes of getting more matches. Honestly speaking, this seems like the opposite of what eHarmony promises. These members essentially change who they are, instead of being matched with someone who fits them as they are. 10. Some members experience bad matches. eHarmony makes a big deal about its matching formula. It's in all their commercials and pretty much every page on their site. But sometimes that formula fails. Many eHarmony members have complained about getting served matches that range anywhere from "Really?" to "I wish I could un-see that!" Carolyn of Franklin, Tennessee, writes in ConsumerAffairs.com: "I have been surprisingly disappointed in this service's matching capabilities... The matches I found... either lacked a completed profile or seemed ill-matched personalities. Almost every week I could count about a dozen matches that lacked pictures, which indicated laziness or indifference. Others managed to show their faces but filled out less than half the questions. What good is that? As for the rest, who had the sense to do the work, I saw little compatibility or matching interests on our profiles. Even when I (as a halfway attractive woman) reached out and contacted more promising matches, I was lucky to hear back from half." Vickie of Hamilton, Ohio, speaks of similar mismatches, also on ConsumerAffairs.com: "I set the parameters for age, etc. I am 58 and set the age range no younger than 50. They send matches as young as 40. Many in other states, men with no shirt on, and some with dirty clothes on. It was apparent there are no standards set for matches." Other members, especially female members, share similar horror stories of slovenliness and members oversharing in the worst ways. Although eHarmony provides a filter to keep out some of the worst types of online daters, you can expect that their match formula might not always produce perfect results. Is eHarmony For You? So is this the right online dating service for your needs? If you are looking to find a serious, hopefully long-term relationship, if you're okay being served matches rather than doing your own searches, if you can stay on top of your subscription expiration dates and renewals, and if you're okay with the occasional bad apple, then the answer is 'yes'. But if you want lower commitment, more control over your search, and don't want to pay too much, then you might want to try one of the many other dating sites out there. Still not sure? Read our full eharmony review or check out the latest eharmony consumer reviews. To see how dating sites stack up against one another, visit the bestcompany.com Online Dating page. Have you had a bad experience on a dating site? Maybe you found your soulmate? Make your voice heard and leave your own consumer review today about your dating site!
If you're in the market for an online dating service, you've probably come across Match.com. Launched in 1995, Match.com is one of the pioneers of online dating and easily one of the largest dating sites out there. This combined with its gigantic marketing engine makes it a huge presence in online dating. According to their 'About Us' page, their mission is to: "create romantic opportunities so singles are more likely to find someone special. Over the years, we've learned more and more about what people want--and the tools they need to help take the lottery out of love." If you're shopping for an online dating service (unless you're looking for love by putting out personal ads in your local newspaper) you will almost certainly encounter Match.com offers. Before you sign up with them, however, it's important that you are informed of what you're getting into. We've put together the top ten things you should know before signing up for Match.com. This way online daters can learn more about this dating site and find out if it is the right choice for them. 1. They have one of the biggest memberships in online dating. At the bestcompany.com's latest tally, Match.com boasted approximately 21,575,000 members across 24 countries. Because of their paid subscription model, they aren't the biggest online dating site-that distinction belongs to Plenty of Fish. But they certainly have enough users to provide a large pool for daters in most areas. If you're signing up, this makes it less likely that you will be met with slim pickings in your dating area and increases the likelihood that you'll meet someone who fits your unique criteria. 2. You can test out a free membership and then try a paid subscription. Match.com gives away a good deal of its features for free. This is a big deal because it lets you test the waters before you spend any money. With a free subscription, you can browse Match.com, search for and view matches, create a profile, send and receive "winks," use Match.com's message center and use their smartphone app. Of course, these free features are designed to get you into a paid subscription. Only with the paid subscription can you send messages to any Match.com member, see who has viewed or favorited your profile, connect with other members via instant messenger, keep track of your connections, attend Match.com live stir events, and take advantage of the company's six-month guarantee. This guarantee says that if a paying Match.com subscriber is unsuccessful in finding matches within their first six months of members, Match.com will give them six more months of free service. 3. They go out of their way to create more ways to connect. True to their mission statement, Match.com has developed lots of innovative ways for their members to meet up and get to know each other, and this might be what really sets them apart from other online dating services. In their online features, Match.com has created fun new ways for their members to get to know each other better, beyond the typical instant messenger conversation or email. To spark relationships, for example, they've developed seven quick games that members can play together, including such intriguing titles as: "Romantic Rip Off," "Gut Reaction," "Drawn Together," and "Name That Dance." However, not content with just setting the stage for meetings online, Match.com has also gone into the real world to organize what they call "Stir Events" in many metropolitan areas around the U.S. and in other countries. These events let members meet, socialize, and hopefully hit it off in a group setting. 4. They offer 24/7 technical support and security. Match.com has invested in a robust technical support team, enough that very few complaints submitted to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) against them are for problems with the actual website. A few complaints describe accounts or profiles that have been accidentally removed from the site, but those are few and far between. In addition, Match.com's site security in terms of protecting members' information and credit card information is top-notch, especially compared to the lack of security found in dating sites like Kiss.com. If they spot potential fraudulent activity on your account, they will lock down your account immediately to keep your information from being breached. 5. They offer the most comprehensive online dating profiles around. When it comes to identifying the attributes that matter most to online daters, too many dating sites miss the mark with superficial information like waist size and salary. Match.com, on the other hand, lets members set up their preferences according to a number of variables, including: Location Gender preference Children Marital status Smoking/drinking habits Longest relationship time Religion Profession Dating intentions Other features allow Match.com members to provide a more accurate and complete picture of themselves to their fellow online daters. One example is the essay questions that let members express themselves and leave longer descriptions of themselves, beyond just eye color and favorite food. In many cases, this seems to yield better results for Match.com members. Says Melissa, one of their subscribers who left a review on bestcompany.com: "I tried several online dating sites over a period of about two years and I liked Match.com the best. The site is easy to use, the communication features and settings are convenient--and, most importantly, I felt that the quality of the people I was matched with was much higher than sites like OKCupid or PlentyofFish." 6. Their payment packages are locked in and refunds are hard to come by. Of course, with the level of quality that Match.com aims for, you can bet the price is going to be higher. Once you move into a paid subscription, you will find yourself choosing between three payment plans, all of which are paid up front: 1 Month: $35.99 3 Months: $19.99 6 Months: $17.99 12 Months: $15.99 As you can probably see, the longer you commit for, the less you end up paying on an average monthly basis. This is great if you're already sold on the site. But what if you're not sure it's going to be what you want? What if you are still looking around for a dating site and aren't ready to lay down the money? Unfortunately, most of the complaints issued with the BBB against Match.com are from members who paid for one of the plans above, only to fall out of love with the service shortly thereafter. They are usually unable to obtain a refund since they had already committed to a specific time period. This point is worth reiterating: if you are going to get a paid subscription with Match.com, be ready to stick with it and definitely do not expect a refund if you pull out early. 7. They renew membership subscriptions automatically. Another thing that has ticked off quite a few former Match.com members is their auto-renewal feature. Let's say, for example, that you purchase a three-month subscription to the dating site. At the end of that three months, you might expect to receive an email from Match.com telling you that your subscription is about to expire and asking you if you want to renew. But Match.com simply renews the subscription. How can they do this? Because it's written into the terms and conditions of their site. When members purchase a subscription they agree, often unwittingly, to these terms. Luckily, members can turn off the auto-renewal feature by going to the 'Cancel/Change Membership' page under their 'Account Settings'. They must do this by 24 hours prior to the end of their subscription period at the latest or risk being charged for another period. 8. They have a history of spamming members. According to over 900 reports in Consumer Affairs, Match.com has gotten into trouble with its members in the past for spamming them with emails from their own site and from their partner companies. In many cases, the volume of emails is far more than members bargained for when they signed up. 9. Their customer service team is notoriously hard to work with. While Match.com's technical support is first class, it seems their customer service team has performed less admirably. Read through the complaints on the BBB website and you find one story after another of a dissatisfied member trying to get their account fixed or trying to get a refund and being handled poorly by a customer service rep. Here's one gem from a former Match.com subscriber: "Rude customer service! I tried purchasing a gift subscription. The customer service representative copied both email addresses down wrong and I was unable to deliver this "gift" on-time. When trying to contact customer service via email, they went un-answered. The first time I called the customer service representative, they copied down the correct information and said I would soon get a confirmation. This information was again never received. I had to call back one more additional time to learn that the order could not be edited and they had to refund the order and re-charge me. The first representative lied to me! When I found a lower advertised price online a few days later, they would not credit the amount in question. Instead of trying to work with me, customer service fought with me. I cannot believe how they treat customers! When I requested to talk to someone in corporate, I was given a P.O. Box." Other stories speak of similar displays of callousness, ineptitude, and/or rudeness from Match.com's customer service team. Although members should take greater care in reading their terms and conditions before signing up, it's also clear that Match.com needs to better train their customer service reps to deal with dissatisfied customers. 10. Their privacy features still have some issues. In online dating, you usually come across a jerk or two that you want to cut off from your dating life. For this purpose, Match.com allows its members to block other members. While this feature does prevent blocked members from communicating with you, however, it doesn't keep them from accessing other features, as explained by one anxious Match.com member: "I worked with inmates for seven years and have personal safety concerns. The block application gave me a sense of safety and security. I later found out (not even two weeks later) that this information is false. The block application only blocks communication. A member can continue to view your profile. I came to find out this information after having a member of Match.com continue to view my profile. I had blocked them and couldn't understand how they were still able to view my site. This individual was someone I recognized from past work experience." In other words, Match.com profiles suffer from many of the same problems experienced on social networking sites like Facebook. You want to create a profile that is personal and distinctly you, but you also need to be aware that complete strangers and even untrustworthy people will also be able to peek into your love life. To Commit or Not To Commit Should you try out Match.com or not? The online dating site clearly provides one of the top services out there and many of the shortcomings mentioned above can be overcome with a little research beforehand. Ultimately, the question of whether you will commit to Match.com or not is up to you. Do your homework and realistically gauge your own comfort level with what Match.com has to offer-good and bad-and then make an educated choice. To see how Match.com compares to other dating sites, visit our Online Dating Service reviews page. If you've already tried out an online dating service, make your voice heard and submit a consumer review about your experience.
Online dating can be scary — and I'm not talking about the dreaded first date. In 2014, 12 UK women met James Richards, a charming, middle-aged gentleman, on Match.com. James made them feel great about themselves, made them feel needed, and, as a bonus, was up to receive a £100 million inheritance. But James had just one small problem: he needed help paying the legal fees to free up his soon-to-be fortune. In love and moved with compassion, the women each wired money to James. One wired as much as £174,000 to him. But then one woman received the same exact email from James and began to suspect that something was amiss. The authorities got involved, and James was revealed to be a fictional profile maintained by four conmen. By the time their scam was discovered, they had swindled the women out of almost £250,000. Sadly, in the wrong hands, online dating sites can be dangerous. Horror stories run from financial scams to webcam blackmail to situations straight out of the TV show "To Catch a Predator." Unfortunately, online dating sites are currently able or willing to do little to keep dangerous individuals out. Match.com, for instance, offers only this comment: "We don't conduct criminal background checks on our users, so if you would like more information about someone, we recommend using the Internet and government resources available to everyone." Does this mean that you should avoid online dating sites at all costs for fear of being taken advantage of? No. Online dating sites are filled with great, sincere people who are just out to have a good time. If you can weed out the bad apples, you can have an enjoyable experience meeting all the good ones. As a consumer, you have the ability to do your homework and be smart about your online dating activities. Here are eight rules to keep you and your identity safe from those who use online dating sites to scam unsuspecting daters or to lure them into dangerous situations: 1. Don't give money to anyone If someone asks you for money while you're talking to them via your favorite online dating site, there's a really good chance you're talking to a scammer. This is so common that the Office of Justice Programs' Online Dating page instructs online daters to "not wire money to cover travel, medical emergencies, hotel bills, hospital bills for a child or other relative, visas or other official documents, or losses from a temporary financial setback." Match.com urges its users to ignore any request for money and report it to them immediately. 2. Don't trust people who want to give you money Remember that Nigerian Prince email you got once? This is the online dating version of that. People who go up to perfect strangers and offer you absurd amounts of money are most likely about to ask you for your bank account number. 3. Don't give your personal information When you seem to be hitting it off with someone, you might feel obliged to share personal information when they ask for it, as a way to keep the relationship moving forward. Match.com cautions: "Be careful about sharing other personal information, such as your full name, phone number, email and address. You are in control of your online dating experience at all times - remain anonymous until you feel ready." This includes any information or pictures about yourself that could give someone any sort of hold over you. Don't share until you really know and trust the person on the other end. 4. Do take your time One surefire sign of a scammer or predator is the way they claim to be in love with you after only minutes of chatting. Or the way they try to rush you off your dating site and onto a private IM chat. Don't fall for it. Real relationships take days, weeks, months, even years to develop. 5. Do your homework before dating If things have gone well for you, you end up with the invitation: "So you want to meet somewhere?" Again, you might feel obliged to say "yes," but considering that you're about to put yourself in the same place as a person that you're still relatively unfamiliar with, this is one of those times when you need to be smart and do your homework. Before you accept the invite, ask for their identification or driver's license number and run a background check. Sites like InstantCheckmate.com will charge you a small amount to run a report on anyone based on state and federal criminal records, social accounts, marriage records, divorce records, sex offenses, and more. 6. Don't let your guard down on dates Yes, you want to be yourself on dates and have great time, but not until you've ensured your safety with some precautionary measures. GetSafeOnline.org recommends that online daters avoid the followinf at all costs: Go on your date without telling anyone Meet somewhere isolated or at your or someone else's home Allow your date to pick you up at your home, hotel or place of work Leave your drink unattended Leave your personal items unattended Feel pressured to stay or do anything Go to a place where you can't contact anyone 7. Don't click on email links that seem off Phishing emails arrive in your inbox, usually telling you that something is wrong with your online dating account and requires your attention right away and that you need to click on their link to fix the problem. They take you to a site that looks like your dating site but isn't and then try to get you to enter your password or your personal and financial information on a fake form. Before you click on any link in this kind of email, contact your online dating site's customer service team to make sure it's real. 8. Do report suspicious activity As a consumer, and in your best interest, you need to report these activities, even when you're not sure. Report it to your online dating site's customer service team. This helps them improve their tools for keeping bad guys out of their site. And then report it to the Federal Trade Commission, the FBI's Crime Complaint Center, and your state attorney general. Finally, submit a consumer review to let others consumers know and to put the pressure on your online dating service to improve their screening processes. When You're Safe, the Fun Can Start Online dating can be an exciting prospect, filled with adventure and the joy of meeting people who share your interests, quite possibly someone you might want to spend the rest of your life with. However, to make sure that the dishonest few don't ruin your experience, always take the time and attention to protect yourself and your identity. Then the fun can start. Have you had a bad experience on an online dating site? Maybe a great one? Make your voice heard and submit your consumer review.