OkCupid is another one of the biggest names in the dating biz. After creating a username, you’ll start filling out a very long profile, to which you can link to your Instagram account. You can answer questions, giving both your answer and what you’d like your potential match’s answer to be — this creates a percentile score for users that reflects compatibility. You can also choose to make your answers public and note how important they are to you.
That might be one reason why Bumble has its devotees, too. “I downloaded Tinder and Bumble when I got out of a pretty catastrophic relationship because I was certain I had extinguished all game and would never meet someone organically,” says Cristina, 26, a graphic designer from Boston. “At first Tinder was the more addictive option because of the number of candidates, but I eventually shifted to Bumble because the conversations were better, and the numbers way more manageable.”
To use the app, you must sign up with your Facebook account or your phone number. If you use your Facebook account, this then forms the basis of your Tinder profile. According to Tinder, this is to ensure matches are made with people who share interests and common friends. That being said, Tinder doesn't post to your Facebook profile, so if you're concerned about friends getting updates about your use of the site, at least on this point, you can rest easy.
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Another free site, Plenty of Fish (free), claims to be "the world's largest dating site" and says it has 150 million registered users worldwide. That's a staggering number, but how many of those accounts are active is unclear; there were 23 million unique monthly visitors in November 2016, according to Statista. There is a broad age range: As of 2016, the site said 20 percent of users were 18 to 24, 38 percent were 25 to 34, 22 percent were 35 to 44, and 20 percent were 45 or older. Experts say the large user base sets Plenty of Fish apart, but they warn that quantity does not necessarily mean quality. Users indicate this might be a better place for casual dating instead of serious relationships.
After you have signed up and created your account you can then choose what you want to do first. Your choices are: Find dates, new friends or networking. For this review we picked "Find Dates". You are then asked who you are interested in and are given 3 options, Men, Women, or Everyone. From here you must give permission to Bumble for your location. On the phone apps the GPS is used and on the web your IP is used to determine your location. If you don't give permission you will not be able to continue to use the dating app as manually entering your location is not allowed. After that you are presented with some slides which Bumble explains the basics on how the service works and that all members are required to "Bee kind, confident and respectful". Now your initial dating profile is done and you are taken to the Discovery section where you will be present with matches that you can review and swipe right or left on.
OK, so it’s time to get serious with this one. The personality test on EliteSingles asks questions about how you look physically and what you’re like as a person. Are you tidy? Patient? Positive? Honest? And what is it you’re looking for? Don’t worry, you can answer the questions on a scale, rather than a hard and fast yes or no, so you can hedge your bets. It’s a pretty thorough matching process which is intended to weed out any duds, but make a cuppa and get comfy as it can take up to 25 minutes to complete.
Plenty of Fish isn't known for its dated interface. If you can get past that, the underpinnings are solid: There is an in-depth personality test helps provide better matches, or you can use a detailed search function to show potential dates based on anything from basics (age, ethnicity, relationship type) to very specific criteria (personality type, car ownership, level of self-confidence and ambition). As with OkCupid, it's free to communicate with others, but there's a premium membership that adds additional features (Est. $12.75 per month for four months). Those include getting your profile highlighted in searches, skipping ads, and seeing whether your emails were read.
Specifying the age range and gender that you're looking for in a partner does squat to narrow down your options. Considering Zoosk sees a user base of about 40 million members, getting through all profiles that match your requirements could take ages, especially if you're looking for more than a hookup. By monitoring your swiping behavior, Zoosk can tap into your subconscious (okay, not really, but sorta) and give you what you want deep down. However, if you want to boost your profile or send more than a few messages, you'll have to buy and participate in Zoosk's coin game, which is more irritating than fun.