Even though it might feel like online dating is mostly about luck, academics have been studying it for some time now. In fact, the longer online dating continues to evolve the more information there is to study. Of the romantic partnerships formed in the United States between 2007 and 2009, 21 percent of heterosexual couples and 61 percent of same-sex couples met online, according to a study by Stanford sociology professor Michael J. Rosenfeld and reported by the New York Times. While this might make you feel like your online dating habits are on display, the fact that they’re being studied can actually be really helpful. For example, one 2018 study from the University of Michigan found the best way to start a  successful conversation is to simply say "hey." That same study found both men and women tend to aim high in online dating, messaging matches who were on average 25 percent more attractive than they were. If you feel like most of the people you match with don't end of looking like they do in their profile, there's science to back that up. A study of 80 online daters found two thirds of users lied about their weight by 5 pounds or more with no correlation to whether the user was male or female. Having this knowledge in your back pocket can be useful while scrolling through Tinder or eharmony and result in more matches and long term connections.
It doesn't cater just for the LGBTQI+ community, but OKCupid is an inclusive app with many non-binary profile options (you can choose from 13 orientations and 22 gender identities). It's also not afraid to get political: users can get badges that show support for organizations like Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. For some singles, this is a drawcard, while for others it may feel like it's breaking the politics and dating taboo.10
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.
How often do you cross paths with the love of your life before you actually meet them? Maybe you smile at your crush every day when you get your morning coffee, but you can’t build up the courage to talk? If so, Happn could be for you. It’s a dating app that shows the profiles of other singles and pinpoints the last place and time you were near to each other. All your prospective matches are people you’ve crossed paths with, so you’re always starting out with something in common.
One new dating scene app caters specifically to queer women. HER, available for free in both the Apple App Store and Google Play, serves as a place where female-identified and non-binary people can connect to find both friends and dates. You can sign up using your Facebook or Instagram account and swipe through profiles to find people in your area. The app is also a place to coordinate and find queer events like parties and meetups. User profiles show you photos, names, a person's sexual preference and physical attributes. Much like Tinder, once you match with a person, you can chat in the app's messaging component.

Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City Los Angeles, London, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Haven, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Toronto, and Washington DC.

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.


MocoSpace has been around since before app stores existed. Since 2005, it has been a leading site for meeting new people. They also have Android and iOS apps that are absolutely free. If you’re afraid they’ll try to sell you to a $30/month membership fee, don’t worry. It doesn’t exist. They also have more features than many other dating apps — with chat, instant messaging, and even some games in addition to highly customizable profile pages. The app experience is different from the competition, and users who return for several sessions are rewarded with a community that keeps them coming back for years.

Ashley Madison is all about cheating but this does not make it less popular. The site has garnered over 20 million users and the number continues to grow. When joining, you are asked to choose your relationship status; either “attached male seeking female” or “attached female seeking male”. The site repeatedly stresses that it is 100 percent discreet.
Aside from the matching game, another way to find interested folks is to check your interests tab. Here, you'll see other people who have come across your profile and "liked" it, given you a "yes rating" or a "fave" — not really sure what the difference on these is, but it's basically telling someone that you're interested without having to wait for them to swipe on your profile. You can also send someone a wink, which is the dating site version of Facebook poking, but more flirty. Of course, you can also direct message people, and people can message you without being a match — which means you'll have some randoms in your inbox. However, you can filter your messages to block people over or under a certain age (or height) and other specific values. I thought that was a nice touch and a way to keep from getting overwhelmed with 50 unread messages.
(Full disclosure: The Date Mix is owned and operated by Zoosk.) But with an app available in more than 80 countries and 25 languages, Zoosk may be one of the more international apps out there. And it has a variety of ways to meet people. You can search for people using filters, use their online now service to talk to anyone around the world who’s available to chat, or quickly match up in a style similar to swipe dating apps.

Hinge lets you customise your profile to add three key bits of personal information - claiming this will help you find something more real. You can certainly tell more about your potential partners from their profiles, but the catch? It comes with the pressure of coming across as witty, fun and effortlessly debonair. Plus the answers might get a little old - we get it, people hate slow walkers.


If you have some time to kill, we here at Top Ten Reviews have dozens and dozens of stories about going on bad dates. We’ve been ditched, dumped, ghosted and duped so we’re pretty familiar with the pain of dating. Online dating can alleviate a little of that pain because it gives everyone the chance to be upfront about their intentions and preferences.

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