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Free Or Paid Online Dating Service?

Mar 8, 2008
Once a person decides to use online dating services to meet other singles, the first question that they need to deal with is whether to use a free or paid online dating service. With a wide variety of options out there, the choices can really be overwhelming. Let's just take a minute to quickly break them down. Both options have their pros and cons, so we'll take a peak into both of them.

Free Services

Pros:

This is a great way to get familiar with different online dating sites. It gives you the freedom to browse around the various sites and get a look at the different profiles that people have posted. This is a great way to do some market research to see how to model your own individual profile.

Obviously, you can't go wrong with the price. The only thing that you have to expend with a free site is your time and effort.

Many users will set up a few profiles just to test their profiles and see which one performs the best. This gives people some time to fine tune their profiles before they make the step up to a paid service.

Cons:

Free sites tend to be full of SPAM. There are many profiles which aren't legitimate profiles, instead you may run into advertisements for mail order brides, get rich quick schemes, or links to pornographic websites.

Many of the profiles listed are not legitimate profiles. They can be people that are just goofing around and they aren't legitimate candidates.

Communication options are quite limited to what you would get on a paid service.

These sites only derive their revenue through the advertising placed around their site. They are not focused on finding you a match, they are more concerned with you clicking onto one of their sponsored advertisements so they will get paid.

Customer service is virtually non-existent.

Paid Services

Pros:

Paid services have been proven to provide the best profiles for singles looking to meet other singles. One of the things that most paid services provide is a very detailed and specific questionnaire to help match like minded individuals with each other.

If someone is paying the monthly fee (generally in the $20-30 range) for a dating service, it's safe to reason that they are committed and sincere in their desire to find a match. This eliminates much of the "riff-raff" that you will find on the free sites. These people have a desire to be at this site and they are not looking to waste their money.

Due to the fact that the leads on these sites are "pre-qualified" (for lack of a better word), members are not wasting their time trying to weed through many of the garbage profiles that are posted in the free dating services.

Numerous communication options. From live chat, email, to online video chat, paid services offer a wide gamut of options with communicating with the opposite sex.

Cons:

The monthly fee is the one downside to online dating services. At a cost of $20-30 per month, this can often be an expense that many people don't feel the need to pay for.

To register for these services, you need to provide your credit card information. Many people still have difficulty freely giving out that information on line, but to participate in these services it is a necessary evil.

The verdict (?):

To put this decision into perspective, here's a real life scenario that we've all been faced with.

You have a first date set up and you don't have any idea whether you have anything common interests with the other person. You play it safe by going to the movies. You decide to treat because you only get that one chance to make a first impression. With movie tickets right around $10 each, you hand over your first $20 bill to buy the two tickets. Once your inside the theater, you do the polite thing and ask your date if they would be interested in popcorn, candy, or a soda. The next thing you know, you've already pulled a second $20 bill out of your pocket, and there isn't much change left.

You've already plopped down $25-35 and you still don't have an idea if you are actually interested in the person or not. On top of that, you still have the discomfort of what to do after the movie. You've just spent close to two hours with that person, and you still haven't learned much about each other because you were focused on the movie.

One benefit you get from online dating is that you can get to know people before you actually go out with them. You are able to chat with them as much as you want, and you know you have common interests before you go out on that first date.

We've found that both options provide the online dater with value, but the best value once all factors are taken into consideration is using the paid services. Aren't you worth a $30 monthly investment in yourself while trying to find a suitable mate?
About the Author
Jim McMenamin is the webmaster and creator of MacsDatingSite.com, a blog dedicated to the various issues of online dating. For a limited time, Jim is giving away two free eBooks, 10 Tips To Writing Your Online Dating Profile as well as 101 Steps To A Happy Relationship, when you sign up for his newsletter.
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