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What Is The Main Difference Between Free Dating Websites Vs. Subscription Sites?

Sep 15, 2008
What is the major difference between dating websites that are free and ones that you need a subscription to use? Why should you pay for something that you can get for free? Not all dating websites are made the same. It's important to know what you're looking for before you start using a dating website so you can make an informed decision.

1. Aesthetics

Free dating websites can be very sloppily made. Some of these sites are very difficult to navigate and you can easily misunderstand the features and options.

Paid websites are, for the most part, well organized and easy to use. Each has different features and it should be apparent how the site functions and how you use it. There is often a thorough help section and a tech support team will answer your questions promptly.

2. Advertising

Free websites have to make money in order to run. So they stifle you with adds. At times, it's impossible to tell whether what you want to click on is a link to a feature on the dating site or a link to an outside website. Because of the sloppy layout, it can be even more confusing. Ironically, some free websites actually advertise for paid dating websites.

Paid websites make their revenue through the subscriptions, so you're not inconvenienced by popup adds and confused by the add placement.

3. Matches

Free websites will show every profile with a zip code near you as a match. Some of the sites don't bother to filter their search results at all, leaving you to sift through the profiles looking for a decent match. These websites also allow users who don't fit any of your criteria to contact you. You then have to not only find your own matches, but have to bother with members that you would never want to date sending you messages.

Paid websites make sure that your results fit the requirements that you've already specified. Some can narrow down thousands of profiles to only a handful while others can provide a wider range.

4. Spam

Free websites are easy to sign up for and members, particularly male, can find themselves inundated with messages from women claiming that they've fallen in love with them, the only problem is that they're stuck in Africa and need airfare back to the states.

Paid websites require actual payment, so there is little to no chance of a spambot appearing on the site.

5. Contact

Free websites claim to feature options for friendship and hanging out and various other non-romantic relationships. However, it doesn't matter if your profile states that you're already in a romantic relationship or that you're on the website looking for something platonic, you can still be contacted by members who ask you out on dates and want to share a bottle of wine with you and "see what happens."

Paid websites are more specific to the user's needs. When someone purchases a subscription to a dating website, they and the other members on the site, know that this individual is looking for some kind of intimate relationship, whether it's a chance to go on a few dates or hope to find someone to marry. There is no miscommunication and one does not have to delete multiple e-mails from people who don't bother to read the user's profile and contact them regarding a relationship that they aren't even interested in.

6. Moderation

Free websites attract everyone, including those who aren't actually interested in dating. Since so many users sign up for the website, it is very difficult to moderate all of the comments and profiles. Even when users are reported and their accounts are closed down, it is just as easy for the offender to open a new account and continue their offensive behavior.

Paid websites have fewer members and as such are easier to police. Since there is a subscription fee involved, those who sign up for the site are serious about getting into a relationship and wouldn't waste their money just to harass other members. Paid sites also monitor their user's profiles more closely.

If you're looking for a relationship or an intimate connection, using a paid website will help you find someone who is right for you by narrowing down options and providing a friendly community of potential matches. Free websites can be used to simply meet other individuals, but it takes time to navigate the site and weed out those who don't meet your criteria. If you're serious about dating, getting a subscription to a dating website is a small price to pay.
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