Are Paid Dating Sites Better Than Free Ones? - Consumer Reports
OkCupid's dating research blog has worked hard to convince readers that they should never pay for online dating. The basis of their argument. Your question: Should I try online dating? Still, you might want to pay attention to this story, of the woman who went on a few dates with a man. Why You Should Never Pay For Online Dating. April 7th, by Christian Rudder. Today I'd like to show why the practice of paying for dates on sites like.
Now all we need to know is how much the average user pays per month. Their rates run this gamut: What's the exact number? Well, I found this helpful nugget in eHarmony's advertising materials3: The most charitable way to interpret this last sentence is to assume their average account life is 6. Therefore maximizing total subscribers is just a question of minimizing the average monthly fee.
First off, let's do them the favor of assuming no one pays month-to-month. Our remaining dilemma can be expressed mathematically like this: They have at mostsubscribers. For the sake of argument, let's round that up to an evenSo, having given eHarmony the benefit of the doubt at every turn, let's look at where that leaves their site: And the ironic thing is that although they basically admit their sites are filled with chaff, pay sites have little interest in telling you who's paying and who isn't.
In fact, it's better for them to show you people who haven't paid, even if it means they're wasting your time. We'll show that in the next section. First I want to show you what 29 to 1, advertised people to real, feels like.
Why should you pay for online dating?
Here are some single, attractive OkCupid users. And here are those same people behind a subscriber wall. That's pay dating in a nutshell. They're a public company, so we can get their exact subscriber info from the shareholder report they file each quarter. Here's what we have from Q4 There's nothing wrong with profit motive, but the particular way these sites have chosen to make money creates strange incentives for them.
Let's look at how the pay sites acquire new subscribers: As you can see from the flow chart, the only way they don't make money is to show subscribers to other subscribers. It's the worst thing they can do for their business, because there's no potential for new profit growth there.
Free Online Dating Sites Vs Paid Dating Sites
To get sign-ups, they need to pull in new people, and they do this by getting you to message their prospects. If you're a subscriber to a pay dating site, you are an important though unwitting part of that site's customer acquisition team.
Of course, they don't want to show you too many ghosts, because you'll get frustrated and quit, but that doesn't change the fact that they're relying on you your messages are their marketing materials to reach out to non-payers and convince them, by way of your charming, heartfelt messages, to pull out their credit cards. If only a tiny fraction of your message gets a response, hey, that's okay, you're working for free. Wait a second…you're paying them.
Now let's look how this skewed incentive affects the dating cycle, especially on sites like Match. The Desperation Feedback Loop Even more so than in real life, where fluid social situations can allow either gender to take the "lead", men drive interactions in online dating.
Our data suggest that men send nearly 4 times as many first messages as women and conduct about twice the match searches.
Thus, to examine how the problem of ghost profiles affects the men on pay dating sites is to examine their effect on the whole system. There are two facts in play: We've conducted extensive research on this, and you can read more about it our other posts. The sites of course don't show you completely random profiles, but as we've seen they have an incentive to show you nonsubscribers.
There is a negative correlation between the number of messages a man sends per day to the reply rate he gets.
The more messages you send, the worse response rate you get. It's not hard to see why this would be so. A rushed, unfocused message is bound to get a worse response than something you spend time on. Here's a plot of 12, male users who've sent 10 total messages or more. Or you may come across people who are just looking for something casual.
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All of these people will come up in your search results. There will be people who are serious about having a relationship in return, but finding that special someone through all the others becomes trickier and more time-consuming. Search Results — Free sites are often more limited in their functionality compared to paid-for sites, simply because they are not receiving money from subscriptions.
Matches are commonly people who live close, rather than on interests. Although these cost money, investing more into online dating brings many advantages: Quality — Because people have invested in these online dating sites, the people you find are likely to be more serious about finding someone for a date or a serious relationship.
This makes paid online dating site results higher quality. Another advantage is that because you provide your payment card details to subscribe, it is less likely that there will be any scammers, compared to free dating sites. Each user can easily be identified and found via their card details and so it makes for a much safer online dating experience.
Search Results — With paid sites, you can often not only search for people via location, but also via compatibility, age, religion and much more.
People are also more likely to be active on their account making sure their profile is up-to-date and responding to messages due to them paying a subscription, so searches provide better results than free sites, where many unused profiles will appear. Or, many subscription sites, such as Guardian Soulmates allow you to sign up for a free account, where you can browse users and get a feel for the process, before deciding if it is for you.