Why do online dating sites force us to make trade-offs?
I read a very interesting, funny and also insightful article on The Spec on online dating. As a single, 31-year old male, Frank tried both paid service, e-harmony and Plenty of Fish. I’m not sure why he chose e-harmony over match. You can read the full story here but this pretty much summarizes it.
“The user experience was phenomenal. All the matches came into my inbox. If there was mutual interest, we’d proceed with the guided communication. This was four-step process generated by eHarmony where you had the opportunity to get comfortable with your match until you were ready to take it offline.
And therein lay the reason I stopped using eHarmony. Having two presumably mature adults getting to know one another via a Q&A computer template seemed abnormal. I could have been more patient, and the website does tell you that it may take up to a year to meet your perfect match, but this site just wasn’t for me. I wanted my online dating experience to mimic real world dating as much as possible.”
Plenty of Fish:
“Dating on a free site is about being active. You have to put in the time and that means logging on several times a day and chatting with someone who may or may not be who she claims to be.
Although it’s exciting to meet dozens of attractive single women every day, it can also be a bit scary. Let’s just say not everyone I’ve chatted with was single or even a woman. This is where pay sites have a distinct advantage — the security.”
His conclusion clearly highlights the painful limitations of online dating sites, which therefore forces users to make tradeoffs.
“If you place a monetary value on your time and user experience, and if the added security features are important to you, then registering with a pay site is the way to go.
Conversely, a free site may be more your style if you’re willing to sift through hundreds of profiles and you enjoy the freedom of choice. I see value in both.”
And I’m here thinking, why do we have to make this choice? Why is it that unless you pay substantial amount of money, you can’t get the security you want at the fraction of time you must invest currently in free dating sites?
Just wait. I think Coffee Meets Bagel might have just the right solution. :)