Match.com is one of the largest and most popular dating websites on the Internet. So large and popular, in fact, that if you use it for 6 months and don't find someone that you really hit it off with, you can use it for another 6 months for free! Match.com also gets praise for using background checks to weed out scammers and other potentially dangerous users, as well as putting on "Stir" events as great date ideas or just opportunities to meet interesting people.
The main downside of Match.com is that, despite its lengthy profile setup process, there isn't a lot of guidance when it comes to finding and interacting with your matches, outside of the "Daily Matches" function. Most of the search and communication legwork is left for you to do. Also, Match.com is somewhat expensive to use (with paid subscriptions costing between $15 and $25 per month), and most of the core features of the website -- including communicating with other users or seeing who has shown interest in you -- are locked unless you have a premium membership.
There are different popular sites like Match.com for different styles of dating. If you're interested in more casual, short-term dating, try OkCupid.com, Zoosk.com, or Tinder. Conversely, if you're looking to date with the end goal of having a long-term relationship, go for eHarmony.com, Spark.com, or PlentyOfFish.
If you've tried Match.com for a while and just can't seem to find your "special someone", try one or more of these six other online dating websites.
eHarmony is Match.com's most recognizable competitor. While it doesn't have the sheer volume of users that Match.com does, it uses a much more in-depth approach to building your profile, matchmaking, and communicating with matches that is based on real-world relationship psychology. So while you may not get as many matches, the matches that you do get are far more likely to be truly compatible with you, and the communication and overall dating process will likely be much more straightforward and simple.
This is why many people recommend eHarmony for those who are new to the dating scene, or have been out of it for a long time. Like Match.com, though, eHarmony is a subscription-based service, so you have to pay to use it. If you'd like to try out eHarmony for yourself, our eHarmony course can show you how to use it.
Spark.com is probably the most similar dating site to Match.com on this list, with a few key differences. For one, it affords you a few more communication options with a free membership, such as responding once to any emails that you are sent, as well as sending and receiving e-cards. (Any other forms of communication, such as posting comments on message boards, sending private messages to members, or visiting online chat rooms, all require a paid subscription). For another, all members are required to post a photo of themselves before they show up in search or match lists, so there's less of a mystery when it comes to seeing the person behind the profile.
Another big difference is that all members are required to take the "Color Code" test. It's a personality test that helps you understand what drives the behaviour of both you and others: why you want or need certain things, or are naturally better at other things. In a way, it is similar to the opening questionnaire on eHarmony.com: it is less a formula to determine who you want to date than it is a way to find someone with whom you can make a relationship last.
OkCupid is a free dating website that works similarly to popular social media websites, such as Facebook and Buzzfeed. In addition to allowing members to send private emails and instant messages to each other, it also allows them to answer questions and take quizzes related to personalities, dating, and relationships.
Some of these questions and quizzes are created by the website's staff, while others are made by members themselves. By answering how they feel about a question, how they would want a potential match to answer the question, and how important they think the question is, members are able to find matches based on how other people have answered those same questions.
While OkCupid is free to use, there are certain advantages and functions that are only given to paid subscribers. These include not seeing advertisements on the website, having better search options, and being more likely to show up (more highly ranked) in other people's match lists.
Zoosk, like OkCupid.com, is a dating website that borrows elements from social media platforms, including popularity rankings and presenting matchmaking functions as games (such as personality quizzes). It also works closely with social media platforms itself, particularly Facebook. The idea behind this, like it is on Match.com and OkCupid.com, is that the more active you are on the website, the more Zoosk's matchmaking system can learn from your activities and thus more accurately match you with people who use the website in similar ways.
Similar to Match.com, Zoosk allows a person to sign up for free, which lets them browse and search for matches, and send one email to each person whom they're interested in. Any further communication, including seeing who has viewed your profile or sent you messages, requires a paid subscription, as does using some of the advanced features.
Tinder is a dating service that only works on mobile devices, and only if you have a Facebook account. The trade-off is that it makes dating simple: copy your profile details over from your Facebook profile, and then choose which of your potential matches (picked based on geographical location, age, and other profile details) you wish to "like" or "ignore". When you and another Tinder user "like" each other, you can use the easy chat interface to strike up a conversation. No muss, no fuss. It's similar to OkCupid.com and Zoosk.com, in that it's used mainly by younger people who are looking to date casually and/or short-term.
In terms of its user base, PlentyOfFish is one of the largest Match.com rivals, with over 100 million subscribers as of March 2015. However, in terms of structure, this Canadian dating website is more akin to eHarmony.com and Spark.com, in that it's geared toward long-term dating and relationships. This is aided by its two romance tests, the "Chemistry Test" that helps to determine your emotional needs, and the "Relationship Needs Test" that evaluates what you need (to do) in a relationship for it to work. Like Tinder and OkCupid.com, you can use PlentyOfFish pretty much to its fullest without a paid subscription, but you get some nice perks -- such as being notified when other users like you or read your emails -- if you become a premium member.
Have you tried finding your special someone on any of these websites? Was your experience happiness or heartbreak? Are there other dating websites like Match.com that you've used, and aren't listed here, that you think our users should try? Let us know in the comments below.
Also, if you end up trying one of these Match.com alternatives and prefer it, you may not want to use your Match.com account anymore. If that's the case, visit our next tutorial on how to delete your Match.com account.
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