While at one time dating websites that matched like-minded individuals together were considered to be an almost desperate way to go about meeting someone, millions and millions of people around the globe now use these sites to meet people. To meet the demand of this hot singles market, more and more dating sites have popped over the last decade. In fact, today there are literally thousands of dating sites online aimed at helping you find casual dates or even your soul mate.
As you begin looking at these dating sites, you will find that some are free to join, some offer a free trial run before charging you a monthly membership fee, and some require a regular monthly subscription fee for access to the site. Before you can determine whether you should pay to join a dating site, you will want to take a look at what each type can offer you.
What Can You Expect From A Free Dating Website?
First, a word of warning is in order. Be aware that some sites will lure you in with a free trial offer, but often the fine print about a pending monthly fee being charged after the trial period is up is written in very small and often hard to find print. So before you sign up for a free website, do some extra searching to ensure it is truly free.
Many people do wonder how a free website can make money, or if the website is just being operated out the goodness of the owner’s heart. Perhaps there really is a Cupid after all! Well, the truth is that truly free websites largely do generate quite a bit of income through hosting paid advertisers on their website. In fact, popular free dating websites are known to bring in tens of thousands of dollars per month in ad revenue! This income is largely used for the purposes of paying operating expenses like web hosting fees, domain name fees, and other such fees, as well as their own advertising expenses for luring in new users to the site.
If you choose to sign up for a free dating website, of course the biggest benefit over a paid site is that you don’t have to shell out any of your hard-earned cash. In fact, because such sites are free, many people will join multiple dating sites to increase their chances of meeting some really great people. Yet a few of these sites are also overwhelmed with members and may not offer an easy-to-use search or match feature, and so you may have to use your own valuable time to search carefull for potential dates. Many times, you will find that these sites are used more often (although not exclusively) by people looking for a more casual dating experience rather than a serious relationship.
A lot of research has been conducted to determine if there are any material differences between the people who use paid versus free dating sites. In general, research suggests that free websites generally have a slightly less educated membership base, and that these members have a lower average income than members of paid sites. These sites also have a larger membership base of senior citizens, too. However, bear in mind that this information holds true for general membership free sites, and not as much for those free niche dating websites, which have a focused membership, based on religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics.
Free websites are largely pretty basic in nature. While the majority of paid websites offer services such as customized dating advice, chat rooms, member email services, newsletters, chat rooms, and forums, you will find that most free websites may not offer as many of these extra services to their members.
How Are Paid Dating Sites Different?
Of course the first difference you will notice from the start is that you have to open up your wallet for access to the paid dating sites. The cost will vary depending on the site, but generally you can expect to pay up to $40 per month for your membership.
So what do you get for that monthly fee? First, you generally can expect matches to your interests and other mate criteria to be forwarded to you. Not having to search through dozens of profiles to find a date is a big timesaving feature that many people will gladly pay for. Then there are the website features like access to forums, email, dating advice, and more, and these services can really add to your dating experience. Many sites will also host mixers and other membership events so you can get to know singles in your local area in a low-pressure, laid back environment.
It is important to note that as much as these paid sites do for you, you should never assume that members have been screened, such as with a background check, unless the site specifically states that fact. You should always take safety precautions and keep your personal information private until you really know someone well.
Whether you have determined that paid dating sites or free sites are right for you, you will definitely want to read through some consumer reviews from real users. These reviews can tell you what to expect realistically from these sites, and they can give you a good idea about whether a specific site is a good place to devote your time and energy.
Keys To Safety
Meeting someone new through online dating services is always exciting, but you should reign in your excitement and make a conscious effort to stay safe while dating. This includes when using online services in general as well as when preparing to go on a date and while you are out on a date. Here are some keys to making dating safer for you:
- Always keep your personal information private. This includes information shared on your profile page and directly with a new contact. Personal info like your address, where you work, your email address, and your full name should be off limits until you fully know someone.
- Use email, phone calls, online chat rooms, and more to get to know your new contact before you agree to go out with them.
- Always drive your own car to dates, and never get in a car with someone you don’t know really well.
- Always plan to meet your date in a public place until you know them better.
- Always let family and friends know where you plan to go on your dates, who your date is, and what time they should expect you back.
- Always make an effort not to become impaired by drinking too much alcohol, and never leave drinks unattended. If an event arises and you do need to leave your drink unattended, always ask for a fresh drink when you return to your seat.
- Always trust your instincts, and back away from any situation where you feel less than comfortable.
Your Dating Website Tips?
If you have additional tips please share them in the comments section below!