Choosing which dating platform to sign up for is like picking out a car. Are you looking for something that’s loud and fast, or are you interested in the safety ratings? What about a good sound system, or a roomy interior?
Choosing the right dating platform can be a pretty similar process. While they all operate on the same basic idea – helping people match up with each other – you can find loads of different options. Some sites are geared towards finding longer-term relationships, while others let users choose the type of match they’re looking for. With all these choices, it can be tricky to know how to choose the right one – here are the 6 features you should be looking for.
How much detail is needed to sign up?
This often depends on what the sites focus on. Eharmony, for instance, is often used by people who are looking for a dedicated relationship. Since people on the site want to know the specifics of what they’re getting into if they start talking with someone, new users will spend a good chunk of time putting together their profile. There’s even a personality questionnaire with around 80 questions – be prepared to spend 20 to 60 minutes on that part alone.
On the other end of the spectrum are dating apps like Flingster. The minimum amount of information is essentially a photo of yourself, your first and last name, and your date of birth. Usually you can also add your interests or personality traits in your profile, but you may not even need that much to get started.
How many people are using the platform?
The more users there are on a dating platform, the more likely you’ll be to find a match, right? Well, sort of.
Dating is all about the numbers, so in most cases you could join a platform with millions of registrations and be confident in getting a decent match in your area pretty quickly. This is especially true for platforms that emphasize location in how they match people. If a smaller site or app just hasn’t taken off in your city – or if you’re out in the sticks – it probably isn’t the right choice.
That being said, niche dating sites can offer something that big-time sites can’t – a much higher chance of compatibility. Instead of offering “lots of fish in the ocean”, these niche sites center themselves around a value or background type that users would have in common. It could be for people who share a specific political orientation, fans of a certain TV show, or enthusiasts who like to bond over a particular music genre. If you do find someone in your neck of the woods, you’ll have an automatic connection with them.
Does the platform let you integrate with social media?
Even if it’s not a requirement for sign-up, users of some platforms can connect their social media accounts to their dating profiles. For one thing, this makes it easier to set up your account – the relevant data on your social media account is used to automatically generate a suggested profile. For another, it adds an extra layer of trust for other users. If they can see that you’ve connected your dating profile with social media, they’ll feel more confident in your authenticity.
- What are the requirements for photos or videos on your profile?
Just about every dating platform will require at least one picture to start out with. Match.com, for instance, wants each user’s primary photo to show their face without a mask or sunglasses. Many platforms focus on pictures, but some also allow users to upload flirty video clips – as long as they comply with the site’s guidelines.
Adult dating platforms don’t have a problem with more revealing pictures; mainstream sites, on the other hand, keep an eagle eye out for nude photos. Since a lot of sites want to stay family-friendly, they often employ moderators whose only job is to remove photos that don’t fit the site’s requirements.
Does the platform offer safety features against scammers?
Just like with real life, the people you’re talking with on a dating platform won’t always have the best intentions. Dating scams are on the rise, especially for people who are over 40, widowed, divorced, or disabled. If you think you’re being targeted, any good dating platform will let you block or report the suspicious user.
It’s also helpful if the dating site verifies its members’ photos. Since most scammers use fake or stolen identities, they won’t be able to get the verification. If someone starts acting sketchy, the verification status of their photos will help you figure out whether or not they’re a scammer (or spammer).
In any case, don’t give in to emotional pleas for help. This is a common scam tactic – once they start asking for money, you know what they’re really up to.
What matching criteria does the dating platform use?
Some sites make recommendations based on distance or membership status; others focus on shared interests or personality traits. If you’re considering a certain site, find out beforehand how you’ll be paired with people. The matches might be totally random, or the algorithm could use your dating profile as the starting point for every suggestion. Some platforms even adjust their recommendation strategy based on the profiles you show interest in, as well as the ones that get a hard pass.
With the right matching system, you’ll have a better chance of finding the right match. Platforms that let you send a wink, like or favorite someone’s profile, or message people directly are pretty quick on the uptake; the more you interact on the site, the more accurate your matches will be.
Make sure the dating site you choose matches your priorities.
After all, this is all about you. Not all dating sites are created equal, so it pays to do a little homework beforehand. With all the dating sites out there, it shouldn’t be too long before you’re signed up and ready for romance.