How Dating Sites Work – Free vs Paid for Memberships on Online Dating Sites

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New or curious about online dating sites and how they work?

How most dating sites wor:k and profile set up information (general) – setting up a profile and using free vs paid online dating subscriptions.

Every dating site or app is different. Yet there are MANY similarities amongst dating sites that will help you if you’re new or curious about online dating.  The first thing to know is that an online dating site uses a DATABASE type of platform and algorithm, meaning a profile is a set of data that is used to match with other sets of data (other member profiles) for interests, appearance and lifestyle factors.

Dating site matching is scientifically driven in the sense it’s data and database driven. But most dating website algorithms and matching functions are far from perfect – and human behaviour in terms of online dating is far from rational or predictable.  Plus, if a site doesn’t have adequate members meeting your matching criteria, the algorithm may tell you “no matching criteria” or it might just lower the bar.

Free vs Paid for Dating Sites Subscriptions and Features

  • Most dating sites or dating apps offer FREE log-ins and FREE profiles.
  • Profiles WILL ask your age, and often other factors such as height, weight, hair colour/style, body shape or size, and a set number of lifestyle activities such as whether or not you smoke, drink, watch too much television or have fantasies about playing Russian Roulette..
  • Most DEMAND a photo and a legitimately-working email for validation and profile-building.
  • Photo often need to meets certain criteria (e.g., they MUST show your face/eyes, not be overly grainy or low in resolution, not have others or children in them and so on).
  • Validation of an email address is also required before being able to USE the profile (search your spam folders if needed).
  • A set list of criteria also needs to be filled in, such as whether or not you’d be happy dating someone who still wants children (or not) and whether or not you’ve finished a certain degree of schooling; what your religion and cultural preferences are (if any), and income ranges of people you’d like to date.

At which point, the person can SEARCH for matches – but not necessarily contact them for free.

Read the blog AGE FABRICATION – how many people lie about their age on dating profiles?

Lifehacker reviewed TINDER GOLD features and benefits – click here to see what they had to say.

  • Some sites SAY they’re free to use – and they are – but only to set up a profile not to actually contact or respond to others’ expressions of interest.
  • Remember – if it’s your first time setting up a profile, be sure you tick the box for SMS alerts (YES or NO) or EMAIL alerts (YES or NO) as otherwise you may have to be IN the app or ON the dating site to see any activity; that noted, if you’re using a work email, you might not want your daily matches showing up at your office desk computer or office phone.
  • Some APPS require PHONE ONLY use; others can be accessed through an APP on your phone, though an INTERNET BROWSER on your phone (Mozilla, Firefox, Chrome and similar – although some are glitchy with dating site formats) – OR on your COMPUTER/PC or TABLET.
  • Expect functionality and appearance of the site and menus to change depending on which DEVICE you’re using – not all devices or browsers work compatibly with dating software (and vice versus).

But added features – such as being able to make contact with other users or having filtering systems to enable profile weeding, cost extra.

Tired of seeing the same fish every time you’re on a dating site?

Send an enquiry to request information on unique cliche dating sites.


Average Registration Times for Top Dating Sites – Tinder, Match, Elite Singles, EHarmony, Bumble

  • Depending on the site, registration can take from a few minutes (allow at least 20 minutes to 30 minutes for most sites) to several hours spent filling in exhausting forms you’ll never know will come in useful (or not).
  • EHarmony is exhaustive and takes a very long time to fill in but says the algorithm matching is “worth it”.
  • Some sites let you skip the details but the more info you DO put in, the more closely the MATCH might become. Theoretically speaking, anyway.
  • Everyone questions algorithms at some stage, but according to an insider at Fairfax (who owns the dating website, RSVP), what people SAY they want – and what they CLICK on – are not as aligned as one might think.

Are the FREE dating sites worth it? Such as PLENTYOFFISH (POF)?
  • Many people enter the foray of online dating on a free site, such as the popular PlentyOfFish or Zoosk.
  • The more FREE users a site has, the more PROFILE WEEDING you’re going to need to do (and the more attractive and time-saving the PREMIUM feature memberships become).
  • But most online dating sites have FEE FOR CONTACT or a FEE FOR MEMBERSHIP.

Find out Dating Statistics for Tinder and other facts about online dating industry.

Recommended reading:

Online Dating Statistics and Number of Tinder Users

How many single people are using online dating?


How Many People Lie About Their Age on Dating Profiles?

Originally published on September 27 2019 by DoctorMyWeb.

Page last updated on January 20, 2020.

Author: Connie M

Connie May, MHST, is a writer, life coach and profile review expert dedicated to helping people with mid-life online dating sites and partner searching strategies. Her expertise is in creating BETTER dating profiles and profile photographs for all kinds of online profiles and social media platforms.

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