Value for money: 4/5 Features: 3/5 Design: 4/5 Member quality: 4/5
- The design and layout are clean and simple. The colors complement the site’s logo.
- There are two main kinds of search. You can use the one that reflects your priorities.
- You really have to sign up to get the full experience. Without paying a fee your contact with other members is heavily restricted.
- The site lacks some standard features (e.g. live chat, forums) that could help users get to know more about their prospective dates.
The Full Story
If you want to get up and running on the online dating scene in no time at all, Match.com is a good choice. Unlike many of its competitors, this dating site has a very short registration form. Of course, once you are a member of Match.com, you may spend a lot of time building your profile, but it’s nice to be able to begin without devoting a whole afternoon to typing and mouse-clicking.
In the profile questionnaire, you specify your physical attributes and your personal preferences. This will allow you to be better matched up with the site’s other members. Every day, you will receive your personal “daily 5.” These members are the top 5 “matches” generated according to the information you have shared with the site. Of course, you don’t have to rely on these mechanical results. You can simply use the search function to try to locate the girl or guy of your dreams.
Searching can be done in two ways. First, you can search by standard criteria. This means that you specify things like if you are looking for a girl or a guy, what age range interests you, location, and whether or not matches must have a photo uploaded. The second type of search makes use of a matching word. You type in a word or phrase that reflects the kinds of things you’re after–for example, if you are athletic, you can search for the words “exercise” or “gym” to find likeminded souls. I found the matching word search is more helpful, as it makes it easy to quickly get right at the prime requirements of your ideal match, without having to sift through a lot of people you’re never going to be interested in.
A great feature of Match.com is that you can look for someone who has been looking for “you”. How does it work? Basically there are pre-established searches you can select which aim to look for people who have been looking for persons matching your description. So you don’t have to wait for that other person to find you–you can easily him or her. In many cases, this kind of functionality will allow you to cut the search process short. And I’m sure the other person will be surprised to find his or her dream match also interested in him or her.
Basic membership to Match.com is free. Full membership comes at a cost. What that cost is can vary considerably based on how many months you want to pay for at once. It could be as much as $40 for a single month’s membership, whereas if you pay for six months at once you will effectively reduce that monthly cost to $21. One problem with Match.com is that you don’t really get much for your free membership. You only get to flirt through “winks”. If you want any greater ability to communicate with members, you need to subscribe. Subscription allows you to send and receive messages. Isn’t that what you’re really on the site for, anyway? If you were just looking for photos of people to stare at, you could buy a celebrity gossip magazine. Subscription to the site also allows you to see who has been checking you out. I think it would be better if you could see who has become interested in you without having to subscribe—I think it’d be in the site’s interest as well as the user’s.
The layout and design are clean, and the site colors reflect those of the logo. The focus here is placed squarely on the members and not on the web design. However, there are some fairly standard features that are obviously lacking. Aside from “winks” and email, there are no other ways of interacting with other members from within the site. There are no forums and no live chat function that will allow you to make the experience more “real” before you physically meet that special someone.
Match.com is like a speed-dating site without the chitchat and face-to-face interaction. In a short period of time, you can get to see thousands of photos and read the personality profiles of dozens of possible matches. It is up to you if you want to pursue any of them further. In real life, you can invite someone on a second date to delve more deeply into their personality; on Match.com, you have to pay for the privilege.