There’s a whole range of difficult human emotions to contend with: insecurity, disappointment, rejection, maybe heartache. “Sometimes there is nothing that clicks whatsoever,” says Julien Nguyen, a 30-year-old software designer from Austin, Texas, who has used Bumble and Tinder.“Sometimes whatever chemistry we had just fizzles out.”Perhaps being in the market for a mate can’t be compared with using other services. D., a professor at the Harvard Business School who studies consumer behavior, thinks so.“I was on a date with a guy who turned out to be a convicted felon.
But the responses from the more active group suggest they’re highly frustrated.
They gave online dating sites the lowest satisfaction scores Consumer Reports has ever seen for services rendered—lower even than for tech-support providers, notoriously poor performers in our ratings. Well, finding a mate can be arduous and exhausting.
And we found that the free sites generally did marginally better than the paid ones, presumably because they offer a better value.
“You’re generally going to be best off starting your search on the ‘Big 3’: Match.com, Ok Cupid, and Plenty of Fish,” says Scott Valdez, founder of Virtual Dating Assistants, which helps people write their profiles and then manages their accounts.
Many dating sites rely on matchmaking algorithms the same way that Netflix uses them to recommend movies.
So if you live in the Denver area, you’re a single heterosexual man in his 50s who loves to travel, and you don’t believe in astrology, your matches may reflect women who have similar interests.
“Our real-life and online identities are more and more interwoven.” Because of this cultural shift, online dating sites now have unprecedented reach into our lives. Reams have been written about online dating, but as far as we know, no one has put the sites to the test.
They are gatekeepers to a massive population of potential partners; they control who we meet and how. So Consumer Reports decided to survey almost 115,000 subscribers about online dating and their experiences with it.
Online dating is different from shopping for, say, a sweater, he explains: “Once you decide on the sweater you want, you can get it.