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We turned to Alexa, a web-traffic analytics company, to better assess how many people are on each site clicking around, and culled those with below-average numbers: fewer than a million active users in the US. We can assume those numbers apply to most online dating sites.

The problem is mobile users aren’t reflected in Alexa data — which means a dating site like Zoosk, with half as many active desktop users as our top picks, but way more app downloads, could have been left out.) Be Social network, Blendr, Chemistry.com, Cupid.com, network, Date2020, Fidelity Dating, Friend Finder network, Grouper, How About We, Jaumo, Lava Life, Meet Me, Meet Mindful, Mesh, Mingle2, Once, Spark.com, Speed Date.com, Tastebuds.fm, Tawkify, The Heart Market, Twoo, Zoosk Our finalists are all likely names you recognize — Ok Cupid, Match.com, e Harmony, and Plenty of Fish — and our tester tried them all.

We briefly touch on mobile-only dating apps below, but apps deserve a review that’s all their own (so stay tuned).

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She came up with a snappy username, entered her personal information, wrote detailed but pithy descriptions of her hobbies and interests, answered hundreds of multiple-choice questions, posted photos, and browsed profile after profile.

She kept a detailed log of every view, like, wink, fave, and message she received. Good online dating profiles are both extremely important and surprisingly hard to find.

Well, not every kind: We excluded sites that catered specifically to how someone looked or to “unscrupulous” relationships (think Ashley Madison).

We also didn’t evaluate anything marketed as primarily for hookups — the best dating sites facilitate all sorts of relationships, from friendship to long-term monogamy and everything in between.

” ● An attempt to be personal, but falls flat: “I see you like playing Scrabble!

I like mountain biking.” Good Messages ● Mentions something you have in common ● Respectful ● Asks about something in your profile ● Talks about things that are specific to your profile that aren’t your physical appearance ● No glaring spelling or grammar errors ● Funny Unfortunately — but perhaps not all that surprisingly — the majority of the messages we received were mediocre or downright bad.

Since our tester was a straight woman, her experience with dating sites is weighted more toward receiving messages than sending messages.

(According to a study from data off Ok Cupid, the majority of women don’t send the first message in online dating conversations.) To keep our judgments as objective as possible, we used the following definitions: Bad Messages ● Spam or a scam ● Harassing or threatening ● Obscene ● Extremely short: “Hi beautiful” ● Generic copy-and-paste: “I found many features of your profile interesting” ● A neg: “I like your big nose” ● From someone who acknowledges they’re outside your age range, but messaged anyway ● Passive-aggressive or a guilt trip: “You probably won’t respond to this, but…” ● Obviously from a bot because it’s so generic and from such a sparse profile Mediocre Messages ● Suggestive, but not outright obscene ● Only talks about your physical appearance, but isn’t lascivious ● Impersonal, but starts a conversation: “Any plans for the weekend?

Alikewise, Christian Connection, Christian Cupid, Christian Dating for Free, Christian Mingle, Christian Cafe, Christian Crush, Compatible Partners, Dating for Seniors, Gay Cupid, Gay.com, Gaydar.net, Hornet, JDate, JPeople Meet, Muslima, One Scene, Our Time, Pink Cupid, Pink Sofa, Single Parent Love Though she emphasizes that quality is crucial, matchmaker and online dating expert Carmelia Ray points out that “as a user, you want to have the most selection and options.

When you’re putting in your search criteria, and it’s coming back ‘no matches found,’ that’s a bummer.” But information about the size and activity of sites is hard to find.

Match Group, for example, says it has 59 million active monthly users, roughly 3.5 million paid subscribers worldwide, and 2.4 million paid subscribers in North America — but Match Group includes Ok Cupid, Match.com, Plenty of Fish, Tinder, many others.

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