Obscure dating sites
Not into the idea of creating a full-blown dating profile? As opposed to a matching algorithm that evaluates your answers to various questions, Tinder is all about first impressions — your photos are the most prominent part of your profile.
And it’s easy to get started: upload a few snaps from your Facebook profile, add an optional bio, and start swiping through other users in your area.
We tested any with at least a million active users in the US.
It’s impossible to know exactly how many users are active on a given site or app (especially because mobile users aren’t reflected in Alexa data), but we’re definitely in the ballpark.
At per month it’s the most expensive option out there, but had the highest number of blank profiles.
Meanwhile, Plenty of Fish lives up to its name — we received twice as many messages compared to Ok Cupid.
Since our tester was a straight woman, her experience with online dating is weighted more toward receiving messages than sending messages.
(According to a study from Ok Cupid, the majority of women don’t send the first message in online dating conversations — but they get great results when they do.) To keep our judgments as objective as possible, we used a rubric to categorize each message: Unfortunately — but perhaps not all that surprisingly — the majority of the messages we received on traditional dating sites were mediocre or downright bad. To send someone a message, both users have to indicate they’re interested by “swiping right” on their profile.
We can confidently recommend Ok Cupid, Match.com, Tinder, and Bumble.
But of course, without your voice, it’s hard for your personality to shine through in your profile.
The best ones strike a balance between both approaches.
No other dating site works as hard to deliver you the exact right partners, and that means results: In our testing, we found the highest percentage of good matches with Ok Cupid, and the second-highest percentage of high-quality messages.
To unlock features like incognito mode, read receipts, and a larger inbox, you can upgrade to a paid plan for per month, but we think the free version is more than enough to get started.