Online dating services don’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, there are a dozens of free websites out there for meeting singles, from OK Cupid to Plenty of Fish to Connecting Singles. For the budget minded, this seems like a pretty good deal. Why pay to meet people online when this can be done for free?
However, as is the case with any way of meeting people, there are advantages and disadvantages of free online dating sites. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider.
Advantages of Free Online Dating Sites
Of course, the most obvious advantage of free online dating sites is that they don’t cost anything. There’s never any guarantee that dating services will work, and if they don’t, those costly fees can seem like even more of a burden. Moreover, free dating services often offer the exact same features as paid ones, including compatibility tests.
Another advantage of online dating sites is that because they’re free, singles can experiment until they find the right site. With paid sites, it can be pretty costly to join three or four of them with hopes of finding the best choice. However, the cost of joining free sites doesn’t add up at all. For that matter, singles also have the option to join both a paid site and free sites to see what’s best.
Free online dating services also are a good way to “test the waters” of online dating. This kind of dating works really well for some singles and poorly for others. With a free site, there’s nothing lost if the user decides this isn’t the best way to meet people.
Disadvantages of Free Online Dating Sites
Although online dating services can be advantageous, they also pose a few problems. Often, one problem with free online dating services is that fewer people are on these sites. Although the free sites are gaining in popularity, they still lack the name recognition of sites like Match.com and eHarmony.com. For the time being at least, there are generally fewer people to meet on the free sites than on the paid ones.
Another disadvantage of free online dating sites is one that many daters don’t like to admit: the paid ones are more financially “selective.” Paid dating sites “weed out” individuals who can’t afford to pay the fees, and free ones do not.
An additional problem with free online dating services is that they tend to attract spammers, who join these websites for free so that they can put ads in the chat rooms and on other parts of the website. They can also send unsolicited emails to users.
Also, security issues may be more of an issue on free dating service websites. Large dating service companies have a reputation to protect, and thus they are careful to protect personal information and maintain a secure site. This may not be the case at a free site.
Free Dating Services: The Best Way for Singles to Meet?
Are online dating services the best option? On the one hand, they’re free and allow singles to test the waters of Internet dating. On the other hand, these sites can have problems with security and spammers, and may offer fewer users. Fortunately, because these sites are free, there’s no financial reason not to give them a try, so perhaps singles should see for themselves if free online dating services work for them.