It’s no secret online dating has changed the way people meet. While some people still find online dating strange or scary, according to the data, nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population is using some form of online dating service. Here’s a round-up of some of the most popular — as well as some interesting alternatives.
OkCupid: Perhaps one of the most popular of the free dating sites, OkCupid uses a mathematical algorithm to determine compatibility based on user-generated questions. “Most other matching sites are just glorified personals services,” reads the website. OkCupid says it’s algorithm is extremely accurate if you’re honest and know what you want.”
Match.com: This is the dating site that started circulating the statistic that one-in-five relationships starts online. It’s a paid service, with a host of filtering options including location, race, religion and political affiliation.
Plenty of Fish: Still the top free online dating site in the U.S., POF was started by a guy who was “tired of faceless corporate dating sites preying on singles.” The forums are one of the site’s unique features, which many people claim is the reason they signed up in the first place.
eHarmony: The goal with eHarmony is to match people for long term compatibility. According to the website, more than 400 people get married every day as a result of being matched by eHarmony.
Ashley Madison: Because of its basic premise of matching people up for discreet affairs, Ashley Madison has been a lightning rod for controversy in recent years. However, the company founder says the site is most active following Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and, you guessed it, Valentine’s Day.
Adult Friend Finder: Not everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. AdultFriendFinder.com caters to a different kind of primal human desire. The website boasts itself the world’s largest sex-dating and swingers’ community. Caveat emptor: While some have used AFF successfully, others claim it’s full of fake profiles.
Other Niches: There are plenty of other niche dating sites. For gay dating and hookups there’s Adam4Adam. There’s ChristianMingle.com, LDSSingles.com and JDate.com for those who want to find a match made in heaven. There are also a host of ethnic-specific sites for those so inclined, including BlackPlanet.com for Black dating, CherryBlossoms.com for Asian dating and MiGenteAmor.com for Latin dating.
While most of the sites above have a mobile version, there are also mobile apps dedicated to helping people find a love connection.
Grindr: The website says it’s location based social-networking, but many consider Grindr a gay hook-up app.
Tinder: This app has been called a “no-bull,” “hot or not” dating game for your phone. There’s no about me section, just a series of pictures for users to base the decision of whether or not they like someone.
Grouper: Positioned as a “social club,” Grouper is essentially blind dating with your friends. The app matches up two people, those two people bring two friends and presto! A group date.
Charm: This new app from the creators of MeetMe enables users to load 3-10 second videos to their profile, instead of pictures. No about me section, just a few quick clips so you get a sense of someone’s personality.
Singles Around Me: SAM is a mobile dating app that connects singles between 100 feet and 100 miles of their location. Users can also “shift” their locations to protect their privacy. Still, rather than browsing a bunch of profiles, SAM’s goal is to connect people on-the-go and in real life.
Image credit: Richard Elzey