We decode popular dating websites to help you find love online.
The Matchmaker's Choice
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Even professional matchmakers use online dating sites. Author of Become Your Own Matchmaker Patti Stanger partnered up with popular Jewish dating site JDate and launched P.S. XOXO, a dating site that's unique because it not only helps you meet someone; it also teaches you how to date.
"The good thing about this site is that you get my professional and expert dating advice," Stanger says. "I teach visitors how to 'pick and hunt' for their perfect mates, how to respond when someone reaches out to you, and I give you the 'rules' you should be following for online dating."
The Love Equation
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OK Cupid is a free site that uses a "math-based" matchmaking system. It works by using a calculated formula based on your answers to specific questions, how you'd like someone else to answer, and how important that question is to you. Sounds complicated but the site's founders say it works. You can also narrow singles down by age range and location.
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Match.com is considered to be the 'pioneer' of online dating sites, having been around now for more than 15 years. It boasts celebrity users like Jenny McCarthy and Ricki Lake. However, according to dating expert and author of Flyness, Match may not be the best choice for everyone. "Numbers don't lie. This site has 20 million users for a reason," he says, "however, nowadays, paid matchmaking services are an unnecessary feature and can be crippling when there are so many other sites available."
The Marriage Maker
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According to a Harris Interactive survey commissioned by dating site eHarmony, about 2 percent of marriages in the U.S. today are the result of a connection made on the site. "The thing I like about this site is that they choose your matches for you," says Vondie Lozano, a California-based licensed marriage and family therapist. "This is great for a number of reasons. The most important being it takes you out of your pattern of always choosing the same ‘type' of potential mate because if always choosing based on your ‘type' hasn't worked in the past, it isn't going to work now."
The Big Fish
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With more than 37 million active users, Plenty of Fish claims to be the 'largest and most visited' dating site in America today. "In the ever-changing industry of online dating, we have been able to remain an innovator of online dating with 700,000 members using our site via mobile apps each and every day, while still offering our services for free," says the site's founder Markus Frind. "With our massive existing user base and over one million new sign-ups each month, [POF] is proof that the ideal online dating experience doesn't have to cost a dime."
Just for Jews…
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The proof is in the pudding. Or in this case, underneath the chuppah. According to a study by Research Now, JDate is responsible for more Jewish marriages than all other online dating sites combined.
"JDate provides a global network where Jewish singles can find friendship, romance and life-long partners within the Jewish faith," says the site's parent company's spokesperson, Arielle Schechtman, of Spark Networks.
The Church-Goer's Choice
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ChristianMingle is the fastest growing online Christian community with nearly two million singles joining this year alone, says Schechtman. "ChristianMingle is specifically designed for singles looking to date, make meaningful connections, and marry within their faith. Our deepest desire is to see our members grow in their relationships with Christ, while living out their spiritual journeys."
Bible studies, testimonials, and a prayer requests wall are some of the additional features the site offers to members.
Personality, Not Looks
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While a snazzy picture may be what catches the average online dater's attention, with Chemistry.com, singles are matched via a doctor-designed 'personality quiz.' Once you take the test, you find out your 'personality type' and then receive personalized matches of other members who fit your type.