I’ve done dating sites before. I had remarked on an old-old post here about how much I disliked where I was going with Plenty of Fish (the types of profiles I was exposed to and how there was no positive contact). I’ve made friends and romantic interests through old sites now gone, Match.com and even Plenty of Fish. It’s not all bad out there but the platform for Plenty of Fish keeps me away from it.
With few contacts of recent who have led to a wider social world or romantic promise, I’ve tried two platforms in recent months and both have been dreadful for very different reasons.
An arcane platform out of the late-90’s/early 00’s (at least that’s the way it was in my experience in 2015), Lavalife didn’t feel secure (password size limitations, for example) and being contacted almost outright by spammers/scammers. Pair the clunky, arcane aspect and security issues with the base of the site users being in Canada (that’s not a security flaw, that’s just a distance from each other that prevents actual want to reach out / make contact). All together it just didn’t work. Neither did the brief free trial and then forced paid-subscriber switch to continue.
I do have friends who end up getting married after meeting through the platform and it did remind me of American Singles where I was reached out to and met a friend off the network waaaay in the past. Lavalife trying to stick with that template so-many years after the fact is flawed though. It’s too limited in profile information for it’s users, giving them little reason to stick around before forcing them to pay to continue. I didn’t last on there. My friends who met and forged a relationship did it long before the switch-to-subscriber standard was put into effect.
This is the dating site I wanted to vent about the most when I started writing this out, as I spent a good length of time on that powerful platform that led to contact from two women total in more than a year of use. Two total contacts after how-many messages sent on my part? Friendly conversation attempts to get things started, not Mr. Pervert antics that are far too common on dating site messages to women (from what I’ve been told by friends). And after investing time in reading profiles, seeking people with high match ratings (more on that in a jiff), no one had responded to a conversation I attempted to start while only one of those two women who contacted me led to a friendly and sustained conversation. It didn’t lead to anything besides some casual and friendly chats, but that’s better than the immediate-social-meeting-because-me-and-my-girlfriend-are-new-to-town antics from the other woman who contacted me.
OK Cupid is a powerhouse platform, as I said, free of charge with solid technology, but it’s flawed deeply. While some users use laptops or PCs to write their profiles and interact on the site, too many others are doing their work (and searches) mobile and won’t make much of an effort to build a profile, let alone communicate. The site tries to extort you into paying a monthly fee to see those who “like” your profile/picture (and a few other bells and whistles), but that’s just an ultra-easy, lazy and stupid means of interaction with someone you take interest in or are aroused by. That “like” system is playing off social media and catering to impulse by mobile users but leaves out the complication of accountability. You like a profile or a photo? Great, congrats, now send a message and break the ice. That’s why a person is on that platform to begin with – to be social. Might as do your part and actually socialize.
OK Cupid also employs a survey/question and answer system that is also a huge flaw. Many, many questions are asked for the topics of ethics, religion, dating, sex, lifestyle and other general shit. They’re all available for you to help set a “match percentage” with other site members. The whole thing is a time occupying sham that defies the basic concept of getting to know someone, let alone finding out things in common or adjusting your habits to suit someone else. It’s possible to click with someone who has different wants / needs / craves that we see as polarizing negatives. The fact that match percentages might be thrown off by the most useless, unimportant differences in opinion (or bolstered by mundane things you don’t care about in a potential friend/date/romantic interest). With that and how so many members don’t even review that stuff adds to the throw-off aspect of the system.
There’s also the aspect the questions – which are all elective to answer, by the way – have a very wide gray area in reality but are presented as black-or-white, yes-or-no in OK Cupid. “It Depends” is a truth with certain questions, let alone with how you’d react to certain people you forged a personal connection with regarding their habits, desires or beliefs and what not.
I’ll note here that Match.com owns OK Cupid and now Plenty of Fish. Between how common spam is from people with affiliations to Match, with how bare-bones and weak Plenty of Fish can be, and with how closed off OK Cupid is by way of laziness and anti-social habits from it’s members, I’ve got to search for a better site if I want to try that form of socializing again. At this rate, I have a better chance of meeting someone though Twitter than on an up-front dating site.