What is the Best Online Dating Site?

What is the Best Online Dating Site

Even in this “alternative fact” world, I’m always surprised when I’m asked to defend online dating, because it needs no defense.

Yet I’ve written a book about online dating called “I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book.”

I created e-Cyrano profile writing to help attract higher quality prospects online.

I took everything I knew about online dating and put it into Finding the One Online.

I even did a TEDx talk explaining how to avoid bad dates and get better first dates online.

Moral of the story: I’ve spent a lot of time in the world of online dating – both as a single man who went on over 300 online dates, and as a coach who has helped women navigate online dating sites with more joy and success.

Even in this “alternative fact” world, I’m always surprised when I’m asked to defend online dating, because it needs no defense.

Yet when you do a survey, as Consumer Reports did, of 115,000 subscribers, you get a really mixed bag when you listen to their collective experience:

“Our findings tell an almost contradictory story. On the one hand, the numbers indicate that these sites are helping people find mates. A whopping 44 percent of respondents who tried online dating said the experience led to a serious long-term relationship or marriage. That kind of connection rate would shatter Hall of Fame records, at least in baseball.

But the responses from the more active group suggest they’re highly frustrated. They gave online dating sites the lowest satisfaction scores Consumer Reports has ever seen for services rendered–lower even than for tech-support providers, notoriously poor performers in our ratings.”

Yep. That sounds about right. There are people like me (and the readers who purchase my products) who know all the flaws of online dating, but succeed anyway.

And there are people like – well, you know who you are – who think online dating sucks, the opposite sex is terrible, and the whole endeavor is a big waste of time.

That may be your personal experience. But don’t the 44% of people who found love online thoroughly invalidate the argument that every man is out for sex, every woman is crazy, and all the effort never amounts to anything?

If you STILL find yourself clinging to the “online dating doesn’t work” worldview, I hate to break it to you: it’s not online dating that’s not working. It’s the way you’re using it.

Just like it’s not the gym’s fault when you don’t drop 20lbs, it’s not OkCupid’s fault that the wrong men write to you and the right men don’t write back.

Around 20% of all marriages start with online dating.

So why hasn’t it worked for you?

You may think the issue lies with choosing the “best online dating site.”

It doesn’t, no more than your quest to lose weight lies with choosing the “best” option among 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox or Crunch. That said, some dating sites are “better” than others, inasmuch as they have more active profiles in your area.

If you want to see a list of the “best” dating sites, per Consumer Reports, click here.

Nothing surprising. OkCupid finished #1 because it’s fun and free. Same with Tinder, Grindr and PlentyOfFish. When it comes to paid sites, JDate and Match take the top slots; not surprisingly, these are the sites that I used the most when single.

If you STILL find yourself clinging to the “online dating doesn’t work” worldview, I hate to break it to you: it’s not online dating that’s not working. It’s the way you’re using it.

But I would really encourage you to stop looking for a dating site to solve your dating problems. Ultimately, the common denominator in every dating situation is you.

That’s not an accusation or a condemnation. That’s a fact. One that applied equally to me on my 300 date quest to figure out what I was doing wrong in love.

So if you don’t get many dates “in real life” and are serious about finding love now, do yourself a favor and click here to learn more about Finding the One Online.

I’ll teach you everything you need to write a powerful profile, post photos that get the right kind of attention, screen out bad dates before you meet in person, understand what the opposite sex is going through, and attract the “best” people online.

By the way, men, this is a unisex product, so ignore the marketing language for women. Want to know why I LIKE online dating and was able to get so many dates? Click here and I’ll explain it to you, step by step.

22 Comments

  1. GoWiththeFlow

    Evan,
    I’m old enough to have spent all of my 20s and part of my 30s only having the old-fashioned IRL dating option.  Believe me, we complained about how hard it was and how much it sucked back in the day.  Dating is an area where we are making ourselves vulnerable and experiencing disappointment and rejection.  When you look at it like that, it would be unusual for us human beings to not regard the experience with trepidation.

  2. Hi GoWithTheFlow,
    If I remember correctly you have tried most methods of dating: online, matchmaker, speed dating, singles events -thought I am not sure about meetups.
    I would love to hear your critique of the pro and cons of each.
    I am assuming (though I may be wrong) that one is not better than the other, they are all just different methods for trying to arrive at the same result.
    However, from what I have read (online) meetups and speed dating would be ranked low, but using a matchmaker would be the least useful.

  3. Miss Dancer

    Gowiththegflow,
    Yes, I would to know about your experience with each as well. I want to give online dating a try but I’m feeling nervous about it.

  4. Tron Swanson

    The Internet has been a lifesaver, for me. Sure, trying to find women online is an incredible uphill battle, but it’s still better than my pre-Internet situation. I won’t go into all the details, but I wasn’t (and am still not) the sort of guy that most women want. But the online world opened up new options for me. In a way, I’m very lucky that I was born when I was, because I came of age at almost exactly the right moment.

  5. Online dating can work.  My fiance and I met online.  He had the opposite online dating experience from me.  He had been online for years, with only a very small amount of ‘success.’  I had been online only briefly, relatively shortly after ending a different relationship – and only after considering what sites I wanted to be on.  Personally, I didn’t want to be on a free site.  I was a full time student and single mom who also worked, and I was concerned that sorting through a lot of people would take too much time.  Although, having a very young child helped weed out a lot of people who weren’t suitable.  I then signed up for one paid site that after a few months and a very few dates, I determined had the wrong demographic for me (although I didn’t mind going on one date a month, I felt that most people on the site were in a different place in life than I was).  Then I signed up for a different paid site that I determined would be a better demographic, and a couple of dates and a couple of months in, I met my fiance.  Had my fiance given up on online dating, we never would have met – and that would have been both of our losses (although, if I had had his luck online, who knows if I would have stuck it out as long as he did).  He kept writing to people, he never gave up – although he occasionally took breaks to regroup and rebrand.  He didn’t become bitter from his experiences, which weren’t all fulfilling.  And he remained a gentleman.  Different things work for different people.  Online dating is a useful way to meet a lot of people when you don’t have many opportunities for contact with appropriate partners in real life.  My fiance’s strategy online was being persistent, whereas my online strategy was to sort, sort, sort before going on dates – as well as trying to have some communication prior to dates so I could tell if it was worth it to go on a date.  Things like calling late at night, only communicating through text, not calling when we set a time to talk were things I used to decide that it wasn’t worth going on a date with the person – as nice as they may have been.  Those were just things that didn’t work for me, since I found it hard to get to know someone over text, instead of email or phone conversation.  Also, as a full time student, single mom of a young child, and a someone who worked a lot of hours, I wanted to be in contact only with people who could be courteous about communicating when we set a time to do so – same as I stuck to the time we agreed on to honor their schedule and be courteous in return.  I know this comment is long, but I just wanted to share that online dating can work.

  6. A while ago I had a chat with a friend of mine about the ups and downs of online dating. I told her how in the past two years i have been on a lot of dates and even dated a few guys in a serious way, but apart from quite a few fun times there hasn’t been the outcome i wished (a mutual interest in pursuing an LTR with each other). She then told me that she admired my guts in putting myself out there and confessed that she hadn’t been on a date for 8 years. Eight. My jaw dropped. She’s pretty, fun, stable, the whole works. But she has a full time job, solitary hobbies, and spends most of the rest of her time with her family and coupled up friends. She is happy with her life the way it is, but it impedes her from meeting men she could have a relationship with. She fears the feelings of rejection and disappointment and therefore thinks it’s not worth the bother.
    Once you are out of the college years, it’s very easy to slip into this type of life. If we are lucky, we have great stability with a job, our own apartment and a solid set of friends and family and it’s very easy to just stay in your little cocoon and to not pursue bigger things. Online dating is the very opposite of that cocoon and flings you out of your comfort zone into a world full of strangers, complicated emotions, and sometimes illogical seeming levels of rejection. You will go on a string of beige dates whereby if you are lucky you at least had an interesting conversation but whereby it’s obvious you would never be physically or emotionally attracted to him, not even on a baseline level. If you are lucky, the feeling is mutual and you will have no contact after that. If you are unlucky, one or two of these dates will have misread your politeness and be very interested in you. You will have to send the thanks but no thanks text/e-mail and field awkward messages asking why you don’t want a second date when you seemed so enthusiastic during the first. After the tenth beige date, you will suddenly meet a guy that you do have chemistry with, your joy will feel as if it has no equal, only to never hear from him again because you were a beige date for him. Or even worse, you go on a series of dates with him, your hopes become ever higher, only to hear after the fifth/sixth date that he’s just not feeling it or that there is a dealbreaker which neither of you can get past (they are not over their ex or divorce is a frequent one you will run into after 30). Then it’s time for another round of five to ten beige first dates. This is the case even if you read Evan’s blog religiously, and address your internal issues which are holding you back. The latter ensures that your truly sh*t dates are kept to a minimum, and that you don’t go crazy or attack your self esteem when things aren’t going your way. But it’s not going to prevent online dating being an adventurous but exhausting process.
    So why do it? My hopes for an LTR with a man i feel attracted to on an emotional and physical level continue to be high. But I also feel i have learnt a lot about communication, connection and human nature in general. These past two years have been very enrichening, and I have met a lot of men who i would not have met otherwise. Plus, you learn how to talk to strangers and put them at ease at a masterful level. If nothing else, it’s made my current job search a lot easier!

  7.  
    Malika, You describe so many people I know. (and myself).
    Its very difficult to form a relationship with someone outside your social network.  Even if you meet with someone regularly.   Also, some  women go into fields where there are not many single men.  As time goes by without a date or relationship, the whole process becomes more alien and the emotional ups and downs start to cloud your critical thinking.  I have a friend who was on match for several months and she finally gave her number out.  When the guy called her, she called me and asked me what to do. I told her, “Call back”, but she though that calling back would give the man the wrong idea.  She was 34 years old at the time!  I think she met one man in person and today other friends are asking her questions about online dating as if she is seasoned pro.

  8. Malika
    Well said! I’m 55 and work at home and only recently started going somewhere once a week just for fun and to increase my odds of meeting men.
    I’ve been online dating for more than two years, ever since my separation. Now I’m divorced. If it were not for the men I’ve met on dating sites over these past two-plus years, I wouldn’t have gone on oné date. Not one.
    Because of online dating, I communicate with potential dates almost every day and go out with a minimum of one new man per month when I’m not in a relationship.
    Because of online dating, I’ve had three relationships since my separation. They were short but I learned from them.
    My dating life exists because I religiously use dating sites. Like you, I keep at it. Why?  Because my desire to find the man I’ll love growing old with is infinitely stronger than any reason I could think of to quit.
     
     
     

  9. Yet Another Guy

    @Barbara
    It is my opinion that online dating is a very different experience for those of us who are 50+. For many of us, online dating is the only opportunity we get to meet an unattached member of the opposite sex.
    By the way, I have taken a lot of what you said about fifty-something women to heart. While my attitude toward dating is at an all-time low, I decided to purchase the Kindle version of a book by John Gottman that GWtF suggested the other day. I am only few chapters into the book. Much of what has been discussed thus far is old news to me, but there was one thing that I did not know; namely, the area of a man’s brain that controls arousal is located near the part of the brain that controls vision. That is why men are so visual.
    Another thing that was quite shocking was the level to which the author highlights female fear. I knew that women were drawn to men for protection. That is a female primal need. Women seeking men for protection is pretty obvious to linebacker-sized guy like me. I have had more than one women tell me that she feels safe when she is out with me. What I did not know is that women feel real fear on a regular basis. Men almost never feel fear. There are times when I feel the need to maintain situational awareness, but I am big enough that other men find easier targets.
    Where I am going with this line of thought? Well, I now understand why women are so cautious with me when it comes to online dating. I am a big guy, but I mind my Ps and Qs. I would never consider harming a woman. That thought does not even register with my brain. However, the women I meet do not know that I mind my Ps and Qs. If I extrapolate this reality to all men, there is little wonder why online dating is scary to most women.

  10. Emily, the original

    YAG,
     It is my opinion that online dating is a very different experience for those of us who are 50+. For many of us, online dating is the only opportunity we get to meet an unattached member of the opposite sex.
    I haven’t done online dating, but to piggyback on what you’re written … yes, once you get a bit older (40s, 50s) it is difficult to meet people who are unattached. On the rare times that I do (in a meetup group, for example), I almost feel that I’m being pressured to like the person, from the other people there or from the person himself. (As in: I’m single. You’re single. Why don’t you like me? Do you feel that from women?) I have become very cautious in how I interact so that my behavior does not in anyway signal interest if I don’t feel any.
     

  11. Hey YAG
    I’m so glad you’re giving women in our age bracket a shot. I’d love to hear how that goes for you.
    What Gottman wrote about women regularly feeling afraid made me pause. I’m not typical when it comes to that. Yes, I feel afraid walking down a dark street when I hear footsteps behind me. But I always turn around and look the person in the eye so they will know I clearly see them and I am not intimidated. I learned this strategy a long time ago–not to show fear in these kinds of situations. People who mean you harm want an easy target, not someone who looks like she can take you on.
    There countless similar things I do. I’m just a risk taker. Sometimes I’ve done stupid things because of that. But, mostly, taking risks has propelled me forward.
    At 25, I packed all my things on top of my car and moved from Cleveland to NYC to be an actor. For four years, I often worked until 2 am in a midtown Chinese restaurant, at which I was the only black server, and took the subway to Brooklyn and, later, to upper Manhatten, past Harlem (I moved).
    During one of these trips, I kept falling asleep, missing my stop, and riding to the end of the line in the Bronx to the end of the line in Brooklyn. I was the only person in my car. Then, I awoke and looked up to find what appeared to be a young gang member hovering above me. He said: “Don’t fall asleep on the train.” I remember feeling afraid then and not falling asleep again even though I was exhausted. Then the young man started comparing firearms from a catalogue with another gang-member-looking guy and I realized they were undercover cops.
    My point is, I don’t scare easily and even if I’m afraid, if I’m pursuing a goal, I force myself to go for it in spite of my fear. This is also why I jumped head on into online dating. I could never allow fear to prevent me from achieving a goal. Actually, it is because I don’t give in to fear that I have achieved the goals that matter most to me.
    So big guys like you don’t scare me. Online dating doesn’t scare me. Having a man pick me up at my house after we’ve gotten to know each other through messages and phone calls doesn’t scare me.
    What honestly scares me is the thought of approaching the last moment of my life and wishing I hadn’t been too scared to go for the things I really wanted.

  12. YAG
    Correction: Not that it matters to anyone but me, but I was 23 when I moved to NYC.

  13. YAG
    I want to add that even though I’m always pushing myself past my fears, for most of my life I never felt truly protected by a man other than my father.
    My ex husband did not know how to be a protector. When he offered no protection at a time when it was really needed, that was the last straw for me. I moved out after a 22-year marriage.
    Two of the boyfriends I’ve had since then were protectors. I didn’t know I was missing the feeling of protectiveness they provided until they provided it. Thanks to Evan’s advice, with them, I stepped back so they could step forward and be protective.
    Knowing what I know now–about myself and men–I would never again consider dating a man who did not see it as his role to protect me and his other loved ones.
     

  14. Malika, I love your term of ‘beige date’. It so well sums up the mildly interesting but no chemistry kinds of dates I have experienced.

  15. Beige is the best word to describe the experience. The conversation is fun, you both had a laugh, you received a book/film reccomendation you would have never thought of otherwise and no way could you describe the evening as a waste of time. But baseline level of chemistry? The sound of silence.

  16. Barbara:  “my desire to find the man I’ll love growing old with is infinitely stronger than any reason I could think of to quit.”    Very wise words.
    I’m on Match, eH, tinder, bumble, pof, coffee meets bagel.  Looked into ourtime.  was on jdate once and hated it.  I was raised Jewish but Jewish women aren’t my cup of tea.  eH seems to be the best for me with Match a close runner up.  Nothing’s come from any of the other ones but I’m on there because it’s all a crap shoot and you never know.  I did have one relationship from eH and one from Match, and one mutual friend setup, and lots of 1-4 week things, and I’ve been OLD for 5 years.  Having a 2nd date with someone from eH this weekend.  She seems really nice and really interested.   I would consider meetup to be another OLD site even though it technically isn’t but everyone there is divorced (in my age and interests) so it might as well be considered.  I’ve dated a few from meetup and know of one marriage from it.  I like how eH only gives you a few people to look at every day.  That way, it’s not so much of an overwhelming catalog mentality like match.  They do seem to have a lot of inactive “members.”  A minister friend recently said that a vast majority of the marriages she performs are from OLD and most of those are from eH.  I joined eH the next day.

  17. Yet Another Guy

    That is too funny. I was raised Catholic, but I am a Jewish girl magnet. About 30% of the women I meet were at least raised Jewish. It is not like I seek out Jewish women. Most of the time, I do not know that they were raised Jewish until we meet because they claim “Spirtual, but not religious” or some other religious preference.

  18. Well I know you’re not going to believe it but before the internet I (and many others) met people by going out to singles events as well as bars. Also used newspaper “personals” which although tedious at the time was still occasionally successful. Never had a problem meeting women although I’d hit the occasional slump/drought.
    Now going into my 20th year of “online dating” which has turned basically into “phone app dating” for most but not me (I’d love to know what percentage of people have never even been on a website and just use the apps?) I still occasionally meet someone from Match or POF but I can tell that being in my 50’s it isn’t like it was in my 40’s or late 30’s and probably isn’t going to get “better” as I age. It is what it is, yes I’m a little burnt out on it and probably don’t put as much effort as I used to. Life will go on. I don’t sit home, I actually go out to watch live music 2 or 3 times a week because I love it. No clubs but the occasional singles event. I think the desire naturally dwindles a bit as we get older and that’s ok. For young people app dating is a fun game, I’m sure it won’t end in our lifetime.

  19. Mista.ecks

    Unless you’re one of those guys that women complain about and pretend to be annoyed by, online dating is a waste of men’s time and money…PERIOD!

  20. Yet Another Guy

    The problem with online dating is that men generally do not recognize their target audience. Most men treat dating sites like candy stores where one can date up. Another problem is that men do not take the time to compose a good profile and write messages that women actually want to read.
    In the world of online dating, men have to get used to the reality that the standard female modes of operation are “like seeks like” and “maximizing one’s opportunity” (a.k.a. dating up). While a lesser attractive man can score with a more attractive women IRL by demonstrating higher value in other areas, he is competing on a level playing field with a lot of other men in the looks department on online dating sites. The only other thing that a man has to distinguish himself from other men who have comparable credentials is his narrative. Educated women tend to be grammar Nazis. Men who write well stand out from the rest of the pack.

  21. I’ve been seeing new ones on my FB feed – Tawkify (a matchmaker service for LA), MeetMindful (for the spiritual not religious) and AtheistDating (obv, for atheists).  I’m considering trying one of them once I get summer pictures.

  22. It’s great to hear  about everyone’s heart-felt experiences with online dating. I’ve been a follower of Evan’s for several years, have used his products, and truly believe that he’s really on the right track. I feel he gives us great tools to step up and BE adults who are willing to be more open and savvy about the opposite sex. I appreciate you immensely, Evan!
    There probably aren’t too many 67 yr. old women who write comments on this site but here I am! I have a great life, lots of energy, financially stable, very cute (I’ve been told many times!) and there are days when I have to just give myself a pep talk that there ARE some cool guys out there who are well educated, respectful, honest and really conscious about themselves and their desire to be a great partner with a loving, independent  woman (in my age group). And having a fun sense of humor is a must!
    All of that said, I’m continuously turned off by so many horrible selfies, guys who refuse to take off their sunglasses, misspell words, and use a profile picture with others in it…I can’t even tell who the actual “wanna be dater” is? And then there are the 30 yr old chiseled naked men…Yikes. Let’s not forget all of those cats, dogs, birds…or other pets in their profile picture. It’s all exhausting and discouraging at times. But life is more fun with a wonderful partner and I know mine is out there, waiting to meet me! I do enjoy my own company just fine but it’s way too hard to snuggle with myself just using a pillow LOL!!
    So, I keep honing my profile with some timely stories, desires and dreams, update my photo, go “inactive” for brief periods of time and just hang in there. It’s all really a big numbers game and I’m confident that 1 winning number will come up for me! Call me the eternal optimist. Keeps life fun and interesting!!

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