Match.com – An Extensive Tool For Your Dating Life
It would be negligent of me to review Match.com without first addressing its common perceptions. Match is one of the oldest, largest, most recognizable dating websites. However, when talking to others, I often hear horror stories, or very poor perceptions. I believe it begins with the nature of its business. Unlike websites like OkCupid or PlentyOfFish, to fully use Match’s services, you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription. You can sign up, create a profile, and browse the website for free, but you can’t communicate with other dates, and limited to the full breadth of services offered. The subscription is a barrier for many daters, because it doesn’t guarantee success. Using a free website doesn’t guarantee success either. There’s the potential that you’ll be, throwing your money away. The other preconceived issue about Match, is of the experience. Many have bought subscriptions only to get poor matches. Often, I’m told, that other websites has better matching methods and offer better quality matches.
Over the last three months, I was given access to Match.com for a test drive to review. In the past (sometimes as a free member, other times paying for a subscription), I’ve had mixed results, and many poor experiences. I wanted to give it another go, to address these poor perceptions head on, while objectively using the service. After three months, I can say that Match.com isn’t as bad as many perceive. Even with my experiences, to see how much has changed, and how extensive the service has become was a pleasant surprise. There’s a breadth of tools, to find a date match. While its matching algorithm is a bit wonky at times (typical of every dating website), it is a solid dating website.
Match.com is massive, and has dating tools that are extensive and at times, seem excessive. If you’re looking for a very specific person, the tools are available for you to find plenty of matches based on almost any level of detail. This makes it seem daunting at first, because there’s different options and features to use. The reason for its breadth is due to its extensive profile. While you can easily create a simple, quick profile, Match.com features the most detailed profile creation process I’ve experienced. A simple profile will only give you marginal results. To benefit the most from the service, a well filled out, detailed profile is highly recommended. This means providing details about the types of pets you own, your religion and religious preferences, and the activities you enjoy. At times, it seems as if the process is dating on steroids, with options to fill in your hair and eye color, your specific interests, and whether you’re the oldest child. Their approach and matching algorithm, looks at every detail and finds you matches based on what you’ve filled out. It’s why the profile creation process doesn’t end with your details alone. There are two other sections to fill out, the first titled “About My Date” focuses on the type of person you’re seeking, and are quite detailed as you can choose your preferred appearances; backgrounds and values; and lifestyles. After placing your preferences and information about you, the last section, which is the most daunting, is the part of your profile. Here, you offer a headline, and describe yourself. However, this isn’t the only place where you can talk about yourself. While selecting your interests, hobbies, or even your background and values, there’s extra space to further describe your choices and preferences, which is helpful.
Finding someone on Match.com is just as extensive. There’s 4 ways to search for matches, and 3 ways matches are presented to you. One way or another, you’ll have access to thousands of potential dates. Searching for a match, can be an extensive process, much like the creation of your profile. It’s why there’s so many options to finding dates. There’s a simple quick match, where you can search profiles by age, location and keywords. There’s also an extensive search option, called “Custom Search”, which allows you to cherry pick the features you’re seeking in a match, such as marital status, ethnicity, their height and eye color. The ability to drill-down to your dating specifics is an impressive feature. In my testing, even the most obscure combination of traits provides a reasonable amount of results. Another way to search, is by seeing who’s searching for you, an option made available by the “Reverse Search” option. Here matches are presented based on what other’s say they are looking for. Reverse Search, uses your profile details, and provides a list of people who are looking for someone like you. It’s a feature that I believe needs some refinement, as many of the profiles presented are incomplete, and contain only the broadest information, or hasn’t been filled out.
The last way you can search for matches is a unique feature that bridges searching for matches, and having matches found for you. It’s called “Mutual Match”. Here your profile and preferences, are matched with other profiles, and their preferences. Those that have a compatible combination are displayed, as a match. Mutual Match is a good way to see what types of people are looking for your qualities, and helps gauge your expectations. It’s also leads into ways Match.com finds potential dates for you. The first way is thru the “Daily Five”. Here, you’re presented with at least 5 matches (sometimes 6), and provides the opportunity to choose between “interested” “not interested”, or “maybe”. Each match has three bullet-points, providing a quick snapshot of your compatibility. At times, I feel the matching engine is stretching to create a match. Sometimes I’m matched with a person because “like you, she’s a dog lover,” which could be helpful in sending a message to them. Other times I’m matched thru unhelpful information, such as “she has a slender build” or “like you, she’s an oldest child.” I don’t know if oldest children are more compatible with each other, or how her having a slender build is a great conversation point, but I wish this feature presented more useful information to begin a conversation. With such an extensive profile creation and detail process, I would have thought there would have been a deeper reasoning to a match, instead of purely being born first. Another way potential matches are found, is by presenting a “Singled Out” match. These are people, where Match.com is very confident in the match. Lastly, Match.com has a feature called “Like at First Sight”, where, based on the results of a “Like at First Sight” quiz, 4 to 5 matches are presented.
Finding potential matches, is the strength of Match.com. I’ve had the same amount of success on Match.com, as I’ve had of any other dating website. I can’t stress how easy it is to find matches, even when tailored to specific details. However, because of the breadth of its offerings, the service is intimidating. For the first month, the amount of options available overwhelmed me, and I found myself having to get a grasp for how I wanted to search for someone. At times, I feel that Match provides too much information at once, and wish certain information was presented differently. For instance, the dashboard has a wealth of information, but at times it’s hard to keep track of what’s happening. Another example would be the profiles. Each profile has a great way for you to send a message to someone, but has tool tips about why you two are compatible, that are largely unhelpful. However, with its faults, there’s a lot of good, and potential to find a Match who fits your specific preferences.
The perception that Match.com is a horrible online dating website, isn’t true. While there are some features that are a bit clunky, it’s a very good dating website. There are some pitfalls, the primary being, to truly use the service you need to have a paid subscription. While paying may not guarantee you success, Match.com is so large, and matches profiles in so many ways, you’re guaranteed to find someone within the first month or two of using the service. This is also its pitfall. There are so many people who use the website, from all walks of life, that you will potentially receive a message from someone who you have no interest in dating. This doesn’t make it a poor website, it’s purely a numbers game. In the last month of my testing, they’ve received messages from women, who I wouldn’t consider dating at all. However, I can’t blame them for trying, at the same time, I can’t fault Match.com for its occurrence. Every dating website has that potential to cause mismatches.
While I can recommend Match.com, It’s not for everyone. Unlike some other dating websites, there’s a sense of seriousness to the members who are on the service. Everyone seems to have a goal of what they seek. Of the women I’ve sent messages to, many are more inclined to go on dates, instead of merely fooling around. If you’re considering using Match.com, I would recommend trying it out for a month before purchasing a subscription. This gives you time to become accustomed to its functions, environment, and people who use the service.
Note: For this review, a free membership to Match.com was provided to the author of this post.