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In the meantime, the bottom line is that while some users think quality does come at a price, there are benefits to free dating services as well. Shopping links are provided by e Bay Commerce Network and Amazon, which makes it easy to find the right product from a variety of online retailers.
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Some experts argue that paid sites attract more serious users.
“I typically recommend Match because I’ve found it gives you better quality,” says Jodi Manfredi, who writes online dating profiles professionally.
In the 2016 Consumer Reports Online Dating Survey, more than 9,600 people who had used an online dating service in the last two years were asked which one they had joined.
Forty-eight percent said Match, a paid site, but Plenty Of Fish (free) and e Harmony (paid) tied for second most popular, with 23 percent apiece.
On a site like Ok Cupid anyone can send you a message, whereas on the free app Bumble or on Tinder or e Harmony, only people you are matched with can get in touch.
Kominers thinks online daters could be well served by a service that isn’t quite free but doesn’t involve a subscription fee either.
That's right: all members get full access without paying a dime.
Perhaps beyond just charging for messages, sites could adjust the price according to how high quality someone's engagement seems to be.
So a person who randomly sends out dozens of “hey” messages to would-be dates would have to pay a higher price to make contacts than someone who does it more selectively. Our survey suggests that 45 percent of online daters have tried multiple dating websites or apps.
Inspired by Jiayuan.com, the largest online dating site in China, he thinks dating sites would have happier customers overall if they did away with their current pricing models and charged users per message sent.
“If sending messages had a price or you could send only a fixed number per day, people you contact online would know you had to give up something to do so, which would incentivize better behavior,” he says.But in terms of overall satisfaction, our survey found that free dating sites actually score a touch better than paid ones, probably because they're a better value.