So ... wanna chat some time?
This column originally ran in ComputorEdge on March 11, 2005
Two weeks ago, we looked at the ongoing growth of online dating services. And even that was a follow-up to two earlier columns looking at some of the most popular online dating services.
Today we take a look at the online dating outlets we haven't visited yet. It's an interesting cross-section.
Community plus dating
Tickle isn't just a dating service (it presents itself as a lifestyle site), but it does offer online personals with a pretty good-size user base. There are plenty of categories for helping you find someone you'd click with, and more quizzes to help define your personality than anywhere else. The quizzes are free, so this site is probably worth visiting just for that alone. Again, as with all the online services, you have to pay when you want to contact a potential match.
They also offer a more serious tool called Happy Marriage, for folks looking to settle down. This seems geared toward much the same audience as True.com or eHarmony.com.
More big players
In direct competition with the big boys (Match.com, AOL's Love.com, Yahoo! Personals) is LemonTonic.com, which is built around Microsoft's Internet Messenger. LemonTonic is also both a bit of a throwback and a touch cutting-edge in its use of video profiles yeah, like back in the 1970s and '80s when you would go to real-world services, but not streamed over the 'Net.
udate.com has a fairly large user base, at least in Southern California. It's has the same kind of comprehensive approach as Match.com and Yahoo! Personals trying to meet the needs of both casual daters and those looking for marriage. This service allows you to sign up for e-mail alerts when new potential matches sign up, which is kind of handy.
Dating.com is also in this same niche you can sign up for Dating, Romance or Intimate (kind of like LavaLife). When you browse potential matches' profiles, you can click a button marked I'm Interested, and then they're sent a message and can respond if they like. If you're both interestd, then you both need to subscribe so you can communicate. Seemed to be lots of users here.
Just having fun
There seem to be more online dating services for the casual dater than the person looking for a lifetime commitment. But that's not so different from real life, is it? After all, it's easier to find someone to spend an evening with than to find someone you can build a lifetime with.
Among the services geared more to the crowd that's single and loving it is Lab621.com. This is pretty similar to the previously visited LavaLife quicky, breezy entries with photos that let you quickly find a prospective date. Want to contact? Have to pay. Didn't seem to be too many entries from nearby, either clicking a button marked "new members near me" brought up profiles from other states.
Occupying the same niche as eHarmony.com and True.com is PerfectMatch.com. This is for folks looking to settle down. It's matching system is built around personality types, although shared interests and values also are asked for and presumably in the mix.
There don't seem to be a lot of users on this service, at least not in my area or who came up as matches for me (and hey, don't get smart I'm comparing this to the number of matches at other, similar sites like eHarmony and True).
Lycos' MatchMaker.com is probably a notch below eHarmony, True and PerfectMatch. The questionnaire focuses more on stuff like interests rather than personality type. But there's a free trial period, and there seemed to be a pretty good-sized user base.
DatingResults.com is powered by the previously visited American Singles. Not sure what sets it apart, other than a different marketing spin. It does have a larger and active user base got dozens of results in my area, most of whom had been online in the past few days.
Kiss.com is powered by the uDate engine, but is marketed more to those looking for a serious relationship than is uDate. Not sure how many users it has after awhile, a person gets burned out filling out these forms.
PlanetOut.com is a full-on community, like the religiously oriented sites we visited two weeks ago but aimed at gays and lesbians, much like the Gay.com site we visited alongside the religious sites. In addition to personal ads, there are forums, shopping, news and more.
Finally, there is Great Expectations the old-fashioned dating service that has managed to survive the onslaught of online dating services. While Great Expectations's Web site allows you to fill out a profile, you don't search online, nor do other users search yours. Instead, a Great Expectations representative contacts you to see about enrolling you in their dating services. It's an interesting use of the Web to maintain a traditional business model.
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