Online Dating - Quantity or Quality?

Enough negativity about dating for now, something positive in this post is called for.
We need to find the right online dating site for you to join. There are things you need to consider at this point, before registering for any sites.

Most online daters will join 2 or 3 sites (which I find really funny because people think they will meet a whole new group of people but of course they thought the same and joined the same sites, so you meet the same people on all the sites) but it does offer more variety if you are looking for quantity.

Do you want quantity or quality? It is a great advertisement to be able to claim 5 million members worldwide but what does that really mean for you? Can you afford to jet off to Geneva, New York or Bangkok next month to meet someone you have been casually chatting to online? If the answer is yes, I will volunteer to carry your bags! Most of us can’t afford to do this, so while I agree it is exciting receiving emails from the other side of the world, I doubt this brings you any closer to actually meeting a real live person.

An example of a niche site is my own Country Couples which is designed for rural singles and people that love the countryside, animals etc. But niche sites exist for just about every interest.

If you just like to chat to people online then go for a big free site, you will soon be learning about life in different cultures and making friends all over the globe. There are millions of people that join community sites for this very purpose, they just like chatting to new people.

Also if you are just looking for casual encounters then again the big free sites are ideal, as you are likely to meet many more people and let’s be honest you are not really concerned about shared interests or what they might be looking for in a partner. ‘Hooking up’ with like minded people is much easier on these sites and the number of people to choose from makes the mind boggle.

But what if you are genuinely looking to meet people for possible offline friendships or relationships? Here I strongly suggest you look for smaller niche market sites, servicing only the UK and ones that charge for membership. Why pay? Because most of the casual seekers will not pay to join a site, they can get what they are looking for on the free sites. It need not cost a fortune, I would not pay more than £10 to £15 a month and that is less than a single night out at the pub would cost, hell it is less than the taxi ride home.

So let us break the claim of ‘millions of members’ down into some meaningful figures. If you have some time on your hands on a rainy afternoon it is quite a fun experiment (okay so I need to get out more!).
I put the following search into a large worldwide site claiming 5 million members: seeking men between 40 and 50 in the UK.

You have to agree that is not being too picky and should bring back a huge selection of profiles, well they do have 5 million members don’t they!

Search results = 167 profiles to view

WOW I am so underwhelmed. Of those 167 I have no idea if any of them share a single interest with me. The figure is so low because they only allow me to search in my post code area.

Same search for a niche site in the UK

Search results = 106 and here I know every man shares a common interest with me, it gives us something to chat about.

My odds of meeting someone that I can click with and enjoy spending time with is actually better on the niche site, so the 5 million members is in my opinion a great advertising gimmick but meaningless if I was really searching.

Decide what you are interested in, perhaps dancing or music or religion. There are niche sites for everyone and if your niche doesn’t have a site just tell me and it soon will have. No niche site coming up for your interests? Maybe you are not using the right keywords.

This is where search engines come into their own, using keywords they can find the niche market sites. So if you are looking for a site to meet your needs, be search engine savvy and put in the right
keywords. Something like this:

Online dating+rural+countryside+UK
Online dating+dancing+latin+over 50+UK
Online dating+Christian+faith+UK
Online dating+equestrian+horse+UK

Get the idea? So rather than a list of every online dating service in the world, you get sites targeted at your interests and in your country. Beware, I have joined ‘UK only’ sites for research and when you do a search you can choose from countries all over the world – hang on, you said it was a UK site. It is not just the members that tell fibs but that is for another post.

Are you ready to run off and start searching now? Not quite, we need to look at such issues as how to compare the services offered, what about the small print, etc.

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One Response to “Online Dating - Quantity or Quality?”

  1. jann Says:

    I think quality is far more important than quantity - and a site that is tailored for the farming community but welcoming to anyone who loves the countryside is a special bonus; it is also a great way of makiing new friends locally - not just for meeting Mr or Mrs Right.
    A site that is genuinely helpful with a personal touch is something very special. I am a member of Country Couples and have made some good friends already, as well as getting a great deal of good advice.

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