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Our survey found that Ok Cupid and Tinder, both free, were more popular among millennials than Generation Xers and baby boomers, who were both more likely to use a paid subscription-based dating website or app.
“I was on a date with a guy who turned out to be a convicted felon.But our research also found that online dating, however painful and time-consuming, often does produce the intended result if you use it well—and persevere.You can find the right person more effectively by choosing the right site, which means determining the demographics it caters to and figuring out whether a large or niche site will best serve your needs.Kate, the government analyst, has started using Tastebuds, a site based on music preferences.Many dating sites rely on matchmaking algorithms the same way that Netflix uses them to recommend movies.They are gatekeepers to a massive population of potential partners; they control who we meet and how. So Consumer Reports decided to survey almost 115,000 subscribers about online dating and their experiences with it.Collectively, we spend huge sums of money on matchmaking, not to mention all the time and substantial emotional investment. Given that we usually rate products (like refrigerators) and services (like banking), this is new and fairly unusual territory for us.“You’re generally going to be best off starting your search on the ‘Big 3’: Match.com, Ok Cupid, and Plenty of Fish,” says Scott Valdez, founder of Virtual Dating Assistants, which helps people write their profiles and then manages their accounts.“Those are among the most popular dating sites in the world, and when you’re fishing, it just makes sense to drop your line in the most crowded ponds.” That’s generally true unless you have a particular guiding factor, such as religion, race, or politics, in which case you can go to a niche site like JDate or Black People Meet.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.