Hinge started out by showing you Facebook friends of friends, but their algorithm is so smart that it has now surpassed friends of friends as a predictor of compatibility (AKA you won't be matched with someone all wrong for you just because you have a mutual friend). Rather, Hinge helps you get to know the other person more deeply than any new app has attempted, revealing answers to juicy, detailed questions about things like future plans, religion, and vices. Seems like a good recipe for a connection past physical stuff, right? According to Hinge, 75% of their first dates lead to second dates, so it's clearly working.
Match.com has a free version, but the general consensus is that you'll need a paid subscription to have any luck. That's a hangover from the early days of online dating, when paying for membership to a site meant you were serious about settling down. But my friends and I have long since come to the conclusion that you might be a little too eager to find a significant other if you're paying to get dates, particularly given the abundance of free dating apps. There are definitely paid features on some dating apps that are worth the price, but I've yet to be able to justify shelling out cash for love.
That being said, research is showing a lot of people use online dating as a form of entertainment and never actually intend to go on a date. The same Pew Research study found one-third of people who have used online dating services have never actually gone on a date. In short, don't be too disappointed if you find yourself striking out. It might be that there aren't a lot of people in your area looking for a meaningful connection.
eharmony uses a comprehensive questionnaire with a whopping 29 dimensions to match you with people based on your long-term compatibility. You'll give yourself a rating on prompts like "I'm an honest partner," with sliding scale responses. On paper, asking deep questions like these right off the bat makes total sense when pairing two people together — but they're so basic and annoying. As much as you'd like to lie to feel better about yourself, you know deep down that's not the way to a healthy relationship. Admitting that you're not as mature in a certain area is key to eharmony matching you with someone who complements you. eharmony promises to pay for three months if you're not satisfied after three months, so they're clearly pretty confident that all of those questions work.
Online dating is really popular. Using the internet is really popular. A survey conducted in 2013 found that 77% of people considered it “very important” to have their smartphones with them at all times. With the rise and rise of apps like Tinder (and the various copycat models) who could blame them. If you want to think about dating as a numbers game (and apparently many people do), you could probably swipe left/right between 10 – 100 times in the span of time that it would take you to interact with one potential date in ‘real-life’.