More Payers, Less Players Or: Are Free Dating Sites worth it?

While the best things in life are free, the road to the best things might require much time, efforts and finances. People often think that quality comes at a price. This belief relates to the South African online dating websites as well, that offer free and paid services.

According to a study by Consumer Reports, 45 percent of single looking for love online has used multiple dating websites or apps. “I’ve always assumed that putting anything behind a pay wall makes it more attractive and weeds out the casual users and trolls,” says Joseph Lynn.

Pros of Free Online Dating Services

The supporters of free online dating services will not pay to meet singles, as the latter, in their opinion, are members of free dating services as well. The pool of online daters is significantly larger and richer with possibilities when service is free. You may definitely use free dating sites if your working schedule is flexible, and you don’t mind to have a little fun. After all, dating is not a business project, is it?

Compared to paid dating sites, free sites and apps are more modern, flexible, and open to technological novelties. Paid services have firm principles and solid structure which makes the concept of online dating a bit formal and sometimes tedious. If paid online sites don’t follow these principles, they may stop oozing “traditional vibes” and damage their serious image.

Pros of Paid Online Dating Services

Free online dating services have certain drawbacks. Being accessible and open, free websites or membership plans attract many people who do not have serious relationship goals and just have fun by sending hundreds of “Hey” messages to random users. While they are people like you who search for a long-lasting and meaningful bond, finally meeting them online might be a real time-consuming challenge.

Free online dating services usually lack a high-quality system and algorithms to filter people with the same values, interests and similarities in general. For example, Elitesingles, the prominent website offering paid membership services, uses psychological compatibility tests, including Big 5 Model of Personality and a questionnaire discussing 29 personality traits. In paid online dating websites, where users have comprehensive profiles and common traits are highlighted, your chance to meet exactly who you have been looking for increases.

Female singles, particularly, may find paid services more reliable for a number of reasons. As women have always focused on stability and security, and as the latter are measures for the “right” man who can sustain a family, the man who can afford paid services meets this requirement.

The other important reason women should look for a man through paid service is that man’s willingness to pay for finding a match shows his commitment to serious relationship goals. In other words, financial investment is associated with person’s determination and dedication to forming a romantic bond.
Coleman (2009) proves this theory finding patterns between the length of time men and women spend online and (un)paid service. Based on the results, men committed to the date arranged online for 28 minutes when it was free; and nearly 49 minutes when the cost was $50. The length of time women spend on the online date was 13 minutes when it was free, and about 28 minutes when the cost was $50.

Free South African Dating Websites

Singles2meet
Single2Meet is considered one of the most trustworthy dating sites. It is the one of the rare online dating sites that is 100% free and has no hidden costs, as well as one of the few dating services created by South Africans. The website has over 163K visitors per month, and 93, 0% of the traffic comes from South Africa!

Unique features include sending anonymous email to other members. Shy South African men and women may initiate contact remaining completely anonymous. Disadvantage is that the users cannot mention external contact information in their profiles, such as URLs, email addresses, telephone numbers, street addresses and even last names! The registration in Single2Meet is a very easy process. Once you have created a profile, you may look for other based on their location, age and relationship status.

According to easycounter.com, singles2meet.co.za has 5.50K daily visitors, 49.5K page views. The website has been ranked as 101 999 in the world. Singles2meet.co.za is moderately ‘socialized’ in respect to Facebook shares (10.2K), Google+ shares (3) and Twitter mentions (2). The users also cannot use a live chat.

Datecorner

DateCorner.co.za is a 100% free dating system having about 20,000 to 25,000 members. While you can upload pictures, video uploads are impossible. One of the disadvantages of the website is the lack of matching questions that can ease the process of finding someone similar.

However, this might not be a problem, considering that online meeting process will be more interesting if you meet someone having other personality traits and hobbies. After all, opposites attract! Behavioral economist Stephen Whyte at the Queensland University of Technology conducted a study on online dating behavior. He found that online daters are often interested in differences in personality and interests. Unfortunately, DateCorner.co.za does not have an instant messaging service, and you’ll have to check the Inbox to find the letters. Fortunately, you can get e-mail notifications!

LetsMeet

LetsMeet is one of the most popular South African websites offering completely free online dating service. The unique feature of the website is that it offers couples to meet other couples. It’s difficult to label LetsMeet as a website where singles may look for a serious relationship, as it is more focused on fun and “teenage” romance.

While there is no strong indication about users, LetsMeet has thousands of members. The system allows sending messages, but lacks instant messaging service. Users may not upload videos, but there is no limitation on the number of pictures they can exchange. The greatest disadvantage is the absence of algorithms that suggest matching, offer questions to ease the process of finding the compatible one; in short, a system enabling profiles to reveal information about similarities and differences. Fortunately, if you meet someone incompatible online who keeps bothering you, privacy settings allow to ban them. Unlike Datecorner, you cannot get email notifications.

References
Coleman, Martin (2009). “Sunk Cost and Commitment to Dates Arranged Online.” Current Psychology Vol. 28 (1): 45–54.

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