True Love vs. True Lovin’ – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 68)

computer-loveWhen it comes to online dating (or dating in general, for that matter), people’s intents run the gamut from finding a pen pal to looking for true love (I prefer to work with these people!) to meeting someone for less than a long-term encounter, if you catch my drift.  And there are dating sites out there that satisfy each of these very different objectives.  But how do you know which one(s) to use?

On one end of the spectrum, when searching the market of love, there is actually a site that exists called Horny Matches.  (Maybe it’s more of a meat market of love in this case.)  And on the other end of the spectrum is eHarmony, which claims to be the top site for the number of marriages created by an online dating site, based on a survey conducted online by Harris Interactive in June of last year using data from 19,131 marriages from 2005 to 2012.

And then somewhere in the middle lie the sites we know and likely have friends (or ourselves) on: Match.com, OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, Hinge, and, of course, Jdate for our crowd.

In an interview with Markus Frind, the founder Plenty of Fish, the largest free online dating site (over six million unique visitors last month!), he said that he recently decided that men using online dating purely for sex are ruining it for everyone else looking for a meaningful relationship… so he’s getting rid of them.  (I guess when you’re the founder, you can do that, huh?)  How, you might ask:

– Get rid of the “intimate encounters” option on the site.
– Limit the e-mail functionality so that you can only send e-mails to people who are within 14 years of your own age.

As he said in an e-mail to all members on May 20th, 2013, “There is no reason for a 50 year old man to contact a 18 year old woman [sic].  The majority of messages sent outside those age ranges are all about hookups.  Anyone who tries to get around this rule will get deleted.”  You know what happened next?  There was a 15% increase in sign-ups after this announcement.  I guess he was on the right track!

That brings us to the question: Should sites advertise their intent, or should they be all-inclusive of people looking for any type of relationship?  Should there be a www.wantedtogetmarriedyesterday.com versus a www.justlookingforafling.com?  Or should it be up to individual users to decide what they are looking for?  Thoughts, comments, and questions are welcome.

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.