Since our tester was a straight woman, her experience with online dating is weighted more toward receiving messages than sending messages.
(According to a study from Ok Cupid, the majority of women don’t send the first message in online dating conversations — but they get great results when they do.) To keep our judgments as objective as possible, we used a rubric to categorize each message: Unfortunately — but perhaps not all that surprisingly — the majority of the messages we received on traditional dating sites were mediocre or downright bad. To send someone a message, both users have to indicate they’re interested by “swiping right” on their profile.
That said, the fact that Ok Cupid, Tinder, and Bumble are free definitely stands out.
We can confidently recommend Ok Cupid, Match.com, Tinder, and Bumble.
In early 2017, Barron’s estimated that Tinder has about 30 million active users and Bumble is close to 10 million.
(Match.com’s user base is slightly older, too, which may indicate more people who are ready to settle down.) However, Match lacks the robust matching algorithm of Ok Cupid — it came in fourth place for good matches in our testing — and isn’t as streamlined as Tinder or Bumble. We also tested three other sites: e Harmony, Plenty of Fish, and Zoosk.
But of course, without your voice, it’s hard for your personality to shine through in your profile.
The best ones strike a balance between both approaches.
We still got a few bad messages, but the overall quality was better compared to the traditional dating sites we tested.
Because none of the platforms we tested were exorbitantly priced, we didn’t weigh cost too heavily when ranking them.