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Choosing an Online Dating Service
by Caroline Mackenzie

 

At most services, free communications are limited to flirty icons and preset messages that members send to each other, but search around. Some services are much more generous than others.

Once you subscribe, the norm for communicating is by on-site email and instant messaging. Many of the top dating services, Yahoo! Personals included, have stuck with this simple set up and show no sign of changing any time soon.

Others, like Match.com, are continuously adopting new technologies to offer members more communications options. Typically you'll pay more so think about whether or not you really need to to be able to access their services anytime, anywhere.

Entertainment

Think about what sort of experience you’d like to have with online dating services. Do you intend to focus on finding your perfect match or would you like to enjoy other activities as well?

Many services offer entertainment features including light-hearted quizzes and polls, contests, articles and newsletters, as well as chat rooms and the option to sign up to meet new friends as well as dates.

Offline activities

If the idea of meeting someone online then having to meet them face-to-face at some stage is a little intimidating, look for a dating service that helps members meet and mingle, casually and as part of a group, offline too.

Though some dating services go as far as offering singles holidays, offline activities usually involve meeting for concerts, shows and other events in your area or elsewhere.

You can get that all-important “feel” for someone in relaxed atmosphere with plenty of food for conversation and make as much or as little of the occasion as you like.

If you haven’t met someone yet, offline activities are an opportunity to meet someone you might like to continue chatting with online, with the advantage that you’ve already met.

International dating

If you’re away from your native country, would like to chat in your native language or are planning to relocate or travel to a different country, some of the more established and successful online dating services have extended their services into countries other than the US.

For example, Yahoo! Personals has a new Canadian service while Match.com is live in 27 different countries.

Cost & Payment Options

Most online dating services charge about the same for a subscription -- between $20 and $25 a month -- so cost isn’t going to be much of a deciding factor when choosing a dating service.

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