Online dating continues to go from strengh to strengh, as millions of people come to the realization that it's a superbly efficient means of finding appropraite people to date, off-line. It's a market that's still in flux, however, so we decided to update our reviews of the best online dating sites on the web to see if there were any new contenders on the scene. Not surprisingly, there were some mergers in the field, the most notable being the rebranding of AmericanSingles.com as Spark.com. (In fact, Spark.com seems to be expanding quite rapidly, as it has also taken over the UK dating site, Date.co.uk). There were some new additions to our online dating category too: LavaPlace.com, FastCupid.com and Zoosk.com.
Saturday, 3 April 2010
Online dating sites continue to grow in popularity, with new sites emerging all the time. With this in mind, we revisited our reviews of the best UK Dating Sites on the web to see if there were any notable additions to the field. Since we last surveyed the field, there have been some mergers and acquisitions, (e.g. Date.co.uk has been taken over by the popular international dating site, Spark.com); there have also been two new additions to the field, MakeFriendsOnline.com and MySingleFriend.com, both of which have stormed into our top ten listings.
As you'll see in our MakeFriendsOnline.com review, this site ticks lots of boxes for UK daters. It has a decent membership base in the UK, lots of added value, user-friendly features, and ways of getting the membership involved. For instance, Make Friends Online has a novel feature called Mutual Match which is particularly useful. If two members both show an interest in the other, the site emails both members to let them know that a Mutual Match exists. If only one member shows interest in the other, or if neither shows interest, then there are no email alerts. So it's a useful way of identifying compatibility between members, without anyone feeling like they've been rejected. One of the key selling points of MakeFriendsOnline is that fact that it makes some advanced features available to Standard members. We rated the site highly for facets such as activity/involvement, contact options (especially for Standard members), and the quality of profiles and photos. It would have ranked more highly in our top ten listings if its membership base were larger than 1.5 million. Still, MakeFriendsOnline.com is growing fast, so it may well move up in our rankings on our next update.
As our review of MySingleFriend.com suggests, this new addition is making waves with its lateral thinking approach to online dating. The site has recognized that we all have a few single friends who are amazing people, with lots to offer a partner, but these friends of ours haven't yet managed to find their perfect match, through no real fault of their own. If you're single, then why not ask a trustworthy friend, who knows you very well, to sign up at MySingleFriend.com and write a testimonial about you (hopefully glowing and preferably witty). It's highly likely that your friend's testimonial will appeal to other single members on My Single Friend and you can take things from there. You may discover some great attributes or talents which you never realised you had or never considered valuable (e.g. your ability to bake delicious cakes, organise fabulous parties or always remember your friends' birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). MySingleFriend.com is definitely something to try out if you're interested in online dating but want to try something a bit different.
Our No. 1 Choice Award was retained by UK.Match.com, the UK's largest dating site, with close to 5 million members based in the UK. The size of its membership base is one of the main factors accounting for its success. A recent poll of 1,000 former members of UK.Match.com revealed that, "every day the equivalent to one hundred and sixty members leave the site as couples." Those are impressive results. Another important factor which has contributed to the growth of UK.Match.com is the range of powerful search features it offers to its members. As you can see in our review of UK.Match.com, these include novel features such as MatchWords which allows members to add up to 50 searchable keywords with which they can be associated. So if you're after someone with Celtic heritage, for instance, all you need to do is use the MatchWords search feature then view the results for which that word has matches. This is a quick and easy way to find people with specific (and perhaps quirky) characteristics or associations which may not appear in a standard profile. You can save your searches too, making it easy to search for the same features in future. Match.com UK also offer polls, sex tips and other relationship advice to enhance your online dating experience and help you find your perfect match. It is not surprising that they remain in pole position in our UK Dating Sites category. They have achieved a critical mass in terms of membership and have earned a reputation for achieving great results.