Even though it might feel like online dating is mostly about luck, academics have been studying it for some time now. In fact, the longer online dating continues to evolve the more information there is to study. Of the romantic partnerships formed in the United States between 2007 and 2009, 21 percent of heterosexual couples and 61 percent of same-sex couples met online, according to a study by Stanford sociology professor Michael J. Rosenfeld and reported by the New York Times. While this might make you feel like your online dating habits are on display, the fact that they’re being studied can actually be really helpful. For example, one 2018 study from the University of Michigan found the best way to start a  successful conversation is to simply say "hey." That same study found both men and women tend to aim high in online dating, messaging matches who were on average 25 percent more attractive than they were. If you feel like most of the people you match with don't end of looking like they do in their profile, there's science to back that up. A study of 80 online daters found two thirds of users lied about their weight by 5 pounds or more with no correlation to whether the user was male or female. Having this knowledge in your back pocket can be useful while scrolling through Tinder or eharmony and result in more matches and long term connections.


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That being said,  services you pay for usually provide some extra user value to justify the price tag. There’s usually more advanced matching algorithms along with other bells and whistles, and because you must pay to use them, they tend to attract people who take online dating a little more seriously. Of course, many free sites have matching systems that work just as well as (if not better, in some cases) their paid competitors, and each dating website or app tends to have its own unique aspect that makes it stand out.
For women who know what they want out of a long-term partner, EliteSingles prides itself on its intelligent matchmaking algorithm. EliteSingles presents you matches based on your personal preferences and the Big Five Personality Traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (sometimes called Emotional Stability). 
This app wants to find you more than just a one-night stand or a cool-for-the-summer situation. That said, you're going to have to work for it. To join, you have to fill out an extensive survey, and you can't see photos of your potential matches unless you pay to subscribe. If you're out to spend more time finding your mate, eharmony is a good (if more costly) option. That is, as long as you're not looking for a same-sex mate: That's not an option here.
Limiting who sees your profile: Does the site allow just the bare minimum of your profile to be seen in search results? Some sites wait until you favorite, wink, or in some way OK a member before they can see your whole profile. That said, it is important that you only share information in your profile that you are okay with a stranger being able to see.
Why it's awesome: What initially began as a Facebook app developed in 2007 has grown into a company with 35 million users in more than 80 countries. Rather than asking its users for dating questions, Zoosk picks dates for its users based on a user's on-site activity. If you shoot a message to Jake Doe, for example, Zoosk says it'll use that action to determine which types of profiles to show you going forward."Zoosk is fun and flirty," Spira says. "It does cater to a younger crowd – more of a millennial crowd."

As you'd expect from any online dating option with that kind of lofty goal, Elite Singles gives you more than just a Facebook photo to base your opinion on. The site collects information about users' professions and appearances, so if you sign up, you get a chance to be as careful and thoughtful with your love life as you are when you're on the job.
That being said, research is showing a lot of people use online dating as a form of entertainment and never actually intend to go on a date. The same Pew Research study found one-third of people who have used online dating services have never actually gone on a date. In short, don't be too disappointed if you find yourself striking out. It might be that there aren't a lot of people in your area looking for a meaningful connection.
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Signing up took us about 20 minutes during testing, which is more than twice as long as most of the websites we tested. You answer questions about not only about your appearance, but also about your religious beliefs and career. You then fill out a comprehensive survey regarding what you want in a partner. The questions even go as far to ask whether you want to have kids, which is an important thing to agree on if you're looking for a long-term commitment. You have to pay for a subscription to access most of the features on eharmony, and even though we couldn't read them with a free account, we got nine emails in 24 hours, which was a pretty decent response rate. There is also an eharmony app that's easy to use, making this a great service to try if you want a thorough experience.
Dating and finding love shouldn't be difficult. That's why at the NEW Spark.com, we focus on providing the highest quality online dating experience from day one by requiring that all of our members take a short, but detailed personality test called the Color Code. We also require all members to have a photo and allow all of our members to respond to emails.
Features for introverts: The SmartPick can really be your best friend, serving as the best icebreaker.  If both you and someone you're interested in both vote "yes" on each other's profiles, the SmartPick feature will let you know the good news by email and shoot you a message in your Zoosk inbox. Another good option is the Super Send feature, which could help eliminate the scary feeling from being the one to make the first move. Choose a message to break the ice, then allow Zoosk to blast it out for you using Super Send. If someone indicates they're interested by writing back, then you get to view each other's profiles.
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