Online dating websites offer a variety of methods on how to search for a mate. Some mobile apps will match you with people based on criteria, including age, gender and geographic proximity. More traditional sites may offer anything from a simple search to a highly specific advanced search. Some more seriously minded sites request that members fill out elaborate compatibility questionnaires. Deciding which process is right for you will largely be determined by whether you’re looking for a casual friendship, relationship or a lifelong partner.
eHarmony was one of the pioneers in the online dating space, and -- while I haven't personally used this one -- we all remember the pitch, thanks to years of TV commercials: The service matches couples based on "29 dimensions" of compatibility (as determined by a thorough relationship questionnaire). While you can review the profiles of your prospective matches for free, you'll need to pay to unlock the full features of the service. But that comes with a guarantee: If, after three months of paid membership and communicating with at least five members, you're not satisfied, eHarmony will refund your money. Despite a rocky road that eventually involved a high-profile lawsuit, the site finally added same-sex dating in 2013, too. I have mixed feelings about using the site myself, but the site is at least technically more inclusive now.
OkCupid.com creates a unique online dating site environment by putting heavy emphasis on member participation. Matches are identified by your profile and your responses to a series of questions generated by other users. Each match question is made up of four parts: the question, the answers you’re willing to accept from your matches, a rating of how important the answer is to you, and an optional explanation of your response. The more questions you answer, the smarter OkCupid gets at recommending matches for you. It is free to use; paid options are available that include additional site features. While OkCupid is a free online dating site, users can pay (starting at $4.95 a month) to filter out people who are unattractive or overweight. An unusual, possibly controversial feature.