Age-based niches: These sites are for people of a specific age. Baby boomers are overwhelmingly turning to the web to find a mate. Sites like Match.com and POF.com offer members a chance to search specifically for the age group that interests you, but SeniorPeopleMeet.com and OurTime.com are the two largest sites designed specifically for the baby boomer market.
For years, Match has been an industry leader in online dating, and it's no secret why. The company offers the right balance of features and members to keep making love connections happen. Although it's easy to assume Match is only for serious daters, it's actually an online dating site for anyone looking for anything from marriage to one-night stands. The site has a continually evolving matching algorithm that helps you find those you are interested in, even if you’re a little unsure of who exactly that is.
Plenty of Fish (or POF) tries to combine the ease-of-use of a simpler matching service with some of the brains of a more robust, comprehensive dating site. It matches based on mutual likes, but the more information you add to your profile, the more intelligently it'll try to match you. It has a speed matching feature, called MeetMe, which will present you with singles in your area that match your interests quickly, so you can cut through the fluff and contact someone about a date. Alternatively, you can browse matches by interest or by people who live nearby. At the same time though, it retains some of the simplicity of other services—if two people like each other's profiles, you'll get a notification to connect right away. How much effort you put into finding a good match—whether you go by mutual likes and location only or you fill out your profile with tons of information—is entirely up to you. Oh, POF is also free, and offers mobile apps, just like the other services.
For many singles, especially serial-monogamists or divorcees, signing up for a slew of online dating options and websites is an overwhelming and cumbersome process. Because there are hundreds of options readily available in your app store, deciphering which downloads will reap the most benefits requires research, trial-and-error and plenty of failed first dates. However, it doesn’t have to be.
Though you need to subscribe in order to have full access to the site there are also benefits that you can enjoy for free. Each new user can create a profile that will appear in search results, post photos, send winks and receive alerts and emails. The best deal is the six months subscription ($19.99/month) that includes match.com guarantee. This means that if you do not find the perfect one you will receive six more months for free.
Those of you who nominated Match shared some of your success stories meeting your significant other there, but also all noted that Match felt the most mature of all of the dating sites you tried—the most elegant, or at least grown up. Where a lot of the services are either aimed at younger people or more casual encounters, many of you said Match felt like a service you were using to go on dates and find real long-term partners. It wasn't unanimous though—many of you bemoaned the cost associated with Match, and said your experience yielded a bunch of dead accounts and unresponsive people, which sucks when you're spending money to communicate with them. Read the good and the bad in the nomination thread here, or this thread here.
Who it's for: Picky people looking for something super specific in a partner. And guys, this is not the place for the younger millennials: EliteSingles loves to brag that 82% of their members are college grads, and with most of its members being 33-50 years old, we can pretty surely say that the main target is mature, working professionals rather than the the Tinder-using generation. Sorry college kids.
One thing to note if you don't fall into the cis-hetero dating pool: While most of the apps reviewed here are inclusive, there are those that are friendlier to the LGBTQ community than others. For example, OkCupid goes beyond forcing users to choose between being a male or female, including options like Hijra, genderfluid, and two-spirit. If you're a man seeking a man or a woman seeking a woman, you'll want to steer clear of eharmony: It doesn't even give you the option of a same-sex match.