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.

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). 
There's even a specialized app for creative people looking to meet other artists and creators. Raya is free to download but then becomes membership-based. First, you fill out an application, which is then reviewed by a committee of people and an algorithm. You may be put on a waitlist for a short time while your application is reviewed. Once you're accepted, you need to sign up for a one-, three- or six-month auto-renewing membership plan. As a member, you also have to agree to a code of conduct in an effort to keep interactions respectful and cordial. As the website puts it, it believes using technology to meet someone should feel safe and exciting. Because of its exclusivity, the app has become well-known for its famous users. We weren't able to get a membership, but several blogs and reviews circulating online claim the app has been used by the likes of Cara Delevingne, Ruby Rose and Demi Lovato.
The League is an "elite dating app" that requires you to apply -- and supply your job title, college and LinkedIn profile. Big cities tend to have long waiting lists, so you might find yourself twiddling your thumbs as your application is reviewed. (Of course, you can pay to expedite the process.) The exclusivity can be a draw for some and a turnoff for others, but I'll let you in on a secret: I've seen most of the profiles I come across on The League on other dating apps, too. So at the end of the day, you'll probably see the same faces on Tinder, if you aren't deemed elite enough for The League.
Mobile applications: Most dating sites now offer a mobile version that can be downloaded through the Apple or Android stores. When considering a site, it is best to also test their mobile app to see if it can help streamline your dating experience. Additionally, there are several dating apps that only exist in the mobile format. Before downloading, it is best to check for recent reviews on their download pages.
Tinder is one of the most popular dating apps out there for a number of reasons, but first and foremost, because everyone’s on it. As of 2014, Tinder boasted a whopping 50 million users. The app popularized the swipe right for yes and swipe left for no format, simplifying the online dating process to a small finger motion. When two people swipe right on each other, it’s a match, they start chatting, and then it’s off to the races.
Are you tired of finding what looks like that special someone, then having to pay to send him or her a message? Not only does POF let you send notes for free, but it offers helpful tools to make messaging easier and faster. This includes the Spark function, which prompts you to talk about parts of other users' profiles that you find interesting. That said, the interface feels plain and clunky, and serves up ads more often than other services.
How does it work? A similar taste in music can be a great indicator as to whether you’re compatible with someone, so the fine folks behind Tastebuds have struck gold with their music-based online dating site. Getting started is dead simple: pick three artists or bands that you’re interested in, the gender you’re looking to date and press ‘go’. It’s a fun and relaxed site, which can introduce you to new music, concert buddies and potentially even your own real-life Caleb Followill.
Setting up your profile involves a rather in-depth chemistry assessment of more than 70 questions. This means you'll have to think a little bit about your own personality, how others perceive you and what you want in a mate. Questions include whether you consider yourself productive and whether you're seen as stubborn. You answer on a scale, which is nice because it means your answers can be more nuanced than yes or no. There are several other questionnaires available to continue to flesh out your profile, but they're not required. Messaging and viewing user profiles is all free on Plenty of Fish. While our reviewers don't think the website is very well designed, the free mobile app is also an option that's super easy to use. The one downside to any service with free messaging is that you could feel overwhelmed if you find yourself with a flooded inbox. On average, the three fake accounts we set up for testing got 40 matches in 24 hours, the second highest of any service we tested. Of those, 22 percent were "top prospects," which is the site's way of saying those users are highly compatible with you.
AdultFriendFinder is our pick for the best hookup site, and that's because it's literally impossible to walk away unsatisfied. It's like a Pornhub that you can actually interact with. Regardless of whether you're looking for an in-person hookup or to blow off some steam via sexting or raunchy videos, AFF has everything that your dirty mind can think of and more. Almost nothing is blurred out (no, really, there are lots of unsolicited dick pics), v=but if you don't mind that the entire thing looks like a sketchy "There are hot singles in your area" ad, you'll be in heaven.
Zoosk might not have the name recognition of a Match.com, but that doesn't mean it isn't a quality online dating platform. Zoosk is a bona fide star in the world of online dating sites, offering a fantastic experience for people who are looking to find a real love connection and get serious. Their site offers an extremely smooth and modern online dating experience, and it's packed with singles with real profiles and real potential.
The downside of online dating is the lack of face-to-face interaction, at least when you first start chatting with someone. This leaves users vulnerable to chat bots, or computer programs made to trick real users into thinking they’re interacting with a real person. These programs often attempt to steal credit card or other personal information from real people.
What it'll cost you:  A basic account is always free. But there are some paid extras you can enjoy if you want a more premium experience. If you pay for the A-List membership, you can cut out the ads, you get more search options like body type and attractiveness, you can see everyone who likes you, and you can see who reads your messages, among other useful things. 
Matches are location-based so you only see people near the city you set in your profile. If you travel and want to see if there are any matches in your area, you need to change where you are in your profile. The app also has a "We Met" section where you can leave feedback after any Hinge date. It's almost like leaving a Yelp review for a person. Users can also specify whether they have kids, want kids, have any strong religious beliefs or vices. This gives you a little more of an in-depth look at a potential mate than some dating apps. Hinge is only available as an app and it's free, but you can pay for a membership if you want extra perks like being able to use additional filters, see likes you've received and access Hinge experts to help you along the way.
Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn't included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Don't just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.
How it helps introverts: eharmony has a feature called RelyID that helps verify the information provided by other members, like their name, city, and age. You know what that means? No catfishing. Also, your profile is only visible to the people who are a good match for you, so the experience can help to narrow your potentials down to only those who are actually a good fit. 
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