We created three made-up online dating profiles and spent five days trying out each service and monitoring the responses our fake profiles received. We created a woman seeking a man, a man seeking a woman and a woman seeking a woman to make sure our data was well-rounded. All three profiles were similarly generic: They were white with bachelor’s degrees with low to midrange full-time jobs. To create these accounts we had to make fake email accounts and, for some sites, fake Facebook accounts and phone numbers as well.

Once you’re a member, you can look through other user photos and see a person's name, age, location and Instagram handle. User photos are set to a song of their choice, which shows a little more personality than most other dating apps. You can also browse the app's map and see which users are closest to you. It has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars in the Apple Store and is relatively easy to use if you can get your foot in the door.
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.
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.
According to the Pew Research Center, public perception of online dating has become more and more positive. As more people use these services, more research becomes available showing us exactly how and when people use them. In 2016, Business Insider reported dating apps saw a big spike in usage on the first Sunday of every year. Presumably that's when people are done celebrating New Year's Eve and are trying to make good on resolutions. The spike in usage continues through Valentine's Day, with another even higher spike right after. These are good times to use dating apps because of the spikes in traffic. The odds of getting a match increase.
So if the idea of socializing in a noisy bar or trying to make conversation in large groups is your personal idea of hell, there are dating services out there that cater to your specific needs. Have a hard time coming up with what words to say to someone you're into? There's an app for that. Prefer to make meaningful connections without revealing what you look like? We found a few websites with features that can let you do just that too. 
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