Match is the Coca-Cola of the internet dating industry, but will all those marketing dollars and testimonials really help you to find love?
(Spoiler: it may, but here's our #1 choice when it comes to online dating)
When it came to eradicating the stigma that used to be part and parcel of online dating, one company did more than any other. Match's brilliant marketing campaigns reassured the world that finding dates online doesn't just work, but can actually be pretty cool. Their owners, IAC Group, have made clever strategic acquisitions over the years and at this point it seems they have the traditional dating market sewn-up, injecting their money and experience from brands like College Humor, Dictionary.com, Ask and Vimeo into a whole host of innovative dating brands such as Tinder, Meetic, POF and OK Cupid. But the flagship company, Match, is still their most successful. Ask one hundred people to name an online dating company and you'll see what we mean.
Our Match.com Review
The landing page reassures us that we've come to the right place to begin our review; the tone and imagery perfectly fits the output of their multi-million advertising spends across television, radio, newspapers, magazines, public transport, street billboards and of course, online. Match love to advertise and it clearly works for them. Front and centre of their messaging are their success stories. This reassured any visitors that the brands notoriety has come from being a great dating site and not from anything negative. The success stories have their own area on the site, with featured dating case studies and a constantly updated list of new relationships that have started on the site, sometimes with several added per day.
Before getting into features and general user experience, it's worth noting that no other singles site provides as much help for its members. The tips section for singles looking for love (known as Dating Advice) is vast in content and regularly updated. Moreover, there is a separate Blog with posts from several dating 'experts' to supplement the general internet dating guidance.
General User Experience Of Match
Something worth noting about Match is that membership on the site allows access to offline singles events too, adding a nice additional option to help you find love and giving members the chance to, at the very least, meet some new people in person rather than over the web.
As far as the members area is concerned, the site isn't quite as sleek and stylish as you might imagine. In fact, it's positively cluttered. But the good news is that much of the clutter comes from features, although nothing particularly mind-blowing or all that innovative. Some examples include the option to pay for invisible browsing using their 'Incognito' mode, meaning you won't trigger automatic emails to the people you are looking at and can pick and choose who gets to know you've checked them out. Similarly, there is a 'Boost' option, providing the short term highlighting of your profile in searches for a daily micropayment.
Slightly more interesting is the free personality report and compatibility tests that are available through integrated sister site 'Affinity', but any communication does require an additional upgrade. In fact, almost anything requires a payment on Match, even sending a wink to other singles that might catch your eye. The one feature that is free (aside from searching profiles) is the 'Shuffle' mode, which is a 'hot or not' style approach to getting through a bunch of members in a short space of time. Even this is hardly unique – we've seen this utilised frequently on other dating sites and it's the main premise behind another of Match's sister companies, Tinder (see review here).
Conclusion - Is Match.com A Scam Or Worth Joining?
There's no doubt from this review that Match's online dating site remains the undisputed king of the industry, even in the face of increased competition from other singles sites. The question that we wanted to answer in our review was whether this royal status has been justly earned, or whether it is simply a byproduct that comes from having a powerful parent company with the kind of huge marketing budgets at its disposal that other online dating firms could only dream of. The truth most likely lies somewhere in between. There's no doubt that the success stories and reputation add to the feeling that you're in good hands on this site and your membership fees aren't being wasted, but there's no doubt in our minds that the leading brand in the dating world could offer more in the way of innovative features.
The bottom line is simple – if you're looking for a safe bet, Match.com is the site for you. We compared it to Coca-Cola at the start of our review, but by the end we decided that it's more like a warm cup of tea; comforting, simple and familiar but not something that's going to get your heart racing and your head spinning every time you take a drink.
As always, we suggest increasing your chances of finding a date by using more than one online dating site at any given time. Be patient, as even the best sites take time to get you dates, but be flexible too and switch sites every few months (or whenever you feel you've ran out of new singles in your area to speak to). Good luck!