Nowadays you can find a website or app for just about any sort of dating situation imaginable. With the sexual revolutions that the world has gone through over the last few decades, meeting & dating new people has become a veritable cornucopia of classifications, preferences, and perceptions, making it pretty challenging for those of us who are a bit more “average.”
So what about the rest of us? What about the people who’d love a plain old romance, without loads of “off-the-wall” kink and fantasies being part of the situation?
As it turns out, there are plenty of sites offering just that. However, just like any dating niche, the so-called “mainstream” sites can be a bit misleading, which is why we put together this list of a few of the top-tier sites for the “regular old” daters amongst us.
Mainstream Dating Options
Here is a rundown of the mainstream dating options and what I’d consider being the best of the best.
Plenty Of Fish attracts users thanks to its emphasis on free services. They have an average user base of around 100 million members worldwide, meaning that it’s oftentimes the single largest online dating pool offered by a company or app. They see new membership of around 50,000 each day and see between 9 and 12 million conversations on a weekly basis. These metrics are absolutely incredible, which means that the company has got to be doing at least a few things right.
The site’s signup process is very simple, instead opting to let new users slowly build out their profile as time & preference allows. Along with messaging, email, and video chat functions, the site recently added a function called “Spark,” which allows you to quote sections of member profiles, acting as sort of an ice breaker for new conversations.
If you do want to experience their premium functions, you’ll have to dip behind the paywall and sign up for a paid membership. This frankly transforms Plenty Of Fish from a pretty standard dating site to a strong contender of a matchmaking company. Once you’ve enhanced your membership, you’ll notice that the pesky ads all but disappear. But the real benefit to the paid membership is access to POF’s matchmaking software, which is where many reviews say that Plenty Of Fish really shines.
They’ve also embraced the future, making their site & apps compatible with both Google Assistant and Home, allowing users to get discrete updates from just about any mobile device. And while they’ve added these options, they’ve also been constantly refining their mobile app, to the point that many users now find it easier to use that POF’s desktop site!
Next up is OkCupid, a site that just about anyone over 25 has tried at least once, thanks to its exceptionally long list of free features.
OkCupid started way back in 2003 and has been a true contender for over a decade. While not posting quite as remarkable numbers as some of its peers, they still boast a member base of almost 2 million members. One of their standout features is their tests. These tests are designed to help narrow down which users you’d be compatible with, and also have a tendency to be fun & thought-provoking.
As a paid site, OK Cupid offers one of the most affordable plans out there, with monthly costs topping out at $10. These so-called “A-listers” get a lot of bang for their buck, as well, including reading receipts for all incoming & outgoing messages, total elimination of ads, the ability to see who’s been looking at your profile, and better positioning in other members’ search results.
If you’re not stoked on paying a monthly fee, OK Cupid also offers “Boosts,” which temporarily increases your profile visibility for 15 minutes at a time. While you may not see the same kind of traffic increases that you would with a full premium membership, it’s a great way to get some extra attention for just a few dollars.
However we offer a word of warning for this site; if and when you do decide to upgrade your membership, the site will automatically sign you up for auto-renewal. While some reviews get pretty upset about this, it really comes down to the amount of attention paid to OKC’s fine print. Otherwise, this is a fantastic option for people wanting a free, easy, and function-filled dating option.
Next up is Match.com, a site that sees over 30 million site visits a month. This company has been at the matchmaking game almost longer than any of their peers, and more recently even took their stock offering public, which led to an influx of investment capital that has helped Match even further improve & evolve their matchmaking services.
Just like OK Cupid, Match has their own set of custom algorithms meant to help folks find the love (or loves) of their lives. But while OKC gives you test after test in the hope that they’ll be able to cross-reference you with like-minded singles, Match’s function actually watches your behavior on the site. Say for example you’ve selected women over 35 as your preferred type, but you’re constantly browsing profiles of women over 40. The websites AI will actually change what it shows you based on this, adding a few people outside of your selected preferences, due to its observations. This really puts Match in its own realm, as there are hardly any dating apps that have this sort of high-tech approach.
Another great part of Match.com is that, even though it puts a lot of effort into helping folks find long-term connections, it still provides a lot of functions for users who are more interested in hookups or short-term flings. While their pay structure tends to attract more serious daters, there are definitely plenty of members looking for nothing more than a bit of fun.
Match and its parent company have over 20 years of experience in the matchmaking & romance industries, giving it a heck of an edge in regards to helping you find love. Along with its recently-revamped mobile app, Match injects a much-needed sense of modernity & critical thinking into finding love, which is what landed it firmly on this list.