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Paid dating sites vs. free dating sites

Jessica Downey

Coffee addict. The serial single girl. Jessica will give you the what’s what on single life and dating in Chicago.

Serious guy.jpg

This guy looks really serious. I wonder which dating site he is browsing.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Sam Yagan, the CEO of OkCupid for breakfast. We had a pretty fantastic talk about dating, specifically online dating. Seems logical right? I mean what else would the CEO of an awesome dating site and a dating blogger talk about?

We talked a lot about OkCupid and other dating sites and he asked some of the things I like about OkCupid. Aside from the fact that I seem to find some amazing blogging fodder from the site (aka the DTF guy and the guy who offered me free pie), I also said that I like that there is an instant messaging service because I feel like you can weed out creepers without giving them personal information.

I also feel like OkCupid has a pretty wide variety of guys which is something I am not sure I found on many of the paid sites I have joined in the past. I feel like I met the exact same type of guy each time. And a lot of the guys were pretty intense.

I also mentioned that I like that OkCupid is free. I am not sure if that's a good reason, but hey it's true and it's definitely a nice bonus. The conversation led to talk about how there is often a belief that people on free sites aren't as serious (about finding love) as those on paid sites. I am not sure if I really believe that's true.

I have been an avid internet dater since before internet dating was cool, I mean back when you wouldn't dare tell anyone that you met your date off of the internet. I can still remember my mom telling me to be careful because she watched some Dateline where something happened to some girl because she met a boy off the internet.

Currently I am only using the free sites though I have used many of the paid sites (and paid plenty for them). In fact, it was really only about a year ago that I stopped using paid sites and that was largely due to economic reasons. So, for me, it has nothing to do with how serious I am meeting about someone.

My day job was hit pretty hard due to the crappy economy so I just couldn't justify spending the money for paid sites. I know to some people that might seem crazy, but I had to cut other things out of my budget that were important to me as well so that's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Plus, I figure why not join a free site? Honestly, even if I go back to the paid sites I don't plan on deleting my profile from OkCupid. That just doesn't make sense to me.

For me, it has nothing to do with using the paid sites just to chat or just to hook up. Sure, I am not arguing the fact that there are plenty of people that use it as that. Though I have to tell you that one of that last guys who contacted me before I stopped using sent me a message about how he was looking for a casual no strings hook up. And often times I met guys that played through the whole meeting thing just because they thought they would get laid at the end of the night. So I think it's fair to say there are plenty of guys looking to just hook up on the paid sites as well.

With paid sites, sometimes I feel like there is this idea that you have to meet someone. I mean if you paid $50 or whatever amount for the membership that month, it's likely you will want to make it worth it. So maybe people are meeting people just to justify spending the cost. Do you really think that just because a guy is forcing himself to meet you just because he paid for a site that he is more genuine than a guy on a free site?

I think a lot of it boils down to what you are looking for. And not just in a mate but in a dating site. Eharmony is a site that I feel claims to be the most serious about finding love yet I know a lot of people that are scared to join it (I am one of them). I also know people that joined it who were turned off after going through the process so they decided not to use the site anymore.

I can honestly say I haven't been any more successful on the free sites but I sure as hell haven't been any less. I also have to note that I know more couples that met on a free site that are actually still together. And I am talking couples that I personally know not the ones on the commercials.

Don't get me wrong here, I am not saying anything negative about paid sites at all. In fact, I genuinely believe there are a lot of great ones out there. I am just saying that people join different sites for all different reasons so don't be so quick to close the door on the free sites.



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Leah said:


I liked OKC, too. One of the things I really like, and still like, is their blog. They have a ton of great information on there and it's great to read about!

Jessica Downey said:


Their blog is fantastic!

r_vance_b said:


eHarm didn't do it for me, and i can't remember what went wront at match, but i still have a bad taste in my mouth. actually, after 6 months on eHarm, i didn't meet a single person face to face. plenty of emails but no one even wanted to meet for coffee. maybe OKC is a good bet?

Jessica Downey said:


That's kind of weird about eHarmony, though it did always seem super intense to me. I say try OkCupid. I have met some people off of there and I mean honestly, what does it really hurt? Ya know?

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