Everything You Wanted To Know About Online Dating But Were Afraid To Ask

happy couple

Photo: Flickr / Angelo González

One of the top New Year’s resolutions is always to find love. And though there are plenty of ways to attract the opposite sexand plenty of bars to check out, it’s online dating sites that tend to reap the rewards of the post-holiday slump.January is a huge month for online dating websites, with OkCupid seeing a 30% rise in membership, HowAboutWe seeing 40%, and Match.com seeing a rise of 55% on January 2nd alone last year.

Whether you’re looking to hook-up or mate for life, there is a website out there that fits your lifestyle.

Which dating site should you be using?

Grouper Social Club

Grouper uses Facebook to set up groups of three guys and three girls for drinks based on age, educational background, profession, interests, and lifestyle.


  • Not as dangerous as meeting a stranger from online since you go on the date with two other of your friends ('wingmen')
  • It includes a free drink
  • Grouper makes a table reservation at a nearby local spot so you can find one another


  • Grouper doesn't disclose any details like photos or bios before the date, so it's essentially a blind group outing
  • The free drink is a part of the $20 per person up front cost per date
  • You have no say over your first-date destination


eHarmony claims to use a scientific method for matching singles based on their patented 29 Dimensions of Compatibility.


  • Anyone willing to pay for a match and fill out a 258-question profile is probably going to be more committed to finding love
  • Site uses algorithms that are far more detailed than other websites
  • Offers guides and 'icebreakers' for meeting other members for the dating-challenged


  • Is one of the more expensive websites out there, with a one -month membership costing $60, and a 12-month membership costing $23.95/month
  • No refunds if you cancel after three days

Plenty of Fish

PoF uses an algorithm based on how you respond to the questions on their Chemistry Quiz to match you with potential dates.


  • Free to use (for the most part)
  • It's one of the biggest dating sites at over 40 million members, so the odds are in your favour


  • Site is slow and the design is lacking compared to other dating websites
  • The no-cost barrier can lead to scam artists, married people, and insincere profiles


True.com matches users by compatibility based on test results, and conducts criminal background screenings as well.


  • Screens for its users' felonies and reports those who slip past their screenings to law enforcement
  • Provides a profile on your dating style and personality, and what you should look for in a future partner


  • Lots of ads on the site
  • Can sign up for free, but you can't communicate with other members (membership is $49.99 for one month or $22/month for six months)
  • Some members have reported difficulties in deactivating their account


Users post date ideas and get matched up with people of similar interests. You can also find dates in your area and see what other people are suggesting.


  • The date is already planned, so you can skip the back and forth messaging
  • If you like the person but not their date idea, you can send them a private 'Ask Out' message with a different date
  • Because it's a newer website, there's a good built-in mobile component


  • Full messaging features and many others are not available with the free subscription (membership is about $8/month for 12 months, but an up-front lump sum is required with no refunds)
  • There's no matching algorithm, so you need to do a lot of the grunt work on your own


Match.com is one of the oldest dating sites around, launched back in 1995. It connects singles who then upload photos and fill out a 200-word 'About Me' section.


  • One of the largest dating sites in the world
  • Due to a lawsuit, Match.com screens new members against a national sex offender registry
  • If you don't find someone in six months, you get six months free (if you're a paying member)


  • Cannot respond to emails (or do much of anything) as a free member
  • Membership is costly at $34.99 for one month, or $17.99/month for the six month membership
  • Many reviews show frustrated users claiming that when they tried to cancel or decline renewing their membership, they were charged anyway
  • Does not use an algorithm to match users, so you need to do the grunt work of finding potential singles yourself


OkCupid matches users based on member-created quizzes and multiple-choice questions.


  • Free to use (for the most part)
  • OkCupid sorts users by attractiveness and match results based on site activity and how they answer OkC questions
  • Easy to use and navigate


  • The no-cost barrier can lead to scam artists, married people, and insincere profiles
  • Infamous for having a low-quality of potential daters (see: Nice Guys Of OkCupid)


DateHookup is a totally free website that is essentially an online version of personal ads with pictures.


  • Totally free
  • Good for the 'hook-up' aspect of the website's name
  • DateHookup might not have the most attractive website, but it's seriously easy to use


  • No automatic matchmaking, so you need to search through the thousands of users
  • Doesn't attract serious daters, but spawns a 'hook-up'-oriented user base


The sister site of Match.com, Chemistry.com pairs members together with a matching algorithm based on its personality test (something Match.com does not do).


  • Only members of the Chemistry.com community can view your profile and contact you
  • Offers quizzes and activities for after you make a connection so you can go more in-depth with your potential match before meeting together


  • The pricey membership starts at $49.95 for one month, or roughly $27/month for six months
  • Like Match.com, many customers were reportedly charged even after attempting to cancel their memberships after the given three-day period


Zoosk is a social network website that also has an online dating service that integrates with other social networks like Facebook. It is meant for casual dating and hooking up.


  • 70% of its users are under 35, unlike most other dating websites which tend to attract an older crowd
  • Fast to fill out the profile, and easy to use


  • You can browse Zoosk's member directory to see all the public profiles (creepy)
  • Though Zoosk claims to be free, a membership of $29.95 a month (or $12.49/month for a six month membership) is required to contact anyone

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