Established in 1995, Match is considered the granddaddy of online dating services. At this point, it’s also one of the most frequently visited. With one of the largest relationship pools on the Internet, it serves members from more than 24 countries with platforms in 15 languages. The site claims to have successfully facilitated thousands of serious relationships, many of them leading to marriage. This Match review will give an overview of how it all works and examine verified user reviews in the process.
Finding Love in the Internet Age
When signing up, members create profiles that include pictures and provide information on not only themselves but the people they’re hoping to meet. If you’re unfamiliar with the inner workings of electronic dating, these profiles and the tools that accompany them are how users find their matches.
As an open dating service, there are no limitations on the who, how, or when of connecting with other clients on Match. The advantage to formats like this is that you’re able to find potential matches whenever you want and then message them to see if they’re interested in dating.
Signing Up for Match
As an option, new members have the opportunity to get a feel for how the service functions by trying out a free account first. This provides them with limited access to features paying members have full use of, so you need to know that up-front. If you want to forge ahead, here’s all the info you’ll need to include when creating a profile page—free or otherwise:
- General user information — Fill in your gender, location, birthday, and age.
- Basics — Relationship status, a brief outline of the type of person you’d like to meet, and a set search radius emanating from your supplied ZIP code.
- Interests — The site offers a list of interests to choose from and some easy essay-type questions that highlight your hobbies and your personal date preferences to include.
- Appearance — This is pretty self-explanatory. If you fib, your photos will belie this part.
- Lifestyle — Basically, how do you live (healthy, partier, smoker/drinker) and what do you enjoy doing is what they’re looking for here.
- Values & background — This is where you’ll supply your faith, ethics or moral outlook, education level, and whatever languages you speak.
- About your Date — This section allows you to give a detailed description of who you consider your ideal match to be. You can list everything from looks to smoking or drinking preferences here. Being specific can help narrow things down.
- Introduction — Similar to a cover letter, it’s basically a headline with a brief essay question attached. While you’ve provided it before, it’s recommended you throw in a detailed description of your projected soulmate here, too.
Speaking of recommendations, it’s worth pointing out that while several of these categories are obligatory to signing up, others aren’t. All dating sites, not just Match, strongly suggest you fill in as much information as you can to facilitate the most effective matches. It’s up to you, but you might as well get your money’s worth, even if it’s only figuratively.
So, what do you get with a free trial offer? For starters, most trial accounts are limited to seven days, but you can sometimes get an entire month free. It depends on the promotions they’re running. Here’s what you’ll have access to and what you’ll be denied if you go this route initially.
- Access to profile images of other users
- The ability to see users in your area
- A filter for refining your searches
- The ability to see the number of users in your area
- The demographics of nearby users
- Alerts signaling the last time users were signed in
Subscriptions come in 3-, 6-, and 12-month bundle plans. Should you decide to subscribe, you’ll have access to all of the features Match.com has to offer. In addition to those listed with a basic account, you’ll also get these:
- Dedicated email address for private communications with other members
- Receiving and sending messages
- Ability to see users who have viewed your profile
- Tracking of members who you’ve sent winks to
- Email read notifications
- A highlighted profile
- First impressions
- Ability to eliminate users you’re not interested in based on search results. This gives you a chance to clean house for more potential connections. Other members will still be able to discover you, though.
As of Aug. 2020, here’s what you’re looking at:
- One month: $35.99
- Three months: $19.99/month
- Six months: $17.99/month
- 12 months: $15.99/month
Making a Connection
Once you’ve set your dating preferences, Match shows you general search results containing likely dates. If you prefer, you can refine the results by going to the appropriate tabs. There’s a feature called “Mutual Match,” which highlights profiles that are closest to the specifications you outlined when signing up. “Reverse Match” allows you to view members searching for individuals such as yourself. They’re going by the stats you’ve listed and personal details provided. That’s why it’s recommended you fill out as much as possible when creating your page.
Note: After you fill out your profile, all changes have to be given the green light from Match before they can take effect. On the bright side, most edits are said to be given the go-ahead in under 10 minutes.
What are the Features that make Match great?
There is a ton of useful tools and advanced features members can utilize during their time on the dating site. This allows you to get the most out of the experience.
To begin with, Match offers a really well-designed and easy to use homepage. Everything is right there, such as the menu, search bar, and alerts for various messaging, still unreviewed matches, your favorites, likes, connections, and winks. Users receive a notification as soon as the recipient of the sent message reads it. All of these functions are a breeze to navigate.
- VIP Mail
Members are also allowed to send one “VIP email” to other users per week. The system resets itself each Monday, and VIP messages are then highlighted in the recipient’s inbox. Additionally, the sender’s profile is conveniently highlighted on the recipient’s connections page for them to see more readily.
- Email filters
This feature gives you the option of adding up to 7 filters to conveniently manage your email account. Mail can be filtered according to various criteria like age, height, kids, smoking, faith, ethnicity, and location. As with search filters, these can be refined to align with any real-time requirements you have. And they’re also considered a time saver for the fact they list profiles of people you might be interested in meeting.
- Further Advanced Search
These advanced features for searching out matches give you options for different ways of sorting through member profiles. You can sort based on such things as job, physical appearance, or even the frequency with which they work out. These increase the probability of finding your perfect match. In addition to “Mutual Matches” and “Reverse Matches,” here are further examples of other advanced search options to take advantage of:
- Match Words
This filter allows for the search of specific tag words like “adventurous” or whatever other tags you’ve used. You’ll then be shown all the profiles that have the same Match Words as those.
- Singled Out
Considered a sub-feature of Daily Matches, it provides users with a specific daily match that could quite possibly be a good fit. It’s normally the first match given in that category, and that match is usually seen before the others. Receiving these “Singled Out” matches depends mainly on how often you review daily matches. It’s all based on algorithms, which rely on user data to go on.
- New User Highlights
Due to its vast user base, it can be difficult to keep track of whose profiles you have and haven’t viewed so far. The service recognizes that, so they’ve included this New User feature to make it easier. It works by highlighting all newbie profiles so everyone can easily find the fresh meat.
- Smart Search
As the term suggests, it enables clients to find potential matches based on smart searches performed using things like interests, user names, match words, and other keywords or phrases seen in member profiles. All you have to do is enter the keyword/phrase in the text box along with gender and ZIP code to see results.
- Location-Based Searching
Available for numerous mobile operating systems, this opt-in feature allows users to connect with other Match members in their immediate area based on ZIP code.
- More Filters
Additional options for filtering relevant profiles are Online Now, which shows users who else is currently signed in; Has Photo for viewing profiles that have included pix; and Available to Chat showing all members who are up for some messaging. As an added benefit, you can save all of the search criteria you use for either reference purposes or even future use.
This tool is for keeping track of all the profiles you have flagged as favorites because presumably, you had an interest in them. Clients of Match are able to have up to 100 favorite members stored on their list at any given time. But you should be aware that after flagging someone this way, they can see that you have.
- Highlighting Messages
This tool allows users to highlight text in another member’s profile. It’s for the sake of convenience. To take advantage of it, just press the highlight button located on the top right of the profile you’re currently visiting. A box is provided for sending messages with your thoughts based on specific topics they’ve included on their page. It’s convenient if you just want to send a snippet versus a full-blown email.
Additional Subscription Features
Just like car insurance, these cost more if you’ve opted for a shorter membership subscription, so be forewarned. Paying a year in advance would reduce the price, but you’d have to decide whether it was worth it to you first. These additional features include:
Similar to using a burner app, this service allows members to speak with other users on their cell phones without having to reveal their actual numbers. The anonymity adds an extra layer of privacy and security to conventional methods of communication. The MatchPhone tool produces a new number that is then forwarded to your mobile device. It’s this auto-generated number that will appear on the other member’s caller ID display.
- Email Read Notification
A convenient feature that notifies Match clients when their email messages sent to other users have been opened and read.
- First Impressions
This feature bolsters your chances of being contacted by interested new members because they see these profiles first.
It’s interesting to note that user’s matches can be located in two ways. First, the dating service offers all members an updated list daily of possible love connections. If any among them strikes your fancy, you simply let Match know. Once you have, Match sends out an email informing them. If you aren’t interested in members on the list, the users are removed from it. It’s this kind of interaction with the service that aids in filtering future submissions to the next list.
The second option is that members can search for matches themselves. This is done through all of the features and tools we’ve already covered. A third option that some members find useful is the ability to link their Windows Live ID and Facebook accounts to their Match.com account.
This feature allows all registered Match subscribers to choose up to 20 prewritten questions that are then displayed on their user profiles for other subscribers to check out and answer. The Quiz is designed to give a clearer insight into an individual’s character, plus it enables flirting with other users in a less invasive manner.
There are seven games users can access on the site which generally last anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes in duration. The games have been created in an effort to assess compatibility between users and to encourage interaction among them. They include Name that Dance, Food Critic, Drawn Together, Best & Worst, If I Could, Romance Rip Off, and Gut Reaction.
With MatchMobile, members can use the online dating service anywhere via their smartphone or other mobile devices. This makes it convenient to stay on top of your account when you’re out and about. It includes nearly every feature available to members that are already located on the main site. You can search for matches, update your profile, send emails or IMs to other members, and so on. As an added benefit, MobileMatch can be set to send notifications through texts or emails when new messages or winks arrive.
There are also dating apps available for a number of registered mobile devices like Android, iPhone, and Windows phones, among others. These apps are free of charge to members. They can be used in conjunction with location-based capabilities on Match as well. The search options on these are pretty extensive, allowing you to perform quick searches by entering criteria such as age, distance, and ZIP code to turn up new results.
It’s been noted that Match.com isn’t necessarily quick on the draw when it comes to its response time regarding user questions or complaints. This can possibly be chalked up to the fact that the service has an enormous user base. Another claim commonly seen on Match review threads and other sites/apps is that many of the users are no longer active and haven’t been in years.
Basically, people either love or hate the site. Here are two actual verified user reviews posted on ConsumerAffairs.com. Out of the thousands, they are incredibly mixed:
Paul of Alameda, CA posted 4/29/19
“I’m sympathetic to all these people having a bad experience on Match, but I can’t relate to any of it. I’ve been on the site off and on for years and never had a problem. Women write me, I write them, we exchanged numbers, and I go on dates. From my perspective, it works exactly the way a dating site is supposed to.”
Lola of Los Angeles, CA posted 7/17/19
“Match has progressively gone downhill in the last 10 years. I recently joined several times and didn’t even go on one date. Other dating sites at least I can get a date with a freak. Match has a bunch of average men who believe they deserve to date Supermodels. Also the site sends fake emails and has fake profiles trying to entice you. I highly recommend using a different site. The Arrow one is okay.”
So, basically, while they have a lot of great features, you’ll have to make your own mind up!