The Best Free Dating Apps and Websites: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need

If only I had better photoshop skills, I would be riding a unicorn naked in my profile pics as well.

For anyone who's spent even two minutes on a dating website or app, you know there are three things synonymous to every female's profile:

A. Loves to travel
B. Is a foodie
C. Is not here for a hookup

Without a doubt, we are living in a golden age of travel ease, inventive cooking, and quick hookups. It would almost seem more relevant for someone to post: "I am a homebody, I prefer bland, redundant meals, and want to go to the bone zone 24/7 with whomever messages me." Now THAT would be a revelation! I, for one, suggest that people stop saying A, B, C, and just move on to things that mean something.

Recently, I had a recruiter reach out to me about a position to be the Chief Content Officer of a new dating app. At first, I was rather excited, because I wanted to expand upon the number of people who referred to me as "chief"; from one -- the gas station attendant -- to possibly three or four. To be clear, I am certainly not looking for any work, as my sister has dubbed me "an international man of leisure," and I like to live up to that billing. But I was intrigued by a dating app, since that's right up my alley. Heck, I get B+ just for showing up, right, right?

I won't name the company, because, frankly, I don't like to kiss and tell. (But if you ask me with one alcoholic beverage in my system, IT'S ON!) Sadly, I don't think the app will be successful, no matter what their focus groups tell them. After playing around with the app for a few hours, I felt like Tom Hanks in Big when he's playing around with the transformer "building" and raises his hand to the execs and goes, "I don't get it." I'm about all the focus group you need when it comes to dating and apps, because I'm dumb enough, with a ridiculously low attention span, to see if I can understand an app, and just smart enough to not walk into oncoming traffic. I'm what you call, "low-risk, low-reward." You can have that engraved on my tombstone.

Besides not believing in the product, the backgrounds of all the execs on the team? Married. Wait. What?!? I don't get it. If you have a dating app, I'd hope that someone on the team is a living and breathing embodiment of your number one user.

With that said, I shall give you my definitive review of all the free dating apps and websites I've used. (To give you a preview, Zoosk is the worst of them all!) I will also use some hard-to-understand 5-something rating scale. (*My reviews are based on Silicon Valley usage, where we have the highest concentration of males to females in the U.S. and laws of typical dating are completely disregarded.)

TINDER – The darling of the web. She of questionable founder origins and even more questionable founder morals. Tinder is so quick and easy – swiping right if you like a person, and swiping left if you don't – that I hardly ever message people on it anymore. I just want to see who I match with "nearby." I'm addicted to swiping. Even those I match with -- when both people have swiped right to each other -- 90% percent I have buyer's remorse, and the 10% I message, 8% never message me back.

It's just too convoluted of a system, with FAR too many men in Silicon Valley bombarding women with redundant and creepy messages. You know those clubs you go to where there's SOOO many guys that all the girls are dancing in a circle with each other, acting like lesbians, in a desperate attempt to fend off the swarm of three-deep douchebags waiting to get their freak on? That's like Tinder.

2 of 5 Valyrian Steel Swords because I treat this app more like a game than an actual means to dating. (I chose Valyrian Steel in lieu of stars, because it's the best and I am a nerd. Valar Morghulis!)

COFFEE MEETS BAGEL – Formerly only for gluten-free-eating, skinny jean-wearing elitist iPhone users, CMB has now branched out to include the lower-class citizens on Android. Too bad Android users will laugh this one back to iOS as they walk to the trailer park with their Otter Pop popsicles. (disclosure: former lifelong Android user, now two weeks into my test iOS phase.) The founders should've taken Mark Cuban's hypothetical "$30 Million." This app -- get this -- gives you ONE match a day. If you both like each other, you have a window of 8 days to message each other.

No offense, but do you know how many unattractive people there are in Silicon Valley? Okay, that sounds majorly superficial, but let's not be a hypocrite here. Initially, looks matter somewhat. I have been on CMB for over two weeks and have been matched with only one person over 5 (out of a Bo Derek 10). If you want to test your luck out on some other girls, you have 10 new options a day, but no guarantees. To even "take" or "like" one of those 10 girls, you have to use beans, which you must buy. Everyone is basically moving at this "one-a-day" snail's pace. You could be waiting all year! With the environment we live in, patience is thin and plenty of other apps means that people are probably not falling over themselves to pay for a crapshoot in the form of beans. But kudos to the team for trying to monetize so early. If only there were value first....

2 of 5 Mini-Bagel Pizza Bites because they do some nice things with trying to get people to promote the product for them to get more beans!

HINGE – This is the app I tell all my friends about. In fact, it may even sound like a paid endorsement. (It's not. Although I welcome all forms of attempted bribery. It can't be unethical if you just accept it, right? Jack in the Box sends me free vouchers all the time and it hasn't swayed me one bit. I still go to Jack -- or Tastytown, as I like to call it -- on my own volition to eat their delicious, mouth-watering Spicy Sriracha Burger. Now here for a limited time!) Hinge, gives you matches through 2nd and 3rd degree Facebook connections, which means there's much less chance that someone's going to ask you to go to bone zone (that's my new favorite adult term for 'sex') within the first few messages. Unlike CMB, you get multiple matches a day. It used to be just 10 matches at noon, but now it's sporadic to keep you coming back for more.

The reason why I like this app the best is simple: RESULTS. I have had the most meaningful conversations and the most actual dates through this app. Heck, some of the girls were actually attractive! And not all of them went to the bathroom only to never return or had a phone call interrupt our date after 10 minutes with an "emergency." I'd say that's a win-win for everyone!

5 of 5 Eddard Stark Heads (he was a good man) for not over-doing it with options and not under-doing it in an attempt to get us to pay. Freeeeeeedom! (William Wallace. I think he lost his head too. He was also a good man.)

PLENTY OF FISH – I really like POF. It's the original "old-school" free dating website, that now has an app. You can see and read anyone's profile, message them, see who's viewed you, see who's mutually "liked" you, but it also has reasonable paid elements. You can see who wants to meet you, upload more images, see if someone's read your message, and show up more prominently when women are browsing profiles.

I feel like women are looking for more real relationships on this site and are more receptive to messages than OKCupid (which I'll get into next). The site is not an example of design or UI excellence, because they keep their staff to a minimum. But they do a good, honest job, without trying to extort the user at every turn. It's almost impossible to close the site when they keep giving you options of new girls when clicking "back" from any page. Nice move, POF.

4 of 5 Finding Nemos because I like the blue-collar background of this company and the general word-of-mouth advertising they've relied on. It's all about dating results.

OKCUPID – Nobody does data better than OkCupid. What was once my most boringest class in college -- statistics -- has now become the caterpillar that turned into a butterfly. (I don't even know if that makes sense, I've been up so long...) I'm like the Karate Kid, forced to paint fences and wax cars, only to realize all those meaningless motions actually meant something. OkCupid asks users to answers relevant dating/personality questions (the more, the better) to try and form the best percentage matches between users. Not only do they give you your compatibility percentage between each person, but also the percentage chances you may be an "enemy"!

Just like POF, you can browse and message for free, but if you want to show up more prominently, see who already likes you, or search by attractiveness (they have gameified ratings to come up with the most "attractive"), you have to pay a monthly fee. While I feel women are more serious about a relationship on POF, the folks over at OkCupid are doing an amazing job. The site is innovative and continues to stay fresh, adding "web 2.0"-type games and swiping.

4 of 5 Arrows because I love data and admire the founders for their easy-to-understand and presentable nature of their nerdiness.

ZOOSK – Don't even try it. It's a spam machine. It tries to disguise itself as a free dating website/app, but it's really a pay-for-everything, horrible matches, but I'll email you when someone breathes on your page, "dating" site. Born in the middle of the website era and the app craze, it does neither well. If anything, it is a relentless advertising vehicle, so you're sure to have heard of it through a sponsored listing or advertisement on the side of your Facebook newsfeed. Advertisements can only trick so many idiots onto a site. After that, you'll need natural, organic word-of-mouth from satisfied customers to sustain growth. (See every blockbuster motion picture.)

1 of 5 Spam Burgers because I dislike sites that act as the web version of a creepy used-car salesman, who tries to fast-talk you into making a decision you'll later regret.

--------

Well, there you have it -- the definitive guide on using technology as the cheapest ice-breaker on the planet! Spend money trying to find the love of your life!??! As if! (What a hoot that Cher was...) Maybe I should make one pop-culture reference in this post that isn't from the 80s or 90s. Hmmmm... I don't know. I can't think of any. Buuuuuut, I'll be back!

Until then, from one prominent Chief to a commoner, may you find the woman or man of your dreams – that rare breed of person who loves food, traveling, and sex with someone they've gotten to know. Good luck with that!

Sincerely,
Kevin L.

Share this:

Post a Comment

 
Copyright © Silicon Valley Bachelor . Designed by OddThemes | Distributed By Gooyaabi Templates