That Internet dating thing

I think this ad that’s popped up at Qt3 may sum up the concept of Internet dating for a lot of people:

In a word: scary.

However, I’ve put myself back into the market after a long time off and I’m curious about the experiences others may have had, what sites are recommended, which to stay away from. There seems to be about a billion or so out there so it’s not easy to get a handle on which are better. I signed up for one that had more of a casual slant to it and the results have varied from decent to “haha…no”.

Now, I am gay so it’s quite possible that dating services are for the most part completely segregated and I’d be better off sending a PM to Scrax, but even if that’s the case, I’m still interested in hearing good (or bad) stories from using online dating services and what to look for/stay away from.

I’ve had good experiences with OkCupid and a lack of any good experiences elsewhere.

I met my wife on so I can suggest that. Not sure if they handle gay users though … they might. As a disclaimer this was over 5 years ago so it may have much worse, or better, since I last used it.

I bet that one with the christian overtones would be just giddy for you to sign up :P

I’ve had an on/off thing with for a while. I’ll use Match and go on a couple of dates, then go on a few dates with people outside of Match, and then back to Match and so on and so forth. I know of a couple couples that met through Match and are now married, so it seems to be a good service. I know I’ve never been on a really bad date through Match - in fact, I’ve met some great, beautiful women who I remain good friends with, but I sometimes wonder if my experience is a little unique. A few of the women I’ve dated have commented that I’m one of the only normal guys they’ve met through Match, so experiences may vary.

Oh, another disclaimer about … according to their site, I’m incompatible with my wife. Their search would never have hooked us up. We only got together because she saw my picture when browsing and contacted me directly.

We’re apparently only 29% compatible. 4 1/2 years of happy marriage later, I’d like to disagree.

Well, maybe you’ll only be compatible for 29% of your remaining life. When did you guys get together? This is a serious threat!

I thought wasn’t gay friendly.

It seems to pair me with a lot of really sportsy, outdoorsy women, which is fine but not really what I’m shooting for or what I think would match well with me - maybe that’s just because of where I live, but I often wonder if their Matching system is wonky. Sometimes someone great who never showed up in any of my searches will contact me and I’ll wonder why I never found them before. So, yeah, something definitely off there.

My endorsement of Match can be taken with a grain of salt, since clearly nothing has stuck, but I’ve found it’s a good way to get out there when I’m feeling otherwise anti-social.

I think allows gay pairings. I think it’s eharmony that doesn’t.

eHarmony is the “Hey we’re not religion oriented or anything.” christian dating service.

I tried the online thing and got absolutely nowhere (before meeting someone in real life). I tried out OKCupid and PlentyOfFish, because both are free and I refuse to pay for things on the internet. Of the two, OKCupid was vastly superior.

Part of the problem was that I live on an island near the border, and the default on POF is 50 miles as the crow flies, so I was getting a lot of girls that would require a 6 hour journey and a passport to visit. But more than that, POF just doesn’t do a good job of matching.

OKCupid has thousands of questions and leads you along with a status bar carrot like a videogame to get you to keep working on your profile. So even though I didn’t meet anyone on either site, I had more fun on OKC.

I met my wife on too. We’ve been married almost 12 years now.

I’m surprised at all the online dating success stories here. Personally I met my girlfriend through myspace 5 years ago. Her animated background was off the chain.

I met my boyfriend on craigslist, though I hear horror stories about the m4m sections in bigger cities. A friend of mine in a smaller town had good luck with it but here in SF, it’s all “HEY CHECK OUT MY DICK!”

I had luck on yeeeears ago. No idea what that’s like now. Most of my friends that do the internet thing have switched to

I met my girlfriend in a women’s restroom in a bar.

Just kidding. I met her on

She was the first date I went on (I went on one the next day as well, then canceled my account - or at least I thought I did. Be sure to verify it’s been canceled, it was a huge headache to get the next month back).

Online dating is the new hotness. Who wants to approach women in person when it’s so much easier to Alt-Tab between them and minesweeper at work?

I’ve heard is more gay friendly, but eHarmony is not.

There is no choice for gay on eHarmony, though apparently they’re rolling out a new service at the end of the month to cater towards non-marriage and non-hetero coupling.

I tried on and off in the past and have had 1 relationship and several good dates out of it, although I’ve also had long “drought” periods on Match where nothing pans out.

eHarmony is very expensive and they control who you see. I had one strictly average date off there and overall think the site is garbage.

OkCupid is free and has a ton of questions to help find someone similarly compatible. I’ve made some decent friends off there and have dated several people from here, and my current relationship (7 months) is with someone I met from there. Highly recommended.

Any site that restricts who you see is garbage. All of the people I met on OKC were just random chance; one saw my journal update on the front page and IM’d me, one I saw her picture on my front page and thought she was cute, and one mailed me to insult my profile. None of the people I mailed based on match percentage went anywhere.

I met my wife playing MUDs online in the internet stone ages. I’m all for meeting people online, but I would find an explicit dating service to be offputting myself. I’d rather get to know someone in a shared context such as an online game before trying a date.

Where am I going with all this?

Play WoW, but only for the chicks.

I met my wife online, on a now-defunct “Christian” website that sucked (by the same people who bring you greeaaat)

It’s no testament to the site, but rather I think to my approach to dating as a numbers game… the more people you meet, the more likely you are to meet someone you really connect with. Internet dating is perfect for this, since your first “date” is really just a quick sizing up. Meet for coffee, whatever, 10 to 20 minutes, then either talk longer (with my wife, it was 3 hours) or “Nice meeting you, good luck”

I can’t recommend any given site, just some general tips for initial contact. Probably a lot of “DUH” pointers, but I was a bit naive when I first started, so here goes:

  1. when emailing at first, do so anonymously through the site, or a throw-away mail account
  2. Don’t give too much personal info. No last name, not the neighborhood you live in, no phone numbers, etc
  3. First meeting. Public well lit active place, like meet for coffee, or a drink at happy hour maybe.

that’s about it. Good luck!