Both kinds are popular, so you can’t go just by that.
In the 2016 Consumer Reports Online Dating Survey, more than 9,600 people who had used an online dating service in the last two years were asked which one they had joined.
“I typically recommend Match because I’ve found it gives you better quality,” says Jodi Manfredi, who writes online dating profiles professionally.
“I’ve always assumed that putting anything behind a pay wall makes it more attractive and weeds out the casual users and trolls,” agrees Joseph Lynn, a Chicago man who used e Harmony and Match as well as a few free sites.
Let’s face it, navigating online dating is a whole 'nother ballgame these days, and there are a bunch of different options and boastings on offer from the best dating apps. An endless roster of actively seeking singles (even ones with really niche preferences) are accessible on your commute, and profiles are swamped with Uber ratings, food preferences and requests that we follow these complete strangers on Instagram (like we weren't going to stalk you anyway).
And we're not in it for a few swipes then tapping out, either, with the average dating app user spending 191 minutes of their precious time searching.
In the meantime, the bottom line is that while some users think quality does come at a price, there are benefits to free dating services as well. Forty-eight percent said Match, a paid site, but Plenty Of Fish (free) and e Harmony (paid) tied for second most popular, with 23 percent apiece.But in terms of overall satisfaction, our survey found that free dating sites actually score a touch better than paid ones, probably because they're a better value.“The fact that e Harmony matched me with several women with whom I shared common interests led me to believe that I was seeing more quality matches.” At the same time, you shouldn’t write off a site just because it’s free.Even Tinder, despite its reputation for attracting users seeking causal romance, may deserve a more open mind. For every dating site or app that charges close to per month, such as Match, e Harmony, or JDate, there are plenty of other popular ones like Ok Cupid or Tinder that are free.If your goal is to get a date—or find a mate—are you better off with one type over the other?Overall, respondents preferred free sites like Ok Cupid, Tinder and Grindr over paid sites like Match and e Harmony, in part because of the value.The now infamous infidelity dating site Ashley Madison, which was one of the most expensive, was also the lowest-scoring online dating service, with a score of 37."There is a different level of exposure to disappointment and that's captured in the poor overall scores."Once considered taboo, online dating is now a socially accepted and booming multibillion dollar business that continues to grow.More than half, or 53 percent, of single people have created a dating profile, according to Match's recent Singles in America study, which polled over 5,000 single men and women in December.