Guest Author - Kristina de la Cal
Since the economy is not at its highest point these days and so few people have the means to splurge on luxuries like dating services that charge a premium, I decided to do some research to see if I might find an online dating site that provides members with high quality content for little or no charge. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first. It is pretty common for things that are advertised as “free” to come with some sort of a catch. As expected, many of the so-called free dating services that I came across were anything but spectacular. Some offered only free trial periods ranging from a few days to a couple of weeks, after which the trial membership would end and you would be charged an outrageously overpriced membership fee for a mediocre site. A few others were genuinely free but were lacking all of the substance that would give them the right to charge members in the first place. Fortunately, I eventually stumbled on a site that seemed worth exploring further.
Absolutely every service provided by OkCupid.com is 100% free of charge, including communicating with other members. The best part about it, however, is that these member perks are actually quality services and entirely gimmick-free.
As I run through a list of pros and cons about the site below, you will probably notice that there are significantly more pros than there are cons so if you have decided to give online dating a try, this is definitely a good place to start and the only thing it will cost you is a little bit of your time.
* OkCupid.com is 100% free to join, post a profile, search for, and communicate with other members.
* Provides members with a list of standard questions to help you design a more in-depth profile. If completed accurately and sincerely, this cyber dating audition could help you to secure your choice of casting calls to answer.
* Compatibility questions, many of which are written by other members, are designed to help determine which members you are more likely to be compatible with. In addition to asking you for your personal answers to these questions, it also asks you to identify the response your ideal mate would likely choose and then asks that you rate how significant that specified response from your match would be to you. If you do not like a question a particular question, you can simply skip it and move to the next. An explanation of their matching technologies is available on the FAQ section of the site.
* The site allows you to improve your matches by choosing to answer more questions. You can also improve them by rating those profiles you do view according to looks and personality.
* Members can narrow search results based on a variety of factors and sort them according to their personal preferences.
* The site is equipped so that users can send instant messages to other members as well as email. Both the email and instant message services allow users to set filters so that they are only messaged by other members that meet a certain criteria. If necessary, members can choose to block other specific members from reaching them.
* A variety of personality tests, electronic journals, forums, advice articles, puzzle games, and other humorous content is also available free of charge. Members can even contribute their own matching questions or develop their own tests for others to take.
* If you are particularly interested in someone but aren’t sure how to start the conversation, you can send a “woo” to let him/her know that you are interested. Of you can save his/her profile and choose to allow that person to know that they were saved to your list.
* As you view each profile, you have the option of rating them based on looks and personality, keeping notes on them, hiding them, flagging them as inappropriate, comparing them against other profiles, or comparing their responses on tests and compatibility questions to your own.
* Members are asked to rate the quality of messages that they receive from other members and can vote on whether or not particular threads make them happy.
* The site automatically keeps a log of your instant message (IM) history, which is a very useful tool that you can use to refer back to previous conversations with other members.
* On your homepage, you can see all of the recent activity from other users in all areas of the site. You can also keep tabs on who has been “stalking” your page, which is a nice feature but keep in mind that your stalking activities are also being monitored.
* Services are provided with both traditional and alternative lifestyles in mind.
* It allows members to join even if they are currently married or in a relationship.
* It is a truly free service. Although this is a plus on many levels, it can also work against the quality of the site simply because it cannot weed out those that are less serious about finding someone special and who use the site just to play around. Fortunately, though, all of the useful services that it provides do help to highlight its more quality members since those that aren’t really serious are less likely to invest the time that it would require to paint an accurate picture of him/herself.