Online Dating Blog

Is Online Dating Worth It?

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Recently I started offering dating advice through Yahoo! Answers. If you’re not familiar with Yahoo! Answers, it is a community where you earn points by answering questions and spend points to ask questions. The questions can be anything at all. There are plenty of people asking online dating questions so I check it out every now and again. It’s been interesting seeing what people are curious about and I’ve even been able to help a few people out.

By far, the most frequently asked question I’ve seen is: “Is online dating worth it?” That question actually means one of two things depending on the person asking:

  • Is online dating worth paying for?
  • Does online dating lead to successful relationships?

Some people ask their question in such a way that they concentrate on the cost but it really comes down to the same thing: if they knew they would meet someone great, they wouldn’t worry about the cost at all.

So, is it worth it?
My answer should be obvious considering I have a blog dedicated to online dating! Just in case you haven’t picked up on it, yes, I think it is worth the money and the time. I also know that it does lead to successful relationships. While there are plenty of people on Yahoo! Answers who agree with me, just as many disagree. I find that most of the people supporting the idea of online dating mention some success using it. The answers from those who are against online dating, on the other hand, often have qualities I find both amusing and annoying at the same time. Those qualities are:

  • They rarely mention if they’ve tried online dating or if they do mention it they are very vague
  • They have a tendency to demean the idea of online dating without offering any substance as to why they are against it
  • They avoid punctuation, capitalization and, on occasions, appear to make up their own words
  • They suggest that people you meet online are only interested in a) sex or b) killing you

Most of the advice offered by people who are against online dating is worthless. For example, if someone thought online dating was horrible and shared examples why, that would be great and would have some value. You don’t see that, though. You just see answers like “online dating iz dangerus!!!”

Arguments for Online Dating
There seems to be some unspoken rule on Yahoo! Answers that you answer the question asked; you don’t respond to other people answering. I follow this rule even when I’d love to ask some of the anti-online dating people how they formed their opinions. With that in mind, instead of making general arguments for online dating I am going to counter a few of the answers I’ve seen. The following are samples of Yahoo! Answers given to the question “Is online dating worth it?” followed by my thoughts on the advice offered. I’m not cherry-picking my examples – there are plenty of examples like these to choose from.

Answer 1
save your money.. ask friends if they know anyone that is single that you might be interested in or if your good with conversation just start talking to people when you go to the landrymat or bookstore etc…

  • First off, the idea of letting your friends and family know you are single-and-looking is a good thing (as long as it’s not the only thing). But the assumption that doing this is going to cause dates to flood in is ridiculous.
  • As for just going out and meeting people: this basically says go wander around your town to different establishments until you happen to strike up a conversation. Hopefully after a few of these conversations you’ll actually talk to someone who is single. This type of advice will work for someone who wants to date anyone. But wouldn’t it be nice to meet someone with qualities you are actually looking for? If meeting anyone just to avoid being alone is the answer, why not institute arranged marriages? Am I the only one who notices many relationships are not working today? Is there a chance part of the problem is that some of us actually believe that meeting anyone is the solution?

Answer 2
Why don’t you just go out and meet real people in your town. It will save you a lot of money.

  • People on the internet are as real as the people in your town.
  • I’m not convinced you save money by going out. To me, the words “going out” inherently involve me spending money in some fashion. That said, I have tried this. There were several times when I was single where I would buy a coffee just so I could be social somewhere secretly hoping to meet someone. If you go to a bar with the hopes of meeting someone, you are paying even more. If you went out for a few beers or coffee every week over a month’s time, you might not spend as much as the cost of a dating service but it would be close enough to make your actions questionable.

Answer 3
NO!!! just find someone on ur own and the person will love you cuzz they actually know u..

I have no idea where to begin with Answer 3 so I’m just leaving that one alone.

I like Yahoo! Answers but the system appears to encourage people to answer questions they know very little about. Many people, it would appear, are far more interested in hearing people talk about the questions they want to ask and, thus, they have to answer questions so they can ask there own.

Believe what you want but one fact cannot be denied: online dating is only getting more popular. There is a good reason for that: it works.

 

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About the Author:

Brad initially struggled with online dating but over time became quite successful using it. He met his wife using online dating and has been giving advice and helping people improve their results since 2007. He has written a Free Online Dating Guide to help others find success with online dating. You can learn more about his personal experience using online dating and running this website here.

Discussion

  1. Brad  March 10, 2010

    I guess I could answer it. I didn't simply because they made no argument to defend their position and then offered thoughts that are obviously exaggerations.

    Anyway, here are my thoughts: First, using online dating is finding someone on your own. The biggest mistake many people make going into online dating is that it's going be super easy. It's not…or at least it isn't very often. Second, you can find love online. The idea that someone will only love you if they “know” seems to suggest that you should only date people you already “know”. If online dating helps you get to “know” new people, isn't that helping to solve the problem? The answer seems to imply that you'll never really “know” someone you meet online…I think?

    My wife loves me but since we met online should I question that love? Of course not. A big problem I have with answers like these is they make no effort to build their case. “You're stupid for even thinking this and I'm not going to tell you why” is a pretty common answer at the site. If the answerer had said “no find someone offline who will luv you and here's why…” at least a case would have been made.

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  2. tatty  March 10, 2010

    why not answer #3?

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  3. Steve  May 17, 2010

    Online dating is worthless for the vast majority of men. For several reasons.

    First, the average woman on any given dating site gets inundated with mail/messages from men. If you are one of those men, chances are very good you’ll get filtered out unless you are absolutely an alpha male or top-drawer material.

    Not surprisingly, this dynamic puts women in the driver’s seat when it comes to online dating. They themselves don’t necessarily have anything to offer, but you’d better have the goods and then some before they’ll deign to give you the time of day.

    Second, many women use free dating sites to get attention and ego strokes. They have no intention of reciprocating in any meaningful fashion.

    And women who use paid dating sites expect a great deal for their money. That is, they think their $29.95 per month membership fees will deliver them a guy who makes $150K+ per year, drives a top-end BMW, has a small mansion at least, and has a six-pack to boot. And that’s only if he meets their stringent and wildly unrealistic standards to begin with.

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  4. Brad  May 17, 2010

    Hey Steve – I can’t really bring myself to agree with your opinions. I think you must be meeting the wrong women if you really believe everything you wrote. There are plenty of men having success and there are many (many, many) women who are far more interested in finding a great relationship than they are in “stroking their egos” or finding someone with a BMW and a six pack.

    Maybe you’ve been burned but I promise you this: I talk to a lot of women regarding dating advice by running this site and the overwhelming impression I get from them is a true desire to find love.

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  5. Steve  May 18, 2010

    Brad,

    Maybe you should check out plentyoffish.com or connectingsingles.com to find out what the women are like there. Singlesnet, for instance, is another dating site I’ve tried and found to be rife with scammers and flaky women. I have tried these sites (and many of the big-name, supposedly more reputable ones), and had zero results.

    I don’t think the problem is me, it’s the low quality of women who frequent those sites.

    You know, one thing I’ve learned in my travels is that women say one thing and do another.

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  6. Brad  May 18, 2010

    I think we’re just going to have to disagree on this one Steve. I mean, I met my wife at an online dating site so I’m living proof that it isn’t as universally bad as you suggest. Even before meeting my wife, the women I met never left me feeling that things didn’t work out because of the size of my pocketbook or the appearance of my stomach. Did I have some lie to me? Sure. But for every woman I met where something went wrong there were five that went perfectly fine.

    Also, I’ve shared my thoughts on Plenty of Fish more than a few times here and I am not a fan of that site. I’d recommend you check out OKCupid and see if things are any better at that site for you. You might also want to check out my article on why I think pay sites will continue to do well even though free options are available. Both of the sites you list as problematic are free and I have to wonder if that’s part of the problem (my experiences were based on using a pay service).

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  7. Fran  July 9, 2010

    I met someone from Plenty of Fish. I will be more careful the next time. He was touchy/feely and wanted to explore. Sex obsessed. He would send me like 200 text messages a day. Really hard to get rid of on top of it.

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  8. aaaaa  April 14, 2011

    If I cant make it work with someone i know in the real world, i dont see why online dating would make it easier – i think that’s where people get trapped. they see online dating as some magical solution where you can just flip through a catalogue and find your ideal. Its not like that – any relationship will take work, whethere you meet them online, at the grocery store, or at work.

    Also some of us just arent “into” online dating. I get very frustrated when a friend, family member tells me to do online dating. Believe it or not. some of us are just not into finding love on the internet!!!! it’s not that i think everyone out there is a creepster – it’s that plus the fact that the entire ritual does not attract me. Im not saying people dont really meet that way – i know couples that have met online, and happy ones at that. However, it’s just not the way i prefer to socialize – i find the prospect of exchanging endless messages, only to meet and find that you have a bad feeling or gut intuition about someone sort of tedious. I also dislike having long conversations via text messaging. .some of us are old fashioned and like to meet people at work, at the grocery store, or at the bar! YES I am antiquated and NO!!! i don’t plan to change!

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  9. Brad  April 15, 2011

    I can totally respect the idea that someone would say “online dating isn’t for me”. I can *especially* respect people who say “online dating isn’t for me” after they’ve tried it (which I’ll assume you have). It’s when people say “online dating can’t work” or “online dating is for loserz” that I start to object.

    I agree with you 100% that people see online dating as some catalog they’ll browse and find someone, easy as that. It often takes hard work and assuming it will be super easy is what leads many people to fail when using it.

    However, I will disagree on your point that online dating can’t make finding someone easier than the “real” world. If you live in a small town, online dating can make things much easier. If you’re moving to a new city soon and want to get into the singles scene before you arrive, online dating makes things much easier. If you are shy, online dating makes things much easier. If you are looking for very specific qualities in a person, online dating makes things much easier. The last point in particular is a great selling point for online dating: how well does the bar or the grocery store get you the qualities you’re looking for in a person? It all comes down to luck there.

    Since I started this site in 2007, I’ve seen a very large trend away from the topic of “Is Online Dating Worth It?” or the topic “Why Online Dating Sucks” to a trend of more and more people using it. Depending on whose statistics you believe, between 15% and 20% of all relationships in the US are now generated from online dating…a statistic that would have been unrealistic and laughable just 5 years ago. So now even more so than when I first wrote this article I would argue that online dating is absolutely worth it.

    Does that mean every person should be using it? Absolutely not. More power to you if your old fashioned ways are bringing you the love/romance you’re looking for!

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  10. Dana  May 11, 2011

    I am one of those who can boldly state ‘online dating is not for me’ based on my experience. I have attempted it on and off for 5 years – 6 different online services. I met personally a few men and absolutely nothing ever worked. Fortunately nothing bad happened except for unpleasant memories about completely wasted time and money and sense of failure. I will NEVER do it again and I strongly discourage everyone who says that they are hopeful to find love online. Three years ago I met my boyfriend the old fashioned way in real life and we live happily together now. Thank god my friends (who never met anyone online) finally quit suggesting that I should try the Internet.

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  11. Brad  May 12, 2011

    While I couldn’t disagree with you more Dana, I do appreciate your input. I would say that everyone should be encouraged to try online dating since 1 in 6 marriages now start online (based on this survey of 7,000 people). Not stick with it no matter what, but at least give it a try.

    Also, I think online dating is getting better every year and I’ve seen its results improve since I met my wife using it. Since you haven’t used online dating since 2008 (I’m assuming you stopped when you met your boyfriend) things should be better now than when you were using them. For example, I suspect the marriage rate in 2008 was not as good as 1 in 6.

    The more people that use online dating, the more opportunity there is to meet someone and every year the numbers are growing. I fully expect the to see the “1 in 6″ become “1 in 4″ someday. Who knows what the number will look like 10 years from now!

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  12. Lucille  October 18, 2011

    Brad,

    I’ve used spark.com dating site and asked myself if it’s worth the time or money. I recently talked to someone from that site who was working in another country and after about a week or so of chatting he told me he needed help and asked me for money, is this why people go on dating sites shoudl I give up on onine dating because of this experience?

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  13. Brad  October 22, 2011

    I don’t this this one event would cause me to want to give up dating (and I’d encourage you to stick with it too). I’m sure you already know this but I have to mention it anyway: anytime anyone asks for money on a dating site it’s a scam so DON’T send money. Based on your comment it sounds like you already realize this (and find it frustrating) but it never hurts to say it again.

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  14. Rachel  December 26, 2011

    Internet dating is a waste of money because:
    you don’t see if you have chemistry with someone, you email back and forth and you eventually meet up and are disappointed.
    if you go speed dating you generally find guys who will buy you drinks and you’ll be able to chat to guys directly instead of waiting to meet up with some-one online.
    unless you have a picture that is smily and/or sexy you won’t get many profile views as guys are visually stimulated.

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  15. Marco  February 21, 2012

    I am very much against online dating for a great number of reasons. First of all, I could not find my bride through online dating. It has to do with distance, the type of women, and they are trying to be in control rather than letting me be part of their lives.

    Let me explain why I said that. First of all, I had a terrible experience meeting someone from another state. This was my fisrt out-of-state relationship resulted from online. She was not meant to be for me and then she stalked me daily and I tried to find someone else more closer to me and she would find me and destroy relationships that way. She even came up and blew her temper in front of our guests and my mom and my mom’s bf. This was in 2003! 9 years ago! After her blowing up her temper, I kicked her to the bus station right away! However, she kept stalking me online and I had to call the police! Yup! The police! You know what? She stopped because she feared cops. Clearly she has troubles in her!

    Second of all, I met 9 women between November 1998 when I first ever signed online that month till end of 1999, it was bit easier to meet women locally through chat room and aol dating that was free at one time. When I met them. Oh man! They were not what they were online! They are so different or superfictional compared to online. First one was really rough tomboy with muscles that could rival Lou Ferringo/Hulk. Second one kept late for meeting me in person because she wanted to be online. Third one a good chance. a doctor but she did not want me. Although the way she act, weird! Fourth one a much better chance who lives an hour from me however, conflict confronted that she works for my insurance provider. She is an investigator. I dont want someone who does business with me. I mean anybody! I draw a line. Good chance. But.. Then I had a few more nutcases. Even one really bragging hotshot type daughter of a DA for this county I live in.

    I like the Flipinas but they may seem want to come over here. Not about love. I know why many women did not want me. Especially the ones I found they are very attractive and nice but they did not want a 5′ 3″ guy with white hair since 18, and I am Deaf.

    I am married now. Why? I met my wife at a SINGLES DANCE! I volunteer there so I can save money every week. I knew the owner of the dances and I worked the door as greeter and ticket attendant.

    I love my wife. She is Hearing.

    My advice, stay away from scammers and spammers and fakers on dating sites. In fact, stay away from ANY dating sites! I don’t trust them and never will again. If I am back in the singles scene again, I will never ever go back to dating sites online. I will stick with old fashioned way: through friends, at church, or at events such as trade shows, conferences, etc.

    Thank you for listening!

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  16. JC  June 11, 2013

    Online dating is lazy, it’s a cop out. Good for you Brad, I’m glad you’re living proof online dating works. Online dating does not work for most people because it’s impersonal. People lie, scam, post old photos, et. Aside from the impersonal nature of online dating I’ll give you the biggest reason it’s flawed and does not work for most. I’ll also suggest a better way to meet someone other than posting your mugshot and requisite profile write-up for the world to see.

    By default, the only thing people have in common when joining online dating sites is that they are single! It has been my experience in the 3 years Ive tried online dating that men (and women) post projections, or what they think a potential mate wants to hear. There’s no truth in advertising! Sure there are exceptions but for the most part the only commonalities online daters have is they are single and that’s it! Most aren’t even over their exes so factor that into the equation to even lessen your odds.

    Instead of joining an online dating site try joining social groups. If you like dogs, volunteer at a shelter, if you like painting, got to more exhibits or take a water color class, same for any genuine interest. Im in Chicago and Ive seen most of the same old faces for the 3 plus years Ive been trying. Sure it has its fun moments but as a whole Im frustrated because I’m enticed by the opportunity but yet becoming realistic that there is a reason most guys who join match and other dating sites are single. They are either players, or uninteresting, or both. I’m beginning to question if I’m uninteresting because I keep signing-up! Somebody pinch me and wake me from this online dating trap and nightmare! Travel, laughter, sarcasm, a night on the town or a night on the couch, comfortable in a Tshirt or Formal, bleh! Every profile is the same with some more clever than others. I guess that’s why most of us only look at the pictures. Face it, the only thing people have in commom on dating sites is we’re single! It’s a waste of time because too often when you meet in person the spark isn’t there, or it’s fleeting after a few dates. Why not skip the online yadda yadda and cut to the chase? Im joining a club or volunteering more this summer as Ive had it with online dating.

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    • Brad  June 20, 2013

      It sounds as if you’re saying online dating is for lazy people but then you also argue it’s hard (I’m assuming that’s what you mean when you talk about liars and scams and what-not).

      You know, I used to be bothered by people who felt like you back years ago when I started my site…back when a very small minority of couples were meeting using online dating. Now that it’s something like 20% of couples meeting using online dating, I’m far less bothered by these opinions. That’s a pretty big jump in just a few years!

      Given a long enough time line, I’m fairly convinced that people who say “online dating is for losers” will be in the minority. It’s definitely trending that way.

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