How Does Work?

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In this three-part series, I’m going to discuss in detail, eHarmony, and finally I will compare these services to determine which is the “better” of the two. In this article, I’ll be describing from the ground up.

Does Work?

I won’t spend too much time on this question mostly because I’m biased: I met my wife using I understand if you’re having reservations about giving the service a try (I had the same reservations myself). But I can tell you that does work…although the process isn’t necessarily “easy”. In the rest of this article I’ll discuss how works and how you would use it to meet other singles. Hopefully this information can help decide if this service would be worth your time or not. If you are interested, you can see more on my thoughts on this topic in my article titled Is Online Dating Worth It?

does work?

Creating Your Profile at


When you visit, you’ll be presented with a form to search for singles where you can enter simple details, such as if you are a man looking for a woman, etc. This is actually part of the process to sign up for the service. Once you perform the search, you’ll be provided with a very simple sign-up screen. You just fill in your desired user name, email and other very basic details and you’re done! Sort of.

At this point you’ll be shown a screen where you can actually subscribe to the service (that is, pay for it). This is a little confusing for brand new users as initially it looks as if you have to pay to use the service. This isn’t the case, though. You can browse profiles and even wink at other users for free. If you’re not ready to pay for the service (and you shouldn’t be considering you’ve not even seen it yet) click on the Profile link at the top of the screen.

Filling Out Your Dating Profile
When filling out your profile, entering the information will be very simple initially and will become more detailed as you progress. The first few sections (which include your appearance, interests, lifestyle and values) should be simple to fill out.

Keep in mind: these “simple” sections are where people feel most comfortable telling little white lies. Don’t be one of those people. When you meet someone on a first date you don’t want their first thought to be “they lied to me”.

Next you’ll fill out your profile describing the details about the person you would like to date. This section allows you to be very specific on what you’re looking for. My recommendation is to avoid being too specific. The more accepting you are, the better your match score will be with other singles. If you are unnecessarily, it will lower your match score with other singles for no good reason. If something is important to you then by all means, enter those preferences. For everything else, I would recommend being as inclusive as possible.


Finally, you will fill out the section called “In My Own Words” and this is the section that most people find more difficult. You want to describe yourself and elaborate on who you’re looking to meet. You will want to make your profile unique to who you are and it will be important to avoid cliche phrases like “I like hanging out with friends” or “I’m laid-back and easy to get along with”. People will just skim over these statements. You will also need to enter your profile heading in this section. Don’t stress too much about your heading. I’ve never heard of anyone having success or failure strictly based on their heading. Time is better spent on your profile than heading. If you’re looking for help on creating your profile, see these articles:

Once you submit your profile, it will need approved but this process is normally very fast and you can search and view profiles during this time.

Note: It is extremely important that you upload a photo if you are serious about meeting others. Be sure that you try to pick a good primary picture and be sure that it says what you think it does about you.

Communicating with Other Singles

Before you can start communicating, you’ll have to find someone you are interested in. This is a simple process: just click on the Search link at the top of the screen and enter the basic details you are looking for. You can also use special matching which includes:

  • Mutual Matches: Those people you have a high match score with as you both have traits the other person is looking for

  • Reverse Match: Helps you find people who are looking to date people like you
  • Online Now: Returns those users who are online which is useful if you are looking to chat with others.

Note that all of these special searches will be affected by your basic search settings (age, distance, keywords). In addition to these searches, you can also specify very specific searches by clicking “Keep Customizing…”.


At this point you can start reviewing profiles. Keep in mind that to have any real communication with people you will have to sign up for a subscription. Free accounts can search and you can wink…but even if they respond to a wink you’ll be unable to communicate with them unless you sign up. Unique Features

Almost every dating service has unique features, even the smallest niche sites. is no exception and it has some of the most interesting features available:

  • Daily 5: The Daily 5 provides you with (wait for it…) 5 matches a day. You can then rate each of these matches and Match will use these rates to better define the users they provide you in the future. Note that you need to rate your current matches before you get more so if you stop getting matches, rate the ones you have. Those you rate well will see you listed in a section “They’re Interested in You” and the same will go for you for those users that rate you well.

  • 6 Month Guarantee: If you sign-up and use the service for 6 months and don’t find a relationship you can get the next 6 months free. Keep in mind that this promotion can be more difficult to qualify for than it sounds so be sure to read my write-up on issues with the 6-month guarantee.
  • MatchWords: MatchWords aren’t much more than tags that you associate with yourself. You can have up to 50 MatchWords and I would suggest adding some as these can help other singles find you.
  • matchTalk: This is a very unique feature that allows you to have phone conversations with other singles without either of you ever having to provide your actual phone number. You can see my discussion of this when you should give out your phone number
  • VIP Emails: These are special emails that you can only send once a week. It will let the person you contact know that you are very interested in them and it will also make your profile much more visible to them over the next month. I discuss using these in the post how to use VIP emails.
  • Singled Out: These are individuals that believes that you will most closely match with. These matches are based on how you use the service, how you specify your preferred preferences and how you rate other matches in your Daily 5 and Singled Out.

Subscribing at

Subscribing is straight-forward process. In this article, I discuss my thoughts on the appropriate amount of time to sign up for. One thing worth mentioning is that whatever plan you sign up for, they will automatically renew you for the same plan. This is very important to keep in mind if you sign up for the 6-month guarantee, then don’t qualify for it and you don’t cancel your subscription. In this situation you might see yourself being charged for another 6 months!

In my next article I’ll discuss eHarmony and then after that I will compare these two services.


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.


  1. swissy6  April 27, 2011

    the purpose for this message is because i would like some info regarding payments. about that once you decide to go ahead and subscribe, as i tried to finally subscribe it asked for my billing ofcourse. but i noticed that it had the total of everything, when i thought i would be charged a monthly fee. confused i decided to get out of there and not continue! if i pick a six month plan would i have to pay the 6 months up front or would it be for example $19.99 monthly?

  2. Brad  April 28, 2011

    As far as I know, all the dating services do something like this and want you to pay up front. The describe the price broken down by month but actually charge you the full amount all at once. One way around this is to pay for a single month but that ends up being far more expensive.

    The only time I’ve seen the services broken down by month is after being signed up for the free version of a service they will sometimes send promotional emails. That said, I don’t believe I’ve ever received this type of promotional email from

  3. Andrea  July 30, 2011

    hi! I have a quick question, can you send your phone number to a person through the email system? or will they block it? The thing is that I tried the 3 day free trial and contacted a guy and on the last day I sent him my number, and later I cancelled my trial, do you think he still received my last email with the phone number?

  4. Brad  August 2, 2011

    Hey Andrea – I don’t think they would block it. I know that you can send email and phone number information normally…I find it unlikely they would block this during a free trial. So I can say for certain but I doubt they would have blocked it.

  5. Cindy  August 27, 2011

    On, I sent my email to a member before my trial ended. I looked in my sent messages on the site. They replaced my email address with my “email”. So, yes, they do block when sending an email address. Plenty of Fish does the same thing. I’m not sure about phone numbers, but I’m sure it’s very possible.

  6. Brad  August 28, 2011

    Thanks for the info Cindy. I know I had no issues exchanging emails when I was a paying member but perhaps there are different “hidden” rules on the free trial.

  7. Matt  September 5, 2011

    Hey Brad, on when your going through daily matches and the final one says “based on her daily matches activities she is 3x more likely to reply” what exactly is it “based” on. Thanks a bunch

  8. Brad  September 5, 2011

    Matt – I’m not 100% sure but I think I can give you a good guess.

    On the dating site OKCupid, on every dating profile they show you how often the person responds to email. It will say something like “Responds frequently” or “Responds rarely” and so on. Basically, OKCupid keeps track of how people respond to email and reveal that to you.

    My guess is that is doing the same exact thing or something very similar. They might also be taking into account some areas of your profile and comparing that to the guys she has responded to in the past. Honestly, I’m guessing there but it seems reasonable.

    At any rate, I think Match is giving you an educated guess based on how the woman has responded to other guys in the past.

  9. Anne Gregory  October 30, 2011

    When it’s a “Singled Out Match Of The Day” does that mean both parties get it? Meaning, if my singled out match is Bob, does Bob get me as a singled out match too?



  10. Ryan  November 15, 2011

    So if I’m a member, I can contact non-members and they can read my emails and I can put other information in there on how they can contact me? (since they have to be members to reply to emails?) . Is that correct?

  11. Marie  December 20, 2011

    Can I block my profile from a certain area. I hold a high profile public job. I would not like the people In my town to know I’m looking for a date online. It could hurt my position. Although I would like to meet someone from other areas.

  12. Brad  December 21, 2011

    Hey Marie – I don’t think what you’re asking for is possible. You probably want to check out this article I wrote:

    When Posting a Photo in Your Dating Profile isn’t an Option

  13. Brad  December 22, 2011

    Just noticed I missed some comments:

    Anne – Your Singled Out Match of the Day does not go to both people. It’s just reflecting that they think it’s a very good match.

    Ryan – As far as I know, non-member can receive your emails but they can’t open them an read them

  14. Ricardo  December 29, 2011

    Hi Brad,

    Thanks for your tips on writing emails. I’m getting numerous response. But there’s one person I tried to email and got a blue lightning symbol. What does this mean? It’s the first contact we’ve had, so she’d have no reason to block me.


  15. Brad  December 29, 2011

    Hey Ricardo – I’m not sure why someone would block you when you’d never even talked before. But I wouldn’t take it to heart – there’s many more women to contact. My best guess is she’s confused and is just not using the feature correctly because as you said, what reason would she have to block you?

  16. Ricardo  December 29, 2011

    Hey Brad, thanks. I just now figured it out. It’s a Date Spark icon! Not blocked at all.


  17. Maryann  February 16, 2012

    I am exploring match just learning how to navigate after setting up the profile….Is there a way to prevent people from contacting me who are far away..I have specified interest in a limited 40 mil radius and and getting winks from across the country…also when someone winks, do they stay permanent in your inbox? I considered selecting favorites after reading but don’t know if that might imply more than is realistic if I use as a means of sorting…tips appreciated. Also, any tips on normal protocol for communicating are welcome.

  18. Brad  February 19, 2012

    Maryann – I don’t think you could prevent them from contacting you entirely but you can setup filters on you email so that the guys that don’t meet certain requirements will be moved into a different folder (sort of like a spam folder). I talk about this in my review of match here.

  19. jen  March 21, 2012

    hi Brad

    I dont understand what each subscription plan includes: example.. if i suscribe to just one month will i only get Full Mobile Access? or can i wrtite, read emails but also have full mobile access?

    Also i live in mexico but am interested in searching in canada or the USA, can i register in canada or do i have to live there?

    thank you

  20. another Matt  October 18, 2012

    Hey Ricardo,
    Bringing an old “forum” back to life…
    What exactly does the “Date Spark” mean? I see one of those in my sent emails, it was read but not responded to. I think match should have an icon glossary like phones do.

  21. Travis  June 3, 2013

    Hey brad

    Just signed up for 6 months and already having some problems with the site. The daily 6 that I saw yesterday hasn’t renewed to the next 6 the next day, and also I’ve written to people that have winked me via email and the instant chat but there’s no response but in the top right hand corner there is a speech bubble flashing with a 2 in it. So I click on that and it takes me to a new page saying “you haven’t started a conversation with anyone yet” and gives me the option find people online. It’s really strange. But it’s annoying as I have paid a lot I money and it doesn’t seem to be working properly. If you could guide me on this to resolve this problem I would be very grateful. Thanks

    • Brad  June 20, 2013

      Hey Travis – that sounds odd to me. Unfortunately, I think you would need to contact support at Match themselves as I wouldn’t be able to pin-point what this problem is. If you’re using the US version of Match, there is a help section in the upper-right and the search feature there is actually pretty good (if you’re not using the US version I bet there’s something similar but I’m not 100% sure on that).

      Of course, if another reader ran into these same problems and was able to determine the cause, sharing that would be great.

  22. rob  August 5, 2013

    What does the highlighted green box mean on

    • Brad  August 16, 2013

      The green box is part of one of the enhanced subscriptions (I believe it’s a 6-month subscription). That subscription gives you things like the ability to see if people have opened your email and it also highlights your profile so when people are searching there will be more attention drawn to you.

  23. Monika  May 1, 2014

    I need help!!! How to register to when follwing the 11 ? step registration process, having received an activation email I still cant activate my account?? That activation link takes me to Match’s homepage to begin the hole process from the beginning. Any insight could be useful. TIA

  24. terry  July 27, 2014

    Hey Brad, does the other person have to have a subscription in order to reply to your messages? ( given that I have paid subscription) if so, is there a way of finding out if they have a subscription or not? Thanks

    • Brad  July 30, 2014

      Yes Terry, they do. And if they don’t have a subscription I’m don’t even think they can see who specifically sent them the email (I might be wrong on this – can anyone confirm?). As for knowing if there’s a way that they are a subscrbier, I’m not aware of any way except this: some people pay a bit extra to have their profile highlighted. It will be green I believe. These people are definitely subscribers but it’s a limited number of people who do this.

    • beast man  February 19, 2015

      There is an option for subscribers to opt into an extra feature where people can respond to your emails even if they themselves do not have a subscription, but that costs extra $10/mo, or the super-subscription probably comes with that feature.

  25. Jenny  November 9, 2014


    If I want to just look at someone’s profile but not take the plunge to fill out a profile or subscribe-1. Can I do this without them knowing really anything, like where live, name,etc?

    • Brad  November 9, 2014

      I think the best you could do is create the account, enter as few details as possible and then enter an incorrect location for where you live. Honestly, if you look through enough profiles that don’t have photos, you’ll see that a lot of people appear to take this approach.

      Later, if you decide you want to try the service you can fill all the section in, fix your location, add photos, etc.

  26. Laura  January 10, 2015

    Hey Brad!

    How do I know if my email was sent? In my “sent” inbox it only shows the ones that have been opened. I was emailing back and forth with a guy 2 days ago, we added eachother as favorites, and I sent the last email. I haven’t heard from him since, although he liked one of my pictures yesterday. I emailed him again, but neither of my emails show up in my sent inbox. I obviously don’t want to keep emailing him but I’m wondering if somehow they’re not being delivered?

    • Brad  January 23, 2015

      Hey Laura – I know this feeling. Generally, I think you need to assume your message has been sent. I don’t they generally get lost. It’s tough because you may want to email them again and ask if they got your first message but that can end up looking odd or desperate. If you find yourself in this situation, I recommend waiting a week or two and then trying again with another email. I don’t think there’s anything to lose with a second email, but I do think it’s more helpful to wait some time before sending a second.

  27. donnachin  February 3, 2015

    Just curious about the green dot that shows up beside a persons name.. I know it symbolises that person is on line .. But does it mean that they are on the match site or just logged onto the Internet ?

    • Brad  February 5, 2015

      I believe it means they are on I think it actually indicates that you could IM them as well.

  28. lee  April 5, 2015

    1) I’ve asked to tell me the number of members they have in a specific state, and they say they can’t because data changes quickly. I then asked if they will tell me the number from say last month, or end of last quarter. Match never replied. Since I’m over 60, I suspect there are very few in numbers as evident from the few profiles I continually see.
    2) I’d also like sites to delete profiles when one closes the account. I’ve seen many profiles of people who have not been online for a year. To my thinking, this is false advertising, over-inflating their ‘members.’

    Can you and your readers help correct these concerns?

    • Brad  April 17, 2015

      For your first comment, I think this is the sort of thing companies keep quiet on in general. I think they very likely could give you a number if it came down to it, but I don’t think they would want to have to manage requests like this (even if their numbers were good). So I guess I’m not surprised that they’ve not been very helpful. It would be nice if some dating services showed you the number of active people in your area. That said, if you do a search in your area and limit the results to people who have been online in the last few weeks, you can probably get a good idea of the total number of active users in your city/area.

      I believe it’s up to you to delete your account when you close it. There’s nothing that stops anyone from doing this: after you’ve unsubscribe you can go into settings and delete your account. I believe dating services don’t do this by default because many people unsubscribe to take a break but then come back to the service. If they deleted the profile every time someone unsubscribed, there’d be a big headache for anyone who ever wanted to come back (they’d have to recreate everything).

  29. Braden  June 8, 2015

    Brad, I’m trying register. And my profile block. I cannot even create a normal profile. What should I do to create it ???? Not to be get block!

  30. Elizabeth  July 4, 2015

    Can you explain about Pulled Profiles? I was emailing a Match member who asked me a question about having future conversations. I responded to his email only to find his profile pulled (grayed out) when I returned to check for his response. I would like to know if he even received my email even if I can no longer contact him. The Notification column. Says “Not yet read”.
    Thank you

  31. Jennywren  July 18, 2015

    why do I still see the people I have favourited or sent weeks still on my pages with a little grey x

  32. Jennywren  July 18, 2015

    Sorry I meant to add after they have left the site.

    • Brad  July 26, 2015

      I’d guess that you still see them because Match wants you to not wonder why favorites would disappear, but at the same time they aren’t using the service any longer. In other words, I’d see it as a “you made them a favorite but they’ve since stopped using the service”.

  33. Larson  October 1, 2015

    Hey I can’t sign up for the site from Canada. It says invalid zipcode. Help

  34. Nancy  October 7, 2015

    i have a question – I noticed my bf, who I met on match, never hid his profile – we’ve been dating for a while now and are mutually exclusive. I hid my profile, as he and I discussed and planned, but he didn’t. He says he is not a paid member any longer, and that appears to be true, but I noticed he winked and favorited a woman who initially winked at him recently. When I questioned him about it, he said he did not send either the wink or the favorite – each were sent independent of one another with ten days between. He has explained that must have done that to entice him to renew his membership – I explained that might send a teaser to his email, but only he can wink or favorite from his account, as I understand it. It did not show an email sent in the history, again reinforcing he is not a currently paid member. He simply said, well I don’t know what to tell you, I didn’t do it and match must have had a glitch in their system. I am not a mistrusting person, but his answer seems difficult to find credible. We are both mature adults (late 40’s) and have been dating for a few years – I would prefer to continue believing my bf, but it seems far too far fetched to be true, especially when the only – ONLY – woman “match” winked and favorited by “mistake”, in the time we have been dating, is 100% his demographic. So, my question, in a not so direct way, is to ask – is what he suggests possible? And that inspires one more question – if just within the last two weeks this occurred, is it possible for a non paying member with a profile still on the site able to email and connect with a paid member during a “free weekend” or free promotion through I ask because I wonder if that’s what he plans to do – wait for the free promotion and reach out to this woman, sending the wink and making her a favorite is just the icebreaker and place card holder until a promotional opportunity. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you kindly,

  35. john  January 3, 2016

    I want to know the same thing. I have tried to reach out to people on the “free weekend” or “free communication event.” I have sent several “emails” but have not heard back from anyone. Do they even get my emails? Or do I have to pay to here back from them? It would be nice to know before I paid and still got no response. Thanks.

  36. sami  January 13, 2016

    Ok the point of free online dating is free it should not be charging anyone so they are able to read their messages this is not. Downloading the app and setting your account up is free but to read your messages is not you have to pay to read your messages and who like your picture and what not. Eharmony and is a oxymoron

  37. June  February 3, 2016

    Are all the members in the USA? What about if a member email me saying they are from Russia??

  38. Kelli  February 8, 2016

    I’ve heard about the free trial but where’s the free trial space to type it in? And can you message back and fourth when you have the free trail?

  39. Sally  February 18, 2016

    I have been on match for a few weeks. Have messaged some and weeded some out because of little common interest. I have been messaging this one guy and feel we do have things in common such as we both like the outdoors, are Christians and like movies. We just started texting I am taking it slow and getting to know him better. How do you approach a first date if it happens to turn into that. I have done online dating in the past but had not been successful. For example went out with a guy three times and the chemistry was not there. Any advice would be appreciated.

  40. reba  May 4, 2016

    What does a symbol that looks like an eye crossed out mean? It’s next to the name of a person who sent me an email. None of the other emails have this.

  41. Becky  December 3, 2016

    What do the numbers in the corner of people’s photos mean?

    • Brad  June 28, 2017

      I believe this is the number of photos they have.

  42. Lb  August 25, 2017

    Hi what does that little football shaped symbol with a line through it mean? It appears next to 2 people’s names that I emailed at some point. They had emailed me also. Does that mean their profile is hidden?

    • Darcy  September 21, 2017

      I have the same question, but I see that it was asked above in 2016 without an answer. Does anyone know?

    • michael d engles  November 28, 2017

      What does the football shaped icon with a line through it mean on messaages on

  43. Ewald  December 6, 2017

    If you click on the message and look at the person’s details, it will say “Additional profile information unavailable”. As far as I can tell, it means that this person’s subscription has ended or their account has been deleted.

  44. tasha  January 6, 2018

    On my who’s viewed section, on match, I have members who have viewed my profile but theirs are unavailable? why are they showing on my who’s viewed list?


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