Online Dating Blog

How Does Match.com Work?

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

Does Match.com Work?

I won’t spend too much time on this question mostly because I’m biased: I met my wife using Match.com. 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 Match.com does work…although the process isn’t necessarily “easy”. In the rest of this article I’ll discuss how Match.com 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 match.com work?

Creating Your Profile at Match.com

Match-Registration

When you visit Match.com, 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 Match.com 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.

Match-Preferences

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…”.

Match-Searching

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.

Match.com Unique Features

Almost every dating service has unique features, even the smallest niche sites. Match.com 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 Match.com 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 Match.com

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.

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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. swissy6  April 27, 2011

    hello!
    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?

    (reply)
  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 Match.com.

    (reply)
  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?
    Thanks

    (reply)
  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.

    (reply)
  5. Cindy  August 27, 2011

    On Match.com, I sent my email to a member before my trial ended. I looked in my sent messages on the Match.com site. They replaced my email address with my match.com “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.

    (reply)
  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.

    (reply)
  7. Matt  September 5, 2011

    Hey Brad, on match.com 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

    (reply)
  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 Match.com 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.

    (reply)
  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?

    Thanks,

    Anne

    (reply)
  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?

    (reply)
  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.

    (reply)
  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

    (reply)
  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

    (reply)
  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.

    Cheers.

    (reply)
  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?

    (reply)
  16. Ricardo  December 29, 2011

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

    Cheers!

    (reply)
  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.
    Thanks

    (reply)
  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 Match.com 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.

    (reply)
  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 match.com canada or do i have to live there?

    thank you

    (reply)
  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.
    Thanks

    (reply)
  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

    (reply)
    • 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 match.com?

    (reply)
    • 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.

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