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How Much Does Online Dating Cost?

Falling in Love, But Not at a Cost:
How Much Does Online Dating Cost?

There are many different online dating sites out there now. Various mobile dating apps have also hit the market, many of the best ones being brought out by well-known and well-established providers. Services often cater to a range of different types of single person, from finding the love of one’s life to adult dating and even fetishes.

There are also specialist sites that target niches, such as plus size singles.

We already have a very long and extensive list of dating sites, and provide a list of their prices. What is interesting to note is that the price of these services affect the behaviour of the singles who use them. When it comes down to the money, you can also see what type of person will use these particular websites or apps.

There is one question that comes to mind, though: how much does online dating cost? It can be tricky to give a definite answer because different providers often have different types of service and therefore varying price models.

Free Dating Sites: The experience for singles

Free dating sites are very common and you can find them in almost every corner of the Internet. Many singles who start out looking for a partner online may try one of these free providers simply to see what the fuss is about. While this can be a good way of “getting a feel” of what the whole phenomenon is about, a lot of people end up disappointed by their first experience. This is primarily because…

  • Free dating sites have lots and lots of user profiles. Thousands, possibly millions, even. This does seem like a positive until you realise that these are only profiles: the original users set one up, had a look around and probably messaged one or two people. They then simply abandoned it and left it to languish for years. Ghost profiles are therefore quite common because there is no obligation for anyone to stay!
  • Getting a response can also be difficult. Not only because a lot of the accounts are have been lying silent for years, but also because few singles tend to take free services very seriously in the first place. Even when you do get a response, it is often from rather undesirable people. They also have a tendency to disappear after a while of chatting!

This isn’t to say that you won’t find someone on a free dating portal, however the chances tend to be a lot lower. Most of these services are also funded by advertising (or at least supported) and that can be quite irritating after a while. Most also tend to be flirt and chat sites where you set up a personals ad which, for those seeking out a serious relationship, may not bring the results they want.

Paid Dating Sites: Why do singles pay the costs?

Singles often choose paid dating sites because there are extra benefits that the costs end up bringing to them. User behaviour also change significantly with these particular providers. Whereas a lot of free sites tend to have countless dead profiles and people who simply don’t take them seriously enough, providers that charge will have far more active profiles and singles who are serious about finding a partner. After all, they have invested money in a service and therefore want to get what they can out of it! Naturally, this heightens your own chances of success.

So, what kind of price structures do these dating sites use? Here is a basic rundown.

  • Monthly subscription: This is by far the most common type of price structure. Customers will usually pay a certain amount of money per month. Flirt and chat sites, which offer online personals, are generally a lot cheaper than online dating agencies, which use specialised matching technology to present partner suggestions. HINT: In almost all cases, the longer the subscription is the lower the monthly fees. Keep that in mind!
  • Pay-as-you-go: In other words, you will pay for a certain amount of credits. Each feature that you use on the site (the webcam, sending messages, using the chat room, boosting your profile in the search rankings, etc.) will cost a certain amount of credits.

Nearly all paid dating sites let users sign up and have a look around. In the case of online dating agencies, you can do the personality test for free and receive your matches at no charge. The same can be said for flirt and chat sites (minus the personality test). Fees only incur when you wish to communicate, however some services may allow limited free communication (such as letting you respond to messages sent by premium members).

So how much does online dating cost in general?

Prices change, naturally, but for singles in the UK you could expect to pay, for example, £15.00- £20.00 for an online personals site. This is usually for a three month subscription, however longer premium contracts (such six months) can be a lot cheaper. Some even go up to one or two years!

For the likes of online dating agencies, the costs are going to be a lot higher. This is because there is a higher level of matchmaking that goes on, and much more sophisticated technology. Around £40.00 per month for three months is the usual price. Again, the longer your subscription the cheaper it will be.

There may also be other features such as having users screened and verified to ensure that they are who they say they are. For individuals who are looking for a serious partner, the investment is often worth it.

Henning Wiechers
has been observing the UK dating market since 2007. He is among the top opinion leaders in the industry.

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