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Why I Don’t Believe in Free Love (Free Vs. Paid Dating Sites)

24 May 2010 8 Comments by Rachel Wilkerson

Free Vs. Paid Dating SitesWhen it comes to online dating, there are many routes you can take, but one major option is choosing between a site you pay for or a free site.

The founder of OkCupid recently posted “Why You Should Never Pay for an Online Dating Site” on his blog. And I loved this article. I thought it made so much sense. It uses numbers to explain why Match.com is full of BS and actually doesn’t lead to a lot of relationships or marriages; he argues that people not finding love keeps sites like this in business.

I knew he had a point, so I had to ask myself … Why do I keep paying for online dating?

And I realized that, just like many times a girl wants to be taken to dinner before she takes off her pants, I like that a guy has to pay to show his interest.

Now, at the risk of sounding like a gold-digging narcissistic biatch, let me explain: I’m a cute 24-year-old girl. From what I know about online dating through personal experience and from talking to other guys my age who use it, I know that I have a huge advantage. Most PYTs get tons of winks and e-mails from guys and they often get a little overwhelmed by the attention. But on Match.com, at least guys have to be a paid member to e-mail a girl … which cuts back on the attention slightly.

The other reason I prefer paid sites is because, like many PYTs, I’m kind of sick of guys just trying to hook up with me. I figure that a good way to meet guys who actually want a girlfriend is to use an online dating site. Now, this isn’t always the case – we’ve already seen that Match.com is a little more tailored to booty calls than eHarmony. But I assume that by paying to be on an online dating site, a guy is a little more interested in actually going out with the girl he meets there. Sure, he might see the $30/month fee as cheaper and more efficient than seeking out booty calls at the bar each weekend. But I just worry that if I go on a free site, I’ll get bombarded with e-mails from guys who aren’t seeking anything more than a one-night stand. There are a lot of creeps out there, and for me, the fact that guys have to pay to subscribe has been my filter of choice.

And it’s not like I’m just saying I want a guy who is willing to drop cash. I’m dropping cash to be there, too! But I only drop cash when I have the time and energy to invest in dating, when I really do want to meet someone. And I hope that the guys who whip out their plastic have used the same thought process. Because the only time I can see myself using a free site is if I just want to hit it and quit it. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that guys might feel the same.

Comment below: How do you feel about free online dating sites?


  • d said:

    I couldn’t agree more. And while, yes, the sites make money off you not finding someone, I think they make more money off you finding someone AND telling all your friends that you found someone on their site.

  • Katey said:

    I agree!! I met my current boyf (of 1year!!) on a paid dating site! Due to paying for it we were committed to making the most of it. I went on many dates, stayed open minded and def. noticed that the paying members wanted a relationship, not a hook up!

  • Kara said:

    I agree too. I met my now fiancee on a paid dating site (eharmony actually) — still slightly weird to say. I did it for the same reasons…I wasn’t interested in creepers “winking” at me and asking for my number in their first email. I see online dating sites as a “tool” to help you meet people — people with similar interests and that are looking for the same things you are. So, for me, being “introduced” to interesting and relationship-minded guys was well worth the associated “cost.”

  • Dating Reviews said:

    This is so right, in a world driven by cash you will always “get what you pay for” and most of the time there is a free option for those prepared to put in the time and work.
    Free dating sites have little revenue for staff or advertising, if they have no staff to weed out spammers, con artists and just nasty people then they will join. If they have no advertising budget how can they bring in a large global membership for you to search through and date?
    You can wash your clothes for free, but most of us chose to pay good money so we don’t have to spend hours beating them against a rock in the river. When soap came along everyone wanted some no matter what the cost and when washing machines came along we all wanted those. But we have to pay for someone to build them and if we want good reliable ones we have to pay for staff and engineers to back up the warranties and servicing.

    Personally I think you should always be looking for the right tool for the job it just makes life easier.

    I’m now going out to cut the lawn with a bread knife because lawnmowers cost to much.

  • Sarah said:

    I don’t agree. The fact that the guy is paying may show more interest but may also just show that he has more money than some others.

    Now I’m not really interested in meeting dirt poor guys, but I don’t like money to be the discriminating factor.

    One point I do agree with is that on free sites, if your profile is good and has a nice picture, the number of messages and winks tends to be overwhelming…

  • techcoquette.com said:

    Using free dating sites.. Ho-o-o-o-t :)

  • 4715732 said:

    4715732 beers on the wall.

  • Alegro said:

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks