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Free vs Paid Internet Dating Sites

‘Free’ often sounds like a good deal. But as anyone who has received spam email knows, and that’s everyone by now, ‘free’ may be worthless. Whether or not to plop down hard earned money for something as uncertain as the prospect of meeting that right someone can be a tough decision.

Most sites offer some kind of free services. You can explore the site and see what it provides. You can find out how many members there are and read through some profiles.

But those are typically restricted in some ways. You may not be able to view photos. You usually won’t be able to communicate with the other members.

As a means of finding out if you want to join, a free membership is a good idea. It only requires the time it takes to input some basic information.

Trial memberships are mid-way between ‘free’ and ‘paid’. They may require no payment, or they may ask for a nominal fee of a few dollars.

Some sites offer full access, others have certain restrictions, such as the inability to upload a video profile. But they usually expire within a week or two, so you have a relatively short time to explore the site.

That can serve, though, as a good way to get the full benefit for a small cost. That can help you decide whether it’s worthwhile investing the larger amount for regular membership. And, who knows? You might get lucky and find that one right person right away.

Full membership plans vary enormously. They may be month to month, or they may require signing up for six months to a year.

Depending on the monthly rate, it can easily be worthwhile to invest $20-$50 to see what that service can do for you in a month or two. Be wary or laying out several hundred dollars on vague promises of ‘perfect matchmaking’. There are scams out there.

The one key question that has to be answered today, though, is: Why use a paid online dating service at all? With the growth of MySpace and other social networking venues it’s easy to find free Internet sites where you can meet people, some argue.

That’s true. It’s possible to go that route and be successful. But online dating services offer things that more general social sites don’t or can’t. One in particular stands out: online dating services are for dating.

MySpace and hundreds of lesser known sites are great for meeting people. But they’re equivalent to going to the mall and running into strangers. Those people may be there for many different reasons.

People who use online dating sites are at that site to meet people for a specific purpose: to find someone to form a relationship with.

Some also offer sophisticated matching algorithms that are based on extensive psychological research. They can save you time and grief by targeting those who are more likely to be a good match.

One of the most common complaints about dating services is the number of unacceptable people someone had to meet, while never finding the right one. A good online dating service can help solve that problem.

That’s worth some money.