Dating Apps: The Lowdown

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Technology has an uncanny way of making our lives more complicated, even as it vows to simplify them. Hard drives that crash. Voice recognition that doesn%u2019t recognize. Online bank accounts that get hacked. Smartphone apps, however, tend to deliver, getting us where we want to go, finding the free Wi-Fi, calculating tips. But can they help us get our dating lives in gear? To that end, MLT looked at three popular dating apps to see how well they cut through the hassle of the singles scene and put us on the path to a love connection. Read on for the results.

Technology has an uncanny way of
making our lives more complicated, even as it vows to simplify them.
Hard drives that crash. Voice recognition that doesn’t recognize. Online
bank accounts that get hacked. Smartphone apps, however, tend to
deliver, getting us where we want to go, finding the free Wi-Fi,
calculating tips. But can they help us get our dating lives in gear? To
that end, MLT looked at three popular dating apps to see how well
they cut through the hassle of the singles scene and put us on the path
to a love connection. Read on for the results.

P.S. If you need advice on where to go and what to do on that first
date, you’ll be happy to know there’s an app for that, too. (Several,
actually.)

ZOOSK

  • The Bottom Line: Free to download, but have your credit
    card handy. When you want anything more than superficial contact, like
    sending a “wink” to a woman, it’s gonna cost you. One month of service
    is $29.95. Discounts apply for multiple-month subscriptions.
  • Looks: Interface and menus are clean, evocative of Facebook.
  • Stars in Your Eyes?: At press-time, Zoosk had received an average of three stars (out of a possible five) from iTunes users who’ve downloaded it.
  • Tell Me About Yourself: Zoosk asks about your perfect match, your ideal date, favorite movies and music.
  • What We Liked: If its claims are true, the site signs up 80,000 new users a day, for a grand total of 50 million people looking for love.
  • What We Didn’t Like: The fact that users are called Zooskers. If we wanted to date a zoosker, we’d go to the zoo.
  • Connection potential: Before even completing our
    application, we were sent an email letting us know we’d been matched
    with a single mother of three boys. She was also an Eagles fan (not of
    the Don Henley kind). Uh, thanks, but no.

IDATE

  • The Bottom Line: Free to download. Subscriptions start at
    $9.99 per month. You can also use the service gratis by allowing the app
    continuing access to your Facebook account.
  • Looks: Startup screen is a bit girly (very heavy on the whole red-heart thing), but the toggle-laden search page is much more Teutonic.
  • Stars in Your Eyes?: At press-time, iDate had received an average of two and a half stars from iTunes users who’ve downloaded it.
  • Tell Me About Yourself: A quick and easy form asks for basic info, such as your height, religion, latitude and longitude, and whether you’re a smoker.
  • What We Liked: The only one of the three apps reviewed here that allows you to complete your profile entirely on your phone.
  • What We Didn’t Like: Giving iDate unfettered access to our
    Facebook profile (including letting it post updates on our wall whenever
    we did something on iDate) is genius marketing, but a bit too invasive
    for our liking — and not worth the savings on the fee.
  • Connection potential: The pickings are easy to narrow down,
    although the pool of prospects seems pretty narrow to begin with. Even
    the broadest of search specifications returned few or no match results.
    The developer’s site notes that iDate has “thousands of personals and
    pics” — not exactly great odds for finding your soul mate in a world of
    6 billion people.

OKCUPID

  • The Bottom Line: Free. If you want an upgrade to what the site calls A-List Extras, you’ll pay $9.95 per month.
  • Looks: The app icon is a half-full beaker. The apparent message: Chemistry at work!
  • Stars in Your Eyes?: At press-time, OkCupid had received three and a half stars from iTunes users who’ve downloaded it.
  • Tell Me About Yourself: As you build your profile, you’re
    asked a battery of questions — some sensible, some off-the-wall. The
    more questions you answer — from how often you Tweet to whether you’d
    ever date a pot-smoker — the more potential matches OkCupid unlocks for
    you.
  • What We Liked: The app’s Quickmatch feature, which is the
    dating equivalent of Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” option. Don’t like the
    match OKCupid picked? You can easily skip it and move on to the next
    prospect.
  • What We Didn’t Like: Answering random questions is fun —
    to a point. At one stage well into the process, a message informs you
    that the average guy answers 200 of OkCupid’s questions, but that
    answering 50 is “an adequate start.”
  • Connection potential: When the site found us a blonde
    ultra-runner who loves craft beers, indie films and dancing, we sent her
    a message immediately. Fingers crossed that after a 50-mile day, she’ll
    still have enough endurance for a night on the town.


Photo: @iStockphoto.com/IvanaKorab

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Richard JaramilloRichard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”

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Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com, a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children. RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents “Make Life Happen…Again!”