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Dating Sites: Best, Worst & Weirdest

So many options


Just as you have a multitude of options when it comes to who you date, you have a wide range of choices for where to troll for that next Mr. Right or wife-to-be… or clandestine weekend affair, as the case may be with one of these services.

Here we highlight some of the most noteworthy dating services on the Web. We can’t exactly vouch for any of them, but they exist. So if you’ve had any experience with any of them, please let us know about them in the comments.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

AshleyMadison.com


Specialty: The place for married folks to find affair partners, discreetly.

Downside: The site has a guarantee that if you join the site, you will have an affair. It does not, however, guarantee that your life won’t be ruined down the line when your affair leads to a costly divorce or your children not returning your phone calls.

Popularity: More than 5 million anonymous members, with 61,608 local members in my area right now, online and ready to get adulterous.

Photo Credit: AshleyMadison.com

eHarmony.com


Specialty: Those looking for a “serious” relationship, or even marriage! Matches are “pre-screened” for you based on 29 compatibility dimensions. Hopefully those dimensions include hot, smart and rich.

Downside: Not the place if you’re looking for a casual fling or friend with benefits situation. These men and women are looking to put a ring on it, ASAP.

Popularity: Their commercials are on TV constantly. Over 20 million registered members, so maybe you will find The One. I’m not talking about Neo, either.

Photo Credit: eHarmony.com

Women Behind Bars


Specialty: Hooks you up with incarcerated females, as pen pals at first… maybe more once she gets out, assuming you guys hit it off famously.

Downside: Dude, she’s a felon. You don’t need to Google her because your worst fears have already been confirmed, by virtue of the fact that you found her on Women Behind Bars. Then again, this could be just the excitement you’ve been looking for, vis a vis Michael Douglas in The Game.

Popularity: “As of this date WBB receives over 70,000 page views a day from thousands of visitors.”

Photo Credit: Women Behind Bars

OKCupid.com


Specialty: Free, streamlined dating web site. This one is supposed to be “truly” free—no membership fees, connection fees, etc. Just a bunch of singles, ready to mingle.

Downside: You may wind up with a grifter or cheapskate, right? At least with the subscription services, you know the person you’re talking to can afford $20 or $30 a month billed to their Visa card. With this one, you may corresponding with a homeless vagabond using a computer at a public library.

Popularity: 21,866 members online when I checked it out earlier today.

Photo Credit: OKCupid.com

PotPartner.com


Specialty: Singles who smoke the devil’s lettuce. And, probably, very lazy DEA officers looking for someone to bust.

Downside: A PotPartner photo profile probably isn’t the best thing to have floating around on the Web, unless you don’t have a desire to ever be employed anywhere—except for High Times Magazine, where a membership at PotPartner is probably looked at favorably. Also, this site probably isn’t a great fit for type-A, conservative business executives.

Popularity: Unknown.

Photo Credit: PotPartner.com

Match.com


Specialty: The big, normal dating site. This doesn’t mean it’s free of creepy weirdos, necessarily. It just means it has a very diverse and large pool of members.

Downside: Not the place if you’re looking for an affair. This one seems pretty mainstream, but perhaps slightly less conservative than eHarmony.

Popularity: Boasts “millions of singles” in 24 different countries. They’ve been around since 1995. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even have a computer back in 1995.

Photo Credit: Match.com

Spark.com


Specialty: This one used to be AmericanSingles.com. It’s a fairly middle of the road dating service. They claim to cost less and offer more than some other services. Features include the ability to read messages from other members, for free, and a “Color Code Personality Test.” I like blue. Do you like blue? Yeah, you do? Our personalities are compatible, then! (You can leave your phone number in the comments section.)

Downside: Doesn’t seem to have as many active members as Match.com, and that means fewer options.

Popularity: 2,273 members online when I visited earlier today.

Photo Credit: Spark.com

JDate.com


Specialty: This is a dating site for Jews. If it’s important to you that your mate be a member of the tribe, then this is the site to cruise. Users specify what level of religiosity they follow (conservative, reform, orthodox, etc) as well as personal likes and dislikes.

Downside: The occasional yiddishism is bound to confound certain users.

Popularity: Over 16,000 members were online chatting and emailing each other when we visited the site earlier today. Not bad.

Photo Credit: JDate.com

ChristianMingle.com


Specialty: Singles of the Christian faith, of course.

Downside: Probably not the best choice for hedonistic atheists.

Popularity: “Over 1,000 new members every day,” according to the site.

Photo Credit: ChristianMingle.com

MuslimFriends.com


Specialty: Muslim singles who are interested in marriage.

Downside: For the serious “matrimonial” minded. Not necessarily a downside, just saying.

Popularity: The site operates for the benefit of singles “in the USA, Canada, UK and other developed countries.”

Photo Credit: MuslimFriends.com

PlentyofFish.com


Specialty: There are plenty of fish in the sea, bro. And this service is free, so you can browse and chat without whipping out the credit card, which is nice.

Downside: Fairly atrocious site design and navigation. But the price is right.

Popularity: “Our members will go on over 18,000,000 dates with other users this year,” the site estimates.

Photo Credit: PlentyofFish.com

Lavalife.com


Specialty: Fairly typical mainstream dating site, with the recent addition of an online “speed dating” feature for those of you with no time to waste. The singles on the homepage all look successful and attractive, so there’s that, too.

Downside: Can’t browse users without signing up.

Popularity: “Tens of thousands of local members to choose from.” Hey, you only need one.

Photo Credit: Lavalife.com

Yahoo! Personals


Specialty: Another big dating site with no particular focus. And it’s easy for those with existing Yahoo! (Stock Quote: YHOO) logins to use this one.

Downside: Looks like they’re going for a slightly older demo, with the default search setting placed at “25 to 45 years old.” Probably not a great service for lecherous old men looking to find a 19 year old.

Popularity: It’s Yahoo! Come on, it’s gotta be popular. We’re waiting for a Google Dating service. That’d be really cool, I bet.

Photo Credit: Yahoo! Personals

Sciconnect.com


Specialty: Single science professionals. Yeah, sounds pretty sexy, right?

Downside: This service seems insufferably nerdy. From the homepage: “The world is a crowded Petri dish, and yet for those of an intellectual bent who happen to be single, it's not easy, especially past university age, to find that certain microbe for a great symbiotic relationship. Enter Science Connection.”

Popularity: Oh, other than those crickets chirping in the background? Don’t mind them. (Actually, this service claims to have 16,051 registered members.)

Photo Credit: Sciconnect.com

Perfectmatch.com


Specialty: Yet another big dating service. Features the Duet Total Compatibility System, whatever that is. Seriously, just make a dating service with 3 compatibility fields: hotness, intelligence, wealth. Keep it simple. Anyway, this one has been featured on Dancing with the Stars and The Today Show.

Downside: Not terribly seedy or adventurous looking, for those looking to take their lives into their own hands. This one seems too mainstream.

Popularity: Unknown, although you can read three success stories here.

Photo Credit: Perfectmatch.com

Craigslist


Specialty: It’s free to post, free to respond and it’s Craigslist… so you’ll either find the love of your life, or wind up in a serial killer’s basement. Either way, at least you aren’t paying a membership fee, right?

Downside: Craigslist is a fairly anonymous platform, at first. And the site doesn’t have the world’s best reputation for safety.

Popularity: Craigslist, as a whole, attracts more than 50 million people per month in the U.S., according to Quantcast estimates.

Photo Credit: Craigslist.org

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