Online dating sites review

Our investigation shows paid and free online dating sites including RSVP, eHarmony and Oasis Active may use members' private information and photos in advertising.
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04.Case studies

The good

Belinda, 31, a jazz singer and David, 32, a police officer had used several online dating sites when they met on RSVP. Two years later, they’re married and expecting their first child.

"I felt online dating was the safest way to date because I was in control,” says Belinda. “Even when I met a couple of scary guys, it was in a neutral place and they just had my mobile number. I had dates with doctors, lawyers, a millionaire, but I had no feelings for them apart from friendship. I knew the moment I saw David — ‘this is the one’. I’d never had that before.”

David agrees: “I chose online dating for the variety of people I could meet. I was looking for a partner and I looked for that in other people’s profiles.”

  • Sites used: RSVP, ninemsn, Lavalife, Kiss
  • Length dating online: Belinda — 18 months, David — six months
  • Success: they married
  • Dated: Belinda — ‘100s’, David — ‘a few girls’

Verdict: “We’ve introduced many friends to RSVP.”

The bad

Roxanne*, 40, a production manager, began dating online as a way of meeting a wider variety of people, rather than just those working in her industry. She has now given up online dating and says that some people became addicted.

“It’s a bit too easy, so if they’re going out with someone and it’s not particularly working they can just go back online and start looking again. If you’re permanently on the site you can get out of the practice of flirting with people just normally.”

  • Sites used: RSVP
  • Length dating online: four months
  • Success: two brief relationships
  • Stopped: wasn’t meeting people interested in working on relationships
  • Dated: a few

Verdict: “I wouldn’t dissuade people from it but I wouldn’t recommend it either. It can be the lazy person's way to date.”

* Not her real name

The neutral

Michael**, 31, a customer service manager, began dating online as a way of meeting people when he moved to a new city.

“Having too much emotional investment and hope can be rather futile,” he says. “I also found men have to be proactive and send the kisses and the emails — I was on a site for a year before I received a response from a woman that wasn’t solicited by me.”

  • Sites used: RSVP and Lavalife
  • Length dating online: two years
  • Success: made a good friend and had one relationship
  • Stopped: met girlfriend at work
  • Dated: about 12 women

Verdict: “Online dating is worth a try but it depends on your personality and whether you’re willing to put in an effort.”

** Not his real name


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