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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02.Oasis Active and OkCupid

Oasis-Active-logo

Australian members: About 1.6 million. 

Cost: Free

Who’s on it: Roughly 60% of members are male and 40% female; 64% are aged between 18 and 35, while 27% are between 36 and 50.

Approach: Signed-up users describe their personality, interests and hobbies and select criteria for their ideal partner. They can then search for suitable matches. A spokesperson says all profiles and pictures are manually checked to ensure information provided is accurate. 

Privacy: By signing up, users agree that all profile information including photos is public and so automatically grant an irrevocable and ongoing licence for the company to use and distribute any information posted or transmitted on the site. In effect, this means users photos, aliases and other personal details can be used in advertising, online and off, although it’s possible to opt out of this by updating privacy options in the account settings portal on the website. Email addresses, photos and information may also be shared with third parties for marketing purposes on behalf of Oasis Active. 

Experiences: “The matching criteria isn’t very specific – it only has [the distance between you in kilometres], the language spoken, the status (relationship, casual dating, friendship) and age range,” says Lana*. “I’d like it to also include some more or all of the information keyed into the details section. One big advantage is that it’s a free site and so there are lots of people there.”

*Not her real name. 


OkCupid-logo

Australian members: Figures not available. 

Cost: There are two levels of membership. Free users can look at profiles and photos and contact other members. For $9.95 per month, A-list members can access the site ad-free, change their user name, get additional match and photo album options, and have more space and options in their messaging inbox as well as better anonymity settings. 

Approach: OkCupid claims to use a maths-based matching system to help users find partners. After completing a basic profile, users can elect to fill out hundreds of optional broad-reaching questions such as if they’d date a messy person, whether they like dogs, or even how often they brush their teeth. Potential matches are then rated based on a percentage for being a match, a friend or an enemy. Users can then flick through quick matches or browse all potential matches based on search criteria including gender, age and distance. 

Privacy: OkCupid may use contact information for advertising purposes and compiling its OkTrends blog, which tracks and charts user behaviour. They may also share this information with third parties. OkCupid allows information posted on its site to appear in search engine results. 

Experiences: “I think the criteria and matching side of things on OkCupid were pretty good, although it still didn’t predict the ‘spark’ when two people meet,” says Catherine, who met her husband on OkCupid. “Several guys I went on dates with had high scores (80%+), and although we had similar interests we didn’t connect at all in terms of conversation. Or, we did connect but they were only interested in sex.”

 

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