OKCupid Offers Paid Membership Called A-List

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First the largest free dating site PlentyOfFish.com, decided to offer a paid upgrade service 6 months ago (see Story) and now the second largest free dating site, OKCupid is doing the same. Members who upgrade their free membership on OkCupid are called A-List users. As an A-List user you get the following 10 perks:

  • The ability to attach photos to messages.
  • Create both public and private photo albums (reminds me of an adult dating site).
  • Store up to 5000 messages.
  • Send messages to users who have a full inbox.
  • Save multiple search settings.
  • Access to A-List forums.
  • Ads removed from the website.
  • Advanced search features.
  • Give awards to other users and read and write reviews about them (testimonials).
  • A little more exposure (you may be placed in the special A-List Matches column of results).

A few of the perks have left me scratching my head. First of all I am not sure why someone would want to store 5000 messages. I know there are some OkCupid fanatics who will want this but, it is not really a selling point for general use users. Sending messages to users who have a full inbox is also a little weird, at first I thought, why would I want to send messages to someone who doesn't even check their mail? On my second read through, I realized this feature is aimed more for users who file away all messages they receive (for the 5000 message users) and not for the user who's mailbox is full because he never logs in.

In terms of advance search features, A-List members can now filter by Match Questions, Data Persona and Popularity Ratings. You can also custom order your search results by personality traits. Another nice feature is the Similar Users option. If you have found someone you liked and they are already taken you can use this option to find other people who are just like them.

The cost to become an A-List user is $9.95 USD per month and you will be auto billed every month until you cancel. The first 1000, users are also offered a free T-Shirt in a number of different colors. I was offered one today when I visited the signup page. Dave over at Online Dating Insider blogged about OkCupid A-List users on August 12th, which was 5 days ago. I guess this means that the A-List user memberships are not really flying off the shelf yet.

It appears that free dating sites are hitting a wall in terms of revenue generation. Online advertising dollars were in decline before the economy turned south and since then, we have seen the 2 largest free dating services start to offer a paid membership on their websites. Both of these dating sites offer their paid members some useful feature but I think they missed the point of online dating, as I had mentioned in a previous post about Plenty Of Fish going paid. Users of online dating sites want to be noticed. They are on a dating website for a reason, to find a partner. The best way for a dating service to do this is by displaying their profile to more interested members. Both dating sites visibly mark members who have upgraded but as far as I can tell none allowed me to search just for these type of members. I also think these members should be displayed higher in search results than free members (if they fit reasonably within the search criteria). This not only would give upgraded members more responses, it is also a winning scenario for free members since they would be seeing members who are most actively seeking a partner first.

To find out more about this dating site, read our review of OkCupid.