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Consumer Reports Analyzes Online Dating in a New Study

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Consumer Reports has decided to get into the love game. The non-profit organization has been around since 1936, and typically reviews consumer satisfaction with products and services, but now it wants to know about dating apps, and how satisfied customers appear to be.

We all know where this is going. Well, maybe not.

Consumer Reports found two interesting and diametrically opposed results. First, consumers hate online dating with a passion, even more than tech support services, which are notoriously poor performers. Those surveyed didn’t rate any service as more than average as far as overall satisfaction. OkCupid got the best ratings of all online dating services, including Tinder, but it got a reader score of only 56. (Tinder was second with a 52 rating.) Reader scores were evaluated by a number of factors, including messaging and search features, privacy settings, the ease of use and sign-up process, as well as quality and quantity of matches.

Controversial dating site Ashley Madison had the worst reader score at 37. And Chemistry, a paid online dating site which touts its service to be focused on finding relationships (similar to eHarmony), received the second worst reader score at only 38.

However, online dating as a whole has a huge success rate by comparison. Tinder isn’t only used for hooking up, as many seem to think. In fact, forty-four percent of respondents who had success said that their experiences with online dating led to marriages or serious long-term relationships.

What Consumer Reports found was that, “online dating, however painful and time-consuming, often does produce the intended result if you use it well—and persevere.”

But still, most online daters expect to see a quick return for their investment of time, money, or both. But because of the nature of dating, and the fact that people aren’t products and are often unpredictable, disappointment among online daters is almost unavoidable. The survey found that “among those reluctant to try online dating, 21 percent of women and 9 percent of men said it was because they knew someone who had a bad experience.”

Among those surveyed who hadn’t tried online dating yet, one in 10 said they’d like to give it a shot but had concerns, with 50% describing themselves as private people, 48% worried about data and information security, and 46% worried about scams.

Demographics play a role in which online dating service people tend to choose. The study found that millennials preferred free apps like OkCupid and Tinder, whereas Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers tended to sign up for paid services like Match.

Consumer Reports surveyed 115,000 subscribers about their experiences with online dating.