Match.com Introduces DateSpark

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Planning the perfect first date is hard. It's nearly impossible to choose the right place, the right time, the right ambiance...unless you're a current Match.com member, that is. Thanks to a new feature recently launched by the site, the perfect first date is only a few clicks away.

Match.com's DateSpark is an innovative approach to finding love online that takes the emphasis away from reading countless trite profiles and sending oodles of dead-end messages by helping users actually meet people with compatible interests in real life.

Using the new feature is as simple as proposing a date that you find interesting, like riding upside down on the Gravitron at the county fair or trying to order 1 of every cocktail on the menu of your favorite restaurant, and waiting for a response from members who are interested in the same activity. Match.com describes the new feature like this:

"DateSpark is a fun new way to meet people on Match.com. You suggest an interesting date idea, post it on your profile, and see what it sparks. If you see a DateSpark idea on another member's profile, you can tell them what you think. It's a great conversation starter with the added bonus of a natural first date, already planned!"

To suggest a date, click on the "DateSpark" link under Profile in the top navigation bar. Write a short description of your idea, select the appropriate options from three dropdown menus ("Type of date?" "When is it?" "What time of day?") and hit "Post this date." Once it's approved, your DateSpark idea will be added to your profile and other Match users can respond if it sparks their interest. Match.com wisely recommends being original, as creativity will draw more attention to your DateSpark proposal, and protecting your safety by keeping some information, like an exact location, date, and time, and personal details, private.

What I love most about this feature is that it reminds users that the reason they're on an online dating site in the first place is to go on dates. Instead of relying on the algorithms of the site to find members it thinks will be good matches, and hoping that love comes along, DateSpark allows users to personalize their search and encourages them to be proactive in the pursuit of potential partners. DateSpark focuses on the activity, rather than an often-uninformative profile, and gives Match members the encouragement they need to take their dating offline.

It's too soon to tell whether or not DateSpark will be a hit (it currently is available in only certain areas), but I'm excited to see how Match.com's newest development evolves.

To find out more about this online dating site, check out our review of Match.com.

eHarmony offers Free Communication for the month of February

eHarmony
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eHarmony's Free Guided Communication Event begins at 12:01AM on Friday, January 28th 2011 and ends at 11:59PM on Monday, February 28th 2011 (US only). This is the first time ever that eHarmony.com is having a free communication event that is a whole month long. Best yet, it is happening at the busiest time of year for online dating sites, during the month of February and Valentine’s Day. This ensures that many singles will be taking advantage of this promotion.

During this event no credit card is required to create a profile, receive matches and to use the guided communication process. This communication process has 3 stages that help you and your match to get to know each other better. eHarmony Mail, viewing of members profile pictures and Fasttracking the communication process are not included in this promotion.

This free guided communication event will be eHarmony's 33rd with the last one occurring at the end of December (see Story).

Update #1: United Kingdom Flag eHarmony.co.uk is also having a free communication event. It ends on February 15th, 2011.

For more information on this online matchmaking service, you can read our eHarmony review.

2010 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award

Awards
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2010 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award - Gold
Recipient of Gold
Match.com
2010 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award - Silver
Recipient of Silver
eHarmony
2010 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award - Bronze
Recipient of Bronze
Zoosk

We closed the 2010 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award poll earlier this month with a total of 798 votes from visitors. The poll really was popular this year and it received over 10 percent more votes than last year while being available only for 3 months when compared to 5 months in 2009. I had hoped to start the poll in August or September but it wasn't online until October. Next year the plan is to have all the awards finished up by the end of December instead of running into the new year like we have always done.

It's interesting to see how the results vary from year to year in the Single's Choice award as the dating sites compete to be number one with singles. This award is sort of like the "Best Director" award at the Oscars, it is the most important. The reason the Single's Choice award stands out is it is decided by the public with votes, and not us. With our Editor's Top Pick awards we try to make an unbiased selection but, when you talk dating sites everyday sometimes the decision may not be as clear as we would like.

For 2010 we listed the top ten dating sites for you to vote on. The three dating sites which received the most votes will get an award, Gold for first, Silver for second and Bronze for third.

The recipient of the Gold 2010 Single's Choice Award is Match.com. Not surprising, this is the fourth year in a row that this dating site has won the Gold Single's Choice Award. Match.com continues to lead in the dating industry and this year they received over 37 percent of the votes. This is a huge eight percent increase over last year which shows Match.com is gaining in popularity and continues to be the one to beat. Match.com was also the winner of the Editor's Top Pick - Overall award as well.

The recipient of the Silver 2010 Single's Choice Award is eHarmony. This is eHarmony's third year to win this award and their popularity remains about the same at 20 percent of total votes. eHarmony is designed for singles with long term relationships in mind so it is not for everyone. With them winning Silver it shows just how popular and effective they are especially since they do all of the matching for you.

The recipient of the Bronze 2010 Single's Choice Award is Zoosk. Zoosk is a relatively new dating service and it is the first time they have appeared in the DSR Choice awards. This is a great accomplishment for them to receive an award this year let alone a Single's Choice award which is decided by votes. Zoosk received 94 votes which is almost 12 percent of the total vote.

This year's standings for the Single's Choice award for all dating sites in the poll are (click the dating site name to read our full review):

  1. Match.com
  2. eHarmony
  3. Zoosk
  4. PerfectMatch.com
  5. Chemistry
  6. Lavalife
  7. Date.com
  8. FriendFinder.com
  9. SinglesNet.com
  10. True.com

Once again, we would like to give a big THANKS to everyone who cast a vote this year in the Single's Choice Award.

Search for Dating Sites

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It is a month late but we have finally updated the site with our new Dating Site Search Engine. Over on the left column you will now see a Quick Search block that will be available on most pages of DatingSitesReviews.com. It is very similar to the one below.

Search for dating apps & sites that match your needs.

I am:

I live in:

Looking for:

Between the age:



From this Quick Search block you can perform a simple search for dating sites based on 4 search criteria about you and the match you are looking for. From here you can also access that Advanced Search page where many more criteria on the dating sites can be selected to search from.

Before, if you wanted to perform a search for a dating site you had to use the search available at the top of the page. This search works well but it would return any page that contained the text you were looking for. This made it more difficult for people looking for just a list of dating sites. This is where our new Dating Site Search Engine comes in. It returns just a list of dating sites and related services in neat rows with the most common details people are interested in about a dating site listed. This makes finding and comparing dating sites much easier.



With our advanced search you have over 15 search criteria to choose from. These criteria are split into 3 groups allowing you to describe yourself, the type of match you are looking for and what your dating service should offer. The advanced dating site search page makes it much easier for visitors to really fine tune their options and help those who are looking for those niche dating sites.

The exciting thing is we are not finished yet with our Dating Site Search Engine. In the coming months we plan to add a compare option which will allow you to do side by side comparisons of each feature of a dating service.

Related Story: Dating Sites Reviews - Upgraded Top Ten Lists

Chemistry's FREE this January Weekend - 2011

Chemistry.com
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This weekend all Chemistry users will be able to communicate for free. This promotion starts first thing, Friday January 7, and runs Saturday, and all day Sunday January 9. Free communication means that any member of Chemistry can send and receive email from any other Chemistry member. This is at no cost and with no credit card required.

This is a busy time of year for online dating which means it is an excellent time to try out Chemistry to see if it is the right dating site for you. Chemistry's in-depth profile and matchmaking system make it ideal for singles looking for a long-term relationship and marriage.

The last free communication weekend was held in November (see Story). This upcoming one will be Chemistry.com's 12th they have run. For more information on this online dating site that matches you with members based on personality, you can read our review of Chemistry.

Dating Sites Reviews - Upgraded Top Ten Lists

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Well, we have completed point number 2 from our Dating Sites Reviews - New Features and Updates! story. The Dating Site Top Ten lists have been redone. They now are completely dynamic ranking each dating site and/or service at the point when the visitor views the page. All dating services are also included in the rankings with the exception of ones that have gone out of business or have as yet been categorized.

While we were at it, our full Online Dating Site Reviews list was upgraded as well. Instead of the entire catalogue of categories and dating services being displayed, we now offer a convenient dropdown control on the page that allows visitors to view each dating site category separately on one page.

Stay tune for more updates. We plan to finish our new advance Dating Site Search Engine by the Christmas Holidays.