What is an online dating service?

What is an online dating service?

It’s hard to believe that there are still people who don’t know what an online dating service is, but in case you missed the digital revolution, here’s the skinny.

The online dating service has essentially replaced newspaper personal ads as a way for people to find possible mates.  An online dating site will allow you to setup a profile, answer some questions about yourself, and try to find people that might be compatible with you.

1. Profiles – You get to make your own profile and your matches will have their own profiles. Usually this includes photos, answered questions (How many books have you read in the last year?) and hobbies. It may include religion and occupational status.  Try to make your profile stand out and be sure to have a picture.  Profiles with no picture don’t get noticed.

2. Compatibility Tests – Whether these are actually helpful or not is debatable. It does seem that some work well while others are merely a draw to lure people in. The best compatibility tests will ask questions about your values, beliefs and relationship needs. Then  it will match you with those who meet most of your qualifications.

3. Messaging System – One of the benefits of online dating services is the built-in messaging services. While you are getting to know matches you can communicate with them through the site rather than through your personal Facebook or MySpace pages. It also lets you avoid using your personal email as well. Eventually, if you really like someone, you may then ask about moving your relationship to one of these personal mediums for further communication.

4. Payment – There are very few effective “free” online dating services. If you are looking for an online dating service then you should expect to cough up a bit of cash.  Most are free if all you’re looking to do is put up a profile, but you will have to pay if you want to communicate with a prospective mate.

In the end, online dating sites are there to help you find a potential partner. They may work for you, they may not. The only way to find out is to be open and daring enough to make the attempt.