We live in a world where we make excuses for why we’ve stopped meeting people organically. We’re so “busy” we go as far as hiring desperate college grads on Task Rabbit to fetch our groceries, and they do it because they’re millennial workaholics drowning in a heap of student loans. Dating? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
In fact, there are people in the world who say they don’t even have time to online date, which supposedly consumes a whopping 12 hours per week for the average user. Some men pull it off but drop 30k a year on all the first dates they end up going on. It’s no surprise that services to facilitate the process exist—they write your profiles, analyze your photos, send your messages for you—like ViDA (Virtual Dating Assistants), the very first company to allow both men and women to fully outsource the online dating process to a team of professionals. All you have to do? Show up for the date they schedule for you.
We caught up with ViDA founder and online dating expert, Scott Valdez, who offered up some insider tips on app algorithms so you can decide which ones will be the most efficient use of your time. Without further ado: a specially curated list of dating apps for your exploration, rated from 1-10 (low-high) on seriousness, attractiveness and responsiveness scales.
“On Tinder, you can swipe right before bed. You can do it on the toilet. While you’re eating. It’s kind of that app that everyone pulls out when we have that spare time.”
Tinder is like the Facebook of online dating. It’s the most popular platform where you’ll run into every kind of woman, with many of whom you’ll probably have a first or second degree connection.
Who You’ll Find: The Girl Next-door
Everyone is on Tinder. “Your cousin is on it. Your sister is on it. Your mom is probably on it,” Valdez said. And, likewise, so is the girl next-door.
Because so many people use Tinder, it perpetuates the idea that there’s always someone better out there. As a result, it has become recognized as a one-and-done type app, where you might meet someone but be on to the next one in just a few days. “It’s kind of unfortunate because a lot of people on Tinder aren’t necessarily looking for one-night stands. They’re looking to meet someone eventually although they are not ready for e-Harmony or want to get married tomorrow,” Valdez explained.
Tinder’s response rate is pretty high, which can be attributed to its many users and convenience factor. “You can swipe right before bed. You can do it on the toilet. While you’re eating. It’s kind of that app that everyone pulls out when we have that spare time.”
Because it’s so mainstream, there’s someone for everyone. Plus if you change cities, it can be a reflection of that city.
Luxy is boasted as the top millionaire match-making app for the rich and beautiful, or “Tinder without the poor people,” as the CEO has said. Male members must have a minimum income of $200k annually, verified via tax records or they are immediately removed, and women must be considered attractive (judged by existing members) to be accepted into this bourgeois club.
Who You’ll Find: Super Hot Sugar Babies
It’s not too serious of an app, since most of the women are seeking sugar daddies. But, as Valdez explained, “putting everything into one category isn’t always fair because there are a lot of successful women on Luxy who are just tired of dating guys who live in their mom’s basements.” So there’s that, too.
The response rate on this app is pretty low, possibly because everyone is likely to be a bit, er, pickier…
“They’re really attractive, not like on the other dating apps. The reason is because you vouch and are voted in. Women are voted in pretty much on their looks,” Valdez said. You can skip that vouching process by paying for the Luxy Black membership, which is $99.99, but that’s a big chunk of change. “If you’re a rich guy, it probably makes a lot of sense.”
Happn is the Stumble Upon of dating apps, for those who want to just so happen to run into someone who might just so happen to be date-worthy. Essentially, you can find the people with whom you’ve crossed paths. If you’re living in a big city, this app may be worth trying out, but unless you’re passing by a lot of people every day, it’s probably not necessary.
Who You’ll Find: Spontaneous (and Maybe Shy) Romantics
“Happn is such a new thing that it seems like a lot of people have different experiences on it… They have this very romantic vision for this app, like you pass this person in a fleeting moment. I don’t know if their vision translates to their users in the way it’s used, though.” Happn gets a mediocre score for seriousness because it does boast a romantic factor but, at the same time, the convenience aspect of this app (matches have to be within a 250-meter radius to cross paths), lends itself to a casual culture, as well.
“It seems to be an unusual mix of social butterfly-type people who like meeting random strangers in the subway, and the shy type who are terrified of meeting random strangers without the app. This is their opportunity to kind of be in the corner but still engage without risk,” Valdez explained. So responsiveness is highly dependent upon which type of woman you match.
“It has a very wide range of backgrounds but a lot of professionals. It has a cool demographic because it’s one of the newer apps, so it’s kind of trendy and there are interesting people there.”
“They’re really attractive on Luxy, not like on the other dating apps. The reason is because you vouch and are voted in. Women are voted in pretty much on their looks.”
Bumble changes the rules of the game: Functioning much like Tinder, it opens an opportunity to message anytime there’s a match, but men cannot initiate chat. Women must write first, and if they choose not to, the opportunity will self-destruct in 24 hours. Guys do have the option to extend one match per day for another 24 hours.
Who You’ll Find: Office Hot
Bumble was essentially founded to weed out creepy, unwanted messages from guys. It’s therefore likely that the women on Bumble are looking for something more than an ego boost or casual sex that they can find on Tinder. “I would say marriage material. The women are after not only handsome but also pretty ambitious, competent guys… So you want to have really strong photos that really project those qualities,” Valdez advised.
Bumble released data that said 50 percent of matches result in a conversation, also noting that it’s ratio is more even than most apps at about 55 percent male users to 45 percent female users. Basically, odds are greater. But the response rate still varies for guys. Valdez put it this way: “If you happen to be a very handsome guy, it’s like heaven… Really attractive men just get bombarded and the other ones don’t get that much attention. That kind of sucks as a guy, getting these matches and then you can’t message them.”
Many attractive women are on Bumble because it’s such a female-friendly app. The age range is about 25 to 35 range.
If you’re not afraid of potentially getting your best friend’s sloppy seconds, then this app is a decent option. It uses your social networks to connect you with potential dates who are somehow connected in your web of a life—so you can “meet someone your friends trust,” according to their tagline.
Who You’ll Find: The Cute Friend of a Friend
Hinge claims that 63 percent of their users are looking for a relationship, 33 percent are looking to date and two percent are looking for a hook-up. “Hinge is like Tinder’s serious sister. It works if you want to date your sisters friend, I guess, but not necessarily if you want to date someone outside of your circles,” Valdez said. That said, the search criteria is limited, so you cannot seek out certain attributes that are important to you.
The response rate on Hinge is not as high as Tinder, perhaps because you bump into too many people who’ve had a history with your one of your best buds. Once you get a match, however, you can usually expect a response.
The women you meet on Hinge will depend a bit on your friends. “One thing that our account managers will do is that, before they recommend Hinge, they’ll look at the types of friends our clients have on Facebook and decide if it’s really a good fit for them.” So if your business and personal life are totally separate for a reason, and your business life is a large part of our social networks, it’s perhaps not the best place you should be dating.
OkCupid is traditionally a site but has rolled out an app that gets the job done with the same swiping interface as the rest.
Who You’ll Find: Quirky Nerds, Hot Hipsters and Everything in Between
OkCupid is pretty central on the scale of seriousness. On one hand, it offers compatibility features like questionnaires that determine the percentage of how well you match with someone, as well as advanced search options to specify religions, smokers vs. non-smokers, wants kids vs. doesn’t want kids vs. has kids and more. On the other hand, however, it’s free, which means there are more casual users on it. Essentially, “it’s an app that lends itself to a lot of interesting types of people, and if you’re looking for something a bit more serious than your average Tinder or Bumble users, then OkCupid is a great place to go.”
OkCupid is a bit more difficult to rate, since it’s traditionally a website. Swiping on the app is rated lower than most, but messaging is rated very highly.
OkCupid is probably one of the most mainstream dating sites and, because of that, it does have more creative types and unconventional users. “It’s still just a percentage of their users but it’s just more noticeable in the sense that they definitely have their presence there,” Valdez said.
“Hinge is like Tinder’s serious sister. It works if you want to date your sisters friend, I guess, but not necessarily if you want to date someone outside of your circles.”
Plenty of Fish
This one is widely popular around the world and especially in the UK. It’s one of the oldest dating sites that’s still popular today. It’s therefore a great site if you want access to evermore people, but it doesn’t exactly rate the highest in terms of quality.
Who You’ll Find: The Everyday Janes
“It’s funny to equate Plenty of Fish with serious dating, but in the days of Tinder, it’s up there. It used to be such a causal, hook-up type thing, but I think Tinder has pushed it up there,” Valdez laughed.
The response rates for Plenty of Fish are similar to OkCupid in that, as a website, messaging is pretty high, but swiping on mobile is lower than other traditional apps.
“It’s kind of the Walmart of dating apps,” Valdez said. But it’s mainstreamed enough that you get a little bit of everything. “We have had clients meet plenty of women that they are very attracted to and excited to meet on Plenty of Fish, we’ve just spent a little more time on the searching side.”
Coffee Meets Bagel
If you don’t want to consume all of your time online dating, but you’re curious to see what’s out there, this is a great app for you. Why? You only get one match, or “bagel,” a day.
Who You’ll Find: Hot Young Professionals
Because this one is free, though you can pay for extra matches a day, people use it more casually. But on their blog, they noted that 81 percent of their users are looking for a relationship, which leaves 12 percent looking for casual hook-ups and seven percent for new friends.
According to Valdez, “It’s got a great platform but it’s just slow. You get a few matches a day. If you don’t like your match, you come back the next day. The good thing is that it’s not time-consuming. Because the quality of women is so high, I’d consider it to be probably the most time-efficient dating app in existence. Also, when you only get one match a day, I don’t know if people are more un-selective, but they give that match more consideration.”
Valdez said his clients are happy with the average quality of women on this app. They seem to be “career-driven and classy.”
Match will tell you there are more dates, more relationships and more marriages than any other dating or personals site. So let’s go with that.
Who You’ll Find: The Total Package: Brains & Beauty
While a lot of guys on Match are looking for fun, a lot of women are looking for something more serious. “I think Match is the best site that’s out there if you want to eventually want to find something serious with somebody that you meet, and you kind of want the full package,” Valdez explained. While there’s a good mix of people since it’s pretty mainstreamed, there are many professional, mature and marriage-minded women looking for monogamous relationships. “If you’re a yuppie, you need to join Match if you want to find something serious!”
The paid aspect of it Match contributes to the fact that everyone is pretty responsive. Women aren’t on here to waste their time or dollars.
Match has an overall attractive user base, though not as high as some of your more casual other options, according to Valdez.
eHarmony is a “trusted dating site for like-minded singles,” and the trust factor is huge. The way it markets itself to prospective users does in fact draw in like-minded people. But unless you’re committed to finding someone ASAP, their “trusted” algorithm is a bit of a painful process.
Who You’ll Find: Let’s Get Married Ladies
“The best thing about their algorithm in making matches is that people believe it because of their marketing, and so it attracts those kinds of people. I don’t believe that the algorithm really works, and I don’t think anyone who knows much about it really does, but I do believe that the algorithm and the way that they market it attracts a certain type of person who is very serious about finding someone,” Valdez explained. “That is potentially a big win if you’re looking for something serious or you want to get married in the next two years.”
Before even having the chance to chat, users have to answer a ton of questions in an application, be accepted to join and then answer a ton more questions as eHarmony slowly feeds them matches. Users then have to send their responses to women who will evaluate them and decide to advance. Once they do all that, they can have open communication, which is pretty responsive considering all parties involved have been through hell and back to get there.
You don’t need to be a textual Shakespeare or super attractive to be on eHarmony. Because people believe the algorithm and math so much, regardless of what you say to them or look like, they’re more likely to give you a shot.
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@insightwetrust