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Online Dating Magazine > Top 10 Lists > Dating Service Problems

Top 10 Annoyances of Online Dating Services
by Joe Tracy, Publisher of Online Dating Magazine

(July 1, 2003) With the online dating industry becoming more competitive every day, it's hard to understand why some services use tactics that are highly annoying to users. And it is even harder to understand why some of these annoyances (like #3) are not corrected even several months after being brought to a dating service provider's attention. Here is a list of the top 10 annoyances that Online Dating Magazine has found with various dating services:

1) Sites that force both people to be registered members in order to communicate.
The majority of big dating sites make you believe that if you sign up, you can communicate with anyone else on the site. What they don't tell you is that the person you are trying to communicate with must also pay to be a member in order to communicate back with you! This process is extremely deceiving and unfair to the customer. Some of the biggest offenders include eHarmony, Match, Udate, and Kiss. But there are sites that do not use such deception, like LavaLife, American Singles, and Romantic Planet.

2) Picture/Profile approvals take too long.
When a person signs up for a dating service, he/she wants to be able to immediately begin using that service. Yet some dating sites take up to three days to approve your photos! This type of service is unacceptable, particularly when dating sites are amongst the biggest money making ventures online. Sites we found to be ultra quick in getting up pictures are Udate and Kiss, which both had pictures up within 10 minutes of submitting them. eHarmony appears to be generally quick too. Dating sites must improve customer service to improve retention and that means immediate quick approval of images and profiles.

3) Status options are deceiving.
This annoyance solely belongs to Udate and Kiss. When selecting your status for your Udate/Kiss profile, you don’t have the option of just selecting "divorced" or "separated" because Udate/Kiss have grouped "divorced/separated" together even though these are two completely different things! Most people would go out with someone who is legally divorced, but not someone who is only separated. We know of some people who have marked "single" in their Udate/Kiss profile even though they are divorced because Udate/Kiss has yet to learn that there is a big difference between being divorced and being separated!

4) Can’t disable instant messaging.
This annoyance belongs solely to LavaLife. LavaLife has an instant messaging feature that you can’t disable. So if you are an attractive female trying to update your profile, you may find yourself constantly interrupted by dozens of men trying to Instant Message you, bringing up a window every time one calls. Most sites allow you to disable the Instant Message feature, but not LavaLife.

5) Inability to "suspend" your account.
When you start dating someone you met online, it is proper to suspend your dating account while you see where things lead. While many dating sites give you the option to suspend or turn off your account, Udate and Kiss force you to remove your profile altogether (your account is deleted). So if you ever return, not only do you have to fill out all the information again, but you'll also discover that you can't get your old username back because even though you deleted your account, the username is still in their system!

6) Limit on how many characters you can use in message.
Some sites limit the number of "characters" you can use in a message you write to another member. One of the biggest offenders is American Singles that limits you to 1,300 characters even though you’re paying them a large monthly fee for the service! I once had to split a return message to someone interested in me in four different messages because of the annoying character limitation. It's funny how a free service like Yahoo Mail has no character limits on your email messages, but if you pay some dating sites $29.99 a month, they make sure you’re limited on how much you can say to another member!

7) Sorry, no commas or apostrophes allowed!
Commas and apostrophes are a critical part of writing. Yet if you are signed up for Udate or Kiss, you'll quickly find that they do not allow you to use commas (,) or apostrophes (') in your profile message. Udate/Kiss automatically deletes commas and apostrophes from your profile message without even telling you. That's why many messages on the service look rather odd. If you say in your profile: "My favorite activities are bowling, miniature golf, surfing, skiing, sailing, and traveling. And I can't stand people who don't brush their teeth"; Udate/Kiss lists it as follows: "My favorite activities are bowling miniature golf surfing skiing sailing and traveling. And I can t stand people who don t brush their teeth."

8) Picture rejection.
A few sites are overzealous in the review of pictures (which is likely why it takes the service forever to approve pictures). An example is MatchMaker, which will sometimes reject a picture of a person wearing sunglasses (even in a nice close-up shot) for "not showing enough of the face" (because the sunglasses block the eyes from being in view). This type of pickiness is enough to drive people to use other services.

9) HTML chatting.
HTML chatting (where the window must refresh to show new messages) is very old technology. It is a technology that you'd think would be so outdated that online dating sites would be scared to use it. However, three large dating sites still use HTML-type chatting as part of their format! Those sites include Udate, Kiss, and FriendFinder.

10) Can’t login to account from home page.

If you go to the home page of Udate, Kiss, or Matchmaker, you'll discover that members can't log onto the site from the home page. Udate/Kiss require members to click a button from the home page in order to log in, thus creating one extra step every time you want to log in. Matchmaker makes you click twice before you can log in!

Online Dating Magazine wants to know what you find annoying about specific online dating services. Email your annoyance here and it may appear in a future "top 10 reader submitted annoyances" list!

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