Dating websites and apps are a relatively new breed, given that we only recently had widespread internet connections (and smartphones). However, in terms of age, Match is the grandmother of the online dating world. Match has been around since 1995 and has been a pioneer in the online dating space. In fact, Match is the dating service that took us from phone and newspaper dating, to online dating.
Back in 1993, Gary Kremen (founder of Match.com) was paying $2.99 per minute for a frustratingly inefficient and slow phone-dating service. It bothered him so much that he wanted to do something about it. He thought that instead of going through a clunky phone menu or newspapers, why not have an online database holding thousands of profiles which could be easily accessed anytime by anyone who was a member?
This lead to the creation of the online dating service called Match. Match has evolved a lot since then, and is today one of the most frequently visited online dating websites. It is a service that attempts to be useful for everyone rather than catering to a niche market or a particular type of person. It’s also a little bit of everything: At the core, it’s an old fashion (if that’s even possible) search-based dating website, but it’s also ‘Tinder-light’ with its swipe left / right function (called shuffle).
When you create your Match profile, you start by selecting the basics such as what gender you’re seeking, your location, etc. You are then asked to set your current relationship status, whether you have children, whether you want children, your education level, height, body type, hair length (slightly unusual?), hair colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion and smoking habits. The answers to these questions are all chosen from a menu. You can also choose to not answer any of the questions. As you work your way through the setup process, a status bar will tell you what percentage of the sign-up you have completed.
You are asked to select one imperfection about yourself (e.g. always late, clumsy, stubborn, etc.) an embarrassing habit (no sense of direction, snoring, etc.), and upload photos. You are then asked to select the age range, relationship status, children status, height, body type and smoking habit you prefer your dates to have. Next, you select what sports you enjoy playing, your hobbies, your favourite movies, what music you like and finally you are asked to say something about yourself (up to 2,000 characters). Other than the self-description, the answers are all also chosen from a list of options, and you can also here choose to abstain from answering any of the questions. That’s it. Your account is now up and running and this should have taken you about 20 minutes, unless you spent lots of time on the self-description.
After you have created your profile, you also have the option to add more information, such as your occupation, eye colour, how you would describe your personality, what kind of entertainment you like, etc. You can answer the following questions (up to 250 characters): What do you do for fun, favourite local hot spots or travel destinations, favourite things (quite open-ended), what is your favourite book, and tell us more about your job.
You can also add your weight, style, best feature, etc. You can add more information about your lifestyle such as favourite animal, diet, exercise habits, political views, etc. You can also select further criteria that you want for your dates, such as tattoos or piercings, languages spoken, political views, exercise habits, etc.
Match gives you three ways to find dates. The first way is a traditional search function. This lets you search for any criteria the users submitted when they created their profiles, such as height, eye colour, smoking habits, etc. You could for example search for dates within a 15 mile radius who are between the ages of 25 and 35, don’t have children, have an athletic body type and have been logged in during the last week. The profiles this search returns can further be sorted by when the user was last online, by distance to you, or by the length of the users’ membership. You can also save your searches so that you don’t have to re-enter all the search criteria next time.
The second way to find dates is simply a discover function that lets you see who is online in your area at the moment. You get to see their picture, age and location, and if you are interested you can click on the profile to find out more. In addition, the app also has a location based feature that allows you to see users that are close to you.
If you see someone you like, there are four ways of expressing your interest: you can send a wink, a message, save him or her to your favourites (your match will be notified when you save him or her to your favourites), or send a quiz (more about this in a little).
The third way to find dates is basically a Tinder knock-off called Shuffle. Twice a day, Match presents you with 100 potential dates. You get to see their picture, age, location and a little information about them. You can then swipe left or right (on mobile or tablet), or click like or dislike. If you both like each other, you have a match and can then message each other (otherwise you won’t be able to communcate).
You also have the option to create a quiz that you can send to your potential dates. From a menu of pre-selected questions, you can select between 5 and 20 'yes' or 'no' questions.
There is also an option to create your own 'yes' or 'no' questions. You will first answer these questions yourself, and then share these with you potential dates. If a potential date answers your quiz and both of you answered the questions similarly, you have an excuse to get in touch.
When you check out someone’s profile, you get to see a well-organized display of their pictures, age, location and the information the user filled out when creating the profile. You also get to see a graphic of the specific things you have in common, what gender and age range the person is looking for, as well as the person's quiz (if this has been completed). You will see if the person is currently online, and if not, when the person was last logged in. In addition, you will see if the person is verified through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (more about this below).
What you see on the main page of the desktop / laptop version is a welcome page containing a search feature, featured membership profiles, ads for boosting your profile, ads for Match events, and ads for external products. You also have the menu bar up top that holds all the key functions of the websites. The main screen of the app takes you straight to the action as it shows you profiles that are either online at the moment or close to you geographically, and who also fit your search criteria.
Match lets you decide who can contact you. For instance if you do not want to be contacted by persons above the age of 35 or by someone more than 10 miles away from you, you can limit these criteria in what is called Contact Filer.
In order for you to add credibility that you are who you say you are, Match gives you the option to verify your profile through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Although this doesn’t prove that you are who you claim to be in the profile, it does provide some credibility.
If you’re a paid member, you also get too see a list of everyone who has visited your profile, sent you emails or winked at you.
Match also maps your behaviour. Meaning, it takes into account your selected preferences – age, profession and so on – as well as your actions on the site. For instance, if you select height above 6ft in your search filter, but you look at profiles who are 5’8” or 5’9”, Match ‘learns’ that you are interested in people that are less than 6ft. Match will then provide you with profiles that are also less than 6ft tall.
Match arranges Events where one can meet singles in 21 different cities across the UK. These events are either casual get-togethers at bars, pubs or similar – or activity events such as bowling, cooking classes, photography lessons, etc. If one wishes, one can bring a single friend to these events.
Match also has a blog where it gives dating advice, tips on good first dates, texting advice, etc., and where it publishes various articles about dating in general.
Match also has a sister dating website called Matchaffinity. This site is similar to eHarmony in that it attempts to match users based on compatibility after going through a lengthy questionnaire. Although it is a separate service, Match has links to this site throughout the Match site.
Match actually isn’t very different. It doesn’t stand out with any particular features and neither does it cater to a particular group of the dating market. Instead, it is a straight forward search-based dating website for everyone. It is an all-inclusive site for people of all ages, all interest and in pretty much any location. Match has also added the Tinder-like function called Shuffle to please those users that want a more casual approach to dating.
One factor that does separate Match from many other dating services, is its large user-base. It is one of the most frequently used search-based dating services, and has approximately 4.0 million members in the UK. However, please note that on Match (as well as most other paid dating websites and apps), less than 10% of the members are paid subscribers (meaning only these will be able to communicate with each other).
You are likely to find people from all walks of life on Match. There will be city workers, handymen, professional athletes, entrepreneurs, nurses, etc. Match tries to be a service for anyone and everyone.
There will be people looking for casual relationships, and there will also be people looking for long-terms relationships (as well as people looking to get married). However, given that Match is a paid-for traditional dating service, it is probably fair to say that the majority of the users are serious about finding a long-term partner.
The users on Match also tend to be grown-ups, meaning that they are often older than the users on many other dating services. The average age of a Match user is 40 years old.
The design of the desktop / laptop version is decent - it just isn’t great. It’s rather busy and there are lots of things going on. Also, some of the text may (for some) not be easy to see as some fonts may be on the smaller side. It feels like the design is a bit outdated and also somewhat lacking of life.
That said, although the ‘wrapping’ may not be the best, the website is well organised and structured, and it’s relatively easy to get familiar with. The functionality is good and intuitive, and it is easy to navigate around the site. It is also very helpful for moving around the site to always have the menu displayed up top.
The design of the app is nice, clean and less busy than the desktop / laptop version. Design-wise, it feels like a step up from the desktop / laptop version, but also here the design lacks a little oomph. It is however super easy to use, as only the key functions are preserved and one always has the menu at the bottom that makes navigation easy.
When you open the app, it takes you straight to the searching of potential dates as it shows you profiles that online or close to you at the moment. This works well for the app. Another thing hat works well is how it displays 4 profiles (instead of one) on each screen (other than for the Shuffle feature). Although it gives less detail, it allows you to filter through people far quicker.
Shuffle (the Tinder-like feature) is also well displayed and easy to use as it has both swiping and touching options for selecting potential dates.
The free version lets you explore the site and it shows you how it works. It is helpful in terms of getting educated as it lets you create a profile, search through the members, send winks and use the Shuffle feature. It is also helpful for getting an understanding for whether there are enough members in your area.
However, beyond education and getting a sense of people in your area, there is little value in the free sign-up because you can't link up with other users. In order to message other users and set up dates, you will need to become a paid member.
Match gives you three options for length and cost of membership. You can choose between 1, 3 and 6 month membership plans. The prices for these memberships are listed in the table.
Although it is a fee based site, Match does have two features that enable you to limit the costs of being a member. Firstly, Match often offer 3 or 7 day free trails, meaing you are able to use the sit in full for these days. This is unlikely to be enough time to meet any dates, but it will let you try out the service in full. Go to the Special Offers section to see what special offers Match currently has in the UK.
Secondly, should you not want to continue your membership within 14 days of signing up, you have the option to cancel your Match subscription and get a full refund. See the next section for details.
As a Match subscriber you will be able to send and receive messages and winks, you won't have any (or less) ads displayed on the site, you get to see who has viewed your profile, added you to their favourites and liked you on Shuffle. You get the option to hide your profile should you wish to no longer appear in searches, and you also get priority customer care.
Match allows you to make the payment for the 6 month plan in three instalments. The first of three payments will be taken upfront, the second at the end of the first month and the third payment at the end of the second month. The other membership plans need to be funded upfront.
You can cancel the subscription anytime, but you will not be entitled to a refund for any un-used periods. Unless you cancel your membership or de-select automatic renewal 48 hours before it ends, it will be automatically renewed and you will re-billed for a new subscription on the same terms as the old one.
To cancel your membership, you will need to go to My account settings and from there go to the option called My subscription. Select on the option called Manage your subscription, and then select To cancel your subscription online, click here. You then have to confirm your email and password and will eventually be taken to a page that confirms that you have cancelled the subscription.
You can also terminate your subscription by calling Match customer service on 020 3059 6494 or 020 3059 6492.
Should you not want to continue your membership within 14 days of signing up, you have the right to cancel your subscription and get a full refund (initial subscription only, not renewals). In order to exercise this right, you have to use this contact form, or write to the Match customer care team at PO Box 64197, London, WC1A 9FG, UK. Please note that this needs to be submitted within the first 14 first days to be valid.
If your subscription was purchased through a third party account, such as iTunes or Amazon, the subscription must be cancelled through the third party provider.
Match is available in 25 countries and can be used in 8 different languages.
Match does give you the option to seek same-sex relationships, meaning you can be a man seeking men or a woman seeking women. Although Match is used by gay and lesbian singles to find dates, the same-sex community is relatively small compared to the straight community. This is probably because Match has always focused mainly on straight singles. For instance, Match has no options in its preferences, questions or searches that tailor specifically to gay or lesbian dating or sexuality, and no or very few events for same-sex dating. In addition, you are not allowed to be bi-sexual on Match, meaning you cannot set your preference as being a man or a woman looking for both genders.
However, Match does have a section on its Advice blog that addresses gay and lesbian dating. Although Match doesn't specifically cater to same-sex dating, there will still be a relatively large number of gay and lesbian singles on Match, given the large number of overall Match users.
Gary Kremen founded Match in 1993 and launched the service in 1995. It was intended to be a more efficient way to meet singles than what was then possible through circular classifieds and phone dating services.
Match initially experienced tremendous growth and more than 100,000 people had signed up after 6 months. At one point, traffic grew at 3-4% per day. Part of the reason for this growth was because of the free lifetime membership that was offered the first users.
Due to disagreements with investors and management over the business model of Match, Kremen was removed as CEO and later Match was sold. It has later been owned by several other companies with different visions.
Match started charging users for memberships in 2001.
Match was launched in the UK in 2001 and UK is today one of Match’s largest markets.
In 2004, Guinness World Records recognized Match as the largest online dating website in the world. At the time, more than 42 million people had registered with Match since its launch in 1995, and globally Match had over 15 million members.
By 2008, a milestone was reached as more than one billion messages and winks had been sent through the site world-wide.
The first Match app was launched in 2009, which allowed for location based searching.
In 2010, Match.com partnered with Yahoo! Personals to create Match.com on Yahoo.
Match was the most searched online dating site in 2013 on Google.
Match celebrated its 20-year anniversary in 2015.
In 2015, Match announced that it had helped create 517,000 relationships, 92,000 marriages, and 1 million babies.
In 2015, Match group, the owner of Match.com did an initial public offering and was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
In 2016, 38% of Match members said they had a relationship that began on the site that lasted longer than 1 month.
All new profiles are verified by Match and inappropriate profiles are deleted. Should you come across a profile you believe is fake or inappropriate, you can report this to Match (there is a link at the bottom of each profile called ‘Report this profile’). Similarly, you can also block a profile so that this person won’t be able to contact you, and you can also hide a profile if you no longer wish to see it again.
You also set the parameters you want potential dates to have in the Contact Filter, such as age range, location, etc. People outside these set parameters will not be able to contact you. Match also let’s you verify who you are by linking your profile with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Although not fool proof, this helps increase the likelihood that profiles are genuine. Then again, linking your Match profile with social media websites may create concerns about what information is shared amongst these platforms. Match also screens members against public sex offender registries. If someone is found to be on any of these lists, they will be removed from eHarmony services.
Match is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, which owns more than 50 companies and websites including PlentyOfFish, Tinder, OKCupid and many other dating and personal network sites. It is likely that user information is shared among these different networks.
74% of Match users have attended university.
Match’s fastest growing age group is the 50+ segment.
The most common term used in a Match.com profile is ‘Travel’ with over 1 million instances.
Kremen, the founder of Match, was known as an eccentric character, and allegedly fired a personal assistant because she refused to work 7 days a week.
Match has a scholarship called MatchMade. It is a $50,000 program open to kids of parents who met on Match.
Martha Stewart went on Match in 2013 and had more than 20,000 profile views within days. She went on two dates (both were filmed).