Technology has changed many aspects of our modern lives, and dating is no exception. As of 2011, one in five relationships start online, according to Match.com. Many companies have capitalized on this growing trend, making it almost as difficult to navigate the cyber-dating world as it is to negotiate a crowded bar. The best way to narrow down this field is to figure out which type of website best suits your dating needs.
The most popular and heavily advertised dating sites tend to require a fee for their hookup services. Prominent examples of these sites include eHarmony and Match.com. Generally, these sites ask you to fill out an extensive questionnaire, detailing your personality and what you are looking for in a match. They will then browse their databases for you to determine what profiles would be a good match for you. These websites will occasionally offer promotional deals, allowing you to view potential matches for free. Though the services of these websites are not cheap, they do screen their clients with great care, and they endeavor to match you with the best possible candidates, so many feel that the cost is worth their safety and the money saved on fewer "wasted" dates.
If you do not want to spend money for a dating website, you still have several options, including Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid. These websites operate with revenue from advertisements rather than memberships. They allow you to create a profile and upload a picture of yourself, then you can browse the profiles of others who share your interests or are located in your area. While these websites are generally safe, you should always exercise caution because the clients are not as fully vetted as they are on paid dating sites.
It can be hard for minorities to find a match on general dating sites, so several companies have created websites dedicated to specific ethnicities. If you are Indian, you can try Love From India or Shaadi. African Americans can go to Black Singles, Black Refer or Brown Sugar World, and Africans can try Alarena. Latin Americans can browse Amigos or Latin Date, and Asians can go to Asian People Meet or Asian Singles Connection. Most of these sites are free, and as with all online dating sites, you should exercise caution, especially if you plan to meet someone in person.
If you are looking for a person of the same religion, sexual preference or age group, there is probably a niche website for you. Several Christian dating sites cater specifically to people of this faith, including Christian Mingle and Christian Singles. Jewish singles can use JDate and Muslims can look on Muslima, Muslim Friends or Salaam Love. For homosexuals and lesbians, there is Man Hunt or Pink Cupid, respectively. With so many single baby-boomers, some websites now target the elderly, including Senior People Meet and Senior Match. Teens and twenty-somethings can also find sites dedicated to them.