By Naima Abdi
It only takes a visit to the app store to place the future of your love life literally in your hands. And unlike the days when people actually had to leave the house and spruce up the charm to get a date, mobile dating applications provide an instant matchmaking tool that at the very least gets the ball rolling.
Everyday scores of app savvy singles browse prospects, set up dates and make connections anytime they want to and from wherever they are in the world. Each app caters to a different audience with a specific set of needs. Where E-Harmony draws in singles looking to meet their future spouse, Flirtomatic attracts people that just want to see who’s out there and keep things casual for the time being. Some apps even offer a feature that allows members to share their location and book dates on the fly with other members nearby.
Here are the top 10 apps gaining pull with mobile daters:
1. Plenty Of Fish: As the Pseudo-Potluck of dating applications, Plenty of Fish has a diverse mix of members that represent various age groups. POF is simple, free and sincere in its approach to put people together. There’s an estimated 38 million users on POF and overall the atmosphere is encouraging and reassures members that no matter what they are looking for, that POF can place them with compatible singles that want the same thing. The profiles here typically run a little long because the self-description section is fairly open ended and members can and do, over-describe.
The members here are more decisive and even more serious than Ok Cupid and Flirtomatic. Most likely because POF’s chemistry test is geared toward placing singles with stable matches that will lead to something greater than a fling. Though there are options for members seeking casual encounters as well and for that you’ll want to use the GPS search feature that puts you in contact with other members within a few miles of you and your phone.
2. OK Cupid: Popular amongst singles 18-30, Ok Cupid is a one stop shop of sorts for practically everyone because it’s easy to use and has a lot of variety in terms of the membership base but the crowd here tends to be more fickle. Ok Cupid is zippy and has a youthful, humorous and hip voice. There’s lots of eye candy and what’s cool is that you can see whose looking at your profile and vice versa. But be warned, this may not be the perfect window for those looking to settle down right away. Though Ok Cupid presents compatible matches, the questions used to enhance match compatibility are basic at best and some are user submitted so those tend to be mostly about sex.
The good news is it’s free with the option to upgrade to a premium membership if so desired. But a paid subscription is hardly necessary in order to scratch the surface and go deep enough to make connections on Ok Cupid. The app is a well-designed mobile component to the web edition that allows you to do everything you would on the site and even has a “Locals” feature that lets you broadcast to singles within a few miles from you.
3. Meexo: It’s fairly new, cute and free. Meexo is an app only dating hub designed to be safe, private and of substance that promises to remove the creep factor commonly linked to online/mobile dating. It’s base is with people in their 20’s and 30’s and has a sincere, smart and fresh voice that gets to know their members better with time. Like Pandora or Facebook, Meexo takes note of what you like, your interests and becomes a tool that pegs your dating style and offers potent suggestions on compatible people.
Meexo’s app has also tackled the problem of sending and receiving too many messages by giving users virtual currency that they spend whenever they send a message. Since the supply of coins isn’t infinite, it forces members to be more selective about how many people they’re messaging. Replies however are always free. Still virtually a baby, Meexo is working on adding new features and improving its reach to other outside of the iPhone.
4. eHarmony: This app is for serious singles that are talking marriage and not so coincidentally, the age base is primarily 30-somethings and up. Note of caution, eHarmony is a paid dating club, which means you can register, fill out the questionnaire and see your matches free of cost but if you want to interact you must be a paid subscriber. The app is free to download and since there are so many open communication events, often times you can get around price and connect with your matches for free. But still full access anytime you want will cost you. So if you’re keen on investing into your love life and finding your soul mate eHarmony is good find.
Using their famed 29 dimensions of compatibility eHarmony has by far the most extensive questionnaire that requires a bit of patience but ultimately leads to more potent matches. The app is easier to navigate than the actual website but crashes frequently and since its somewhat a novice to the app world there isn’t yet a GPS get together feature. So for now it’s merely an extension of the website for members who can’t wait till they get home to see if they have any new messages or match activity.
5. Flirtomatic: This app is the cross between a social networking and conventional dating site. Flirtomatic is fun, free, very easy to use and generally serves a playful and young crowd. It’s designed to be simplistic, highly visual and helps users to take that first step. Members in this community are only looking to browse for someone they’d like to get to know better with minimal strings attached. Each member gets a page to post their pictures and a small section to give a bit more detail on who they are and whatnot.
Once you’ve signed up and gathered some prospects, it is entirely up to you what comes next. There is little spoon feeding or match recommendations other than the features that allow you to see whose peeping your profile, rating you and Flirtomatic’s newest members. So if you want more structure in your mobile dating app Flirtomatic may not be the place for you. But if you just want to peruse without any added pressure or over stimulation then Flirtomatic will work to suit those needs. The app also includes a mapping and GPS service that unveils “flirty hotspots.”
6. JDate: This app serves Jewish singles looking to come in contact with singles of the same faith. Though there are members of all ages, its mostly popular with the over 30’s crowd. Generally JDate encourages commitment-based connections but it’s still a good resource for Jewish singles that want to set up a series of dates until they find the right candidate. The app is designed similar to the website and allows members to do everything they would normally do on web. It’s 100% free and as of now there aren’t any pending new features that set the app apart from the main site but it’s the consistency and basic set-up that makes it the number one dating app and site for Jewish singles.
7. Grindr: It’s a guy thing! This app is for gay or bi-curious guys seeking an uncomplicated and instant meet up. The crowd here is very diverse and the members represent men from all ages and backgrounds. Grindr is first a location-based resource that doesn’t even require a formal membership. As a user, you can draft a profile that will tell interested singles exactly how many feet away you are, your body stats and the kind of connection you’re looking to make.
It’s totally free and unlike a lot of the other apps on the list, doesn’t push a specific type of love-life agenda, it’s merely a tool for men to meet other men from wherever they are. Whatever happens after the initial “I saw you profile on grindr, lets meet up,” lies in the hands of the user. Great for out-of-towners that want find a tour guide for the day or night and even for singles that would like to find a casual coffee date.
8. Jazzed: Jazzed falls somewhere in between eHarmony and Flirtomatic. Though it’s free to look but costs to act on the website, the app component is totally free. The catch is that there isn’t unlimited messaging on either unless you upgrade to a premium membership. Jazzed has a young audience, mainly folks in their 20’s. With the app, members can discover and bond with singles through looking at photos of their favorite things, sending ice breakers and plotting meet ups. The cool thing about Jazzed is that the vibe focuses on finding love, like or a new friend.
But the app doesn’t present specific compatibility details like Ok Cupid; instead, it merely shows you the singles that answered their questions similarly. There isn’t a GPS element that allows for instant face-to-face communication but there is the PhotoFeed feature, that lets you take photos of yourself, your interests and share them with other members on the site then make plans to set a date.
9. Skout: Acclaimed for the wide net of members, Skout is the meet new people go to. The app is free and all about finding new friends to flirt or just to hang out with. It’s designed to be very visual and instant. Skout’s base is the 18-25 crowd that like Ok Cupid tends to be fickle and hip. There’s hardly any thorough matching going on here so it’s sort of a free-for-all when scanning through pictures of people to find someone your over the moon about.
But the good news is that Skout set up location based features that enable users to only browse people in their neighborhood or locally within their city. Though downside to Skout is the growing number of users it bans due to inactivity. So if you plan to use this app sparingly you might not get much out of it.
10. SpeedDate: This is an app that pushes dating as a game. Which for some works but the goals of SpeedDate fall short of a lot of other sites and apps that prefer to keep it simple. It’s traditional speed dating in the most basic sense. Though instead of the dater solely focusing on making connections and selling themselves to singles quick and in real time, SpeedDate sets goals for their users. That if met, enables them to receive credits, win trophies, a spot as a featured member and earn the title as “Ultimate Dating Champ!”
The crowd here is a mixed bag and there are 17 million of them across the world. Still there are some typical aspects about SpeedDate like location-based filters for local singles only and filling out a profile to produce match suggestions. Overall SpeedDate is an unconventional but good space for people that want a detour from the usual mobile dating app.
Visit your mobile app store to download or get more info on these apps.