Online dating is different from shopping for, say, a sweater, he explains: “Once you decide on the sweater you want, you can get it.But with dating, the sweater has to agree, too.”Another reason for the low satisfaction scores may be that “most dating sites have some misalignment between profit model and user experience because they are financed through subscription fees or advertising,” says Scott Kominers, Ph.

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But the responses from the more active group suggest they’re highly frustrated.

They gave online dating sites the lowest satisfaction scores Consumer Reports has ever seen for services rendered—lower even than for tech-support providers, notoriously poor performers in our ratings. Well, finding a mate can be arduous and exhausting.

“Those are among the most popular dating sites in the world, and when you’re fishing, it just makes sense to drop your line in the most crowded ponds.” That’s generally true unless you have a particular guiding factor, such as religion, race, or politics, in which case you can go to a niche site like JDate or Black People Meet.

Kate, the government analyst, has started using Tastebuds, a site based on music preferences.

If you find your life partner on your first date, the site doesn’t make much money off you.

Our survey found that among respondents who stopped online dating, 20 percent of men and 40 percent of women said they did so because they didn’t like the quality of their matches.

And we found that the free sites generally did marginally better than the paid ones, presumably because they offer a better value.

“You’re generally going to be best off starting your search on the ‘Big 3’: Match.com, Ok Cupid, and Plenty of Fish,” says Scott Valdez, founder of Virtual Dating Assistants, which helps people write their profiles and then manages their accounts.

Perhaps that’s why, among those who said they had used multiple dating sites, 28 percent had tried four or more.

But our research also found that online dating, however painful and time-consuming, often does produce the intended result if you use it well—and persevere.

Our survey included many people who at some point had used a dating website or an app, as well as a subset of 9,600 respondents who used them in the past two years.