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If your goal is to get a date—or find a mate—are you better off with one type over the other?“That’s the real issue—how happy are people with their interactions on the dating sites,” says Scott Kominers, a lecturer in economics at Harvard University.On a site like Ok Cupid anyone can send you a message, whereas on the free app Bumble or on Tinder or e Harmony, only people you are matched with can get in touch.“If sending messages had a price or you could send only a fixed number per day, people you contact online would know you had to give up something to do so, which would incentivize better behavior,” he says.Perhaps beyond just charging for messages, sites could adjust the price according to how high quality someone's engagement seems to be.So a person who randomly sends out dozens of “hey” messages to would-be dates would have to pay a higher price to make contacts than someone who does it more selectively. Our survey suggests that 45 percent of online daters have tried multiple dating websites or apps.In the meantime, the bottom line is that while some users think quality does come at a price, there are benefits to free dating services as well. Shopping links are provided by e Bay Commerce Network and Amazon, which makes it easy to find the right product from a variety of online retailers.“I typically recommend Match because I’ve found it gives you better quality,” says Jodi Manfredi, who writes online dating profiles professionally.“I’ve always assumed that putting anything behind a pay wall makes it more attractive and weeds out the casual users and trolls,” agrees Joseph Lynn, a Chicago man who used e Harmony and Match as well as a few free sites.Forty-eight percent said Match, a paid site, but Plenty Of Fish (free) and e Harmony (paid) tied for second most popular, with 23 percent apiece.But in terms of overall satisfaction, our survey found that free dating sites actually score a touch better than paid ones, probably because they're a better value.

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