Pros and Cons of Investing In Online Dating

Published by

May 4, 2020

Pros and Cons of Investing In Online Dating

It is almost impossible for you not to know someone who is on a dating app; that is, if you are not on one yourself. A decade ago, dating apps were viewed with skepticism, and organic routes to dating — meeting someone in the flesh and hitting it off over a glass of drink, or not — were favored. However, we have witnessed a revolution with the coming of dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, etc. They cater to both straight and queer people alike, and there are even those specifically designed for people with kinky fetishes and the likes. These apps come with the promise of revitalizing your love life and helping you meet the 'one.'


Most of the apps are free, while some demand payment. However, if you have ever used any of the free apps, you would have come to notice ads offering a better app than the unpaid one. Typically, these ads offer you some incentive such as increased reach for your profile, ability to find out who viewed you, and even read receipts. Some of them offer you the ability to boost your profile temporarily so that you get seen by, and also get to view, a larger pool of profiles. 


You may wonder why anyone would choose to make use of a paid dating site when there are free ones. Similarly, you may also wonder why anybody would want to upgrade to a paid version of a dating app. There are arguments for and against it, and to help you, please find below the pros and cons of investing in an online dating app.  



  • Making use of a paid option gives you access to features that will improve your chances of matching with others

The truth is that the features you have access to by being on a paid dating site, or upgrading to a paid version, actually increases your reach, and hence, the chances of meeting somebody. Meeting people is the whole point of getting on to a dating site in the first place. So, if shelling a few dollars each month could help you achieve it, why not? As a matter of fact, it is on record that people who make use of paid sites record a 46% more success rate than those who do not. Furthermore, of the messages sent on paid sites, 44% are more likely to get replies, and 42% of those are more likely to go on a date than those on free sites. Those are great odds by themselves!


Paid features ensure the widening of your reach. For those interested in location-based matches, this is quite helpful. It increases the pool of those who can see your profile. In this way, you are not confined to just your immediate vicinity while searching for a date. For some others, e.g., Tinder, a paid account gives you access to see who checked you out even if they don't eventually make any moves. This could help you know who is interested in you, and you could even make the first move yourself. Read receipts let you know when someone is giving you the cold shoulder or outrightly snubbing your texts. While this may not necessarily help you land a date, it could help with your peace of mind, and you can essentially move on when someone shows disinterest. It is also possible to check out who liked you before you go all-in with liking them. With this knowledge, you get to prime yourself before making any commitment towards them. More so, the fact that someone has liked your profile could sway you into eventually giving them a chance, even if ordinarily, you wouldn't. Furthermore, it could help boost your ego and morale. Finding out that someone finds you attractive can be uplifting, even more so if you've been out of the dating cycle for a while. 

  • People who pay are more serious

It goes without saying that if you pay for something, you get to take it more seriously than someone who got it for free. Doling out cash acts as an incentive that spurs you into fully committing to the dating experience. This is especially so if you are looking for something more meaningful, beyond having casual sex. If you are looking for a companion or a partner, signing up for paid dating sites helps you put your money where your mouth is. It makes you take the endeavor seriously and increases the chances that you would eventually find the love of your life. 

3. It makes the process of searching for a date more fun

Let's face it, what are the chances of meeting someone who shares a love for Egyptian artifacts on a random Tuesday at a bar? I'll say not high. Even on an unpaid dating site, the odds are not that favorable too. However, on a paid site hat caters to specific needs, the odds of that happening increase. Paid sites are excellent for people with certain peculiarities, including fetishes and the likes. Due to the unique nature of paid online dating platforms, and how they streamline expectations, it is easier to meet a potential partner there than on an unpaid site. More so, anonymity is more assured on these platforms. It saves you the (possible) embarrassment of having to explain your fringe sexual desires when you run into someone you know on a dating app. A lot of folks, even those on dating apps, are close-minded, and you'd be better off without having to deal with anyone's judgments. Even if they are liberal-minded, you should have the option of not having to explain your sexual tastes to anyone. 


Having access to more features makes searching for a date more interesting and a lot more fun. A paid platform makes the process less tedious and time-consuming; great perks you should consider.

4. Sieves out dud profiles

One prevalent problem with free sites is the abundance of dud profiles. If you have ever used one, you will come to notice that their owners have abandoned a lot of the profiles. This could be as a result of disinterest, or dissatisfaction with the service rendered by the dating app. However, the ease at which accounts can be opened on these sites, and the fact that they are free is a huge contributing factor. Dud profiles can be a great inconvenience, and most paid sites save you this. In the first place, as already stated, there are less likely chances of some freeloader creating a dud profile if they have to pay for it. Furthermore, even when you are using the paid features on a site that supports free users, you can sieve out the dud profiles from your list. 



  • Investing in online dating apps may not be ideal if you are looking for a casual relationship

If you are not looking for something potentially long term or serious, then it may not make sense hopping on to a paid plan. The lure of paid dating sites is the promise of finding a partner easily. Furthermore, paid sites argue that more serious people make use of their apps, a postulation that is not entirely true. However, if you are not interested in investing the time and energy into a serious relationship, then it makes no sense investing your money in it. You can decide to take things at your own pace. You have to understand that it isn't that unpaid sites do not give you access to people. Rather, the argument is that there is a (rebuttable) presumption of increased visibility on paid platforms. Hence, even if you do not make use of a paid option, you can still meet people to have casual dalliances with. 

  • It also may not guarantee access to more people

Generally, the postulation that being on a paid dating app gives you access to more people is mostly theoretical. The hypothesis paints what the outcome would be in an ideal situation, but in the world outside of computer algorithms, things are far from equal. Hence, even though having increased features are supposed to improve your chances of meeting someone, that may not ultimately happen. As for the statistics that support the argument for paid dating apps, others refute it too. Eventually, it comes down to a set of factors that include the pool of persons making up the test cases, the city you are in, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, etc. 


If you are looking to find more people to date, several proven tactics may be more effective than paying for an upgrade. For instance, changing your profile picture can increase your visibility greatly. The picture you make use of should be outstanding and should highlight your best features. In fact, it has been proven that people who put up more pictures have increased chances of getting messages on a dating platform. Furthermore, how engaging your bio is, and how great your communication skills are, could be a gamechanger for you. Beyond having access to a lot more people, if you don't have a great bio, and if you cannot sustain a conversation, your odds get lower. Getting out of your comfort zone, making the first move, being open to new experiences are traits that can help you score more dates than hopping on to a paid plan. 


More so, it may not guarantee finding the right partner. The promises made by these companies make it as though hopping on to a paid option unlocks a date and life partner for you. That is deception at worst, and at best, a concealing of the whole facts. Dating is a serious endeavor, and finding someone to go out with is just one part of it. Even when you find someone, you still have to go on a date, sort out compatibility issues, decide on what feelings you have for the person, etc. Paid dating apps under-represent the amount of work needed to make an ideal relationship work. 

  • Dud profiles and catfishing will still exist 

One argument for paid sites is that it attracts more serious people and helps to weed out trolls and catfishers. This may not necessarily be true. It is possible to find both serious and unserious people on both paid and unpaid platforms. What is primary is the intentions of the people found on each platform. Even with the option of payments, it is still possible to find dud profiles, thereby not giving you your money's worth. 

  • You have more to lose on a paid site

The great thing about unpaid dating sites is that they are low risks. With a paid site, you invest money, up to $15 a month in some cases, all of which is unrecoverable. With every risk comes the possibility of failure, so of course, there is the chance that you would not meet your goal with paid sites. In the first place, it is possible that the site may not deliver on its promise. Also, you may not have the time or motivation to engage on the dating platform fully. The payments read monthly, and even if you were too busy to make use of the platform, your subscription would expire at the end of the stipulated period. Disappointment usually sets in when your goal is not achieved. This disappointment translates to a loss of money, and if calculated over a period, can be quite substantial.


However, with an unpaid site, none of these is the case. You have low stakes, so you do not feel pressured to find a date on the app to make the most of your money. Also, even when your expectations aren't forthcoming, you can simply switch to another unpaid site. The risks are reduced with unpaid sites, and if you are not interested in taking risks, you may want to consider this. 

As you can see, there are arguments both for and against investing in online dating sites. It is left for you to weigh both sides and come to the conclusion that you want. After all, you hold the purse strings.

Articles authored by Lillian Obrien