Review: The Essential Guide

Average Rating


4.6 / 5


By Jen D.

Unless you’ve been technology free for the last few decades, chances are that is the dating website you’ve heard of over and over again. Whether you learned about it through advertising, your single friends or family, or your own use, many people talk about their accounts, while others use them on the sly, Match is the way your single parents date and probably the way your friends do too.

The History of Match:

If you didn’t know that the Internet was around all the way back in 1993, it was, and so was Match. Founded that year, its original intent was developed through Electric Classifieds, who specialized in systems for newspaper classified ads. By 1995 the beta version of was available and Match was even talked about by the technology focused magazine, Wired, that same year. As Match grew more popular and widely known, a big leap for the site came through an AOL and MSN partnership in 2001, when Match merged with Love@AOL. Taking on the philosophy of charging for online dating services, Love@AOL then charged $24.95 monthly, but the users from both sites merged and created a larger online dating community.

Since then, Match has made history books with its Guinness World Record in 2004 (for world’s largest dating site, with 42 million members before then and 15 million active at the time). Match’s strategy has changed and evolved as the site has, with revolving partnerships and ventures, announcement, management changes, and public offerings. The parent company of Match (called IAC or InterActiveCorp) owns more than In addition, IAC’s acquisitions include:,,, the diverse sites associated with People Media, Twoo, Tinder, and other sites since retired.

Pros & Cons


  • As popular new dating sites and apps which attract a younger audience have begun to emerge (even if they are now owned by the same parent group as Match!), Match has developed a reputation as an ‘older’ person dating site. Perhaps this generalization amongst daters is unfair, but younger daters often don’t want to pay for dating, when free options exist, while seniors seem to. Despite this, what Match has always had going for it is brand recognition and is widely known as one of the oldest and most popular dating sites on the web. It’s also a place people hope the money paid for membership leads to better quality matches.

  • Those who have been disappointed with the of the past might want to give it another shot. The site seems to be listening to word of mouth and is emerging with new (improved) options. These range from verified profiles, a way to talk and text without sharing your real phone number (a definite privacy and safety plus!), and even hip in person classes and events for singles – such as a cocktail making class, street art guided tours, and webinars about sex and dating, depending on the city you live in!

  • Another significant plus is ‘live chat’. We will explore this further below under our “Support” section, but dating sites offering ANY customer support nowadays is a rarity and something to be valued.

  • If you dislike writing your own profile or consider yourself terrible at it, Match offers unique options such as a paid service where a “Pro” writes your profile. While it will cost you $39.99, it will give you a more enticing profile you feel confident about. This may not be a ‘pro’ for those on a budget, but it is a pro for those who want a match but hate writing.


  • If you connect your profile on Match with your ‘real life’ identity, you will receive a “Verified Profile” badge. While this is helpful in cutting down on scammers and spammers, one should not assume that just because someone has a verified profile they are safe to meet in a dark alley or that one should skip the normal privacy protocol followed when meeting someone new. A verified profile simply means that users has verified one or more of the following: Their Facebook account (which doesn’t mean one isn’t dealing with a catfish, as many catfish make fake accompanying Facebook pages), email address, Twitter account, Google Plus account, phone number, or LinkedIn profile. Considering people can recreate most of the above (ex – using a Google phone number for verification, or making a faked LinkedIn, etc.), it is imperative to proceed with caution even with verified users.

  • It is more likely that verified users honestly want to find a match, but never let it substitute for your common sense or intuition. Other sites have video verification and alternate methods before they will give a profile a badge for authenticity.

  • Profiles can take a while to build and and searching through matches does as well. This is not a site you go to just to begin swiping. Also, Match only works as a paid site. Many users sign up and forget that billing is continuous until cancelled.

  • Also, since Match only has paid users (minus those using a ‘free trial’ or who use it for free and only received SingledOut matches sent to them or the ability to browse the mobile site, search for matches, and send winks) it attracts less traffic than free sites do. While it might seem a plus that Match users have more traditional profile photos and profiles, (unlike on Tinder where it is not uncommon for men to be photographed with their shirts off, or showing off muscles at the gym, while Tinder users complain that women to use photos heavily edited with Snapchat filters), there will be less selection on Match. Not all of this is due to it being a paid site (though some of it is), but also because you can set more filters than on Tinder (instead of Tinder primarily being gender, age, and location).

  • On Match you can filter a search with multiple options and select certain answers from your matches as mandatory. For instance, in addition to distance from you and age, you can pre-select mandatory search filters- such as body type, income, education, ethnicity, smoking and drinking habits, religion, and more.

  • That means that although you might swipe and search on some dating apps or sites for hours, on Match that is not the case. In fact, on the website version of Match, there were only 20 matches within 10 miles of me, that had the characteristics I chose for a sample search (i.e., somewhat financially secure and specific drinking habits). None of them were anyone I would message.

  • The app doesn’t have you swipe yes or no, per user. You will see matches, can click on their profile within the app. You click ‘heart’ if you like their profile and message if you want to start a conversation. You can remove users from showing in search results by selecting an “X” in the corner of their profile or clicking, “Remove from search”. Otherwise, profiles will show up in your search, even if you don’t message them.


On Match all memberships are ‘upgraded’, in the sense that all users pay if they want to use the site, minus taking advantage of their 7 day free trial. While connecting with paid users may not guarantee they’re there for the ‘right’ reasons, it does show that they were committed to spending the funds. Since free sites and their users come and go, being on a paid site gives and their users more credence, to some. You can choose between Bundle plans, Basic plans, and other offers such as having your profile edited by a professional or adding Boost, for more views. If you don’t sign up when you join the site, access memberships through the “Subscribe” tab at the top of the website.

Ease of Use

Being new to a site can be confusing, for the reasons explained above. Each website uses its own terminology but the most important features will always be searching, profile, messaging, and membership plans. Stick with those if you are confused, or go to the toolbar and look under “Help” for more options.


Basic customer questions are HERE:

To email Customer Service, with replies within 48 hours, click HERE:

Phone Support is a premium service available to paid, logged in members and the phone number is accessible HERE:

Through that same link one can ‘live chat’ 8 am to 5 pm, central time.

How does This Work?

Unless you spend a lot of time dating through websites, it can be hard to navigate all of the options and terms. Follow the above steps to sign up quickly and easily.

Also, explore options like “Discover” which lets you pick from search, mutual, reverse, saved, and usernames searches. “Events” will let you see in personal events in your area and webinars you can access and when. You can edit a “Bucket List” of fun ideas you might be able to complete with your next match (i.e., Go on a safari, swim with dolphins, etc.)


Go to Match or download the Match app. Enter whether you are a man or woman, looking for a man or woman, along with your zip/postal code. Next, enter an email address and pick a screen name. You will not have to verify your email address before proceeding to the site. This method can make it more popular with scammers, but since Match profiles are usually paid, the confirmation is really done through payment methods. If you enter an email address which doesn’t really exist or receive email, the site will alert you later and suggest you correct it.


Once you have logged in, you will begin to selects stats about yourself. For instance, what you’re looking for, your height, body type, whether you want children, etc. After clicking answer to those details about yourself, you will have the opportunity to select criteria about your future match(es) and what is mandatory (from religion to height range to income, etc.). While it’s advisable to not be too limited in your search options, DO mark a quality as mandatory if very important to you (for example, non smoker, wants children, etc.).

You will also select your interests. Those commonalities will be mentioned to compare your profile with your matches. Example: “You both enjoy movies/videos, performing arts, and music and concerts.”

Enter profile answers when prompted with the “Tell us a little about yourself” window. Once you upload a photo and begin matching, people will decide whether or not they want to connect with you and photographs are a big part of that.


Match gives 7 days free access when you sign up and will give you access to a ‘basic’ membership during that time. However, in order to qualify you will need to sign up with a new account and submit a valid credit card. If you do not want to continue your membership and want to avoid being charged, you must cancel before the end of the trial period. The link for a free trial period is HERE:

If you want to continue with your paid account, simply keep your account active and billing will renew. Since Match wants you to be a paid member, you’ll have to click away from billing options if an immediate cancel button doesn’t won’t. As soon as you complete your introductory sign up search answers and basic profile, you will be shown the membership options. A full breakdown of Match’s paid options is listed below.


If you pay for membership make sure you read through all of the benefits you’ll receive and try and use them all.

If you want to browse the site or app without a paid sign up, you will still be able to use a basic profile search and send likes (by selecting the heart shaped icons beneath a profile). If you select ‘message’ without being a paid subscriber, you will receive an additional alert about membership and your message will remain unsent without signup.

Important to note, set a distance range for your searches. The range will start out auto selected a greater distance than you’ll probably want. Adjust your search distance to one you’re comfortable with (consider if you want matches to live close by or be less geographically available).

Paid features

  • It’s interesting to note that when offered a 1 month membership option for the Basic Plan, the app shows 1 month @ $42.99 monthly, while the website version shows 1 month@ $44.99 per month. Though only a savings of $2.00, it is still recommended you compare whether the app or website offers you more savings for an identical service.

    Bundle Plan:

  • This is Match’s upgraded plan with more features than the Basic Plan.

  • The benefits include: Contact other singles, priority access to in person Match events, connect faster with IM, send and receive email messages, respond to email messages, read and reply on mobile, remove members from view, see who has viewed you, one click search, SingledOut matches, search for matches, your profile in search results, post photos, send winks, general mobile access (the last 6 options are also for users who haven’t signed up).

    • 12 months: $21.99 per month (with standard price listed as $29.32)
    • 6 months: $24.99 (with standard price listed as $33.32)
    • 3 months: $28.99 (with standard price listed as $38.65)

    Basic Plan:

  • The “Basic Plan” includes all of the same features as the Bundle Plan, minus email read first notification, first impressions, and highlighted profile.

    • 12 months: $20.99 per month (with standard price listed as $27.99)
    • 6 months: $22.99 per month (with standard price listed as $30.65)
    • 3 months: $24.99 per month (with standard price listed as $33.32 monthly)
  • It is worth noting that the site sometimes offers Groupon packages and/or promotional savings, or gears discounts to individual users. The savings offered may be less or more when you decide to access the site.


  • Boost lets you be seen, by showing you on the site more and showcasing you as one of their popular singles. The more views, the more likes, messages and connections you will receive. The moment you pay, Boost begins, so it’s worth activating it when you have time to reply to or interact with users.

    • 10 pack: $2.49 each
    • 5 pack: $3.99 each
    • 1 for $4.99 each

    What are the benefits of membership:

  • If you become a member, the Bundle Plan is only dollars more than the Basic Plan, so go with that option. Boost is worth trying if you want to maximize time on the site and can afford the extra funds.


Due to Match’s longevity, complaints abound. The site’s cost of membership and policy of recurring billing is the most disliked, along with phishing scams, catfish, etc. Many users are frustrated they didn’t meet someone as hoped or felt that quite a few users had fake profiles.

Though Match has customer service, both the Chat Now and live phone support are complained about- with customers feeling unsatisfied with the answers or help they got and/or stating they did not receive resolution of their concern(s). That said, most dating sites have the same complaints but have no phone line or live support, which can worsen frustration considerably.

Final Thoughts

Match’s pricing is established to encourage users to sign up for the site for a longer period, as the longer you subscribe for… the cheaper the per month total. On top of that, many users forget to cancel their membership, which benefits the site’s financial success. The best advice is to browse your matches and the quality of the site before you pay to subscribe.

Do you like the matches you see? Is there anyone you’d actually want to contact? Perhaps you have sent a ‘like’ and receive interest in return and want to know who has viewed your profile. With dating, taking a chance can pay off. The best part is that you might fall in love!

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