Debunk digital dating

Katy Coduto

With smartphones, laptops and tablets now an everyday fixture in the lives of 20-somethings, dating has gone to the Internet — for better or worse. We’ve picked out the best online platforms for you to dive into the World Wide Web of relationships. Want to take your romance on the road? There’s an app for that, and we’ve picked out a few of those, too. has been around for longer than a decade (it has existed in some form since 1995), and it now boasts nearly 35 million visitors every month. The site estimates that it has 15 million active users at any given time, and further states that it has helped 500,000 singles find “meaningful relationships” in the last year. With the company’s online success, makes it easy for those looking for serious relationships to find them. What makes different? The site doesn’t allow free instant messaging, and it uses what it calls MatchWords to help people connect based on a list of words they see as important.  

plenty of fish

Plenty of Fish started more recently, coming to life in 2007 as a backlash against “corporate” dating sites. Plenty of Fish gives most of its features for free, including instant messaging and compatibility testing. More high-end features do have to be paid for, such as the ability to see who has viewed your profile, but the most important features are free. Plus, Plenty of Fish has unusual forums for users to engage in. Members can visit forums to talk about a number of topics with each other, and many join the site just for the forums — and then end up meeting people as a result.

zoosk logo

Zoosk is typically well-regarded because of how easy it is to use. You can have a basic profile that doesn’t require a lot of information, and you can easily access chat features through the site. Zoosk will send you a daily “mutual match” that you can decide whether you’re interested in or not, mostly based on the picture of the person, and if you’re interested, that’s when you can consider paying for the service. Users pay for coins that allow them further access to other’s profiles and the ability to message mutual matches. Zoosk, like, is especially useful if you’re looking for a more serious match and are willing to pay for the matchmaking process.

tinder logo

Tinder is the ultimate college dating/hookup application. It takes minimal time to set up, as you just download it, and it imports information from your Facebook profile. It doesn’t post any of your activity to Facebook, either, so you know you’re safe in that regard (no one can see who you’re swiping for or against). Tinder conveniently tells you what interests you have in common with each person (based on mutual liked pages) and how many mutual friends you have (which helps you do a quick character judgment, let’s be real). You can even adjust your settings to specific age ranges and locations. Once you have a match (swipe right!), Tinder makes it so that you can chat safely in-app before exchanging more information. And, for better or worse, Tinder’s founders have already announced plans to update the app to help you make friends, not just dates.

ok cupid logo

OkCupid is commonly known for its web-based version at, but this application exceeds user expectations by having all of the functions of that website housed in the app. OkCupid is known for its “scientific” approach to matchmaking, by using a complex algorithm to match you with partners. The application allows for easy messaging with matches, as well as the ability to see who has rated you highly. Plus, just like the website, you have to pay for the “A-List” features, but the app makes it easy to upgrade without ever leaving the screen.

lulu logo

Lulu is designed to help girls find quality men by ranking them on a scale of one to 10, 10 being the highest. While this sounds incredibly subjective (and probably concerning) at first, the application is actually pretty balanced and lets guys contribute to the discussion. Lulu has girls log on to the app to rate guys in a number of ways, including hashtags for outstanding traits (#EpicSmile) and detrimental drawbacks (#NoGoals). The average score for the men of Lulu is a 7.5, with girls tending to be as honest as possible in their reviews, even if they’re the ex-girlfriends. However, it really is a great way to weed out the bad guys — #SketchyCallLog is my personal favorite hashtag and ultimate red flag.

Contact Katy Coduto at [email protected]