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Still others rely solely on paid membership subscriptions.
Opinions and usage of online dating services also differ widely.
A great diversity of online dating services currently exists.
Some have a broad membership base of diverse users looking for many different types of relationships.
Amy Giberson, now 34, was reluctant to try internet dating again but she decided to give it one more shot in 2014. There are a slew of sites and apps to help singles find love and, for the most part, they work, according to Consumer Reports.
She downloaded the Match app and connected with Justin Pounders, also 34, almost immediately. Nearly half, or 44 percent, of those who tried online dating said it led to a serious long-term relationship or marriage, the magazine found.
The 2016 Pew Research Center's survey reveals that the usage of online dating sites by American adults increased from 9% in 2013, to 12% in 2015.
Months after their first date, the couple discovered they had been classmates in preschool, and one year into their relationship Justin arranged to have the young students from their former school hold up signs that asked, "Will you marry me? How to boost the odds with a better profile: Use recent pictures (taken within the past year) and at least one good close-up headshot.
A 2005 study of data collected by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that individuals are more likely to use an online dating service if they use the Internet for a greater number of tasks, and less likely to use such a service if they are trusting of others.
It is possible that the mode of online dating resonates with some participants' conceptual orientation towards the process of finding a romantic partner.
SOURCE: Consumer Reports "It's clear that online dating websites play a major role in the lives of many consumers — we invest a tremendous amount of time, money and emotional energy.
It really is a consumer issue worthy of our attention." said Margot Gilman, money editor for Consumer Reports.Overall, respondents preferred free sites like Ok Cupid, Tinder and Grindr over paid sites like Match and e Harmony, in part because of the value.The now infamous infidelity dating site Ashley Madison, which was one of the most expensive, was also the lowest-scoring online dating service, with a score of 37."Unlike shopping for a bank or a refrigerator, in the case of online dating, the refrigerator has to like you back," Gilman said.