A hopeful message: of all the people in our test panel survey who have said goodbye to dating sites and apps, no less than 41 percent have found a relationship through online dating: ‘Married! Meet on Tinder’, let someone know and there are more. Still, people aren’t entirely enthusiastic. For example, more than a quarter stopped because there were too many fake profiles. And in the world of online dating, there is also a lot of transgressive behavior, often in the form of dick pictures.
More than 3,500 people with experience in the online dating market participated in our research. For a third, the dating site or app meets (or did) people’s expectations. Several people have reported being together for years with the person they met through a dating site or app, such as this Parship user: ‘I’ve been married to the woman I met on the site for 11 years.’ For 39 percent, the dating site or app only partially lives up to expectations, and for the other 29 not at all.
Don’t set your expectations too high
– Wise advice from a research participant
Many users complain about fake profiles. That fake accounts exist is evident from the high percentage who have ever come across a fake account: 70 percent. For the majority, it is not just conjecture; they say they know for sure. In most cases (59%), it is a fake account created by another user pretending to be someone else. It ranges from fairly innocent: ‘Grandchildren looking for someone for their grandmother who doesn’t have a computer’ to scams: ‘So-called soldiers from America who are somewhere in Syria/Afghanistan/Africa courting you and then asking for money’, mentions a user of the ‘networking site’ Badoo, who states that fortunately she did not fall for it herself.
Brad Pitt also stopped by regularly
– User of Tinder
There are also fake profiles of people who want something other than finding a partner. Usually to be able to ask for money. Fake profiles of women who want to lure you to a paid (porn) site,’ says a user of the dating service Knuz. Many people recognize fake profiles because they seem too good to be true: ‘Too perfect pictures. It made no sense. Brad Pitt also stopped by regularly. Even old photos from an episode of 90210,” says someone who uses the dating app Tinder.
Not convinced that the actual pick of the day has responded
– User of Ourtime
Manipulating apps and websites yourself
Most people suspect that fake accounts are used to extort money from people or at least to ensure that you remain a (paying) member. 36 percent have sometimes had the idea that the site or app itself manipulated the offer. For example, they were informed that they had a like or view, while it later turned out that the person had not done so themselves: ‘If you cancel, so-called weekly messages suddenly come from interested parties. Then you will join again’, says a NovaMora user. Another, on Facebook Dating: “I get a message that there is a match, but I see someone other than the attached photo.”
This kind of manipulation from the dating sites and apps may be related to another problem that people report: that the offer is scarce or irrelevant. ‘Always the same men, no more than 20 in Brabant’ says a user of Lexa. This may also be the reason why many people complain about the suggested people who do not match the search criteria you set yourself. For example, a user of Paiq writes: ‘The matching system also has unselected choices. For example, if I’m looking for someone who is a maximum of 5 years older, I can get someone who is 5 years younger or 10 years older.’ Also, not all websites adhere to the selection they say they use: ‘The dating site is only supposed to be for higher educated people, but this is not checked and there are a lot of lower educated people on it,’ writes one Parship user.
I asked for someone within 40km, no mustache or beard and it was not met
– User of Ourtime
Used as a lure profile
More people reporting decoys: “I found by accident that the same decoys were posted on other pages as ‘new to site,'” said a person with an account with Lexa. The reverse also happens to people, as someone says : “An acquaintance is always listed as a seeker. She has been married for years and has children. She nicely unsubscribes, but every time her profile comes back on with the same story. And one Badoo user says: ‘That friends said : ‘You were online all day’, even though you hadn’t been on the app that day.’
A disabled person can register. Unsubscribing is university work and not yet
– User of Lexa
Even people who aren’t being baited (not that they’re aware of, anyway) complain about the cancellation procedure. Three-quarters (76%) have canceled or attempted to cancel their account with the site or app. 55 percent find it easy, but for a quarter (24%) it was difficult to cancel the account. 2 percent indicate that it was not possible at all. Online dating providers for whom a large group find it difficult to impossible to cancel are Ourtime (with a dot at the top, 47%), Badoo (38%), Lexa (35%) and Parship (31%). Tinder can do something about it too, according to this user: ‘I’m reasonably educated but had to work hard to close it. I’m really excited to see how people with less digital knowledge will succeed.’
Now that so many cross-border messages are coming out in the news. Should they check dating apps. Could eventually make a whole book out of the dickpics I received unsolicited. (Often after just saying hello)
– User of Twoo, Badoo and Tinder
Many people also complain of inappropriate reactions, which often focus on sex. “Too many men are just looking for sex. So let them go to sex dating site instead of wasting my time,” says one Happn user. This person is not alone: ”I very often experience sexually transgressive behavior with tinted text, and cock pics are regularly sent, this applies not only to Badoo, but also to Twoo, Tagged and Youlove (Bloom) plus I am often contacted by young men or by men who are tied.’
I also got a dick picture after a short contact. Then I was done
– User of 50plusmatch
48 percent sometimes worry about the protection of personal data on the dating site or app: “I’m gay and I don’t want this to be known,” says one Pepper user, for example. In fact, for 15 percent of respondents who have no experience with online dating, privacy is one of the reasons for not trying it.
‘It took a lot of effort to stop it, I’m really curious if my data was really removed from the app. Of course, I can’t control that,” says one Tinder user. “After logging out, my profile pictures remained on the page,” said one Badoo user. Data isn’t always deleted either, as evidenced by this experience of a Paiq user : ‘After I deleted my profile and logged back in some time later under a different name, they said they still had my data. If I wanted to restore my old profile. This was also the case with 50plus who said it would keep the data for a year.’
Many indicate that they themselves are very careful about what they do and don’t share: ‘I protect my data by not using my own name and email address, which cannot be traced,’ someone writes.
Men pay more than women
The largest group (47%) has no costs for online dating. Those who pay spend up to 10 euros per month in half of the cases, in the other half of the cases it is a maximum of 30 euros. Only a small group pays more than 30 euros per month. Only in the group that spends a maximum of 10 euros per month does a majority think it is worth this amount. The largest group of people who spend more say they don’t really think the benefit is worth the amount.
First, create a free account and request money with a match
– User of Badoo
There is a difference in expenditure between men and women; women use free online dating sites and apps more often (53%) than men (40%). In addition, men spend more money on average. 43 percent of women spend a maximum of 30 euros per month, while men spend 10 percent more: 53 percent. The percentage of men who spend more than 30 euros per month is double (8%) than the percentage of women (4%). Those who indicated their gender as ‘other’ most often use the dating services for free: 77 percent of this group indicate that they do not pay.
- Lexa (36%)
- Tinder (25%)
- The Relationship Plane (24%, no longer exists)
- 50plus match (19%)
- Badoo (18%)
- Parship (16%)
- e-Matching (15%)
On most sites and apps, the ratio of men to women for our respondents is about the same. Grindr and Second Love have more men (which makes sense in Grindr’s case since this app is aimed at men). Relatively more women are involved in e-Matching and Paiq.
Only 8 percent of the survey participants are not open to meeting a match. Another 13 percent have never said yes, but are open to it. A large majority (79%) have met a match in person (or more often).
Manipulation of dating site Ourtime
Also watch the Radar broadcast where Fons is aware of manipulation from the dating site Ourtime (from Lexa). What happens if we create a profile ourselves?
Tips for online daters
Finally: Do you have an account with a dating site or app, or do you want to create one? Radar has not only investigated what can go wrong with it, but also how to make it as good as possible. Read the scientifically supported tips for a greater chance of a great match.
The online dating questionnaire was completed between 10 and 14 February 2022 by 11,481 people. The majority of participants in the survey are members of the Radar Test Panel. They receive an invitation approximately twice a month to participate in our surveys. Do you want it too? Register for free.