As I’m currently visiting Germany over the winter break, I couldn’t help but notice the advertising for an online dating website here. They spend a lot of money to get this stuff into peoples heads here. I’ve seen some of that stuff advertised in the US (such as match.com and TRUE) so for the hell of it I went and checked out the website. First thing I noticed is that they require you to create an account to see peoples pictures or browse more than a couple of pages in the search results. That, of course, leads to many many stale profiles from people that just want to window-shop and are not really interested in giving it a serious try. To interested parties (i.e. people that pay) this of course might look like there are so many members on the website that it might be worth paying for.
It just helps add to my impression after reading about Bad Experiences with canceling accounts, which gives a not-so-honorable mention to certain US based dating websites. Apparently you can’t just cancel your membership using the website, but have to take a phone-exit interview. Otherwise, your profile will be kept and your credit card will be continue to be charged. It seems that dating websites are forced to keep people active as long as possible (or at least keep up the illusion). The reason for this might be less mean-spirited than one would at first assume. For example, just to have a couple of thousand people in each major city of the US a dating website would have to have roughly 100.000 active members. That is tough to accomplish, esp. given that without the illusion of activity nobody else would join.
With all that said, a friend of mine found his girlfriend through the Denver Personals on Craigslist. It can work.