We took a look at some of the most popular dating apps to see how they may have innovated ways to inspire more digital connections.
1. The League
Gaining popularity for its “pre-vetted” and “small batch” matches, The League is an invite-only app with an application process required for admission. Even after you “apply” by adding your LinkedIn and building a full profile, you then are put on a waiting list before you can use the app.
For some folks, we’ve heard that it only took them a week to get approved. For others, it’s been 6 months and they’re still waiting. We’re not too sure what grants one person rapid access vs. another, but once you’re in, it’s pretty neat.
The League has also released their “Speed Virtual Dating” feature which allows you to go on 3 virtual dates in 9 minutes. The speed dating event begins at a set time each day. You can add yourself to the list and you will be queued up with potential suitors.
It might feel brief, but 3 minutes is enough time to build a quick initial connection with someone, without the feeling of being stuck if there isn’t one. You can also choose to extend the date if you’re both feeling it!
On top of speed virtual dating, they’ve also added the ability to video call within the app (so no having to give out your phone number), as well as adding a 10 second video to your profile to ensure the person looks like their profile photos. The League will even provide you with icebreaker questions for starting conversations as well!
In all, we’re hoping some of the more established dating apps will continue to innovate ways to create a better “virtual dating” experience. After our experience, The League has done enough to rank #1 in our search.
With “over 2 million people finding love” on their site, it was good to see the OG of all dating sites attempt to lead the way in creating better solutions for people to connect virtually before they connect in person.
eharmony released its new “Video Date” feature in April of this year, while seeing a 27% increase in messages sent across the platform. The feature has its security features in place, allowing you to video chat within the app so you don’t have to give private information out or be sent to another application.
We read an interesting quote from eharmony’s Head of PR: “I remain hopeful that despite the turmoil, there will be positive side effects from the current crisis—that we can rediscover our flair for conversation and getting to know someone over time. I expect people will self-reflect more and consider what they really want for themselves.” We certainly agree!
When there is a focus on connection, we’re willing to use different ways of creating that connection—even if they weren’t ways we’d considered before. eHarmony is hoping their feature can inspire more openness to creating connections.
With over 35 million members, and its behavioral matching technology that learns as you give it feedback, Zoosk is one of the more popular dating sites for serious singles looking for a relationship!
What makes Zoosk stand out from the rest is its love of data, science, tools, and support. Some of the articles on their blog, The Date Mix, are focused on enabling daters with tools (in this case, a list of questions) to make connecting online easier. They’ve even listed 97 questions you can ask to get the conversation going online.
Looking deeper, The Date Mix also has fun ideas related to connecting virtually via FaceTime dates, starting a movie at the same time, and even QuarantineChat where you can chat with other people stuck at home. While these ideas aren’t seamlessly integrated into the app experience, the tips more than make up for times when meeting in person isn’t possible.
We love that BlackPeopleMeet allows you to upload full photo albums, videos, AND audio! Unfortunately, we were unable to locate any sort of “video enabled” connection options. You’re able to chat, “flirt” (which allows you to send “interest” to another single), and view as many profiles as you’d like. However, to engage with any potentials, you have to pay ~$17/month.
Something we found to be unique to BlackPeopleMeet is their explicit concern for your safety and security. They have an entire section where they outline best practices to keep you safe, while connecting on and off the platform.
With the average member age range from 30-55 years old, EliteSingles positions its dating experience with a focus on “highly educated, maturely aged, working professionals.”
EliteSingles uses a unique personality test to match you up with singles they think would make for a good fit, which is great. However, when we looked at what EliteSingles was doing to enable virtual connections, we didn’t find much of anything.
Given the membership price ($57.95/month for 3 months), we were hoping for more from this one.
Those are our top 5 picks if you’re looking for a top dating site that will help you find a relationship online. Here are 5 more sites and apps that didn’t quite make the cut, but are worth a mention:
The dating app giant is adding a video chat feature to make online dating easier, therefore giving you the chance to carry on your conversation long after the first message.
Match.com re-introduced its video chat feature, called Vibe Check, which allows users to talk to matches via video, without disclosing any personal contact information. It’s also set up virtual happy hours, where 20 to 30 people can join peers of the same age group and city to mingle in a group video.
Bumble was one of the first dating apps to have invested in voice features and video chat, making it a pro at offering tools for virtual relationships.
OkCupid has always been quirky yet accessible with a matchmaking system that’s fueled by fun, offbeat questions that may not be as far-fetched as they first appear. This makes it a great option for starting and maintaining a remote relationship.
One of the pioneers of online dating, Plenty of Fish hasn’t stopped growing and the site offers more options for free users than the competition, making it an ideal place to begin for anyone looking to try out a virtual relationship.
Dating Virtually Is a Reality
The dating scene might look a lot different than it did before we locked down in quarantine, but thanks to virtual dating, the present and future doesn’t seem so grim. Many would argue that you can’t beat the real thing, but considering the current situation, virtual dating is easier, cheaper and more reliable than dating IRL. If you think you’re ready to take the plunge then sign up to the dating app above that suits you best and find the virtual match of your dreams.