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Dating: Personals with Photos & Online Matchmaking Services

The Truth about Personal Ads and Matchmaking Services

Looking for love? There are many dating and personal introduction services on the net – we’ve chosen four to highlight here, all very different, all with something special to offer and all with their pitfalls. Three of them are dating/personal ad services – ie, you place a free ad and wait for replies. You can also browse other people’s ads for free, but you usually need to be a member to reply to them. The fourth is different – it’s a matchmaking service that also does reverse matches (ie, they have to want to meet you as well), and you only get to know details of the people who “match” with you.

Matchmaking Services

Matchmaking services are quite different from personals/dating services. You provide detailed information about yourself and the matchmaker not only matches you with someone compatible, but then reverse matches to ensure the fit is both ways. The argument is that there’s not much point finding someone you like if they’re not also looking for someone like you. Some services are internet only, others have local offices as well.


Your ad-writing skills aren’t an issue. Your details are initially seen only by the matchmaker and by the software system used. Matching is done on the basis of information provided, not on how well you can write an ad.

Weighted scoring. Some things you may be looking for (or not looking for) are more important to you than others. For example, if you specify a non-smoker, it probably wouldn’t matter how well someone suited you in other ways, if they smoke you wouldn’t be interested. Matchmakers can “weight” information to take this into account.

Reverse matching. One of the major differences between dating and matchmaking services is that the matchmaker matches both ways, ie the other person has to be interested in you as well. This can save a huge amount of time contacting people who simply aren’t mutually compatible.

No unsuitable replies. Really a follow-on from the previous point; because all the details you receive about other members have been previously screened for compatibility, you don’t have to wade through loads of replies from people in whom you have no interest.

Unusual matches. Because the system looks objectively at mutual compatibility, it can find someone perfect for you who you wouldn’t normally have considered.

Time. Once you’ve submitted your information, you just sit back and wait for details of your matches to be sent to you … you don’t have to spend ages online hunting through thousands of ads.


Cost. Matchmaking is a personalised service, not simply a collection of ads hosted on a server; consequently, costs are higher and are often quoted weekly rather than monthly. On the other hand, they’re all probably a lot cheaper than sitting in a singles’ bar waiting for the “right” one to walk through the door.

Time. Having submitted your information, you have to wait for the next “run” before receiving your matches. Depending on the service, this could mean a week, a month, or anything in between.

Fewer responses. You’re only going to know about people who are mutually compatible, so the number of responses, or matches, you get isn’t going to be particularly high although they will be very targetted.

Recommended Reading:

Mars and Venus on a Date : A Guide for Navigating the 5 Stages of Dating to Create a Loving and Lasting Relationship. John Gray takes you through the five stages of dating: Attraction, Ambivalence, Commitment (to monogamy), True Intimacy and Proposal/Marriage. Some of the views expressed are surprisingly old-fashioned but the book contains valuable insights into the differing ways men and women approach a new relationship and the meanings they assign to the often complex “rules” of dating. A fascinating book.

Full details are available by clicking on the title above or on our Book Reviews Page, which has a wide selection of books about dating and relationships.

Matchmaking Services – who do we recommend?

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