FriendFinder Review: Online Dating
|Visit FriendFinder Website|
|Customizable experience, overwhelming & frustrating interface, best for people with flexible relationship goals and a lot of time on their hands|
He Said/She Said Ratings
We took two volunteers, a man and a woman, and had them sign up for each online dating site, fill out a profile, look at their matches, and then give us their impressions. Here's what they thought:
"... it was fun, sort of like LavaLife, but I question the matchmaking. For instance, I'm an atheist, and the top matches it found for me were Catholics. Having said that, I did enjoy going through and looking at the matches, many of whom where hot, but in a way that didn't seem exactly real, like they were on the game. A lot of bikinis and tube tops. And many of them were well outside my city.
In short, it's not the place where I think I would find a long term relationship, but it is kind of a fun place to hang out. Again, it was more like LavaLife in that way."
"... I had a great time filling out the profile information! I took the Myers-Briggs quiz (ESFJ), talked about my dreams and goals, and promoted my favorite TV shows. I also had a blast with the bling editor, although I didn't really have any reason to use my creation.
The men on the site run the gamut: seeking friends of both sexes, looking to have an affair, begging for a wife. They come from all over the globe. Most have one thing in common, though: desperation. Many haven't put up photos of themselves, but even if they have, the site won't let you see a version larger than a thumbnail.
I was disappointed by the site's interface. I found it ugly, confusing, and hard to find specific features. I found new features every day, and I'm confident I haven't discovered everything FriendFinder has to offer. I had information overload; even if someone seemed to be a good match for me, the site analyzed it to such a degree that it became a turn-off. If you know what you want—in your online dating experience or in a relationship—this is not the place for you."
You might have seen certain types of FriendFinder advertised all over the web, but this one is rather innocent by comparison. Since 1996, FriendFinder, which also runs such sites as AdultFriendFinder and ALT.com, has been helping people around the globe find friends—and much more.
It's free to get started on FriendFinder. But it's overwhelming and difficult to find the features that are really useful. The cluttered, '90s-era interface has so many options! You can add friends to your network, add other users to HotLists, join Groups (discussion forums), join a chat room (largely abandoned), set up a blog, instant message other users, shoot videos, record voice messages, read articles, and more.
Once you get a handle on the things you can do in FriendFinder, it has the potential to be fun. You can fine-tune your profile, answering myriad questions from giving more information about your ethnicity and choosing from a drop-down menu for your ideal date to checking boxes describing your hairstyle and taking the Myers-Briggs personality test.
Matching & Searching
After you set up your profile, you can browse other users by who's online, location, VIPs (more on that later), newbies, your new matches, popular members, your Myers-Briggs score, or your Cupid preferences. Cupid is the name of FriendFinder's search filters for the kind of partner you're seeking: age, sex, education, substances, kids, etc. When viewing members, FriendFinder shows your compatibility with each member on a five-star ranking, a score out of 100, a preference table, and astrological signs.
When you find someone of interest, you can view most of his or her profile, but you can only see more photos if you upgrade. Send an email (to which you can attach photos), a voice message, or an instant message, and proceed however you like from there.
You can generate "points" with FriendFinder by buying them or engaging in certain activities, such as adding an article (30 points) and getting your real-life friends to sign up for FriendFinder (2,000 points). Redeem these points for bling (customizable image that you can give to other users), virtual flowers, or "featured member" status. You can also write testimonials about other users, although it's not polite to kiss and tell.
FriendFinder has several different levels of users. Silver and Gold memberships allow you to see more and more, respectively, of FriendFinder's members, blogs, articles, phone support, groups, videos, and photos. You also get more visibility and promotion. VIP membership, on the other hand, can only be purchased once you are a Gold member and simply maximizes your visibility, putting your photos and videos in a special section called "Meet the VIPs." You can also purchase a separate profile enhancement that highlights your profile in search listings and emails for improved visibility (3 months at $8.95/month or 1 month at $9.95/month).
This site is best for people who are flexible with their relationship goals. It's also great for someone with a lot of free time to learn the site's navigation, comment on articles, customize your profile, add even more pages to your profile page, and send messages of varying types. It's like a cluttered, overwhelming Facebook for daters.
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FriendFinder Forum Posts
- Is FriendFinder Safe?
Thank you for your question, obviously there are always risks when meeting strangers online but with the right precautions and use of common sense,...
- Is FriendFinder Safe?
I am wary about these sites. How safe is yours?
- FriendFinder Review
Here is NextAdvisor's review of FriendFinder: http://www.nextadvisor.com/online_dating/friendfinder_review.php