The Online Love Search: cash, credit or no love?

On: May 7, 2011
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About ibtisam omer
Hi and hello I am twenty three years old and for the past four years I have studied sociology and media studies in three different places: Stockholm, UK and Hong Kong. I graduated at the University of Essex in July and after that spent a few weeks interning at Global Grind in NY. Now I am here at the UvA and Im just about exploring the fundamentals of my degree, so far so nice. Other than this I was born and raised in Stockholm Sweden , to Eritrean parents. Stockholm being an immensly integrated city, I grew up enjoying a diverse cultral atmosphere. I travel a lot , I eat even more and I love social netwoking platforms; its beauty lays in the opportunity it gives people to exploit a public space introducing individual self projections. ibtisam

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“Register now and  find the man of your heart’s desire within less than half an hour” or  “  Everyone deserves a loving other half, take our personality test and find your match ”  or  “ Looking for the right partner in all the wrong places?  Search no further, join today and discover your potential life partner might just be living right around the corner”.

Recognise this?  I am sure you do, for you have seen something similar with every online dating site advertised (these examples are made up, and to my own knowledge don’t exist). What is being advertised here is a suggestively easy, affordable and efficient alternative to access something considered complicated and perhaps even unachievable, the ability of finding a perfect match.

Easy, because one physically doesn’t have to put in very much effort, it then also becomes efficient as you become matched to multiple individuals, thus offering a wider selection. When considering the common approach of searching for a lover within social circuits and areas (bars, gyms, supermarkets..generally most places where humans tend to come together) it can be argued as affordable. Imagine no longer having to spend money on buying countless drinks for “that rather decent looking female” sitting by the bar, or even worse her entire herd of female friends in an attempt to preserve her attention. No longer suffering awkward social situations, in which excessive perspiring becomes inevitable (sweaty palms and armpits), or rejection in itself.  Save yourself the unnecessary struggles of confidence and self presentation, and of course the depletion of your bank account, simply go online and register for FREE. Surely this would be more affordable?  and so it is but  still ,what it commonly tends not to be is for free.

When such services are advertised as free of charge they are not lying, for it is certainly free to register and sometimes it is even free to take their personality tests and set up a profile.  The fee appears when one attempts to access the information of other members, including individuals who have been suggested as potential matches. Simple, you begin the process of dating online,  thinking its free of charge and shouldn’t take too long, eventually you discover someone shares an interest in you and you decide to explore..PAUS! The exploration can only proceed once you have selected a specific contract and paid the fee. This is what I personally encountered not too long ago when I first completed my eDarling.se profile and discovered “there where potentials waiting to be contacted”.  The special offer available at this time was a six month contract for 99 sek per month, which was to be debited in a lump sum of 594 sek. This package included all access to other members profile information, pictures and the ability to both write and receive messages.

All of which are a necessity if any actual contact is to be made, so naturally one will agree to pay the fee. Having invested time and dedication setting up the profile, building up anticipation the unexpected fee almost seems minute. At this stage of the dating process you have presumably made up your mind whether you are looking to seriously proceed the with the matchmaking quest, or if you are to settle with having an inactive account.  Some would argue that this specific monetary aspect is what differentiates the less serious dating sites from the successful ones. In an interview I had with a representative of successful dating site PARSHIP.se, I learned that it is exactly that which raises the credibility of the site. The fees at Parship.se are relatively high with a minimum of three month membership costing approximately 299 sek per month (897sek full debit), they apparently also hold the highest fees for a dating site within Europe.

Although Parship.se has such high fees, the site is apparently for reasons such as this leading within European market,  this according to the Nordic marketing manager at PARSHIP Sebastian Malmberg (this from an interview done by the Swedish dating site directory, dejtingsverige.se). PARSHIP asserts that the more successful dating sites commonly tend to charge a relatively high membership fee. The idea here is that the more you invest the greater are your chances at meeting that “special someone”.  The prices for membership indirectly reflect some sort of a success rate for the dating sites.  The fee is partially there to reassure you as a member that the other visitors are serious, thus providing a type of safety net. The fees are strategically placed within the web page, for if it would be visible at an earlier stage of the registration process it might intimidate visitors. It is important that the users are given long enough time to explore the site, allowing them to view their completed profile gaining a sense of trust and curiosity. The perception of money providing value is equally prominent within the lucrative industry of online dating as for any other establishment. Although when the services you have been guaranteed fail to comply with your expectations..there is no refund.

One Response to “The Online Love Search: cash, credit or no love?”
  • May 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Intresting article! Thanks for linking back to our interview!

    Most people we have interviewed that are somewhat “experts” in online dating seem to agree that it is better to pay for a membership on a dating site than using a free one. Biggest argument seem to be that the more you are willing to pay, the more serious you are about finding a partner.

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