- Best for: Flirting and casual dating
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- Users: 36 Millions
- Best for: Finding real connections
- Free membership: Free registration, limited
- Users: +2million
- 766.000 Registered Members
- Anonymous, reliable and secure
- Good balance 53% Women : 47% Men
- Best for: Singles looking for "no strings attached" fun
- Free membership: Free registration, limited
- Users: 54 million
Looking for different dating sites?
Believe it or not, online dating sites have been around since 1995. However, with the advent of smartphones, things took a more technological twist and the first apps were launched in 2007. Since then, they’ve come in every shape or form, catering for every conceivable demographic.
The mobile app market has revolutionised the way we date in the 21st Century, offering everything from social dating or hookup apps, to traditional ones.
However, if you’re new to the game, trying to work out which are the best dating and hookup apps providers have to offer can be a bit daunting. To try and give you a good grounding, we’ve put together our beginner’s guide.
Table of Contents
How to use dating platforms?
Perhaps the biggest mistake people make when working out which platform to use is to just dive in and look for the most popular. A better approach is to ask yourself what you want from your online dating experience.
For more advice check our tips and guides for dating apps!
Why would you use it?
Those looking for long-term relationships will find plenty of traditional platforms available for smartphones, where you can get chatting and flirting in next to no time. However, not everyone is interested in commitment and there are other options available to them.
If you’re interested in sharing emotional connections and physical intimacy with your partners, but without the parameters of a conventional relationship, then you might want to consider casual dating application.
Apps of this sort are for those who want more than a one-night-stand, but less than a full-blown commitment. Casual daters can include people who are too busy to commit, married people looking for some extra-marital involvement, and people who have just come out of a long-term relationship and are not ready to commit to another partnership straight away.
However, if you’re not at all interested in emotional engagement and are solely interested in the sexual side of things, then hookup apps might be better for you. With hookup platforms, South African users are all online for the same reason, so there’s no need to be coy about what you’re after.
It’s worth saying that these ones aren’t for everyone. They are popular with married people who aren’t getting what they need in the bedroom, people who just want to ‘play the field’, and even couples who want to experiment sexually.
Deciding what you want from your online experience can prevent you from making mistakes, early on, and from wasting your own time, as well as that of other users.
The mechanics of using a dating app
At their most basic, dating mobile phone application services are easy to use. The first step is to download the one you think suits you best. Most are available for smartphones from the Apple Store and Google Play.
Typically, most platforms of this sort will require you to supply an email address and a username. If discretion is important to you, then you might want to consider setting up a separate email account for your registration.
In addition, most of them offer free registration, which will give you immediate access to the free services they offer. However, these are often just a ‘taster’ of what the app can offer, and you might find that certain services are only available to users who have taken out a subscription.
You might find that some will require you to fill in an online questionnaire. This often takes the form of a personality test and your input will have a significant impact on the type of person you’re matched with. Generally, these are free and can take anywhere between ten minutes and half an hour to complete.
Most applications suggest that you complete your profile by uploading a photograph or two. Some sites offer this as a free part of the service, while others will only offer it to those who have subscribed.
Subscription packages can usually be found within the app itself and require you to enter your payment details and to choose a subscription period. Be aware that some of them will automatically renew your subscription just before it expires unless you cancel it.
Tips for getting your times worth
Whether you’re using social networks, classic dating or hookup services, there are a few things you can do to maximise your experience and let other users know you exist.
- Don’t be afraid to upload photos. Whether you’re after something meaningful or overnight, a sizeable chunk of attraction is based on first impressions and how you look. Choose pictures that reflect who you are, as opposed to who you think people want you to be.
- Fill in your profile. While a picture might speak a thousand words, a good profile will do nothing but support it. Let people know as much about you as you’re comfortable with but retain a little mystery.
- Respect other users. While hookup networks are for one thing only, don’t send unsolicited or offensive content or pictures; wait until you’re asked. The tendency for men to send inappropriate pictures has resulted in many female users only using apps that restrict this.
- Engage with other users. In-app forums and chatrooms are a great place for users to start chatting and flirting on their smartphones. Many applications offer these services for free, so they can be a great way of testing the waters before you commit to a subscription. Some offer conversation starters to get things going.
- Be honest. There’s no point in lying about the way you look or what your interests are in your online dating application. If there’s any chance that you’re going to meet your partners, any falsehoods are going to severely diminish your chances of a second date.
- Get help. Ask a friend of the sex that you’re trying to attract to give your profile a once-over. Listen to their feedback and criticisms. While they’re at it, ask them if they can spot any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors that might put another user off making contact.
- Curate your profile. Once your profile is up and running, don’t let it stagnate. Post updates when you can, change your profile pictures and keep an eye on your message inbox. A profile that’s been left to grow stale will soon become part of the furniture for users, so you might as well try and keep it fresh.
Why do they work?
With improved security measures and a crack-down on fake profiles, using an online application has never been safer. However, most people have heard anecdotal horror stories as to why they shouldn’t use dating apps.
To put the record straight, we’ve put together the ten top reasons why they can be a superb alternative to a traditional date.
- You can cast your net as wide as you like. With the best dating apps offering international reach and an estimated 600million users on their smartphones, you could find yourself connecting with that special person – even if they’re on the other side of the world.
- You get to interact with people you might otherwise never meet. Users of social dating applications come from all walks of life, with interests and backgrounds that might otherwise never appear on your social radar.
- You’re not face to face. Although that’s the ultimate aim, remaining almost anonymous gives you the freedom to express yourself in ways that you might otherwise find challenging. From the safety of your keyboard, you can probe potential partners and find out if they really are for you.
- Meeting like-minded people. If you’re using hookup networks to find casual dates or one-night stands, you know that everyone else on the app is looking for the same. With no awkward conversations to worry about, you can get straight to the heart of the matter.
- Taking your time. Rather than having to present your best side over the course of an hour in a noisy bar, you can stretch out conversations as long as you need to. Unlike face-to-face encounters, online chatting doesn’t require an immediate response.
- Learning about your partners. When it comes to regular dating sites, most members use social networking sites. You can do a little homework and learn a bit more about them and see just how they interact with friends and family.
- Taking the pressure off. Taking the time to get to know someone before you meet them ensures that your date will go that much more smoothly. You can pick up old threads of conversation and you’ll already know more about their likes and dislikes.
- That special person might be out there. While online dating application might not be as conventional as meeting in a restaurant, there’s always the possibility that the person you’re flirting with could be The One.
- Privacy. There are few other places where you can enjoy a truly private conversation. Chatting online doesn’t have to be a public event.
- Dating on the go. Mobile apps give you the facility to meet new people, wherever you happen to be. This is ideal for those who travel frequently for work and feel they don’t want to waste time trying to catch someone’s eye in a pub or club.
Hookup networks and their more-traditional counterparts serve a variety of people, from those who don’t have the time to get and about, to those who feel they want a something beyond the confines of their marriage. They offer a broad spectrum of users and an even broader range of opportunities.
What are the best dating apps?
Deciding which are the best ones for you depends entirely on your needs. What works for one may not work for another. However, there are a few basics that separate the wheat from the chaff, whether you’re looking for social dating apps or the best hookup application South African providers can offer.
If you’re looking for a lasting relationship, it might be better to find an app that focuses on quality rather than quantity. Some mobile phone application employ a lengthy online dating application process to ensure that you are matched with someone whose personality and interests are as close to yours as possible.
In many cases, this might mean answering a seemingly endless list of questions but, once your answers have been fed into the app’s matchmaking algorithm, you can be sure of some good results.
However, if you’re looking for an online service that offers fleeting encounters or one-night stands, then the reverse may be true. For casual dating and hookup sites, sheer volume is often more important than whether you both share an interest in chess or pressing wildflowers.
In addition to the standard hookup and dating application, there are also ‘niche’ matchmaking sites. These are often for people with specific interests or needs, such as coming from a particular faith, working in a specific industry or even owning a certain breed of pet.
User-friendliness can also be a deciding factor when it comes to deciding which are the best networks. Hookup applications tend to be driven by photographs, rather than profile content, while apps for singles looking for lasting relationships tend to throw the spotlight on personality, rather than looks.
However, what’s also true is that some of the best application strive to create a sense of community, in addition to acting as an online dating service. Forums, chatrooms and noticeboards are a popular way of getting users chatting and flirting. Some users even arrange their own ‘real-life’ meetups and parties.
Ultimately, deciding which is the best app for you might mean trying a few out as a free user, before you decide to commit to a paid subscription. Testing in this way is a great way to see what type of user it attracts and whether it has that comfortable ‘feel’ that makes it easy to use.
How many people are using dating apps?
The short answer is more than you think. It’s estimated that there are around 600million singles, worldwide. Of these, around 50% are thought to use dating services at least once a month. Given that there are around 8,000 networks on the internet, that means there are always plenty of users.
However, the 600 million figure doesn’t take into account the numbers of users who are already in long-term relationships or are married. Figures suggest that over 60% of those using hookup apps are used by people who already have a significant other.
In terms of male-to-female ratios, men outweigh women. Around 62% of those who use these networks are male, with the remaining 38% being women.
However, what might give romantics some heart is that according to statistics by businessinsider.com, of those who do use dating sites around 80% are looking for a meaningful relationship.
It also seems that couples who meet through mobile application are likely to get married quicker than those who meet in more traditional circumstances.
Michael Rosenfield, a researcher at Stanmore University, attributes this to users being able to set criteria for potential matches, as part of the online application process. In addition, it seems that most of these couples used profile-centric applications, rather than those that were photo-focused.