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Kominers thinks online daters could be well served by a service that isn’t quite free but doesn’t involve a subscription fee either.

Inspired by Jiayuan.com, the largest online dating site in China, he thinks dating sites would have happier customers overall if they did away with their current pricing models and charged users per message sent.

“It’s a product of the growing normalcy of using social media apps,” says Moira Weigel, author of “Labor of Love: The Invention of Online Dating” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016).

On a site like Ok Cupid anyone can send you a message, whereas on the free app Bumble or on Tinder or e Harmony, only people you are matched with can get in touch.

“It's a myth that some sites are better for relationships while others are more for hookups,” says Manfredi.

“There are people of different intentions on every platform; it’s more important what your intention is.” Perhaps the key factor that determines whether you’ll like a site is not the price to join but the kind of people you find on it and how they behave and communicate.

They are gatekeepers to a massive population of potential partners; they control who we meet and how. So Consumer Reports decided to survey almost 115,000 subscribers about online dating and their experiences with it.

Collectively, we spend huge sums of money on matchmaking, not to mention all the time and substantial emotional investment. Given that we usually rate products (like refrigerators) and services (like banking), this is new and fairly unusual territory for us.

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