In this review I’ll be examining one of the largest players on the UK dating scene, the site is called: DatingDirect.com.
What many people don’t realize about DatingDirect.com, is that the site is actually an almost perfect clone of match.com. In fact, if you have already read my match.com review – then there’s no need for you to read any further because it’s practically identical.
The only differences between the two are the interface colours and mobile support. And that’s because both dating companies (match.com and DatingDirect.com) belong to the same parent company called Meetic. And last year both sites were upgraded and now share the same site features and functionality. Members of both sites are also shared together on one single database.
So if you have joined match.com, your profile will also be visible on DatingDirect.com, and vice versa.
If you are now wondering which site you should join, then skip to my conclusion and I’ll tell you.
In 1999 UK entrepreneur Darren Richards realised his dream by launching one of the UK’s first dating sites – DatingDirect.com. Within three months it had more than 40,000 members, and by 2003 it had over 800,000 members in the UK. And this was still at a time when online dating was talked about in hushed tones.
In 2012 match.com and DatingDirect.com merged and now share the same features and membership database of over 4 million members in the UK.
Members are aged from 18 years to 65 years old. Although members aged 65 and above are not uncommon today. The large majority of members are looking for a relationship for the long-term, this is not really a one-night-stand dating site.
Their TV Ad
Creating Your Profile
The first time that you visit the website you’ll find a very simple sign-up form to fill out. Just like the one below (unless it has been changed since I wrote this review).
It will only take you about 90 seconds to complete, after which you are presented with a few questions that have been designed to find out a little more about who you are, and the person that you are looking for. You are also asked to write a little “about me” piece, and upload your photo.
Once you have completed these steps, you are taken to their payment screen. At first it looks like if you want to use the site, then you have no option but to pay, but this is deceptive. As you can actually click a link at the top of the page that says “I’ll upgrade later, take me back to the main site”.
You can then perform a full search, view members photos, and their descriptions before upgrading to a full membership.
I always recommend not paying immediately, since it’s a good idea to first perform a local search of your area, to see if there is anyone you would like to contact. It makes little sense to pay, then to discover that there are no members in your area of interest to you.
Features You’ll Find
The first time that you logon you are presented with a very clear, uncluttered and intuitive interface. And there are some rather nice features to help make your partner search fun and enjoyable.
One handy feature goes by the name of “The Daily 6”. Each day their matching algorithm selects 6 different members that it thinks you will like. You are then asked the simple question: “would you like to meet them?” and can respond with either: yes, no, or maybe. If you do say yes, then that person is informed that you are interested in them, but it’s still left up to you to make the move.
Another fun feature is called the “The Quiz”. This allows you to ask potential dates between 5 and 20 questions. Some of these include: Is the end of the first date too soon to start holding hands? Do you exercise more than you’d like, simply because you want to stay in shape? Could you imagine not having children? You can also write your own questions, but these will need to be approved, so keep them clean.
Searching on the site is very straightforward. Like on many dating sites and websites in general, you’ll find a basic search option and an advanced option. With the basic search all you need to do is enter your age, postal code and distance, and off you go. You may even find that these details are already entered for you. You will definitely end up with thousands of results, so it can be a good idea to make use of the advanced option to narrow down the numbers, perhaps you would prefer your partner to have brown eyes, short hair and be a non-smoker.
The mobile support options are surprisingly not as good as you’ll find on match.com. There are no mobile apps for Android or the iPhone. Instead your only option is to use your mobile web browser to access their mobile optimized site. This does appear to work well, but it’s nowhere near as fast and functional as the mobile apps you’ll find on match.com.
If you would prefer not to be harassed by members much older than yourself, much younger, smokers, or members a foot too short, then you can set your criteria in the contact filter and they will be unable to contact you.
The Traffic Test
With the match.com members database, this is now the largest dating site in the UK. No matter where you live, it’s very likely that there will be members living nearby, your next door neighbour may even be a member.
One of my local towns is Worcester, which has a population of around 98,700. If I do a search for females between 25 and 33 years old, well over 500 results are returned. And many have been active within the last week.
I recommend that you carry out your own traffic test before subscribing. But unless you live on the top of a remote mountain in the highlands, I don’t think you will have anything to worry about.
Also, do just check that when you search, the “online” box is not ticked. Since this seems to be enabled by default and will limit the results returned. You should find this option under the filters drop down box.
The Scam Test
Although filters do help to protect daters from scammers and fakers, some dating companies are themselves crooks and send out automated messages to trick you into subscribing.
Therefore I always like to leave my profile blank, and not upload a photo for at least a week after joining any dating site. If during this time you still receive messages or chat requests, then these are without a doubt from scammers either working for the dating company or from some far land. Would you ever contact someone with an empty profile and no photo? Very unlikely, but scammers will.
DatingDirect.com past this test, it is a dating site that plays by the rules and you can trust. However, the same can’t be said for many other dating sites. So if you do decide to join another site, I recommend that you make this test too.
You can register for free, search existing members and also send winks. But to message other site members, and read messages received, you will need to purchase a full subscription. The 2018 membership prices for DatingDirect.com are as follows:
£12.99 per month with a 6 month membership (56% Saving)
£19.99 per month with a 3 month membership (33% Saving)
£29.99 per month with a 1 month membership
If you want to pay £10 more per month, then there is an option that allows non-paying members to contact you for free. But I don’t think you should pay it, since if they are unwilling to pay themselves, they are unlikely to be very serious about finding someone. And it’s money that you could put towards coffee and cake for your first date.
Do note that DatingDirect.com make use of automatic renewals. So when your membership is about to expire, they will re-bill you automatically. This trips a lot of people up, so I recommend that you cancel this sooner rather than later. But don’t worry, you will still have full site access until your membership expires; and you can always renew manually later on.
Good and Bad Points
Without a doubt, the largest dating site in the United Kingdom
The majority of members are looking for long-term commitment
Combined with match.com’s members database
Simple and easy to use
Automatic membership renewals
The high price of one month’s membership
No mobile apps
Are you tired of being a singleton and watching all your friends get married? Or sharing your bed with the dog? If you are, then DatingDirect.com may very well be the ideal solution.
It’s certainly a very large and active dating site, if you can’t find someone here, then you will probably struggle anywhere to find someone.
I am however not overly impressed by the automatic membership renewals, but this is unfortunately something that all dating sites do. Just like mobile phone companies, if you forget to cancel, they will re-bill you.
But despite my praises for the site, I really can’t recommend that you join. In fact, I don’t recommend that you join.
Because it’s basically identical to match.com in every way. The functionality, the members, the cost, are all the same; if you perform a search on match.com, you will see exactly the same faces/members/results returned in the same search on DatingDirect.com.
However, where it’s not identical is in the mobile support offered. You will not find the mobile apps for the iPhone, Android, Windows Phone or Nokia here, but you will find them on match.com and they won’t cost you an extra penny.
So if you were thinking to join, why not join www.match.com instead. You will get all the greatness of DatingDirect.com, plus the excellent mobile support that comes with match.com.
But it’s your choice. If for some crazy reason you would still like to join, then here’s the link: www.DatingDirect.com. Perhaps you don’t yet have a mobile phone?