In this review I’ll be looking at Zoosk, one of the leading dating sites in America.
Are you looking for a social dating experience? As with its Facebook app, mobile support, and members in more than 70 countries, Zoosk has become one of the most popular dating sites in America.
However, it’s not a free dating site like they seem to make out to be, so why should you join over another site like eHarmony?
I will also tell you now, this is not a site that I recommend you join. Why? I’m afraid you’ll just have to read my review to find out.
Zoosk is a social network that helps members create and share their romantic journeys. First launched in late 2007, they have gone on to become one of the largest dating communities on the planet. And In 2010 they introduced compatibility matching, very similar to what eHarmony offers.
Although members on the site vary in age from 18 to 65 years old, the vast majority are between the ages of 18 and 30.
Not everyone here is looking for Mr or Mrs Right. Some are looking for casual relationships, some for friendship and some for one-night-stands. If you are looking for your soul mate, then eHarmony would definitely be the wiser choice for you.
Creating Your Profile
Signing up does not take long, just a few basic details are required before you can log on and start creating your profile.
You will also see an option to register using your Facebook account. Personally, I would not like to give them access to my Facebook history and contacts, therefore I chose the manual option and would recommend that you do the same. If you do select the Facebook option, you’ll find that some of your interests like music and television are automatically populated in your profile. This is a great time saver, but if you’re not happy with your Facebook interests – there is unfortunately no option to edit these within Zoosk.
To complete your profile, you just need to enter a few basic details like your height, body type, if you smoke, if you have children etc. You are also asked to write a little about yourself, describe your perfect match, ideal date and add your interests. And finally upload a photo or two of yourself.
Zoosk likes to make out that they are a free dating site. In all their adverts and on their site, they really emphasize the words “free dating”. But this is NOT a free dating site, yes you can register for free (just like on every paid dating site), but if you want to send and receive messages, you will have to pay I’m afraid. It’s a shame that they try to mislead people in this way, and is one of the reasons that I would never recommend this dating site to a friend.
Features You’ll Find
Zoosk’s Scientific Matchmaking Service (ZSMS) is their attempt at providing a compatibility matching system similar to eHarmony. Although a lot more basic, it still delivers reasonably well matched date recommendations. And all you have to do to enable it is simply answer yes or no to a handful of questions.
There’s a carousel option that is basically identical to the famous website: “Hot or Not”. Although the question here is instead “Do you want to meet them?” It’s good fun but you still really need to view their profile to determine if they are a match to you or not, as going on looks alone is a recipe for disaster.
Coins are a virtual currency used to purchase various extra features. You can purchase gifts, arrange for a special message delivery, and receive delivery confirmation for your email messages. You can also boost your profile in search.
You can search for potential dates using either their simple or advanced search options. With the simple search you only need to enter age and distance. The advanced search also gives you options like children, ethnicity, religion, education and smoking etc…
You’ll also find all of the typical dating site features like email messaging, instant messaging, favorite lists and block lists. The site is also mobile friendly with apps for both the iPhone and Android available. You can also connect via their mobile friendly website using your phones web browser.
All in all, you’ll find everything you will ever need to find and arrange a date on Zoosk.
The Traffic Test
This is a paid dating site, so it’s definitely a good idea to check how many members are signed-up in your local area before parting with your money.
I performed a search for my local town, and hundreds and hundreds of profiles were returned. In fact, more profiles were returned than on a more popular site like match.com. So I decided to be even more specific, and search my local area for female who are exactly 29 years old. And funnily, still hundreds of results are returned. I know what’s realistic and what’s not, and these results are most definitely not realistic.
Also what Zoosk will not tell you, is when the users were last online. And I expect that the majority of profiles have not logged in for a long time. I also suspect that a large number of these profiles are fake. I have no proof, but the number of users is far too high for such a small town as mine. Practically every resident would need to have a profile!
The Scam Test
Would you expect to receive a message, wink or flirt if you never filled out your profile or uploaded any profile photos? It’s hardly unlikely is it? Sometimes it’s hard enough to receive messages when you have completed your profile and uploaded your best photos.
I left my profile blank for 7 days. Within this time I still received over 5 flirts and 1 message. It’s very obvious to me that these messages and flirts have come from scammers on the site.
Clearly Zoosk is doing a very poor job at filtering out the scams. Even free dating sites like POF are doing a much better job. This is not what I would expect to find on a paid dating site.
Although marketed as a free dating site, it’s most definitely not. Yes you can view your matches for free, send a limited amount of flirts and also read one or two messages. But if you want to contact other members on the site, then the costs for Zoosk in 2013 are:
$14.98 per month for a 6 month membership
$19.95 per month for a 3 month membership
$29.95 per month for a 1 month membership
On top of these charges, there is also a $25 “activation fee”. But you are not informed about this until your payment has already been processed. It’s actually quite shocking that they do this, I don’t know of any other dating service using such an appalling scam on their members.
If someone flirts with you, or likes you, then you have to pay extra (with coins) to “unlock your mutual match” and this is despite already paying the above membership fees. They can also be used to purchase various features like gifts, arrange for a special delivery, receive a delivery confirmation for your email messages, and boost your profile. The current coin costs are:
$9.99 for 95 Coins
$19.95 for 250 Coins
$49.95 for 700 Coins
Please do note that Zoosk like many dating sites also makes use of Auto-Renewals. This means that unless you cancel your subscription before it expires, you will be automatically re-billed. Many people don’t realize this and up losing money. I always recommend cancelling the subscription on the same day that you take it out. You’ll still get full access to the service, but without any nasty re-bill surprise.
They are also very sneaky with Coin re-billing. If you buy 95 coins, when you’re remaining coin count drops to 10, you will automatically be re-billed for 95 more. You can however disable this feature when you buy the coins, so please don’t forget.
Good and Bad Points
Intuitive and easy to use
iPhone and Android Apps
Very deceptive membership prices and coin rebilling
Unrealistic membership numbers
Marketed as a free site, is actually a paid site
Scammers are active
Yes this site is feature packed, it’s also really easy to use, and it has full mobile support with Apps for the iPhone and Android.
However, I have a serious number of criticisms.
First, it’s marketed as a free dating site when it most certainly is not, and the hidden $25 activation fee is a complete scam. Second, their membership numbers are ridiculously high, so high that I don’t believe the numbers are realistic. And third, there is a big problem with active scammers on the site.
To summarize: This is not a site that I can recommend you join. But if you insist, then just hit the button below.