"I think she found it interesting and was interested in the pitfalls you can get into if you're not super careful," said Leslie Ware, editor at large of Consumer Reports, which is based in Yonkers, N.Y. Ware said the tester received about 200 responses from fellow online daters every month. "We did find that [each site has] different traits. Just remember that you're open to anything. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. We talked to people who were planning on getting married after meeting online, and we talked to a fellow who had a nightmare date."
While Consumer Reports is best known for rating products and services, the magazine didn't rate the five dating sites. Ware said the magazine wouldn't rank a site on the experience of just one user, so instead it compiled a list of positives about each site, along with some tips on how to make the most of the experience.
One of the top things the magazine learned was that people should try out each site before they officially join, Ware said.
"You can get a taste of each site for free," she said. "You can look into each site before you open your wallet. You can see what it's like to post a profile of your likes and dislikes. Except for eHarmony, you generally can even browse other profiles."
Ware said their tester got a few dates out of the experience but she doesn't know how well they went.
Here's what Consumer Reports discovered about the five sites:
eHarmony: Ware said eHarmony is good for people who want a "hand-picked" match. The site only lets you see profiles and exchange emails with people they've selected to be a good match for you. If you don't want to scan through hundreds of profiles on your own, this is a good site. They'll do that part of it for you.
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