Online dating has grown in popularity to the point where there is almost no social stigma attached to it.With an estimated 1,000 online dating sites in existence, however, it can be hard to sift through all the options and decide which is the best site.By Judith Silverstein, Michael Lasky You get what you pay for in life, Internet-dating sites included.Unlike free sites, with pay sites you don’t have the headache of endless advertising messages screaming in your face.Consumer Affairs' founder and former editor, Jim Hood formerly headed Associated Press Broadcast News, directing coverage of major news events worldwide.He also served as Senior Vice President of United Press International and was the founder and editor of Zapnews, a newswire service for radio and television. After all, the world is full of them and they're fairly evenly divided in terms of gender, height and so forth.For example, some sites charge relatively high fees in an attempt to create an aura of exclusivity.
But the same is true of just about any other method of meeting people. What it comes down to is that there are risks in everything so as long as you take the obvious precautions -- don't meet strangers in dark places, don't send money to someone you've never met and don't reveal all your personal information in a single gush -- online dating is probably less dangerous than crossing a busy street or trying to clean out your gutters on a windy day. Many cater to individual tastes -- there are sites for gays, Jews, Christians, equestrians, millionaires, Hispanics and old white people. Well, here's one that specializes in New England, a locale that can be a little forbidding and frosty to the uninitiated.The approach seems to work with the upscale client base it's targeting.At Consumer Affairs, we don't hear much about Successful Singles but what we do hear is pretty positive."I spent months online with no success.To emphasize that last point, consider how easy it is to be an Internet-dating fraud; so the more hurdles to entry there are, the safer a site is likely to be. A site that keeps everyone out is completely free of fraud but also of available dates!The most effective way to find balance is to combine fees and other barriers to entry.