Ask anyone who has been single for any amount of time and they’ll likely admit to joining OkCupid at one point or another. Among the free online dating sites, OkCupid—or OKC—is extremely popular. Not only does this 15-year-old company have an impressive number of active members, but it tends to be frequented in small to mid-size metro areas, where people are looking for a step above hook-up apps like Tinder. Since the beginning, OkCupid has made a conscious effort to set itself apart from its competitors by being vocal of their support of the gay and lesbian community, as well as thorough research into the vast world of dating. Many publications reference their data when discussing trends in the industry, making them a trusted, valuable source and thought-leader. Recently purchased by Match.com, you could consider OkCupid as the ‘light’ version: profiles are still extensive, but the crowd is still rather young.
If this sounds right up your alley, here’s everything you need to know—and what to expect—with OKC:
How to Sign Up:
OkCupid is keeping up with technology and has a highly-rated app for both Android and Apple users. You can download whichever one is compatible with your provider, or go old school to join OKC via the web. By entering your email address or connecting your Facebook, you’ll be brought to list of questions after signing-up. To begin, expect to answer the basics—from what you’re looking for and who you’re looking for. You won’t see ‘men, women or both’ here though, OKC actually lists 22 genderfluids, another way they remain true to their inclusive standard. From here, you’ll be asked to choose photos and introduce yourself before it’s time to dive in to 15 questions. They take it a step further with these inquiries, not only asking your preference, but allowing you to choose how you would want your ideal match to respond, too. You should set aside a solid twenty minutes to thoughtfully articulate your responses, giving you the best shot at success.
What to Expect On OkCupid
Whether you choose to exercise your thumbs or type with a full keyboard, the user experience for OkCupid is rated intuitively, making it seamless to get started. Though there is lots of action happening, there are also kinks, as with any dating site—and frankly, any relationship. Here, experts explain what to expect when you join OKC:
Pro: Profiles are expansive.
According to online dating profile writer Eric Resnick, OkCupid’s profile is among the most extensive within the industry. In fact, he says other than eHarmony, he doesn’t rate any other experience above it. “It offers you a chance to tell more about yourself than most other dating sites and that means that it gives you a chance to learn more about others before you decide to message them,” he explains. “This is really important because it puts you in a position to decide your compatibility with a prospective match a lot better than pretty much any other dating site.”
How does OkCupid do this? The profile questions aren’t just about what you do for a living, how tall you area, where you’re from or your religion. Though that info is available, they also dig deeper and challenge users to be vulnerable and introspective about who they are and what they offer to a potential mate. Examples include ‘What you’re really good at’, ‘What people notice about you’ and ‘Six things you couldn’t live without.’ Like Resnick explained, this gives your matches another layer of your personality and values, and makes for some fun conversation starters, too.
Pro: It’s inclusive.
Even though some other dating destinations may have more members—like Tinder or Match—Resnick says no other site compares in providing eligible singles for both the gay and straight community. Traditionally, various sexual orientations had to choose one app or another, while OKC allows you to explore your sexuality in a fluid, no-judgement manner. Today, he says the site is proud of their large LGBTQ+ and polyamorous community, as they’re happy to provide resources to help them source love. At the core of this is one important word: diversity.
“This openness has created a more creative and interesting member-base than you’ll find on apps likes Tinder, Match, or POF,” he continues. “You’ll definitely find more artists and musicians on the site, but you’ll also find a lot of engineers and people who love to create, too.”
Pro: The matching algorithm works.
Nearly every dating website brags about their matchmaking technology that promises to deliver that soulmate you’ve been wishin’, hopin’ and prayin’ for. But one that actually gets it right? OkCupid, according to dating expert and life coach Ann Ball. Part of the reason she finds it successful is because people aren’t as intimidated by it. While other apps will propose some serious, deep questions, OkCupid makes it fun and easy. This matters because people are more likely to do it if isn’t a pain! You might discuss your opinion on smoking weed, waking up early, drinking coffee or other lifestyle choices that feed into your everyday happiness within a relationship. By being able to agree on a scale from ‘Strongly Disagree’ to ‘Strongly Agree’, many users can breeze through countless questions quickly. As a bonus, you can answer these privately or publicly, so you reap the benefits of matching, even if you don’t let everyone know your opinion on a glass half-full or half-empty.
Con: Communication is needlessly complicated.
As companies pivot or are sold to other investors, it’s inevitable that some aspects change. Not all are good, according to Resnick. He explains for many years, you could log in to your OkCupid account, find someone who piques your interest and send them a message. Nowadays? It’s not so simple. After you shoot over a few promising lines in hopes of a response, your match has to A—like your profile and then B—they are able to read your message. “As a result, you are left with an experience that takes the worst parts of Match and Tinder and forces you and your match to jump through hoops before you can say ‘hello,’” he continues. “Unfortunately, this means that many people are writing messages that will never get read.”
Con: It can feel a little too hipster.
While welcoming anyone and everyone is a positive of OkCupid, Resnick says the site can sometimes feel too-hip for its own good. What does he mean? More mainstream, boy-or-girl next door types may struggle to fit in and find dates if they aren’t the outspoken, coffee shop frequents who have opinions about everything from politics to music. Though this is a grave assumption of a base of five million users, it’s worth paying attention to user reviews to see if most struggle with this hurdle. “Some daters have found that the members on OKC tend to be a bit more judgemental of people who aren’t ‘different like they are’, and that many singles using the site can tend to have slightly unrealistic standards for the people they would be willing to date,” he explains.
Con: The premium membership isn’t worth it.
Most of the time when there is a paywall on a dating site, it’s obvious what you’re paying for. Some sites make it impossible to even read a message—ahem, Match—unless you fork over your credit card. Ball says the membership levels of OkCupid tend to be confusing and not worthwhile, since the free version is fine enough. According to their site, you are guaranteed more profile views and higher visibility when you pay for a membership, but as Ball points out, for a dater who knows what he or she wants, this isn’t necessary, since they’ll be using the search and filtering function themselves. It’s worth testing out the free version and see if you find it necessary to move forward—but chances are you’ll pass. This challenges OKC to offer something that goes above and beyond if they want more paying members.
What Users Are Saying
As we mentioned, it’s better to hear it firsthand from OKC users who have been there, messaged this, finished that profile. Luckily, with a site that has a history, reviews are readily available. Here, a few to take into consideration:
Tips for Success On OkCupid
Ready to throw your net out and see what you reel in? As a top-rated modern dating site, OkCupid is worth your time and investment. If you want to browse happily and land a date by the weekend, try this strategic tips:
Don’t solely rely on the science.
While the matching algorithm is not to be ignored, considering it’s brought together many head-over-heels pairs, Resnick says it’s not the end-all-be-all. When you rely completely on the percentage, you aren’t holding yourself accountable for putting time and energy into dating yourself. It’s okay—pun intended—to see what they’ve recommended for you, but he recommends rolling up your sleeves and doing the work yourself, too. “Focus on using the search tool to limit your matches by your deal breaker and must have criteria. You will always be better at picking a compatible match for you than an algorithm,” he shares.
Fill out the whole profile.
That’s right, every last portion. If you leave those bubbles empty, you slash your chances of meeting someone who wants the same things out of a partnership that you do. How can someone know what your preferences are if you don’t give them some clues? “If you are using OKC to meet people, you have a great opportunity to tell people about who you are and who you want to meet. Take advantage of it,” Resnick recommends. “It will not only improve the quality of the people who message you, but people respond to messages more frequently when the sender has a complete profile.”
Don’t discount photos.
Even if the main pull of OkCupid is the robust profiles—Ball says not to discount photos. Especially your lead one. Since there are many users, attractive and active images will help you stand apart from others, and hopefully, catch the eye of someone who might be right for you. “It doesn’t have to be professional, but it does need to be flattering,” she explains. “Everyone is looking for a great smile. Your smile shows your inner and outer beauty and that you’re fun to be around. I can’t tell you how many men I’ve swiped left on because their picture looks more like a mug shot than a man looking to meet a woman.”