It's a universal principle that holds true for most products and services.
Free things tend to get valued less, because they don't cost you anything.
So, do free dating sites have anything to offer, or are they valued so little that they don't work? Any online dating advice column will tell you straight up that you need to join a paid site.
But they don't often ask you exactly what you want from online dating.
It makes a big difference.
If you're exploring it because you want some flirty fun or some ego-boosting chat, light-hearted interaction with no expectations for a serious relationship, then free dating sites might offer just what you want.
People often sign up for them to test the waters, to have a go at online dating before committing to a subscription site.
In which case they're less likely to be really serious about using the site to find a long-term partner.
And they're generally up for having some fun.
But if you're really serious about dating, chances are you'll be prepared to pay for it.
And consequently, subscription sites tend to be much better quality, and frequented by like-minded people who have committed, with their cash, to finding someone compatible, someone to build a lasting relationship with.
The proof for this is clear to see in the statistics from independent research.
eHarmony, for instance, claims to be responsible for more than 2% of all marriages in the U.
No free dating site comes close to this kind of success.
On the other hand, free sites often have a big database, so lots of potential for interaction with other singles, but significantly harder to find somebody to settle down with.
When these free sites get well known, they also tend to fill up with fake profiles, scammers and spammers, idiots who are just trying to make money off you somehow.
They ruin what could have been a good thing.
If you're lucky, you can try a subscription-based dating site with a free trial.
This is probably the optimum solution that makes everybody happy.
You get the quality of a paid site, for free, at least while you get the feel of it.
If you meet someone, or you can see there is potential to meet someone, you'll be much happier to pay a sub.
So in conclusion, free dating sites have value if you're looking to have some fun and counteract loneliness.
But if you're serious about finding a life partner, get a free trial for a paid dating site, check it out and then sign up if you think it has potential.