Advertising: Truthful. I came across FastCupid via a list of the top 10 dating sites of 2011. The list itself is dubious, as the site’s name exactly mirrors the title of the list and the fact that 2011 is not over yet, but I can’t argue with the source.
Layout: Simple. The site has a basic enough design and it doesn’t take too long to sign up, a good start for a site whose name uses the word fast.
Profile Information: Comprehensive. The arrangement of data for the user to fill in is eclectic, to say the least. One section prompts the user to tell ‘The best or worst lie [they’ve] ever told’. After that, the eclecticism doesn’t stop; questions range from ‘25 years from now I see myself ____’ and ‘Favorite on-screen sex scene [in a movie].’ Fortunately, they don’t force you to fill out much after your introduction.
Relationship Options: Limited. Sadly, you’re only limited to advertising yourself as looking for one sex at a time. After that, they skirt the issue of possible sexual encounters, offering for the user to look for Relationships, Dating, or Friendship.
Matching: Satisfactory. I’m not 100% positive on how their matching algorithms work, but it would appear the site takes the user’s match interests, rates it against the other users, and turns out a ‘compatibility’ score between zero and five stars. Search returns are not ranked in any discernable order, nor can they be sorted. Some further investigation yielded the revelation that users with more active profiles and pictures are ranked toward the beginning of the returned search and inactive users with no pictures were ranked toward the end. My local search returned 408 results; about 35 women had active profiles and about 150 women had pictures.
People: Unknown. With the ease of signing up and the paltry profile information visible to the non-paying user, the field is ripe with opportunity for all varieties of bots.
Communication: Restricted. As a free user, one can send hackneyed ‘flirts’ and add other users to their hotlist. Anything else requires an open wallet.
Pay For: Essential Features. Messages, profile views, and friend invitations require membership. One month on the site costs $35, while a package of 15 months costs $144 with some unintentionally misleading language; the site says it’s $9.59 a month for 12 months with 3 months thrown in free, but that would work out to flat rate of $115. And, of course, auto-renewal is automatic.
Grade: B-. (See more about ratings here) My general overview could easily see me ranking this site well below its competitors, but some last minute facts bumped the rating. Clearly this isn’t a marquee site like Match.com, eHarmony, or OkCupid, so by signing up you’re exposing yourself to a significantly smaller dating pool, and like the latter two sites, you don’t get much information about the member before you start paying.
However, users are afforded a unique opportunity via the hotlist; you can add as many users as you want, and adding them shows you your hotlist automatically, which in turn shows you which users on your hotlist have inactive profiles. As a result, you can scope out people you like to see if they’re still using the site before ponying up. There’s still some uncertainty as to the status of these members, but if this site stays afloat with positive returns and word of mouth, it could easily compete with the big names.
E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org advice, questions, opinions, and website review suggestions. Questions and advice may be posted anonymously. Follow Bryan on Twitter at ExaminerDating.