|Number of Profiles||?|
|Quality of Profiles||7/10|
|Ease of use||8/10|
|help and support||9/10|
Spark.com is an international dating operated by Spark Networks. Dating sites AmericanSingles.com and Date.ca along with a couple of other sites were combined together and rebranded to form Spark.com. It is a generic dating site designing for singles from across the world. However at present the large majority of the site’s membership is USA and Canada based. The site offers a number of excellent profile and communication features and its paid memberships offer good value for money.
Since Spark.com was created by merging AmericanSingles.com and Date.ca, the large majority of Spark.com’s membership is USA and Canada based. There are members from other countries, but they are much fewer in number. The site does seem to have many complaints about scammers so use your common sense and don’t share personal and sensitive information.
Members can log into the site and the site shows them the number of members that are online at any given moment so they can communicate with them immediately if they choose to do so.
Relationship expectations are varied on the site. Some people are looking for a serious long term relationship or a marriage partner while others are interested in dating and some are simply looking for friends.
Profile creation is fairly simple on Spark.com. There are a few “essentials” that are required for a profile on Spark.com. One of the “essentials” is a photo. Spark.com insists on members having a profile photo. If you do not add a photo while you are creating your dating profile, you are given a 72 hour grace period during which you can add a photo. After this grace period expires, you must upload a photo in order to be able to access the site. This is an attempt to keep out potential scammers and to encourage better quality profiles as online daters generally tend to prefer profiles with photos. The site allows members to upload up to 12 photos on their profile.
Apart from the basic information, members can also include details about lifestyle, interests, relationships etc. Members can also set match preferences so searching for compatible matches according to criteria is made considerably easier.
The site also features a Personality Test “Color Code”. Members are asked to choose from a number of words that best describe their personality as a child. Based on the answers, Spark.com categorizes members into different colors. The site calls this its “guided matching process” as the colors are meant to help members judge their compatibility with other members.
Using Spark.com is easy and even the first time user should have no trouble using the site’s various features. Spark.com offers a number of options to help members search for potential matches on the site. Search options include quick search, online members search, keyword search and photo gallery search.
Communication is one of the best features of Spark.com. Most dating sites only allow premium members to communicate with each other via email, instant messaging etc. Spark.com allows all members to respond to emails, however only paying subscribers can initiate conversation. So as long as one of the members is on a paid plan, two members can easily communicate with each other.
The site also hosts message boards where members can interact with each other and discuss dating and relationship issues. While basic members can see the titles to the various threads on the boards, only Premium and Standard Plan members have unrestricted access to the boards.
Another cool feature on Spark.com is the Click! feature. Members can simply browse through various profiles and answer yes or no to “Do we click?” If there is a mutual yes, Spark.com sends a Click! Alert notification to both members so both are aware of their interest in each other.
Spark.com e-cards are another cool communication feature. Members can send each other an e-card for various occasions. Cards can also be sent to non-members.
Spark.com has a comprehensive FAQ section which addresses a number of common concerns and problems. In addition, members also have access to the Spark.com support team via phone, email or even snail mail.
While Spark.com offers a number of privileges to its free members, paying subscribers obviously enjoy a sweeter deal. The site offers two membership options – Standard Plan & Premium Plan. Each plan is available for 1, 3 or 6 months. A 1 month Standard Plan membership costs about $24.99 (as at March 2010) but the costs drop dramatically for a 6 month plan, with memberships costing only $9.99 per month for 6 months.
Payment options include credit cards, pay by phone options or mail in payments. Paypal is not currently listed as a payment option.
Spark.com is a good dating service if you are based in USA or Canada as the site offers a number of excellent search and communication options. The site however does seem to have a lot of complaints about scammers, as reported on the site’s message board and in other site reviews online. Unfortunately every dating site is likely to have some dishonest members so you just have to be careful and use your common sense. All in all, Spark.com is a great service offering bang for the buck.
*All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars