Spark.com Review

Dating Muse Reviews Spark.com – “A Fun Site for Serious Daters”
spark dating
Spark.com is a relatively new site, formed late in 2009 by merging two of the biggest names in online dating – American Singles and Date.ca.

These two sites were hugely popular but, like most “mainstream” dating sites, lacked a “certain something” to set them apart. So, the purpose of the merger was not to create an even bigger dating site. It was to create a a site with a difference.

And as you can read in this review, Spark.com really does have something special to offer.

In a nutshell, the difference is quality. In choosing to focus on quality, Spark.com has something in common with the likes of eHarmony.com and Match.com, and it certainly has lots of strengths that make it a great site for serious relationships. But if you’re interested in meeting people just for shared activities or dating, that’s fine too.

Spark.com is for anyone who is seriously interested in meeting people, and seeking a more worthwhile and rewarding online dating experience. Spark.com delivers by raising the bar on quality, ensuring everyone feels the same way, and at the same time keeping it fun. Which is why it calls itself the “fun site for serious daters.”

Spark.com sets a new standard in online dating

Free Registration - Spark.comBy choosing to focus on quality Spark.com has hit the nail on the head in terms of identifying a common complaint about dating sites. This is that many dating sites boast large memberships but also a large number of incomplete, out-of-date, poor quality profiles.

With “quality” in mind, Spark.com has done a good job of eliminating (or at least significantly reducing) this problem. Solid quality controls are in place that weed out time-wasters, raise the quality of profiles and make it easier to find and assess potential matches.

For example, Spark.com members are “qualified”. This doesn’t mean you need a Masters Degree in Quantum Physics. It simply means that you can join Spark.com for free but to keep your membership you have to do two things. You must post at least one photo within three days and take the Spark.com Color Code Personality Test.

Obviously people who can’t be bothered to do these things aren’t really interested in meeting people, and get screened out. It also means that everyone has a worthwhile profile, making it easier to find and assess potential matches.

How Spark.com works

As with most online dating sites, you can join Spark.com for free by completing a few basic details on the fast and easy registration page.

You can get browsing right away– check out how the site works and the quality of the profiles. Then, as I mentioned above, you’ll need to do two things to continue as a member: take the Color Code Personality Test and post a photo within 72 hours.

The Color Code Personality Test is not as detailed as the mother of all personality tests – the eHarmony Compatibility Test – but it provides useful insights into yourself and of course other members to help you weigh up possible matches. (Unlike eHarmony, you have control of the matching process.) On the photo front, you can post up to 12 photos altogether.

Once you’ve done these things – “qualified” as a Spark.com member – you can round out your profile by completing the “About Me” section (easy multiple choice format) and “Ideal Match” section (short “essays”).

Spark.com has some pretty sophisticated search tools and when browsing through Spark.com members, you can see when they last visited the site or updated their Profile – another good quality control feature. After all, you don’t want to waste time on less active members.

Spark has a simple “Click” system to help you meet the right kind of people – when viewing a profile just vote yes, no or maybe as to whether you think you and that member might “click”. Your vote is kept secret but if you and another member vote “yes” to each other, Spark will send you both a “Click Alert.”

You can also see who’s been looking at your profile and “bookmarked” it through Spark.com’s hot list system. This is a really useful way to be able to see how well your profile’s working and tweak it if it’s not attracting quite the right type of people.

Most dating sites give free members some simple free communication tools, like Lavalife’s “Smiles” and Match.com’s “Winks”, and for unrestricted communication you upgrade to paid membership. As a free Spark.com member you can send quick and easy “Flirts” but Spark goes the extra mile on this front too – free members can respond to emails  (via your Spark.com mailbox).

With a paid membership you get access to all the communication tools, including email, instant messenger, web chat and message boards. There are two levels of membership – Standard and Premium – which work out to between $11.99 and $29.99 a month, depending on how many months you subscribe for.

Pros and Cons Summary

Spark.com has raised the bar with basic but effective quality controls and it’s my feeling that many other dating sites will be following their lead. It’s also done a great job of keeping the fun and simplicity that made the old sites (American Singles and Date.ca) so popular, and offers more without making things more complicated.

On the negative side, some people disagree and find there are a few too many bells and whistles, and some complain that there are too many ads, but on the other hand these probably help keep the very reasonable membership fees down.

Who is Spark.com best for?

At the end of the day, Spark.com is a great choice if you’re looking for an online dating site with a quality membership base and quality profiles, essential if you’re looking for a serious relationship. You also have more freedom than at some other serious dating sites. For instance, at eHarmony you can’t browse through profiles and choose matches yourself.

Of course quality also counts if you’re simply interested in meeting people for dating or friendship. If you’ve already tried other dating sites for this and are fed up wading through incomplete and inactive profiles, you’ll appreciate the difference at Spark.com

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