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UK Dating Awards 2014
There’s no big panel of experts, no public vote and no bias towards any particular sites. This is just a guy and a girl choosing our favourite UK dating sites, apps, blogs and experts from the last year who we think you’ll like too.
1. Best dating site – Match.com
By far the most popular – and populous – site, Match has rarely ceased to develop and evolve. As the biggest and most well-known UK dating site it would be easy for them to rest on their laurels but we’ve seen the site mature and branch out every year. The match mobile app being the perfect example so you no longer need to be tied to your desktop to find a compatible partner in your area.
The best endorsement we can give match.com is that it’s the site we’ve used the most ourselves. As an independent review site we often find ourselves championing the underdog but in this case we salute the biggest of them all because it really is the best… for now anyway!
2. Best free dating site – Ok Cupid
OKCupid wins the battle with its main rival Plenty of Fish in the free dating site arena. A respectable (it’s actually owned by Meetic the folks behind match.com), well-designed, fun site that maintains an element of quirkiness despite being such a large site. It’s user-friendliness and intuitive format make it a pleasure to use compared to POF. We’d still choose the best paid sites over OKCupid but if we were struggling for cash this would be our first stop.
3. Best dating app – Tinder
How good can an app can be that promotes itself with the slogan: “Like real life, but better”. Turns out really quite good indeed. Dating in the modern world often happens on the go and Tinder has grasped that concept efficiently and quickly. Is it deep and meaningful? No. Nor is it meant to be. Tinder is meant to be fun and it is. Like someone’s photo? Swipe to the right. Dislike someone’s photo? Swipe left. If you both swipe to the right then you can contact each other, otherwise you can’t.
Launched in the US in September 2012 it took another year for it to hit off in the UK but within a couple of months its UK members were growing by 25% every week.
The Guardian sums up Tinder better than we can: “Where match.com might be the quality bottle of red, Tinder is the alcopop: addictively simple, childishly appealing and deliberately youthful. It even comes with an age limit of 50.”
4. Best niche site – Muddy Matches
The beautiful British countryside… farming… the great outdoors… they aren’t exactly words you’d associate with online dating. Which is why we love how Muddy Matches have created a wonderfully unique dating site for countryside-loving folks everywhere.
Connecting people in smaller towns and villages Muddy Matches has a noble cause to fulfill. We also love their Country Calendar – I mean, ploughing championships, come on! The site’s clearly a labour of love and they seem like very nice people too. As Will Ferrell used to say on Saturday Night Live – “More cowbell!” 🙂
5. Unique Site Award – MySingleFriend
Among the dozens of online dating sites we’ve used and reviewed there’s nothing else quite like MySingleFriend. Even though it’s a few years since Sarah Beeny launched the site it’s such a simple and genius idea that it deserves to receive an award for its innovative take on online dating. Letting your friends help you find a date and guide you through those rough seas of online dating builds a layer of trust and familiarity many other sites lack. Hats off to MySingleFriend for continuing to refine an idea that sets it apart from the competition.
6. Best Design – eHarmony
While eHarmony is a very strong contender in several categories, it’s their recent design revamp that we want to commend them for this year. The funky and thoughtful process of signing up and creating your profile is… wait for it… actually enjoyable! Both colourful and imaginative it really helps you to create a good-looking and interesting profile, guiding you on every step of the way. Give it a try for yourself and see what you think.
7. Innovation award – myLovelyParent
You know how we said there were no other dating sites around like mySingleFriend? Well there sort of might be one – but it’s kind of totally different!
While myLovelyParent echos some of the foundations of mySingleFriend the end result is much closer to home… where a son or daughter can help set up the profile of a single parent or relative.
It’s a beautifully simple idea and is currently totally free. The site was set up by Matt Connolly who wanted to build a site that would help his single mum find her ‘knight in shining armour’. We hope myLovelyParent continues to grow as it really deserves to, great work Matt!
8. Best dating advice – Baggage Reclaim
Meet Natalie Lue, the ever-wise founder and distinctive voice behind Baggage Reclaim. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Natalie’s dating and relationship advice is just for women – anyone can learn something about themselves and their approach to dating, relationships and life in general through her insights.
Natalie doesn’t mince her words or sugar coat a difficult truth yet her advice always comes from a place of understanding – willing you to be your strongest, best self no matter what you’re current relationship status.
If you haven’t read Baggage Reclaim, you’re in for a treat. Congratulations Natalie and thanks for sharing your insights with the rest of us!
9. Best dating blog – 30 Dates
It wasn’t long after we joined Twitter that we found the entertaining world of The 30 Dates blog and it’s inspiringly prolific founder Miss 29.
What started as a way for Miss 29 to experience lots of dates before the end of her twenties has now turned into a growing community where daters and bloggers share their stories and experiences of dating events, pitfalls and successes.
We get the feeling that whatever Miss 29 turns her hand to will be equal parts interesting, funny and thoughtful so say hello on Twitter and follow the 30 Dates community through the dating jungle.
10. Trailblazer award – Saturday Night’s Alright
How can you not love someone that makes so many people look so good! Like Miss 29 we came across Saskia Nelson on Twitter and were mightily impressed with her online dating portrait photography.
Yes, it’s a thing. It didn’t exist in London so Saskia kind of invented it and is now taking professional quality dating photos with lots of heart for a very reasonable fee.
Saskia’s business Saturday’s Night Alright gives us confidence that the UK dating scene is growing up and becoming a better place to be yourself authentically – and increase your chances of finding a great match. Thanks Saskia and congratulations on a well deserved UK dating award!
And so the orchestra starts up and the UK Dating Awards 2014 come to a close. Congrats to all of our winners and to those that just missed out stay tuned for next years show!