Last updated on March 17, 2015 | by Aet Suvari0
Cupid Review Ratings
Summary: A popular site that seems to be cleaning up its act and improving into the site it should have been all along.
A few years ago Cupid received a lot of criticism from independent reviewers and the mainstream media for previous questionable practices. Seeing they promised to clean up their act we took an impartial look a year ago at their main dating site Cupid.com. What we discovered was a site with some inventive and useful features, extensive search options and a lot of promise – however, some dubious stuff was still going on. What about now? Have things changed at all?
Cupid owns a lot of sites in UK. Most of them have catchy names and widespread membership – often catering for a specific clientele. The problem is that most of them tend to look very similar, and a lot of the originality they once held have now gotten lost in Cupid’s cookie-cutter machine.
Signing up and creating a profile
That said, Cupid.com itself isn’t a bad site at all. It’s recently gone through a redesign and looks pretty cool and sleek. It’s also extensive, has a lot of features and has got a lot of members – and when it comes to dating sites, the numbers can be its biggest strength. So if you’ve decided to create a profile here, you can be sure you’ll get a good choice of matches and lots of options for getting in touch.
Signing up is pretty easy and doesn’t really require you to do anything out of the ordinary. The basic profile only needs a handful of boxes ticked – height, hair colour, eye colour, education, work etc. One thing that surprised me was that under the question ‘Looking for’, the only options are ‘friendship’, ‘e-mail’, ‘nothing serious’ and ‘marriage’. Is there really nothing that fits between ‘nothing serious’ and ‘marriage’? Or does it mean that Cupid is not for people looking for a relationship that doesn’t necessarily lead to marriage but is a serious relationship nonetheless?
Things get more creative when you get to the description part. Or maybe not so creative after all. You can either write up your description yourself or use a tool which gives you the option to auto-generate replies. Is it handy if you don’t feel like typing anything in the box? Maybe. Is it funny and creative? No. So, as tempted as you might feel – I suggest you don’t do that.
There’s nothing as lame and nondescript as a computer-generated description. I understand Cupid have done their best to help out people who aren’t the biggest fans of describing themselves but in all honesty I think leaving a box empty says more about you than a generic headline or description that a computer came up with. And in any case, I really don’t think anyone who uses a dating site is so vacant that they can’t come up with a description of themselves! If you struggle with it, just take a peek at other people’s profiles to see what they have written about themselves, it’s still bound to be better than choosing one of the safe options from Cupid’s list of answers. Are you doubting me? How good do these titles sound then: ‘I’m a walkie-talkie – I like walks and talks’. No? Perhaps this then: ‘The incredible… the legendary… me!’ No way? Yup, our point exactly.
A much better feature is the DateMood widget that allows you to pick and choose a category for what you like to do on a date – be it exploring (checking out galleries and museums or go for walks etc), talking (having deep conversations or just a chat over coffee), eating, partying, playing and so on. It’s a good thing to set your dating wavelength as other people aren’t to know what you might like to do on a date, so it’s useful as a dating tool for judging compatibility.
Then there’s also a tool called Special 7 – each day Cupid picks seven matches for you which you can then rate – yes, no or maybe – and contact if you wish. It’s pretty much like Cupid’s version of Tinder where you more or less decide upon the picture, so don’t expect anything deep here.
By the way, Cupid even lets you record a video profile – this way you don’t have to upload a lot of photos or anything like that. Just record your own little video message and that’s you done!
Searching & getting in touch
We have to compliment Cupid on its search. It’s very good. You have several search options to choose from – all members, members who are currently online, new members. Or you can search for specific people by their username. Of course, you could also perform a reverse search, searching for matches that are looking for someone like you. A very good option is sorting your results by ‘most responsive’, which is an option we haven’t really come across on any other dating site. Of course, the matches can be sorted by last visit, distance and age as well.
One feature Cupid has also recently introduced is their own dating events site. You can sign up for different singles events – there’s quite an extensive and impressive list of them and as a lot of dating sites have introduced their own version of this recently, it’s understood to be a popular way of meeting like-minded singles near you these days.
Another thing that Cupid has recently introduced are their own dating advisors – you can talk to them for free and ask them all kinds of dating related questions if you’re a paid subscriber to the site.
It’s very easy to get in touch with matches – winking, ice-breaking, chatting or emailing icons are made available to you even before you access their profile pages. On the other hand I imagine it encourages the type of pointless messaging where you’re not even bothered to check out someone’s profile before you send them a message but I do understand this is what online dating is like these days. If you can’t do it quickly, you might not do it at all. Or turn to Tinder instead.
Cupid has been criticised extensively in the past for misleading profiles and shady practices in trying to get their customers to sign up to their paid subscriptions. They promised to clean up their act and we have to say that mostly they have succeeded. A few years ago you used to get seven or eight messages in the first hour after signing up – before you even uploaded a photo.
That is a clear sign that something is not right! But that has all stopped now. There doesn’t seem to be any shady stuff going on any more. Still, you can never be completely safe from scammers and frauds when online dating but at least it looks like Cupid itself has done a great deal to make their dating site a pleasant and safe place for users. We greatly appreciate their good work and give credit where credit is due.
Extras and other features
Another good thing about Cupid – a year ago their site was littered with ads (to other sites owned by Cupid). That too is all gone now. The new design is modern and minimalistic, we found no faults with that.
There are numerous little extra features you can use on Cupid.com. Multi-flirt – send a flirt to many people: hello, wink, flirt, hug, flowers or chocolates. There are also several chatrooms and if you download the chat client to your desktop, you get it for free.
Cupid can be used on several platforms: in Google Play, App Store and Facebook, they also have a mobile site, tablet PC and mobile app with matches nearby search, available for both Android and Apple’s iOS.
Free vs Paid Site
Unlike some other sites, Cupid doesn’t really give you an overview of what you miss out if you don’t subscribe – you pretty much have to discover it for yourself. After using the site for a while we concluded that there’s not much you can do without subscribing. You can search, you’ll get your Daily 7 Specials but you can’t contact anyone – not through emails nor chat, and you can’t read anyone’s emails either. Winking is still free but I can’t see much use for it if you can’t really take it any further.
They have three options of membership – 2 weeks, 1 month and… lifetime. Yes, that’s right, for £99 you can get a “lifetime” account with Cupid – although it’s not actually for a lifetime, it’s for ten years. And why would people want to keep using it after they’ve found a date – well, I can’t imagine. I suppose it remains to be seen how popular this membership plan turns out to be.
In addition to subscription plans you can also sign up for some of the features as an extra. For example, for £9.90 a month you can sign up for free communication, which means you can read and write emails or use chatrooms. Becoming a VIP member and showing up higher in search will set you back £4.99, the same goes for having your results highlighted in search. For another £4.99 a month you can have special backgrounds to your emails and for £1.99 you can send specific smileys.
However, most people who use dating sites want to make contact to their dates, therefore I can see why someone would purchase the free communication extra (although it kind of renders subscription plans pointless…) but the other features seem to be just throwing money down the drain. But that’s just our opinion.
We’ve been hard about Cupid before – but it’s not that we want to be! Just like us they too are based in Scotland and we do actually wish them the best. We were happy to discover that the site has improved and that there are some great features. It’s definitely on the right path!
Pros and Cons
The extensive search – loads of options, loads of results.
Not a lot to offer for non-paying members, weird subscription plans and paid extras.
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