Wanting to review a dating site that gets less media attention than some of the “big boys” …think eHarmony.com (review) or Match.com (review) I headed over to Spark.com to check out the scene. I found a lot of interesting things in my Spark.com review, and I’m happy to share my findings here with you, fellow online daters.
My initial reaction to the Spark.com dating site homepage was a good one. Lots of cheerful colors, nice textural background, and the logo is even written in a pleasing font! Spark.com clearly has a graphic designer on staff, which is more than I can say for some of the other popular online dating sites. I was instantly greeted by a young, affable looking female, a theme I’ve noticed on many of the dating websites I’ve visited. My theory is that a picture of a woman attracts both women and men, as women see themselves in the image while men just see a hot woman. But enough with the psychobabble.
The homepage itself does a good job of describing the benefits of Spark – there’s even a comparison chart at the bottom between Spark.com and eHarmony and Match.com! Intriguing, to say the least. Through the site description I learned that Spark uses a “color code” system, which is a sort-of personality test used to match up its members. Kind of like that National Security Threat Level chart, but less scary and more flirty.
I went through the standard barrage of questions to sign up for the online dating website: age, smoking status, occupation, etc. One thing I found most user friendly was that Spark.com displayed an informational panel to the right of the questions to answer my current thoughts… What if I don’t want to upload a photo now? Well, that’s fine, I have a 72 hour grace period before I lose access to the site. What if I don’t want to give out my personal email address? Well that’s fine too – it’s just used for internal communication and won’t appear on the site. Hey, thanks, Spark.com!
The color code questions were quite interesting. All of the questions, of which there were about 30, asked me to describe myself as a child, rather than as a single adult. I personally thought this was a novel, probably pretty effective tactic to get to the heart of singles, as many people’s childhood personalities are pretty good indicators of their underlying traits. Man, Spark.com has got me all philosophical, and I’m not even logged in yet!
As soon as I submitted my profile, I was assigned a color. Mine was blue, which according to my color profile means that I’m analytical, emotional, and deliberate, and that intimacy with others is my greatest motivator (emotional intimacy guys…get your minds out of the gutter.) There were dating tips on how to communicate with my color type and also about the other colors, which I found useful. Again, it was a nice spin on the standard personality tests found on a lot of dating sites out there.
The Spark.com dating site was very well laid out with tabs across the top indicating different sections. I went to “My Matches” first because that’s why I was here and was sort of…meh. Underwhelmed. Though I hadn’t been as specific in my requests as I suppose I could have, my matches ranged from very young, to very overweight, to very mug shot-esque. It was a mixed bag, but I suppose that’s why I like online dating – you never know what kind of matchmaking is going to surprise you. Clearly meeting a replica of the same guy over and over again weekend after weekend at bars isn’t working for me.
The photos at Spark were displayed about 20 at a time in thumbnail form, with just the username and additional links to photos shown, making them easy to browse as personal ads. All of the messaging features made communication really easy and somehow less daunting than usual, which made me want to hang around longer just to see who I might find. The millions of members means I’ll encounter new profiles every time I logon, which is definitely a point to Spark.com.
The tabs included most of the regular features you’d expect to find on a dating website: advanced search functions, a “hotlist” where I could save off a few guys’ profiles and also see who was looking at me, and a “community” section where members could see who’s online and enter singles chat rooms. There was also an inbox where I could send and view messages and an interesting feature called “Spark TV” where the site apparently airs webisode episodes of a specially made show. All in all, I was very impressed with the design and aesthetics that went into this site. Spark is clearly caught up to dating in the new millennium.
Spark.com had some really reasonable subscription rates, clearly displayed all over the site. In addition to the constant eHarmony and Match.com comparison charts (Spark really is a lot cheaper when you sign up for a long-term plan) the site offered two inexpensive options: a Standard Plan and a Premium Plan. There was only a dollar difference in the two (for a six month membership), and the Premium Plan offered a highlighted singles profile and a “Member Spotlight.”
All in all, you can currently join Spark for less than $15 per month which gives you the ability to message all other members. Really not bad at all, relatively. I like that you can get the same functionality and sophisticated interface from a dating site that costs less. The plans range from one month to six months at a time with the price point going down as the length of the subscription goes up.
I was really, really impressed during my Spark.com review. The site caters to singles who know what they want but need a little help in the matchmaking department and it was a very easy, seamless experience for me from front to back. A few of my favorite things about the site during the Spark review were:
- The Color Code chart made it easy for me to decide who to contact, and how
- The overall feel of the site was modern, casual, and user-friendly
- The low price point encouraged me to become (and stay) a member
I will definitely be heading back to Spark.com soon – not only to see what new matches have been chosen for me but to check out the constantly evolving features of the site as well. I get the impression that Spark.com is the Lady Gaga of the dating website world.Join