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You could meet people you don't like, people who don't like you, people who are boring or even downright dangerous. We're not saying these are the best sites for you -- that's something you need to decide for yourself -- but like examining puppies or seaside condos, looking can be half the fun. Remember how we said there were sites that cater to every demographic slice imaginable?
But the same is true of just about any other method of meeting people. What it comes down to is that there are risks in everything so as long as you take the obvious precautions -- don't meet strangers in dark places, don't send money to someone you've never met and don't reveal all your personal information in a single gush -- online dating is probably less dangerous than crossing a busy street or trying to clean out your gutters on a windy day. Many cater to individual tastes -- there are sites for gays, Jews, Christians, equestrians, millionaires, Hispanics and old white people. Well, here's one that specializes in New England, a locale that can be a little forbidding and frosty to the uninitiated.
You can browse as much as you like before deciding if you want to pay for an account, and there are so many ways to narrow your search so that you can custom-make your own best matches.
The top performers in our review are Match, the Gold Award winner; Spark, the Silver Award winner; and Ok Cupid, the Bronze Award winner.
Here's more on choosing a dating site to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 dating services.
OKCupid is one of the most popular dating sites and is free to sign up initially.
It works with special algorithms that match users with potential dates.