Online Dating for Nerds: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Postings
Armed with nothing but our shining personalities and sexy photos, the PCWorld team took a look at some of the Web's best (and geekiest) dating Websites. In order to test them, we created a female profile (Sarah) and a male one (Alex), and sent out some messages to see what would come back to us. Here's what we found.
Who you can expect to find: Geeks galore!
How much it'll cost you: The site has three tiers of membership, ranging from free to $31/month.
Geek 2 Geek calls itself "the best place on the net to meet geeks." It boasts over 200,000 members, growing by about 6000 members each month. Its three levels of membership--free, "silver," and "gold"--allows different levels of communication. While a free membership lets you browse unlimited profiles and receive unlimited messages, you can't send any out (except to paid gold members) until you upgrade to a silver account.
Geek 2 Geek does have a matchmaking service. Signing up is quick and easy, and you don't have to answer all of the questions right away (though you certainly can). A picture is also not a profile requirement. Matchmaking questions include everything from "type of sense of humor" to "areas of interest," and similar geeks are delivered to your "My Matches" inbox.
As for whether you'll actually find geeks on this site, well, a quick look-through says yes. It helps, of course, that the "areas of interest" are all geek-oriented, and include options like "online gaming," "Star Trek," "Tolkien," and "Monty Python." The site itself is decently easy to navigate, though it's rather busy-looking (it looks a lot like a Web hosting site that's trying to sell you something) and not as conducive to browsing as some of the other sites we reviewed.
Sarah's take: This site isn't really limited to geeks--it looks like just about everyone is on here. That makes me think a lot of the profiles are probably outdated and/or not being used. Plus, it takes way too much information to complete your profile.
Alex's take: Yeah, "geek" in this case seems synonymous with "anyone who owns a computer." That's not necessarily a bad thing, and neither is the surplus of seduction toys like video, quizzes, and live chat; just know that Geek 2 Geek is a full-on social network, not just a dating service.
Who you can expect to find: Fans of anime, manga, gaming, and cosplay.
How much it'll cost you: Sign-up and browsing are free, but full features (including messaging options) start at $4/year.
OtakuBooty is part online dating and part social networking. The name comes from a Japanese slang term for "nerd" (okay, it's more of a derogatory term), and focuses on a less traditional type of geek--the anime/manga/Japan-fan type.
Signing up is free, and you can receive unlimited free messages--you just can't see who sent them until you sign up for a paid membership. Luckily, paid membership is only $4 per month or $15 per year, and allows you full access to the site.
OtakuBooty keeps the nerd factor alive throughout the site: On the initial sign-up page, required fields are marked with an invincibility star; on the payment page there's a bogus "send ham" option for a "recurring ham subscription."
Unfortunately, this epic nerdiness carries over to the site's layout. OtakuBooty is sort of like the Android OS--a little too rough around the edges. The good news is that this will probably scare off the ungeeky types who are unwilling to deal with anything less than a perfect user interface. The bad news is that there are just so many tabs. The site looks a lot like a bad wiki--and hey, there's even a site wiki.
As for the types of users you'll find, well, they're definitely nerds. And they're all a little weird. Case in point: Last time we checked, a "featured member" on the front page had three moustaches descending down his face (just sit there for a moment and imagine that).
Sarah's take: OtakuBooty's user interface is awful. It really is. It might deter the nongeeks from signing up, but it'll also deter the geeks. It's impossible to navigate the site--I couldn't even contact OtakuBooty, because I couldn't find their contact page.
Alex's take: I'm not into otaku culture, but I really wanted to like OtakuBooty. Sure the wiki-like layout is ugly, but I found its quirky style endearing, and the news, deals, and quasi-legal torrent sections are handy if you're passionate about anime. If you're not, you should probably join me in giving this site a pass.
Who you can expect to find: Around 30,000 Apple fans.
How much it'll cost you: Free to browse profiles and send messages; $4.79/month to read messages sent to you.
Cupidtino describes itself as the first (and only) "Mac-inspired" dating site. That's right--if you love Apple products and the people who love Apple products, this site is for you. (The name is a play on "Cupertino," where Apple has its headquarters.) The philosophy behind this dating site is that people who like Apple products often have a lot in common--they tend to be creative types, such as designers, musicians, and writers, and more likely to be compatible with other creative types.
Cupidtino is quick and easy to get started with, providing you have a Mac or an iOS-capable device (yes, the site is designed for Apple fans, and is best accessed from Apple devices). Basic profile information (such as your birthday) is required, but a picture isn't necessary to start browsing Apple fans right away. You can browse profiles and send messages for free, but in order to read messages sent to you, you'll need to pay a minor subscription fee of $4.79 per month--the same price as a Venti Mocha Lite in the Cupertino Starbucks.
The Cupidtino Website is simple and features lots of white space and clean lines (similar to Apple products). This makes it generally easy to navigate, though the site does lack the ability to narrow searches by zip codes or cities. One thing to note is that the people--both men and women--on Cupidtino tend to be a little more skilled with their Mac's photobooth. The profile pictures on this site are clear, crisp, and artistically rendered, making everyone look more attractive in a hipstery, artistic sort of way.
Sarah's take: Is it just me, or do people's photos look fantastic on this site? It's either all the white space or the fact that Apple fans really are more creative types, but dang. Unfortunately, it's not terribly active. I got only a couple of messages in the week or so I was around.
Alex's take: This place is great! It's so clean and simple, with all these cute little icons and big beautiful pictures. There aren't any bells and whistles beyond a basic profile search, but that's really all you need. Well, that and an Apple device. I didn't get many messages during the week, either--perhaps I betrayed my PC proclivities.