Table of Contents
- Zoosk has a great platform with a clean design that makes it really easy to use.
- Who’s on Zoosk?
- How it works
- Let’s get started
- Key features
- Verification is there, but there are a lot of questionable profiles
- Refine your matches
- Is Zoosk worth its membership price?
- What is the messaging like on Zoosk?
- The coin system seems very antiquated as a relic from the mid-2000s.
- Let’s talk about coins
- Zoosk Coins (optional):
- How does Zoosk compare to other dating sits and apps?
- There are just so many seemingly inactive profiles that it might feel like you’re on The Walking Dead.
- The word on the street
- The final word on Zoosk
Dating sites are a great way to meet people if you’re shy about hitting on a stranger IRL. But what if you’re not exactly confident about messaging a stranger on dating site, either?
Sure, you’re behind a screen on all of them, but not all dating sites are introvert-friendly (cough AdultFriendFinder cough).
Maybe your problem isn’t the messaging itself — maybe it’s the fact that the only people to message are the same five profiles recycled over and over again, because your current dating site doesn’t do long distance.
Zoosk has a great platform with a clean design that makes it really easy to use.
Enter Zoosk, an online dating site and mobile app that promises ease of use and practicality in the singles world. By world, we mean it — with 40 million users in over 80 countries, Zoosk makes international dating more achievable without making it all about hooking up in another country.
Instead of filling out long and tedious questionnaires about yourself and your ideal match, it simply takes the online profiles from the social media accounts you’ve already created and seamlessly integrates your information into your Zoosk account. In fact, Zoosk started out as one of the first Facebook apps when the social media platform began to open up to more users back in December 2007.
Who’s on Zoosk?
The dating service has made it really easy to start a profile, meet other users, and cast a wide net for potential matches. The aforementioned 40 million members across upwards of 80 countries plus support in 25 languages makes it convenient to find someone special in a different country, if you’re on vacation, or if you’re looking to date in your native language wherever you are.
The primary demographics for Zoosk are split 48 percent male identifying to 52 percent female identifying (the gender options are just those two), with the average ages of 27 and 24, respectively. It’s pretty rare for a dating site to have a nearly even split between males and females (most have an overwhelming majority of male users), making Zoosk a great dating site for women who want lots of options. It’s also gay, lesbian, and queer-friendly with a wide range of ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds — depending on the region. There are no options for open, polyamorous, or non-monogamous relationships, but Zoosk seems like they might be courting this demographic for the future.
But that impressive user base needs to be taken with a grain of salt: Dead or fake profiles seem to make up a decent portion of that 40 million. Despite that, Zoosk has a huge collection of success stories (plus cute pics!), and if the person of your dreams doesn’t message you back, just tell yourself it’s probably because they haven’t logged on in two years.
How it works
Zoosk uses a proprietary “Behavioral Matchmaking” engine and algorithm that delivers users better matches through their actions. It takes into account who you’re liking, messaging, and winking at, so you don’t have to fill out a long string of questions to determine who you might like and who might like you back. Plus, this means more suggestions for matches that you’re actually into, even if you’d have no idea how to answer what your “type” is in a questionnaire.
- Super easy set-up
- No long questionnaires
- Verified profiles
- Intuitive and modern design
- Millions of users to match with
- Matches can be broadened or refined to taste
- Upload photos
Pricing and payments:
- Free basic account: $0
- 1-month membership: $29.95/month
- 3-month membership: $19.98/month ($59.95 in total)
- 6-months membership: $12.49/month ($74.95 in total)
Let’s get started
Creating a profile is relatively easy, especially if you have a Google or Facebook account already. Simply sign in to one of those existing internet accounts and the service will prompt you to answer a few basic questions about your gender and partner preference, birthday, and zip code. The site then asks you to create a password to log in, but it’s less important because you could always log in with your Google or Facebook account.
You’re then asked about your body type, if you have children, your highest education level, and ethnicity. This is followed up with your height, your religion, and whether or not you are a smoker (of cigarettes, we presume. If you’re looking for a fellow smoker of the green variety, check out the best 420-friendly dating sites). And that’s it. Your profile picture is then uploaded from your Google or Facebook account. Creating a profile is really easy and only takes about a minute or so, especially when you compare it to sites like EliteSingles, which has a pretty robust sign up process.
You can refine your profile later with more photos, a short bio or “story,” details about your perfect match and ideal date. The dating site pools your interests and likes from Facebook and populates them throughout your profile.
If you’re feeling impatient, the “Boost” feature puts your profile front and center for all users in your area to spike your views (and hopefully your matches). But attracting more eyes doesn’t come free — each one costs 100 Zoosk Coins, which will be covered in-depth later.
Zoosk also has a “Carousel” feature that gives you a rapid-fire look at profiles in a Tinder-like manner. You’re not given the chance to scroll through more photos or read their profiles, but instead must aimlessly like or dislike people until you run out of users.
It seems that it’s more important to start using the dating app rather than getting discouraged with so many questions about your personality or lifestyle. The algorithm will learn everything about you and your likes and dislikes as you use the app. However, since it’s so convenient to create a profile, it also seems really easy to exploit it and bombard the dating site with spammy accounts and even brands. Luckily, there is a profile verification system that helps real users — who are indicated with a green check mark — to weed out the not-so-genuine ones.
Verification is there, but there are a lot of questionable profiles
Profile verification is just as easy as setting up an actual profile. It will prompt you with three ways to verify your account, by photo, phone number, or Twitter account. If you select photo verification, the app will give you a few instructions.
First, you have to hold your smartphone at arm’s length and press record when prompted. It’s not as effortless as taking a selfie, but Zoosk wants to know if you’re an actual person holding a phone and not just placing a photo in front of its camera. The site will then ask you to turn your head to the right and then left, as if you’re taking a mugshot. Your photo is then sent to administrators, who will make sure that your “video” lines up with the one on your profile. Although it takes some time, you can now rest easy knowing your matches are real (or at least verified) when you see that green check mark on their photo.
Despite this official process, I still encountered a number of questionable profiles throughout Zoosk. Considering it’s really easy to create one, anyone (and I mean anyone) could potentially create a sham profile if they have a Google or Facebook account. And in that way, the online dating service is really easy to spam people with shady and phony users who advertise for free sex if you follow a link to another website or dating app.
It’s easy to lure someone with an attractive profile and then hit them up with spam for another service. The green check verification does come in handy in those situations, but it can be tough to scroll through all the accounts to seek them out. Within one minute of creating a new profile, I was messaged eight times from people who seemed not to be real. Most of them simply viewed my new profile, but some wanted to meet or sent a generic message to elicit a response. RED. FLAG.
If not spam accounts, seemingly inactive users are another roadblock you may run into. It’s true that you can technically avoid the potentially fraudulent ones by looking for a green check mark, but that doesn’t mean the spam accounts will ignore you. Just ignore the creepy “Want to meet?” requests from randoms and keep your eyes on the prize — and maybe turn off email notifications.
Out of the 11 messages and notifications I received during my review period, it was difficult to tell which ones were genuine and which ones were not. But don’t let the bogus profiles get you down: There are still a number of real people on Zoosk who are excited to match with you.
The design of the website and app are pretty modern, as they both emphasize engagement and interaction. In fact, the first thing you do after you create an account is start “liking” people, so the algorithm can get a feel of your preferences.
You can either like someone with a smiley face, which indicates friendship, or you can like someone with a heart, which indicates love. There is no “dislike” or “pass” option in the main online matching section, so if you don’t want to mingle with a profile, you simply leave it alone.
Refine your matches
Zoosk lets you cast as wide or as small of a net as you please, with preferences that you can broaden or refine. You have the chance to match with people depending on their location between three miles to 100, while the default setting is “auto-selected.” You can pick the age range of your matches too — anywhere between 20 to 93 years old. (Check out the best dating sites for the over-60 crowd here.)
You can also go a bit deeper with settings for height, religion, relationship history, body type, children, ethnicity, education, and smoking preferences all in the mix to tweak or leave alone. Even if you have the pickiest specifications, the platform has someone in mind for you.
Is Zoosk worth its membership price?
I mean, a paid membership is required to even talk to anyone. With a basic account, you can only browse and like other users. If you want to read or send any messages, you’re going to have to pay for it. While other sites like OkCupid, Tinder, and Bumble have a robust free option that allows you to read, send, and receive messages, Zoosk does not. It feels like there are way too many junky profiles to require users to pay to do anything.
The price points are on par with other dating sites and it’s a little bit easier to navigate. You also know that if you receive a legit message from a real user, then you can also send a reply back to them. Speaking of which…
What is the messaging like on Zoosk?
The messaging system is quite impressive. If you’re going to pay for a service, then something has to feel like it’s worth it. You can message within each profile card, so you don’t have to leave the page to reload another to send one.
The coin system seems very antiquated as a relic from the mid-2000s.
The dating site even has a few canned “ice breakers,” so you don’t have to come up with something that’s witty or clever. You can ask things like “How’s your Thursday?,” “What did you study in college?,” or “Do you like going to church every Sunday?” The ice breakers are generic, but sometimes suited for the profile, such as the church question is for someone who is religious, while the college question is for someone who graduated from college. It’s a good way to say something, if you can’t think of anything right away.
With a lower tier premium account you can only send and receive so many messages until you have to pony up more money. Zoosk makes these “microtransactions” cute, with in-app purchases of “coins,” which is frustrating considering you have to spend more money after paying for a subscription.
Let’s talk about coins
The site has a virtual currency system that allows you to “buy” matches virtual gifts so you can stand out from the rest. These “gifts” can be roses, bouquets of flowers, beach balls, chocolate covered strawberries, and much, much more. You can also use coins to send special emails to matches, send more messages, or have your profile highlighted during searches.
Zoosk Coins are completely optional, so you don’t have to buy them and there are ways to earn coins for free by simply using the platform, becoming friends with the service on Facebook, or recommending it to friends. Just be aware, it’s an additional cost on top of membership fees. Although its design is very modern and user-friendly, the coin system seems very antiquated as a relic from the mid-2000s.
Zoosk Coins (optional):
- 180 coins: $19.95
- 480 coins: $39.95
- 1800 coins: $99.95
How does Zoosk compare to other dating sits and apps?
If there are singles in the world, there will always be matchmakers and dating sites. The big names in this space are OkCupid, Tinder, Bumble, Match, and eHarmony. Love is a potential on all of them, but they do different things for different people.
The first thing you’ll notice: Zoosk’s layout is bland. The simple blue and white theme is more boring than it is minimalistic, and profile layouts are so blah that you may forget you even signed up. You’re obviously not using a dating site specifically because it’s pretty, but there’s a reason buzz about OkCupid soared when those graphically-gorgeous “DTF” ads came out. No one wants to spend months on a site that looks like it was designed in a day.
Zoosk is a good middle ground for people who want more than a hookup but don’t want to be pressured into marriage immediately. If you’re looking for something more lasting than just a hookup or something casual, Match and eharmony are good alternatives. Like Zoosk, Match and eharmony have a paid subscription model, so the matches are more likely to be looking for a relationship that’s more serious and long term. The idea is that if you have “skin in the game” (AKA money), then you’re going to take it seriously.
Because Match and eHarmony are more likely to cater to an older crowd, both are also equipped to be used on traditional laptops and web browsers. Zoosk has a desktop version, but the site is better suited for millennials using the smartphone app.
There are just so many seemingly inactive profiles that it might feel like you’re on The Walking Dead.
Zoosk has all of these features built-in to their platform, but the number of spammy profiles makes you wonder why you’re even on this site to begin with. The site might be good for mobile and desktop users who are looking for real relationships, but it seems you’re just wading around the ocean of phony people, as you look for a life-preserver of an actual person to connect with. Finding a partner is already difficult, so adding a questionable online dating experience on top of that shouldn’t be this difficult too.
The word on the street
I combed through various review websites looking for positive things people are saying about the Zoosk site and mobile app and it was really tough. Most of the user reviews say that the dating site is full of deceptive and inactive profiles that resulted in spam messages or cold opens with no replies. In some cases, people found it difficult to cancel accounts with the company offering members free weeks and months, if they stayed with the service.
Datingsitesreviews.com user Florida User writes:
- “Zoosk boasts ‘Millions of Members!’ Well, this is true, and not true. What Zoosk fails to mention is how many of those millions are actually active. See, if you join Zoosk and quit, your profile remains active. It still shows up years after you are gone. After the big push with Facebook in 2007, nearly all of those accounts are dead.
- In reality, only a small percentage of the people you see on Zoosk are current, active members. The rest are dead profiles.
- This is easily proven by finding photos that are date-stamped. It is not unusual to find photos stamped 2006, 2007 or even older. Dead profiles, guaranteed.
- So, if you were to randomly email 30 people on Zoosk, odds are that 85% of those profiles are dead and you’ll never get a reply. 4 of your emails might make it to living, breathing members. Not good odds.
- Zoosk even tactfully uses these dead profiles in their extra charge services, such as “Boost”. You physically need to be online to activate this service. Yet, when you click on a boosted member, you’ll find that they haven’t been online, even recently. So, how did they get onto this extra-charge service? Zoosk pretty much randomly loads in members for their “Boost” feature when they don’t have enough current members willing to pay for it.
- If you want to test this theory, do a search, say within 50 miles of your location. Keep track of those members who show up as “Currently Online” or “Recently Online”. If the member isn’t tagged with either one of those, odds are it’s a dead profile.
- If you decide to quit Zoosk, take down all your photos and delete the bulk of your profile. This will keep from misleading other members 10-years from now.”
Reddit user Arise212 writes:
- “Most of the female profiles are fake or inactive. You will get auto responses from many of them after you send them a message, but its misleading because they don’t appear to be auto responses at first. I find this to be deceptive of on Zoosk’s part. Hopefully the site has changed since then, but I doubt it.”
The final word on Zoosk
Zoosk has a great dating platform with a clean design that makes the site really easy to use and interact with other members on the website and app. But, there are just so many seemingly inactive profiles that it might feel like you’re trying to get out of a city in The Walking Dead.
With its 40 million members in over 80 countries, it’s tough to decipher the bogus users from the real ones, though we have high hopes that the verification system could work to combat this.
Its pricing structure is on par with other dating sites, but not competitive enough considering all of its flaws, especially when it comes to its “microtransactions” and coins system. While paying for upgrades makes sense for “freemium” games like Clash Royale, Pocket Frogs, and The Simpsons: Tapped Out, it just doesn’t always make sense for a dating site — especially one that’s essentially making users pay to weed through tons of seemingly dubious profiles.
Overall, every problem with the platform boils down to who is on the other side of the profile. While navigation is clean and easy, the experience just isn’t. It’s frustrating that it makes more sense to just approach actual people you find attractive in the real world.
But if you’re over other dating apps like OkCupid, Tinder, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, Hinge, eHarmony, and Match, then maybe you might find that special someone on Zoosk. Every dating app has its fair share of problems with bogus and inactive users — it just seems (in this writer’s experience) like they’re more prevalent here. But because of its ease of use, intuitive design, and pick-up-and-go-style, it has some saving graces that might be worth it for some singles.