Is it still possible to find an online dating site that places an emphasis on substance and provides its members with a top-notch user experience? Spark.com has been in continuous operation since 1997. Throughout that time it has always benefited from positive user feedback. The question is, how reliable is it today? Would it be an online dating site that you would want to use? We conducted a full review of Spark to determine if they are still as good as they once were.
Spark Review Results
Final Word on Spark.com
Spark.com, in our opinion, has retained the quality of service and results-oriented focus that is has had for two decades. If you are looking for a dating site that will help you find a long-term partner, we would recommend Spark.
We rate is as Good.
— Pros and Cons —
- Serious-minded user base, few trolls or fake profiles
- You can search profiles without registering
- Free version allows you to respond to messages
- Over 20 years of continuous operation
- 50/50 male to female ratio
- Site’s design and aesthetic may seem “aged” to some
- Number of users online at any given time low compared to other sites
- Profile building process is time-consuming
— In-Depth Spark.com Review —
Any dating site that has been in operation for two decades implies that it is backed by experience and know-how. Spark.com likes to refer to itself as a “fun site for serious daters.” Based on our experience with Spark from years past, we would concur with their slogan. We would also vouch for their past performance. However, times change — user expectations become more sophisticated. We were curious if Spark could keep up with the times.
Upon revisiting Spark, it was obvious to us that the site had undergone some minor changes. The overall look of the site, however, still appeared slightly dated. This did not concern us too much because Spark had always relied on its substantive matchmaking performance and not on its aesthetics.
— What Makes Spark Stand Out —
Site design and fanciful navigation are definitely not the strong suits of Spark. What does make the site stand out are two unique features. First, it allows visitors to search through its user database without having to register. In our opinion, this provides an excellent way for you to gauge the potential of the site without having to spend time or money beforehand.
While nearly every online dating and hookup site in existence offers some version of a free membership, very few allow access to their communication features without a paid upgrade. Spark is different. They allow free members to respond to email communications received from paid members. In our opinion, this further reinforces the trust that Spark has in the quality of its service. By allowing new members broad access to their features, those that do decide to upgrade do so having been fully empowered with the knowledge of what it is that they are paying for. This creates a more focused user base as opposed to one that is superficial and impulsive. In an industry that often places quick conversions over absolute customer satisfaction, Spark’s approach is very refreshing.
— Registration Process —
The initial registration process on Spark requires new users to provide basic data such as desired username, password, date of birth, etc. While that gets your foot in the door, establishing a user profile is a little bit more involved.
A personal profile on Spark starts by responding to 20 open-ended questions regarding your personality and what you are looking for in a relationship. After this, there is the color-coded personality test. Yes, when Spark claims that it is the site for serious daters, it is not kidding.
The entire profile building process will take you anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. It is involved, it is time-consuming, but in our opinion, it is worth it. This robust profile building process is what feeds the Spark algorithm, which in turn offers you superior matchmaking results.
— Spark’s Features —
Being a member of Spark offers you access to five key areas. These are: matches, secret admirer, search, hot list, and community.
Under the “matches’ section, you are presented with profiles that the Spark algorithm has determined to be good potential matches for you and that live in your area. You’re able to look in-depth at each profile and determine whether or not you want to send that person an email message.
The “secret admirer” section is reminiscent in functionality to what you would be accustomed to in a swiping app. The profile images of suggested matches are presented so you can approve or disapprove. If you approve, the other member is then given the opportunity to either accept or reject. If they accept, a line of communication is opened between the both of you.
The search function on Spark is for those who want to take a hands-on approach to finding a match. The Spark search engine allows you to conduct both quick and advanced searches. The quick search function is a very efficient way to glance through a large number of potential matches very quickly. The advanced search feature allows you to fine tune your results based on specific attributes and criteria that you select. In our testing, we found that these advanced search results yielded highly qualified matches. However, they tended to be few in number.
The “Hot List” feature allows you to examine the members that have seen your profile. It also provides you with a list of those profiles which you have viewed.
The “community” section combines a collection of public chat rooms and message boards. It is also where you can access Spark TV — a collection of dating tips and tutorials on video. The chat rooms and message boards themselves, we found to be an excellent secondary source for meeting and engaging with other members of Spark.
— User Base —
The demographic breakdown of Spark members is evenly split along gender lines. Also, over 60 percent of the members have a college education. Additionally, over 75 percent of the membership identifies their income bracket as being above $50,000 per year. From what we observed during our testing, based on the profiles that we saw and the interaction that we had with other members, we were satisfied that’s the average Spark user was indeed a serious-minded individual focused on finding a long-term relationship.
— Cost —
While the free version of Spark does allow you to respond to all incoming messages, it does not allow you to initiate messages or use any of the other communication functions. To use those, you must have a paid membership. A one-month subscription will cost you $24.99. You can lower the average monthly expense to $11.99 if you pay for six months in advance.