One of the biggest decisions you have to make when it comes to online dating is: Which site is the right one for me? This is ultimately the first step before writing a profile, uploading pictures, and getting yourself “out” there. For a lot of singles, the answer is found in one of the thousands of sites that claim to review and rank the best dating sites on the internet. Unfortunately, those sites have often never tested any of the sites they are reviewing or ranking and you could end up suffering because of their greed.

The main thing you have to realize is that these sites are here to make money. They do it through affiliate marketing. If you aren’t familiar with it, affiliate marketing is when a website posts a link to another website on their page that includes a special identifying tag. Whenever someone clicks on that link to the other website and makes a purchase, the other site gets a kickback that could be as much as $25.

There’s nothing wrong with affiliate marketing. In fact, it helps a lot of smaller businesses compete with big corporations. However, the problem begins when people mislead the public and manipulate them so they are most likely to click the link that results in the highest kickback. That’s right, on a lot of these “Best Online Dating Sites” websites, the dating sites are not ranked by quality, but by how much the site owner could make if you click on the link.

How can you protect yourself?

best-dating-sites1First, look at the ranking list. If Zoosk is near the top, that’s a good sign that this list is just a money making scheme. Zoosk offers high payouts, but is considered by most dating industry experts to be a being horrible dating site. Also, look and see if there are sites that could be considered “adult” in nature. The adult dating industry pays big royalties through affiliate marketing. If you see a site that that has adult, hookup, or the letter X in the name, this is another red flag.

Second, look at the link you are about to click on. If the site is using an affiliate link, you’ll generally see a much longer url when you put your mouse over the link. This one even has the word affiliate in the link.

best-dating-sites2Not all affiliate review sites are bad

It is important to remember that there are a lot of sites out there that do post good reviews of dating sites. Many of them include affiliate links. After all, it would be a waste to pass up the free money that dating sites are offering. The important thing is to trust your instincts and look over the whole list for the warning signs that you just learned.

If you don’t feel comfortable with the review sites and you want one on one guidance with choosing the best site for you, creating a profile, and learning how get more responses, ProfileHelper has been working with singles for more than a decade and we’d love to help you too. You can check out our online dating help services HERE.