LavaLife is offering something very new in the online dating world by reaching back in time to before Internet dating was even an idea.
They emphasize actual live calls and phone chat over chat rooms and video chat. While this may seem like a strange choice, it is proving a very successful choice as the demographic they are reaching for is more comfortable with their phone than any other before it.
*** UPDATE 2020 It is now much better looking compared to when this review was written in 2014.
LavaLife is simple. It is just a big graphic of stock photos and a sign up box. Figuring prominently is the displayed number so you can call and talk to “sexy singles.” The visitor’s reaction to that small part of the main page will most often indicate their real age – if you are older, you will immediately associate it with the male oriented 900 numbers of the 80s. If you are in the targeted female demographic of 20 something, its sounds like a cool idea. Everything else about the site is no frills, but focused. There aren’t a lot of confusing bells and whistles. The site loads fast and works well. It even has a mobile application.
How does it compare in the real world?
When you take a look at the Alexa reporting on this dating site, things are very upbeat.
- Both the US and Canada are represented equally
- The global rank is up 6,185 points to 67,085
- Ranks 3,563 in Canada
- Users come and stay on the site for a significant amount of time each day
- Mostly female users in their 20s who are accessing the site from school
- Remarkably steady trending in traffic and usage
The overall statistical reporting on the site shows that it is holding steady and showing some growth, but not excessive spikes. This means that the site and its features are catching on and taking hold. It is important to note that the site is taking hold with a predominantly female demographic – this is the group that will build brand loyalty for life. Even if LavaLife doesn’t shake up the dating world, their next version will come with a pre-built loyal audience to help make it grow.
LavaLife is truly surprising in the features that it offers to its members. They are unique, exciting and encouraged a very interactive and engaged membership.
- All the normal features you would expect like IM, Chat and Messaging
- Advanced features such as forums and video chats
- A hosted video “party” that occurs 5 times a day
- Backstage areas where you can keep photos that can only be seen by people you invite “backstage”
- Winks, smiles and video greeting options
- A “call me” option which provides a secure way to let the other user you want them to call you at home
The “call me” feature is unheard of, but it seems to work well with the demographic that is attracted to this site. It is geared toward a demographic that is more used to cold calling and is also tapping into the trend of “voice verification” that has become standard with online dating safe practices.
Price and membership
The paid membership cost is surprisingly affordable given all the unique features that LavaLife offers –
- 1 month $19.99
- 3 months for $16.99/month
- 6 months for $9.99 a month
It should be noted that the monthly charges are billed all at once and not split over the duration of the contract. Payments are done on a rolling subscription basis. It is easy to cancel your account via an option under the settings on your profile. There have been limited complaints about the management of the payment system. LavaLife has evolved over the past ten years from a credit system to the prepaid membership system. Fortunately for many, they also now accept PayPal.
If nothing else, LavaLife looks to be a lot of fun, and a different way of approaching the online dating game. It has a good reputation for security and the “call me” feature is reputed to work well. If getting real is your thing, then this may be the ideal site for you. Even though it is a paid site, the membership fees aren’t outrageous. It has an active membership and looks to continue growing for some time.