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Spark.com is a highly ranked, and poorly rated dating site.
How can it be both things? The answer lies in their marketing excellence and poor delivery performance. It isn’t that the site is a bad site; it’s that it is entirely deceptive about what you will find on it. It isn’t a “free” site that has a ton of hidden charge; it is basically an escort site masquerading as a serious dating site. So serious, in fact, that most of its marketing copy is focused on making mention of how they compare to Match.com and eHarmony.
Spark looks happy when you first hit on it. The standout is the big smiling, young and very white woman with good teeth – in other words, a stock photo. You are immediately asked to enter in what you are searching for and inundated with information about how they are just as good as Match.com and eHarmony. This is what attracts so many people to look at the site, the hope for a cheaper alternative to these well-established sites.
The first clue to what Spark really is all about is found at the bottom of the landing page – a rider that Spark does not do background checks on its members and a link to online dating safety. A look inside and it becomes very obvious that there are more fake profiles than real ones listed.
How does it compare in the real world?
Spark is not a very popular site. It ranks 177,288 globally with a drop of 54,287 in rank over the past year. It lists as 48,064 in the US. If you just look at the demographics, you might get a different picture of what Spark is all about then its reality.
- Most of the users are women in the 20s to 30s
- They have some college education and most access the site from a school institution.
- It is only frequented by users in the US.
So if it is so demographically limited, why does it have such a high global rank? For one, it has an unusually high bounce rate, which means people find it – look at it, and go away.
Spark allows members to browse profiles for free. Once you find someone you like, you have to have a paid membership in order to contact them via chat, message or email.
- Spark TV – this really is the only stand out feature to mention. It isn’t going to do anything for you but provide you with a moment’s entertainment, and it definitely isn’t worth paying for the small laugh it will bring you. Spark TV hosts a series of dating advice videos that are just so wrong they are right.
There is not much else offered on this site in terms of a feature. There are generic search options and you do get to see who visited your profile, but you cannot opt-out of being seen.
Price and membership
It is nearly impossible to find reliable information on what Spark costs to join. The basic membership price is listed between $19.99 and $29.99 a month, but even on their site – knowing what you will wind up paying is confusing even when you want to sign up to pay. The goal of the site is to allow you to browse for free – which lets them bill themselves as a “free” site, but then you have to pay in order to contact anyone on the site. The lack of clarification extends to the lack of knowing where to go and what to do if you want to cancel your account. There are a host of complaints against this site for overcharging and charging after an account has been canceled.
Spark is a site that would do better to stop pretending to be anything other than what it is, a place for escorts to list their profiles and men to shop for them. Unfortunately for them, they have really good copy that would work well for a real dating site. The effect is a backlash of visitor reactions, which has led to a dramatic drop in membership and very poor usage statistics. If you want to pay, at least play honestly. If you are looking for a serious date, go somewhere else.