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Contacting methods

Most communication methods dating sites use revolve around email one way or another. Not all systems are created equal, in fact some are far superior than others. Below is a description of some of the messaging systems personals sites use.

Basic email messaging system

The way this system works is you type in a subject and body on a page on the site, sort of like you are typing an email, then when you send it, their system actually sends the user an email to their email address with your message. You don't actually get direct access to their email address, which is a good thing as it protects a user's privacy. With this system you have no idea if your message actually got to the individual, nor do you know if they have read it. This system is pretty basic, most sites use it.

Enhanced emailing system

This system is similar to the basic system, except it has some additional management features. A system like this will keep track of messages you sent so you can see in case you maybe forgot who you sent messages to. It may also allow you to submit a picture along with the message. Some of the better dating sites will have a system like this.

Custom messaging system

Some dating sites will employ a custom messaging solution in combination with email, providing a richer user experience. If implemented properly a custom system will give you a lot more control and generally make things easier for you. As an example we will describe the system used by DateHookup.com (hey, that's us! what a coincidence..). We created a completely integrated messaging system. What makes it cool is when you send someone a message, you can actually check to see the status of the message. When you send someone an email, you have no idea whether they have read it, unless they reply to you. With our system, you can view all of your sent messages and see if they have been seen, been read, or deleted (hopefully not deleted ;-)). You can also filter messages, showing messages sent to or received from certain people. You can also attach pictures to your message. Keeping the messaging system integrated with the site makes for an easier, more enjoyable user experience. At least we think so.

Chat/Instant messaging

Some dating sites have some sort of chat and/or instant messaging system. These can be pretty useful if both parties don't have instant messaging software from MSN, Yahoo, or AOL. However most people do have instant messaging software, so having this feature on a dating site is somewhat redundant, but still useful for sure.

Video, voice, web cam

Some personals sites have web cam chat. This is pretty cool since you can see the person while you are chatting. Some sites will allow you to send a video or voice message along with an email. Neat for sure, but most people don't have web cams so these features aren't terribly useful right now. The difficulty in setting these things up and getting them working is honestly too much for most people. We like dating sites that keep things simple yet useful. No need to confuse people.

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