Zoosk is a dating-scene staple. It’s been on the scene for 13-years — it started as a desktop dating site back in 2007 when the iPhone was but a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye, but has since expanded into an app for both iOS and Android.
In 2019, Zoosk was bought by Spark Networks. Spark are the owners of a whole slew of successful name-brand sites like J-Date, Christian Mingle and EliteSingles. Zoosk, as a less niche site, is a smart addition to their portfolio.
Zoosk boasts 40,000,000 members worldwide, with many of them active at least weekly. Zoosk began as a free dating site, but since 2014 you’ve needed a premium membership to send messages. Zoosk is an unusual dating site: it learns every time you use it.
That means that the more you use Zoosk, the more accurate it is with your matches. That’s great business, but it’s also pretty great matchmaking! Feel free to check out my full guide to Zoosk, too, where I talk more about matching and algorithm.
Does Zoosk Work?
Zoosk is really open about how it operates. As I said, it uses your activity to work out who you are and in turn to match you to people you’ll get on with. Everything gathered about you is available to look at on your Dating Insights page. Who knows maybe you’ll even learn something about yourself? Wouldn’t that be beautiful!
The technology Zoosk uses means that there are no boring (or let’s face it, confusing) personality tests to fill out. You just use the site and wait for it to do its magic. Do keep in mind, though, that this method of learning about you might mean it’s not the best site you’ve ever been on at the beginning. Zoosk has to work you out before it becomes a finely honed dating tool.
The fact that Zoosk has been getting couples together since 2007 implies that it does work, though. It’s a well-regarded site with name recognition, and in 2014 it was listed on Inc’s 5000 fastest growing companies.
Just like with many dating sites, Zoosk isn’t a magic bullet (magic love bullet? Is there something there or does that sound gross?) and you have to put some time into your profile and your interaction with other users if you want to find a match you really click with. But with such a large, active pool of users and dating technology that you won’t find elsewhere it’s certainly one of the better dating site options, and it is even responding well to the challenges of a changing dating world.
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I’m sure you’re a busy person. Well, I’m sure you’re busy enough that spending days on Zoosk to work out if it’s for you or not doesn’t sound great. Lucky for you, I’ve got all the time in the world! Also, reviewing dating sites is my job. So, I’ve spent time on Zoosk so that you don’t have to. Read on to find my full review of the site, from who uses it to whether premium is worth the money to a few real life love stories that began on Zoosk.
Zoosk User Overview
As I already mentioned, Zoosk boasts an impressive 40 million users worldwide. These users are distributed throughout 80 countries, and the site supports a very impressive 25 languages.
Members are 55% male to 45% female, which is reasonable, even for a dating site. Men seem to be over represented in online dating generally, though less so on catch-all dating sites than niche ones. The highest proportion of Zoosk users by age are 25-34, with all other ages up to 55 reasonably well represented.
There are very few 55+ Zoosk users. Zoosk users tend to be looking for longterm dating or a serious relationships, though obviously that doesn’t mean every date ends in marriage, simply that Zoosk isn’t built to be a hookup site.
Zoosk welcomes LGBTQ+ users, with options for same sex dating. At the moment, there are no explicit options for poly or open dating but there are some implications that this may change at some point.
Zoosk Sign Up
Sign-up with Zoosk is really easy. The whole idea of the site is to avoid the dreaded personality tests that many other dating sites rely on, so a quick sign up is basically one of its selling points!
If you have a Google or Facebook account you can log in with that and avoid some of the basics of sign-up. Either way, the step after location, email and password is a handful of expected questions.
You’re asked about whether you want kids, whether you smoke and drink, and about your weight, height and religion. If you signed up with Facebook or Google your profile picture will be pulled straight from there.
If you didn’t, or that’s more a comedy picture than a come get me picture then you can upload one. The whole Zoosk sign-up process takes about two minutes so, if you’re putting it off for when you have more time, you can stop procrastinating and start your online dating journey.
Making Your Zoosk Profile
You don’t have to make your profile right away, but it’s not too much hassle and the more information you populate your profile with, the more likely you are to be contacted by a potential date.
Well, that’s usually true, unless you reveal yourself as a real weirdo I guess… but even then maybe a matching weirdo will come upon your profile and fall instantly in love. Either way, it’s best to be honest when you’re online dating, as if all goes well you will be meeting these people eventually!
Perfect Match and Ideal Date
These are basically questions: ‘what would your ideal date be?’ and ‘Describe your ideal match’. The date is the place to dream big and get specific. Maybe you want to hike Kilimanjaro with a partner, or man the first mission to mars just you and one other, special astronaut?
The match question, on the other hand, is a chance to seriously lay out what you want and need from a partner. Obviously, keep it classy if you can. Some physical characteristics you find attractive can be mentioned, but it would also be a good idea to talk about the kind of relationship you want and the personal characteristics in a partner that you think would compliment your own personality and lifestyle.
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Other Users’ Zoosk Profiles
Zoosk profiles are pretty standard and they should be pretty easy to work out, especially once you’ve filled out yours. Most people on Zoosk seem to fill their profiles out pretty well, which may be a sign that a lot of users are there for serious dating.
Reading matches’ stories and looking at their interests is a good idea if you want to see if you’ll actually get on, and it’s also pretty much the only way to stimulate a decent conversation! All profiles are checked by Zoosk moderators, so there’s a very small number of fake profiles or bots on Zoosk.
Clicking a smile or heart on other members’ profiles sends them a notification so that they know you’re interested as well as opening up a chat. They can then accept or deny the heart/smile, and if they accept the two of you are matched.
Finding Matches on Zoosk
There are three options for finding matches on Zoosk. These are the Search Page, Carousel and SmartPicks. Search is exactly what you would expect it to be. You can customise your searches carefully, including by pretty much every basic question that appears on Zoosk profiles.
These are: Age Range, Distance, Height, Religion, Relationship History, Has Children, Body Type, Ethnicity, Education, and Smoking Status. As you search, Zoosk will be logging who you linger on, who you dismiss, who you click through to and whether you end up messaging them.
All this info is used by the smarty-pants algorithm the site runs on to narrow down and order future search results and matches. Carousel is the obligatory Tinder-style dating game. You hit yes or no, or on a mobile device swipe left and right, on the pictures and basic profiles of suggested matches.
You can also click through to look at their full profiles if you like the look of anyone. The speed of Carousel allows Zoosk’s proprietary matching algorithm to gather a lot of info on you quickly, but the less considered nature of the gamified matching means that this information may be less accurate than the info gathered through search and SmartPicks.
SmartPicks is Zoosk’s version of matches. These are the member profiles the algorithm thinks you’ll like best, and as the algorithm learns more about you your SmartPicks will get… well… smarter (is anyone else beginning to get attached to this algorithm? I feel like it should have a name… but maybe that’s how the robot take-over begins?).
The longer you use Zoosk for, the more accurate your matches will be. You get a few SmartPick matches daily, and you’re asked to accept or reject them. Don’t worry if you sometimes reject all of the picks, it just makes it more likely you’ll find the one tomorrow!
Messaging on Zoosk
Only premium members can message on Zoosk, which means that you essentially need premium to use the site properly. Messaging is simple, with a chat that’s built to mirror a messaging app. You can message anyone in your Zoosk Connections as long as you’re a premium member.
Was I mysterious just there when I mentioned Zoosk Connections? Don’t worry, I can never keep mystery up for long. Zoosk Connections is essentially the master list of all your matches. Other users get stored in your connections when you match, and on the Connections page you can open up a conversation with any one of them and even see who is online.
Your connections are basically your confirmed matches — you have agreed that you might like to talk to one another, so Zoosk makes it easy to do so. Don’t worry though, you’re not matched for life, you can remove a connection at any time and any one of your connections can remove you as a connection. I mean, if they’re a total fool!
As you would expect from a modern and well-designed site like this, Zoosk has a really good app and it’s free for both iOS and Android. The app is easy to use and doesn’t take up much space, plus sign up is even simpler on the app than it is on desktop. If you’re a basic member then you will get some ads on the app that can be a bit irritating, but these will disappear as soon as you plump for premium.
Other Zoosk Features
Although it’s pretty easy to use, the big-brained developers at Zoosk do love to come up with extra features. I mean, the algorithm (Ted? Barry? Amelia?) is doing all the day to day work now, so they’re probably a bit bored. Other unusual features of Zoosk that are available for a price include Boost, Super Send, and Zoosk Coins.
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Zoosk Value for Money
Zoosk is one of the better value dating sites out there. Obviously, there are free options out there that offer general dating, but most aren’t aimed at serious daters and long term relationships. Zoosk also has technology and usability on its side — it’s a well designed and genuinely modern-seeming site, which is a huge plus. The algorithm is a draw and in the long run it saves time by making a lot of decisions for you and hopefully finding you the best possible matches. Even a single-month membership is about equal to many other sites’ multi-month offers; and the three months package is just a great value. Zoosk Coins, obviously, add an additional expense, but they are, in no way, essential for a great Zoosk experience.
Real Life Success and Reviews
Zoosk is genuinely one of the dating sites it’s easiest to find positive reviews for. Maybe that’s because it’s a site that’s built to appeal to as many people as possible, or maybe it’s because they have their own blog full of Zoosk success stories and marriages! But they wouldn’t be able to build the blog without the actual successes, right?
First, a 27-year-old male reviewer who wasn’t featured on Zoosk’s blog and maybe isn’t ready for marriage yet but does like Zoosk’s service:
I searched for popular dating sites in the United States and came across several Zoosk reviews and tests. I signed up for an account immediately when I saw how many members the site has worldwide. As soon as I filled out my profile, I was asked to validate my identity by connecting my social media accounts or verifying my mobile number. I chose the latter.
After putting the code to validate my account, I was encouraged more to increase my profile’s credibility by connecting my social media accounts. I did just that, and almost instantly, my profile views shot up. I subscribed to a 3-month premium subscription to see who viewed me and message the viewers of my profile. I got some replies and was even able to schedule some dates. In fact, I’m going on my third date with one of the ladies I met through Zoosk. I have a good feeling about where this relationship is going, and I have Zoosk to thank for that!
Next, Kristi, who almost missed out on meeting her partner, Andy. Thank goodness she didn’t as they’re now engaged!
I saw Andy’s picture in his ugly Christmas sweater and I knew he was real! I immediately messaged him and couldn’t wait for his reply! It took him a few days but when he finally responded I was away on a church retreat! He thought I “ghosted” him!! We met up a few weeks later and that was the end of that!
Final Thoughts on Zoosk
Zoosk is a fantastic all-rounder. The site is stylish and modern, and with that it’s super easy to use. The algorithm is great, it certainly makes sign-up easy, but whether or not you want to put your trust in a love-algorithm designed by a NASA scientist, you can use Zoosk to search for someone you’re inspired by.
You do need to pay for premium to make Zoosk worthwhile, but it is very good value for money especially if you’re careful about the additional Zoosk-Coin features you use. Zoosk is losing users to more modern apps, but these often tend more towards hook-up culture and it’s sometimes nice to experience the longer-form style of dating service.
Plus, Zoosk has a really good app of its own. Basically, if you’re seriously looking for love then Zoosk is definitely a dating app to consider. The monthly cost may put you off, but unless you’re really watching the pennies it shouldn’t be too much of a concern. Try it for free today by signing up here.