Normally, The Dating Gurus directly reviews online dating sites. But because online dating review sites are so prevalent, we feel it's constructive for us to occasionally review the reviewers.
It's a tricky job, because it sounds so much like sour grapes. After all, aren't they the competition? While we admit that it's difficult, we do adhere to the ethics of our Review Policy.
What Top 10 Best Dating Sites Claims to Offer
No review site has as big a presence as does Top 10 Best Dating Sites ("Top Ten"). Google anything related to dating, and ads for Top 10 Best Dating Sites show up at the very top.
On the face of it, Top 10 contains reviews of dating sites, links to those sites, and articles about online dating.
According to the site, the reviews are based on "our editorial rating" of the site, and also "incorporates customer reviews." In other words, it's the subjective view of the site owners with reader reviews added in.
Subjective views are fine; you can't be anything but subjective when reviewing products or services. The Dating Gurus will always admit that our dating site reviews are subjective and may differ from the opinions of others.
Is Top 10 Best Dating Sites a Scam?
Not, it is not a scam.
But we feel it is dishonest because it offers bogus dating site reviews based solely on how much kickback money they will get for referring the site. Review sites can become affiliates of dating sites, receiving as much as $55 (from Adult Friend Finder) payout for a one-month signup.
Zoosk, which Top 10 lists as their the #1 best dating site, is especially lucrative to Top 10 because it offers $4.00 just to send you to the site--signup not required. While $4 sounds worse than $55, it's actually far better because of the way Web users like to move around a lot but not commit.
In one rare bit of disclosure about affiliate relationships, Top 10's About Us page says:
To offset the costs of maintaining this site, some links on our Top 10 chart are connected to affiliate ecosystems.
3 Reasons Top 10 is Dishonest
1. Anonymous: When you check the whois listing for "Top 10," a proxy is listed, rendering the domain anonymous. The Dating Gurus have registered the domain under proxy, too, but we have an About Us section in which we disclose our names and brief information about ourselves. Top 10 does have an About Us page, but it discloses nothing about the company or person behind it.
2. No Free Dating Sites Are Listed: This is the big problem. Where is OKCupid? Where is Plenty of Fish? Where is Grouper? These sites aren't listed in Top 10 because they do not pay out affiliate money. So, you're getting a skewed look at the world of dating sites: limited only to the sites that pay out, and with sites rated according to how lucrative the arrangement is for Top 10.
3. "Customer Reviews" Are False: Of the 24 "customer reviews" for Match.com, not a single one says anything bad. How is this possible? If you've ever looked at Amazon.com customer reviews, you know that even highly rated products have a few bad comments.