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Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2008 at 10:27 am

Is Love Spontaneous or Methodical?

By Holly Buchanan
September 30th, 2008

So many of the websites I see today are designed for the spontaneous – for those who just want to jump in and take action. They can get answers to their questions later.

But what about the methodicals – those who want their questions answered BEFORE they jump in and take action?

I found two different online dating sites with these two different approaches to getting visitors to interact with and sign up with their sites.

match.com_home_page.jpg – Their home page is pure spontaneous – one image (is it just me or does that girl look like she’s 13?) and one action you can take  - “start searching now, it’s easy” -  plus one special offer “Guarantee – find someone special in 6 months or we’ll give you 6 months free.”   The whole home page is designed for someone in spontaneous mode who just wants to start looking, no questions asked.

plenty_of_fish___home_page_1.jpgCompare that to - Their home page is mostly methodical.   New visitors see a list of four points (numbered, which the methodicals loved) answering questions that those methodicals want answered BEFORE they take even one action on your site.   (They’re not going to waste their time looking around until they determine it’s worth their while to spend time on this site.) Here’s the text from the home page:

1. We banish anyone who is extremely rude, has anger management issues, uploads fake pictures or is otherwise unfit to date.

2. Unlike traditional Dating sites we don’t put a pay wall between you and everyone you try and contact.

3. Social Dating is all about giving you tools you need to help YOU find someone. Traditional Paid Dating sites care about the exact opposite, raising prices and trying to keep you around longer. If paid dating sites gave you what you wanted they’d go bankrupt.

4. We delete and banish scammers, it’s easy to do. Traditional Paid Dating sites have little interest in deleting fake profiles because they could convince you to pay for the service.

The only image in the active window is actually an ad for a different dating site.    Other than signing in, the only action you can take is almost below the fold where they do actually show you some profiles you can start browsing.

I did notice that when you return to, you see a different page that is now designed for the more spontaneous with profiles for you to browse in the active window on the home page.

So – which approach is more effective?    That probably depends on if you are more spontaneous or more methodical.    When it comes to love, I think Woody Allen put it best….

“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer. To suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy then is to suffer. But suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you’re getting this down.”
- Woody Allen,

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Comments (18)

  1. Interesting question, there are spontaneous people, and there are methodical people. So love could be either way, spontaneous OR methodical!

  2. I have come to the conclusion that love is neither. It makes no sense to me at all ;)


  3. Interesting methods….PlentyofFish is actually warning people when looking for love. I wouldn’t think that’s the first thing you want to see when coming to their page. Also I keep hearing that website kicks you off just for being semi-attractive (assuming you are a “fake”) and blocks your IP automatically. All in all, a bad way to run a dating site. So we’re going to go with Match being the better one — Spontaneous! :)

  4. It’s a shame we can’t go back to the old dating sites, you know, church, local bingo games, neighbors yard and just running into someone in the library. I guess those days are long gone. That was the spontaneous times. These times of online dating services are methodical. Both have their good points and bad points. I’ll just let nature run it’s course and if one comes along, I might give it a shot. Nah, probably won’t even go there. You don’t have to be with someone to be happy ya know.

  5. Love the headline. it makes me suffer ;)

  6. Love is what it is, both at one time or another.

  7. I’ve actually used the PlentyofFish site since March. It’s a joke compared to OKCupid for both spontaneous or methodical longers of love. However, neither site nor method ain’t got me squat. But hey, I’m already in love, she just ain’t around much, touring and all. I never cared for Woody Allen, though he sure get’s the babes. Maybe I’m missing his method.

  8. I don’t like either homepage all that much. Plentyoffish looks like Craigslist for dating, but that attracts a certain audience, and not neccesarily one I would want to date. Match says so little that I am sure there is a gotcha. And the “find someone in 6 months or get 6 months free” is obvious and deliberately deceptive copy, implying a money back guarantee when you know the 6 months free are not the 6 months you just paid for. Any developers have some bandwidth and want to build a free online dating site to take them both on?

  9. I think people like to be able to see everything that a site has to offer before filling in their information.

  10. Not that i can always do this, but for lead generation i try to create multiple sites. That way we can still close both types of users.

  11. Very interesting article, if you look at the homepage of Match’s new free dating site to compete with PoF) it is a cross between the two pages you have demonstrated, so perhaps catering to the spontanious and methodical?!

  12. interesting read.

  13. I’d say Match takes the cake here! Although their recent TV spots leave a little to be desired. “It’s OK to look” commercials being played during family TV time.. not impressed with that.

  14. I find that these things are rarely black and white. It’s probably a combination of spontinaety and method.

  15. I found this topic very interesting. I have seen movie about it.
    Watch online free movie

  16. Not just Woody Allen but most would recognize it: the ultimate is happiness. Love might contribute to happiness but knowing what happiness actually is, is genuine happiness.

    Real Happiness

  17. Spontaneous love seems to happen in day to day life where as methodical connections can be made when going out and seeking a date or love online. Everyone looking at online dating sites is there because they want to make love or a connection happen deliberately.

  18. TV spots leave a little to be desired. “It’s OK to look” commercials being played during family TV time.. not impressed with that.

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Holly Buchanan is a marketing to women consultant specializing in marketing to women online. You can read her blog at She is the co-author, along with Michele Miller of The Soccer Mom Myth - Today's Female Consumer - Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys.

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