Zoosk is one of the world’s most well-known online dating sites. It’s used by those who are looking for something short-term, as well as those who are looking for something longer term.
As well as dates, it can also be used to find new mates.
And thanks to a recent revamp, it looks better than ever.
Hey, I’m Will. I’ve been testing out dating sites for the last few years to help others make better decisions regarding whether or not to sign up with them.
Recently, I gave Zoosk a try, a dating site that claims to have more than 40,000,000 members in more than 80 countries worldwide. There’s a mobile version and a desktop version, and it’s officially been around since 2007.
In this Zoosk Review, We will be taking a look at:
- How real the profiles are
- How easy the website is to use
- How secure Zoosk is
- How easy or hard it is to get what you’re looking for
Let’s make a start.
Pros of Zoosk
- Easy setup
- Good matchmaking service
- Profiles are verified to help you weed out the fakes
Cons of Zoosk
- Basic design
- Can feel a bit spammy
- Questions marks whether some profiles are bots
Before its revamp (which pretty much turned Zoosk into a premium dating site), Zoosk allowed its members to send and receive messages for free. This is no longer the case. Whilst you’re free to sign up to Zoosk and create a profile, you can’t do too much else. You can search for other users, and you can send them smiles and hearts to let them know you’re interested – but crucially, you can’t send them a message.
So how much does Zoosk cost?
Like most premium dating sites these days, Zoosk used a subscription-based model:
- 1 month – $35 per month
- 3 months – $25 per month
- 6 months – $20 per month
However, Zoosk’s payment plans are more flexible than most other dating sites because it also lets you buy coins if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee just yet.
What are the coins?
Coins are a form of currency that lets you use the premium features without locking yourself into a monthly payment plan. Naturally, they run out fairly quickly, but you can just buy more coins if you want to keep accessing the features:
- 180 coins – $0.1
- 480 coins – $0.8
When you upgrade your account, you can send and receive messages, and you also get full access to Zoosk’s matchmaking service, SmartPicks. You can also see who likes you.
Is Zoosk affordable?
Compared to rival dating sites that are aimed at the same target audience, Zoosk is priced competitively. It might not have a huge amount of premium features, but the fact that it’s home to 40,000,000 members, as well as a sophisticated matchmaking service (more on this soon) ensures that it offers plenty of value for money.
You can also pay for your subscription upfront (as opposed to paying on the monthly), and they often offer discounts in the form of promo codes (keep checking the site for these).
Audience Quality – Are The Profiles Real?
I get a lot of messages from people asking me if the profiles on dating sites are real or fake.
So, are there fake profiles on Zoosk?
In a word – Yes.
But not as many as there used to be.
See, before the revamp, Zoosk was well-known for being the dating site where “dating profiles go to die.” It was FULL of bots, scammers, and inactive profiles.
However, since Zoosk was taken over and the site was fully revamped (and turned into a premium dating site), there are now fewer fake profiles.
The BIGGEST problem with Zoosk is that there are still dead profiles.
What is a dead profile?
It’s a profile that was created years ago (more than 10 years ago in some cases), but which is still searchable on the site.
The GOOD news is that it’s easy to spot a dead profile so that you don’t waste your time sending them a message. Here’s what you need to do:
Search for members within – say – 20 miles of your location. Some users will show up with the tag ‘Currently Online’ while others will show up with the tag ‘Recently Online.’ If a user has neither of these tags, it means they’re a dead user.
If you’re still not sure whether a user is active or inactive, you can take a look at their photos. These will be time stamped, and if the time-stamped is clearly old (5+ years ago), they’re surely a dead profile.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s annoying that we have to do all this to make sure a profile is active, and I wish Zoosk would clear the dead profiles away.
When it comes to fake profiles, there’s a way to spot these, too. Because Zoosk asks everyone to validate their profiles, you can see how each member validated theirs by clicking on their profile (as a free member, you can view full profiles) and taking a look at the bottom left of their profile picture. If you see a green tick like the one in the image below, it means they’ve verified their profile:
This doesn’t mean fake profiles don’t exist, but you can at least be sure whether a profile is real or not.
Another way you can personally validate a profile is by taking a look to see if the user has added links to their social accounts. That said, this is by no means a guarantee that a profile isn’t fake because – let’s face it – anyone can create a Facebook profile from scratch, before using it to create a fake Zoosk profile and then sending you a link to another website.
However, what raises a few suspicions is the sheer amount of messages, visits, and “likes” you get when you first sign up. Zoosk emails you each time someone sends you a message or likes you (sometimes they’ll even send you an email when somebody visits your profile). And when you first create your account, you may notice that your inbox is FLOODED with these types of notifications.
Once you click the email and try to see who has sent you a message or liked you, you’ll be taken to this page:
In other words, there are question marks over whether the profiles are real – or whether they’re bots used by Zoosk to encourage you to upgrade your account, or at least purchase coins just to see who’s sent you a message.
Again, the green verification is useful and you should definitely use it.
Other than that, the profile quality at Zoosk is hit and miss. Some are detailed, others aren’t. I guess it all comes down to how serious an individual is taking this, as well as what they’re looking for.
For example, those who are looking for something longer-term tend to fill out their profiles with listed interests and in-depth bios. Those who are looking for something more casual, or who are using out of boredom and haven’t subscribed yet, tend to either leave their profiles blank, or they’ll add one or two lines.
Note – you get a lot of these profiles on Zoosk. And because they’re free members, they won’t be able to reply to your messages.
Interface of Zoosk
The Sign-Up Process
The sign-up process at Zoosk is a breeze, and registration shouldn’t take you longer than ten minutes.
Zoosk asks you for the usual information, such as your birthday, your gender (and gender preference), as well as your email address.
However, unlike a lot of dating sites, you need to validate your account. This can be done by sending them your mobile number. Moreover, Zoosk needs to detect your location before you can move onto the next stage of the sign-up process, and it sometimes takes it a surprising amount of time to do this.
Once it’s discovered where in the world you are, it will then ask you for a photo (you can change your main profile picture at any time), before asking you a further 8 questions. These include questions about your body type, whether or not you have children, and your ethnicity.
It’s a really simple sign up process, and as soon as it’s all over, it’s time to start searching for other members and seeing who’s out there.
Like all premium dating sites, Zoosk is more than just a site where you search for users and shoot them a message. It comes with several features that are only accessible when you’ve upgraded your account.
But how useful are these features? Let’s find out:
SmartPick is – for many – what makes Zoosk “Zoosk.” It’s their very own, highly unique matchmaking service that pairs you up with other users it thinks are compatible with you.
It’s different from any other matchmaking service I’ve come across because, unlike most dating site algorithm’s that display matches based on the answers you’ve given to a personality test, SmartPick goes off your on-site behavior.
What does this mean?
From the moment you sign up to Zoosk, SmartPick (which is driven by Artificial Intelligence) monitors your behavior. Everything that you do on the site – who you message, who you don’t message, how you tweak your search filters – is fed into its algorithm. Over time, it learns your preferences and is then able to suggest more accurate matches.
Does it work?
No matchmaking service is ever perfect. But judging from my own results, I’d say SmartPick is fairly accurate.
Carousel is basically Zoosk’s version of Tinder.
It works like this:
Profiles are queued up for you according to your location (and other search preferences, such as age). It’s then up to you to decide whether or not to say “yes” or “no” to them.
Unlike Tinder, you also have the option of saying “Maybe.”
Occasionally, Zoosk asks if you said “No” by accident. This can actually get a tad frustrating, although it’s a nice idea. But it’s purely designed to get you to upgrade your account.
Whenever you say “Yes” to someone who also says “Yes” to you, the two of you are a match, and you can start chatting.
It’s a cool feature for when you’re in a rush and just want to flick through profiles. However, because you can’t actually click on a profile to see more, you’re essentially basing your decision based on a profile picture alone.
In your “Connections” are the people you’ve shown an interest in, either by sending them a smile or a heart. If they respond positively, they’ll be automatically added to your Connections.
What does this mean?
It just means that they’re one of your favorites on the site. It’s a handy feature because it allows you to gather together a few profiles that you might decide to message at a later date. Think of it like the Favorites feature that you get on other dating sites.
- Dating Insights
Dating Insights is a really interesting feature that, like SmartPicks, is wholly exclusive to Zoosk.
Basically, it’s a data center that collects data based on your activity on Zoosk. It learns more about you so that you can learn more about yourself.
What do I mean by this?
Dating Insights shows you the type of people you tend to ‘swipe’ for and message. It also shows you the types of people who like you. Ultimately, it shows you who you’re likely to date and who you’re likely to attract. Using this data, you can learn more about yourself and your dating style and – hopefully – improve your dating game.
- Super Send
The Super Send feature is a premium feature that is useful for whenever you’re in a hurry or don’t know what to say in an opening message.
It works like this:
Zoosk composes a flirty, automated message for you, which you can send to several people all at the same time.
It’s cute, it’s fun and because it’s based on Zoosk’s data, it tends to work.
The only problem with this feature is that some users will recognize that you’ve sent them a generic message, and thus they may not respond.
Also, whilst a Super Send is a great conversation starter, you need to be able to back it up with some original conversation of your own once someone replies to you.
- Zoosk Boost
I think Zoosk is one of the better dating sites when it comes to visibility. From my own experience (which I’ll be detailing a little later on), it was fairly easy to get seen on this site.
However, this may not be the case for all members. If you’re struggling to get seen, you can pay a bit extra for a Boost.
What does a Boost do?
A boost “boosts” your profile so that it’s seen by more people over a set period of time. This gives you the chance to expand your connections and possibly find more suitable matches.
In terms of Zoosk’s overall design, there’s not too much to argue about. The site is nearly organized, with all your important tabs nearly arranged in a column to the left of the screen:
Here, you can search for other members, check your messages, and use the SmartPick feature all with just one click of a button. You can also see who’s online now.
It’s really simple stuff that will suit most users who want a clean, user-friendly dating site that doesn’t come with loads of bells and whistles that make things complicated. It’s designed for quick engagement, and there are zero distractions. If you want to pop onto Zoosk to quickly check your messages, it’s really easy to do just that.
On the other hand, Zoosk hasn’t changed all that much over the years (even after the revamp), and it still looks more basic and even a tad more dated than many other contemporary dating sites.
Moreover, Zoosk comes with banner ads that can get a bit annoying. And when you combine those ads with the basic, dated design, it’s easy to see why some users accuse Zoosk of being a bit “spammy.”
All in all, though, those are really the only disadvantages, and Zoosk otherwise gets a major thumbs-up on the design front.
Privacy and Security
One of the biggest concerns that lots of people have when they consider signing up to a dating site is whether or not the site in question is safe.
Ever since the Ashley Madison debacle a few years ago, when millions of people had their data compromised thanks to a website attack, daters have become more security conscious online.
Other than that, Zoosk is like any other dating site when it comes to safety. Essentially, if you’re not 100% sure about the person you’re talking to, it’s always a good idea to arrange a video call before you meet them properly in person.
My Experience With Zoosk
Okay, let’s get to the truly important bit: Does Zoosk actually work? Can you find what you’re looking for here?
To help you make up your own mind about whether or not Zoosk is right for you, I created an account for myself to see how it rates as a modern dating site.
As mentioned, creating a profile on Zoosk takes a matter of minutes. There’s no need to fill out any lengthy personality tests or questionnaires because, whilst there is a matchmaking service, it bases its data on your on-site behavior, as opposed to any answers you give it.
With that in mind, I breezed through the sign-up process, added a few pics – and was taken straight to my homepage:
Within minutes, I was getting email notifications telling me that other members have viewed me, “liked” me – and even messaged me.
I was going to upgrade my account anyway for this review, but these emails further encouraged me. After all, I wasn’t able to see who had viewed me, liked me, or messaged me unless I subscribed.
With that in mind, I paid $35 for a month's worth of Zoosk and started rifling through profiles.
Like other members before me, I was a bit shocked at the number of fake profiles on Zoosk. This dating site had a really poor reputation a few years ago for fakes, bots, and spam. It seems that, despite the recent takeover and revamp, it’s still struggling with these issues.
Undeterred, I added some more pics to my profile, as well as a few extra lines about myself and who I was looking for, and left it a few days. When I returned, I noticed that I had a few Smart Picks waiting for me.
As I said earlier, Smart Picks is a key Zoosk feature that curates matches for you based on your on-site behavior. I have to say, the Smart Picks that Zoosk picked out for me were mostly suitable. I sent a few messages to some of them and used the Super Send for the rest of them. By the end of the day, I was talking to 3 women. We were chatting, flirting, and getting to know each other, and by the end of week 2 on Zoosk, I had arranged to meet two of them for drinks.
Ultimately, my experience of Zoosk was hit and miss. Like others, I’m still concerned by the number of seemingly fake profiles, whilst the basic design definitely doesn’t create a sense of romance.
It’s also REALLY frustrating when you send someone a message but they can’t even view it because they’re not a paid member.
However, engagement on the site is generally good, there are lots of profiles on here to search through, and I’d say it’s definitely possible for anyone to land a date or two. As long as you do the right things and avoid the fakes, Zoosk can be a really profitable dating site. And that’s the case whether you’re looking for something short term or long term.
What Are The Best Alternatives To Zoosk?
To help you make your mind up regarding whether or not to sign up to Zoosk, here are some alternatives to consider:
- Plenty of Fish
Like Zoosk, Plenty of Fish (POF) has undergone a revamp recently, and it now looks better than ever. Unlike Zoosk, though, it’s completely free to send and receive messages.
With millions of users worldwide, an easy-on-the interface and zero distractions, POF is a solid free dating site that’s good for both short and long-term dating.
However, like Zoosk, it’s also plagued with fake profiles. Read the POF review.
OkCupid is another free site that’s great for new mates, dates – and even long-term romance.
It’s especially popular with the LGBTQ+ community, and thanks to restrictions on messages, signing up to OkCupid means you won’t be hassled by other members (users can’t send you a second message until you’ve replied to the first). Read the OkCupid review.
Match is one of the world’s most reputable dating sites. It’s been around for over two decades, it’s more aimed towards those looking for something longer term, and most of its members are aged over 25.
Like Zoosk, Match requires you to upgrade your account before you can send and receive messages. It also comes with a guarantee that gives you your second 6 months free if you don’t find someone suitable within the first 6 months. Read the Match.com review.
Is Zoosk Free?
No. You can sign up for free and you can search for other members, but you can’t send or even view messages until you upgrade your account.
Is Zoosk Safe?
Yes. Zoosk is a legit dating site that’s 100% safe and secure to use.
Does Zoosk Work?
It does, but you’ll need some patience. There are lots of real, genuine profiles on Zoosk, but not all of them are premium members. This means that you may end up messaging users who can’t even view your messages yet.
What Is SmartPicks?
SmartPicks is Zoosk’s matchmaking service that learns more about who you are and what you’re looking for from your onsite behavior. It then feeds your data into an algorithm and displays suitable matches. It’s easily one of Zoosk’s standout features.
All in all, Zoosk is a decent premium dating site. Like all dating sites, it has its flaws but as long as you have patience and are prepared to take your time getting to know someone, you can make a success of it.
SmartPicks is a worthy feature that will help you find what you’re looking for much quicker, and the overall layout and design of the site ensures a smooth, easygoing, and engaging online dating experience.