I first found DateHookup in 2008 via HItwise, a statistical aggregator that looks at the top websites in a variety of categories and niches. At the time, the site created quite a stir by ousting some of the long-standing, top dating sites in the US in this highly-regarded ranking, so I had to check it out and see what the hubbub was about. Even now more than a handful of years later, it's still a free, easy-to-use and well-populated dating site, and I'm surprised it doesn;t come up more often.
"DateHookup.com is a 100% free dating site (you knew that already right?). Why does that matter? Well, besides the obvious benefit of being free for everything, we can have a lot of great features that pay sites don't have. Pay sites are only concerned with one thing, getting you to pay. All we care about is you having a good experience using this site so you can tell your single friends to join!" ~ Date Hookup's About Us page circa 2008.
What a Membership Includes
Date Hookup tries to keep their website simple, straightforward and without too many bells and whistles to confuse users. With this in mind, the site provides exactly what it attempts to: a place for singles to meet other singles without having to pay a membership fee.
Therefore, all users have access to the same features: blog, customizable profile, forums, send and receive emails, custom search saving and a simple social networking option to 'friend' other users. There is no instant messaging feature on Date Hookup.
Potential users can peruse the entire site - including the date ideas and forums - without actually signing up for a membership. The profile process is quick and relatively simple, and doesn't have minimum character rules when it comes to the written part of the process - a nice feature when trying to sign up and look around right away, but not-so-hot when you want to learn more about someone that has piqued your interest. Mind you Date Hookup is free, so it doesn't take much to send off a quick email and learn more. If for whatever reason you decide to take a break from the site, you'll be asked to reset your password once you sign in again.
An interesting feature that works surprisingly well is the interests portion of one's profile; when you sign up, you're asked to make a comma-delineated list of the things that you enjoy. Whether you list one item or many, every person that shows up in your search results later will then have your common interests listed below their profile. As well, you can perform searches just to find others with similar interests.
The search feature in general works well, and there are many options to find other users that fit your specific criteria. Just make sure that you change the automatically filled-in details before you search the first time, or else you'll get a huge list of 18-30 year old women within 1000 miles of your own zip code - as I did the first time. Once I'd changed my search, I found well over a hundred eligible men in my geographic area, although I did note that even though I'd asked to be shown men within 100 miles of my area, I received a considerable number that were 100-150 miles away in my search results. (The second time I did this, years later, the same thing happened - although I now had more than 50 pages of eligible bachelors listed, and still in a larger geographical area than I'd specified).
Some other notes of interest: the only options for search are heterosexual, gay or lesbian (zero options for bisexual, pansexual, or transgendered folks), the "Let's Meet" column is little more than clicking on a Yes, No or Maybe to meeting someone, in the Advanced Tab, you have have your specialized search queries emailed directly to you periodically.
There are no fees to join or maintain a membership at DateHookup, however (supposedly) you can purchase a VIP Pass to get additional, non-essential features such as access who is into you, a Hot List, and zero ads. VIP memberships auto-renew, and are non-refundable as per the site's Terms of Service. Prices are:
- One month for $6.95;
- $5.95/month for three months, which means you're paying one lump sum of $17.85;
- $4.90/month for six months, which adds up to one lump sum payment of $29.40.
I'm unsure what currency this was shown in, however I'm Canadian so that may factor in. They accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards as payment.
The Fine Print
Most dating sites have a bit of legalese to agree to before you sign up, and many have a few tidbits that I like to point out in case you're skimming instead of investigating fully. Most of the items here are normal, in that all of the major dating sites have similar clauses (see Dating Site Fine Print for more details). So with that in mind, here's a few things to take note of before sharing your information:
- Anything that you post in a public area of the site (including your own photos) can be used by DateHookup with an "irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, fully paid, worldwide license to use, copy, perform, display, and distribute such information and content and to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such information and content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing";
- You cannot share your own or anyone else's email address, phone number, mailing or physical address with other members of the site at any time;
- Most dating sites use automatic billing for subscriptions, and DateHookup is no different (this means your credit card will be charged at the end of the term of your subscription automatically, unless you go into the site and cancel it);
- The site has the right to create "test" profiles;
- Deleting your account means your profile will get erased, however anything you post in the forums will remain intact;
- The information you share with DateHookup may be used at other IAC properties as well (see disclaimer below); and
- If you have any issues or questions, you can contact the site directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bottom Line
I recommend Date Hookup to anyone looking to add a free dating site to their arsenal. Its features are easy to use and the site well-populated with users. The only downfalls are that there is no way to determine what kind of relationship anyone else on the site is looking for (unless they've chosen to post it in their profile), and there is no instant messaging system to chat with someone anonymously should they be online at the same time as you. A solid choice.
Disclaimer: As of 2013, IAC owns both DateHookup and About.com (as well as many other dating sites, like OkCupid, SinglesNet, Chemistry.com and Match.com). I reviewed this site of my own accord prior to the companies having the same umbrella organization, and updated the review in 2014.