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One of the most common features on most online dating websites is the promises of “free personals”. These offers usually entail spaces for members to post descriptions about themselves and post pictures. Though most sites advertise free personals as part of their services, the promise of free personals is often used to lure potential new members to the website. While visitors are able to create their own profile at no charge, in order to message or contact other members, or even view other ‘free personals’ all users may be required to register and pay.

With the influx of free personals into the online dating industry, the space for pay dating sites and pay personals is diminishing. As the industry gets more and more competitive, it’s almost a requirement for successful sites to offer their clients free services, or at the very least a free space to post personal information. Traditional classified ads are also moving online. Weekly newspapers and online classified services usually have a ‘personals’ section, though they are not always free to advertise in either.

Some online daters are using these free spaces as their own personal ads, and post private contact information, so they can be contacted outside the site. This approach is quite risky, however, since the security and privacy features included in most sites are not available once communication is taken outside the website. More importantly, the personal risks are much higher when posting personal information like phone numbers and addresses, anywhere on the internet. This approach can in fact be quite dangerous. Nonetheless, while many services are offering space for free personals and profiles, there are charges for almost all other features, though this too may be changing. In sum, be wary of the many online dating services who try to lure consumers with promises of “free personals”. While it may be true that the personal ads are “free”, in order to communicate with anyone or use any other features, there are often additional charges.