Meetic is an international dating service with a network of sites serving several different countries. It's more popular in Europe than in the United States. The paid service offers email, instant-chat and sophisticated search functions, though doesn't provide a personality matching system.
Meetic is strongest in Europe, particularly in France, and offers access in a variety of languages. The site boasts an average of 50,000 users actively logged in and online, with tens of millions of members in total.
Realistically, the Meetic family of sites probably has less than 2 million active users worldwide, with most of these concentrated in Western-Europe. It is primarily a pay site, and users that attempt to utilize it without the subscription service will likely find themselves limited and frustrated.
The Sign-Up Process
So, you've decided to sign up and get a feel for the site. Maybe you would like to see if there are any interesting people to contact in your area before paying for the right to contact them. It's time to sign up and create a profile. Fill in all of the forms, upload a few pictures, and then wait for days. You have just entered the approval process.
Moderation and Approval: Any time you update, create, or add to your profile the new content (images, text, etc) will have to be approved by moderators. Initial approval is within a few hours, but for things like main profile images there may be up to several days wait before your content will finally show up in the search.
Content is highly monitored and pretty much everything posted to a profile must be approved before it becomes public. If you change one line in your profile, expect it to await moderation before it is available on the site. Have patience. You won't be finding a date for this weekend, but you might have a chance for next week if you're lucky.
Images: For your main profile picture, the site requires a head shot. Think drivers license or passport picture. Pictures that contain a clear image of your face will likely be denied unless your face is the only thing in the shot. There isn't really another option for the shy ones among us, other than to simply not have a main profile picture. "Less formal" photos can be uploaded to your photo album.
Free Versus Paid
What You Can Do With a Free Account: Set up your profile, use the search, receive emails (you won't be able to read them but you'll see the titles and who they are from in your inbox), and get and send winks. Free members can communicate with paid members who've purchased the optional "CONNECT package". However locating members who have purchased this option is a bit like trying to find a "needle in a haystack".
You will not be shown who has winked at you or who has viewed your profile on the site, but they do send emails to your real email address that names the person that winked and includes a link to their profile. It is a bit of a work-around but better than what the limited on-site only free services allow. If you attempt to access features on the site that you have not paid for you will invariably be redirected to a page to purchase a subscription.
What You Can Do With a Paid Account: Contact people, see who is viewing you, see who is winking at you, read emails, send and receive instant-messages, create and save favorite searches, view the personal photo albums of other members, see reverse-matches and mutual-matches, and have access to customer support.
Billing and Cancellations
There have been some complaints about issues with billing and cancellations at Meetic in the past, so you may want to make sure to use a credit card that will allow you to cut off payments if necessary. Using PayPal is also a good choice since they allow you to stop recurring payments instantly unlike some credit cards. Those considering purchasing a subscription should read the terms and conditions carefully and check the cancellation policy (currently, subscriptions must be cancelled no later than 48-hours before their renewal date). Print a copy of the terms and cancellation policy for your records (good practice when making any purchase). This may come in handy should a dispute with re-billing arise.
The search will show you local profiles by default. The resulting list usually contains more profiles "missing images" than it does complete profiles, at least for those of us searching from within the UK. Users in other countries might have better results. The completed profiles are limited enough in numbers that the search feels more like a desperate attempt to connect with any of those that actually have a pulse rather than searching for a precisely perfect someone.
Searches: The search feature is quite extensive with a large variety of options to choose from to hone down your search for the perfect someone. Search areas include location, marital status, if they live with their parents (helpful info!), religion, spoken languages, physical features, occupation, education, income, character, tastes, activities, and habits. It also lets you filter members by when they were last online and if they have a photo. Paid members can save searches for later rather than having to input their search specifications each time.
There are no extensive personality surveys on Meetic and you won't be presented with automatic "compatible matches", a practice that is prevalent on other dating sites these days. By and large, members are left to explore the community themselves and make their own connections with others they meet there. There are a few pre-set searches including:
- "Perfect matches" - list people who match your "about my date" answers (available to free members)
- "Reverse match" - list people who are searching for someone like you
- "Mutual matches" - Combines the above two searches
Communication with others: Communication with others is standard for an online site. You may send and receive winks, add members to your favorite list (they will be notified), and send and receive emails and instant messages if you have a paid membership. Free members will find themselves limited to sending winks.
Email notifications: An option on the site allows you to decide what notifications should make it to your out-of-site email address. The options include choosing whether to receive an email when someone sends you a message on the site, winks at you, views your profile, or add you to their favorites. It also allows you to decline general site spam like promotional offers.
Mobile Services: Meetic offers a mobile version that can be accessed at m.meetic.com. The providers and mobile phones it is available on vary by country.
Personal Quizzes: I would highly recommend responding to quizzes and creating your own quiz as it makes a great "icebreaker" and allows you to learn a little more about other members on the site. You can choose from an extensive library of pre-made questions or create your own. The quiz will become available on your profile and any responses will appear in your inbox.
Changes to Come
Meetic has plans for this year to install features that allow mobile users to determine who is in their area real-time by utilizing GPS technology. Because of safety concerns, Meetic is thinking about only making a map of men available, while keeping women's locations private.
To Sum Up
Meetic shows promise in several areas and already has a significant user group. Taking a peak to see who is available in your area is recommended before taking the plunge into full membership. This is due to the significant number of incomplete profiles in some locations, but I wouldn't rule Meetic out completely before taking a look. After all, they do seem to have attracted a major portion of the European dating populace.