Internet Dating Websites vs. Matchmaking Services

Wednesday, January 09th, 2013

A hand holding a lit matchAt Muddy Matches we’re often asked about how we “match people up”, to which we answer “we’re not a matchmaking service, we are a niche website where people can search for other country-minded people and can upload a dating profile”.

We do not arrange dates for people, like traditional matchmaking agencies, but we’re happy to give advice if you would like to hear our thoughts on dating.

Here are some of the key differences between dating websites and matchmaking services:

The cost

The biggest difference between online dating sites and professional matchmaking sites is the cost; Muddy Matches costs from £22 for one month through to £88 for a year, whereas professional matchmaking services can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

We have mentioned before that by paying for an online dating site you are more likely to find people who are serious about finding love online than if you were to sign up for a free service, and the same thing applies to matchmaking services. By signing up to a matchmaking service you are committing time (meeting the matchmaker) and money to your search, which shows that you are committed to finding a long-term relationship.

If you do chose to use a matchmaking service, make sure that you do your research, as some matchmakers use internet dating sites to source dates for their clients and therefore present the same people to their clients that the clients may have already found for themselves!

Also, remember that paying for matchmaking services does not guarantee that you will meet someone, even though some do offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t meet anyone suitable.


While internet dating sites usually boast thousands, or even millions of users, matchmaking services are more likely to have a smaller and often ‘exclusive’ selection of people to choose from. Some matchmaking services also set rules for their clients, for example they might only cater for millionaires or the super-rich.

There are of course pros and cons to having a lot of people to choose from and at Muddy Matches we sit happily in the middle, being a niche dating site with 70,000 members.

What you see is what you get

With matchmaking services, you are relying on someone else to make a judgement about who is a good match for you. For some people, this can be an advantage as a matchmaker can find people who they may not have previously considered. For example a matchmaker may encourage you to date people from a wider age range or area.

Although it’s helpful to have someone to give you support and advice, it’s difficult to convey to another person everything that you like and dislike in a potential partner, for example it’s very tricky to describe what you find funny. When you look through an online dating site such as Muddy Matches you can get an idea of someone’s sense of humour and of their personality by looking at their profile.

Also, when you do your own searches you don’t have to explain to a matchmaker why you simply won’t date anyone who has put “You really haven’t lived until you’ve backpacked through the Himalayas” as their introduction.

Whether you choose to use an internet dating site or a matchmaking service is up to you, however also make sure that you are choosing a reputable business by asking for recommendations and by looking at review sites such as Yell or Freeindex.