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Online Dating Services - Dreamdates (Dream Dates) Review
Review by Joe Tracy, Publisher of Online Dating Magazine

Dream Dates

Dating Site: Dreamdates (Dream Dates)
Slogan: Where Online Dating is most real, fun, and effective
Updated Review Date: July 8, 2008
Original Online Dating Magazine Rating:5.5/10
Browse for Free? Yes

Cost Structure
Dreamdates gives the user a lot of freedom when it comes to the cost structure as you can purchase a full monthly membership or just purchase tokens that allow you to email others (at 2 tokens per message). Here's a breakdown:

Token Breakdown:
20 Tokens = $14.95
40 Tokens = $24.95
110 Tokens = $49.95

Monthly Membership Breakdown:
1 Month = $24.95
3 Months = $49.95
6 Months = $79.95
12 Months = $99.95

Best Feature:
It's a tie. First, photos are uploaded and approved very quick. More sites need this. Second, the technology and simplicity of the site is excellent. It's easy and fun to use.

Most Annoying Feature:
It's a tie. The first annoying feature is that Dreamdates allows you to rate other member profiles on a scale of 1-10 then the rating is displayed for everyone else to see (read further to see how to turn this bad idea off). The second annoying feature is that if you sign up for the romance group, the system shows you people who are online from the Erotica group. They should keep these two groups as far away from each other as possible since they promote two separate things.

Dreamdates is a bit hard to figure out. In some areas they really excell and in other areas they are downright frustrating. For example, they ask a lot of questions for your profile (including favorite cities, movies, and hobbies), but they fail to ask whether you smoke or not. They profess to have separate Relationship and Erotica sections, but they mix the two together in search results!

While Dreamdates has email communication like other online dating services, it differs when it comes to live communication. Dreamdates uses what is called "Virtual dating". You set up a Virtual date with another member and at the appointed time you are directed to a private area with a virtual landscape where you are represented by an avatar (as well as your date). From there you can text chat or voice chat with each other. The Virtual date feature is actually a lot more unique than other services and gives someone with first live online meeting jitters something extra to chat about to break the ice.

Dreamdates tries to be a top online dating site, but suffers from not being able to attract enough people to make it truly successful. As a result they create limitations on users, like making it a three step process to search for members "locally".

What really annoys me about Dreamdates is that they have a feature where when you view a person's profile, you rate them on a scale of 1-10. The profile shows what the "average" rating of the person is. I really felt sorry for some profiles that had a "4" rating (is this a dating site or a beauty pageant?). I'd purposely click 10 on profiles that had low ratings because I see this as a very degrading feature that does an injustice to online dating in general. Luckily, you can turn this feature off (if you know how) so that people can't rate your profile. Here's how:

Step 1: Log into Dreamdates.

Step 2: In the "Preferences-Profile" box, click "Manage My Account".

Step 3: Now click "My Dreamdates Settings".

Step 4: Remove the checkmark in the box "Enable your profile page 'rating' feature" and click Save. This will make it so that your profile doesn't contain a "rating feature".

Recommendations to Dreamdates
Dreamdates is a good service. But it could be a lot better if they paid attention to the following recommendations:

1) Get rid of the "rate a member" feature that publicly displays the average score that the public gives particular people/profiles. This idea is degrading and sets a bad example for what dating sites should be about.

2) If a person signs up for your Romantic group, don't show them results from the Erotica group when searching for who is online.

3) Don't allow free members to fill out the entire "Full Profile Search" section only to hit submit and get the message, "sorry, you must be a full member to use this feature." Tell free members that before they use the full search feature!

4) Let members fill out saved details in advance like State and County so that they don't have to go through three search screens in order to get search results. Ideally a search should happen after one click, not three.

5) Ask members whether they smoke or not. This should be featured as part of the criteria as some people will only date other smokers or other non-smokers. It's important to differentiate this aspect of one's lifestyle.

6) Ask members whether they drink or not. This should be featured as part of the criteria as some people will only date other social drinkers or non-drinkers. It's important to differentiate this aspect of one's lifestyle.

7) Allow users to see when the person was last active.

8) Run specials to increase memberships. If there are five times more males than females, then grant females free membership for a limited time. Dreamdates is a nice dating service. Attract new members with special promotions to increase the overall popularity and effictiveness, which will result in membership retention.

9) On your sign-up form, increase or get rid of the "maximum characters" limiation (250 characters is a joke) for describing yourself and for describing who you want to date.

Any online dating service that has a public "rate my picture" program is an injustice to the industry and to the purpose of online dating. Dreamdates misses the boat in a lot of ways, really weakening their potential. They strive to be one of the big online dating services, but don't make their service appealing enough to truly compete.

Pros Cons
photo approval is quick public "rates" members
technology is excellent search crosses groups
credits or monthly fee too many clicks to search
virtual dates needs more members
  important selections missing

Reevaluation Review
In the two years since the original review, Dreamdates has done very little to upgrade its service. Absolutely nothing under our recommendations has been changed. Because of this, in this reevalution, we weren't able to remove any recommendations and, in fact, added two (Dreamdates doesn't ask if a person drinks or not, in addition to not asking if a person smokes or not and they have character limitations for your description). It's really sad to see online dating services that stay stagnant instead of improving. Unfortunately, Dreamdates falls into this category. I hadn't logged into my account on Dreamdates for nearly a year. In that time, my profile had received only one visitor!

Dreamdates must improve if it expects to ever grow.

The original score given to Dreamdates was 6 out of 10. A reevaluation of that score, two years later, has resulted in Online Dating Magazine downgrading Dreamdates from a 6 to a 5.5.


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