As the name suggests, Speeddate.com brings all the wacky fun of the speed date to a new, internet age. While the simulation isn't perfect (no one has to get up and move to a new table at any point), for the most part, you get exactly what you imagine you'd get. And there's a new plus for this form of speed dating-- instead of being forced into a short conversation with someone you might know from the start you're not interested in, you can simply not engage when they begin conversation. And as you might expect, this site is all about conversation.
Signing up for Speeddate.com doesn't take very long, for the simple reason that your profile (and the profiles of others) is the least important part of the speed date experience. You start by entering some basic biographical information (physical traits, education level, job, etc.) via multiple choice questions, and answering what your ideal match would have in their profile for these. You can then spend more time typing up your interests (favorite movies, books, music), and a short "More about me" section. While the first part might take about 10 minutes, the second will take more time depending on how hard it is for you to pick your favorites, or if you have a list handy (now, aren't you glad you spent time listing your interests on Facebook?). There is also an optional dating quiz you can take to share your ideal date.
As soon as your profile is set up, "Julie" a cartoon librarian-type, pops up to give you a brief tutorial of how everything works (similar to the classic animated paperclip from Microsoft Word). All of a sudden, there are arrows and boxes everywhere giving you pointers and explaining each part of the site's design. As helpful as "Julie" is, the shock of the unexpected tutorial, and the flashing windows suggesting your first few speed dates is initially an intimating sensory overload.
But don't get discouraged. Speeddate.com is actually fairly intuitive to use. Honestly, you can turn off "Julie" as soon as you want, and still use the site just fine. And if you have any questions, a toolbar on the left side of the screen allows you to reawaken "Julie" for any help you might need.
Speeddate.com helpfully opens up a window for you to start your chat whenever anyone looks at your profile. It says a lot that this window covers up most of the site's available screen space--it's almost as if Speeddate.com is trying to tell you "Hey, you can look at those search results and that profile later, I have someone for you to talk with now." The site does have search capabilities that allow you to filter based on any of the biographical information in someone's profile, but that almost isn't the point here. You are clearly being encouraged to talk with people before you judge their profile. It's different than most other dating sites, and feels almost more like Chatroulette, but if you're interested in talking with someone, Speeddate.com is the right place.
Speeddate.com is almost the opposite of the traditional dating site. Rather than focusing on matches and careful selection, Speeddate.com's design lends itself to starting conversations with strangers *in order to* learn more about them. This can be tricky given the 5 minute window for your speed date/speed chat session, but no more difficult than the challenge of traditional speed dating.
The Signup Process: 10 minutes to create a basic profile, plus however long it takes you to list your favorite hobbies/interests.
Match Quality: The match system is based mostly on biographical information and how a potential match compares to your ideal. Speeddate.com's matches are efficient and to-the-point in this regard.
Quality of People: During this reviewer's test period, there were a number of scammers, but most users were honest people looking to talk with others.
Cost: $29.95 per month for 1 month, $19.95 per month for 3 months, $15.95 for 6 months, or $12.95 for 12 months.
Legitimacy: Despite the few fake accounts that bots were messaging from, there is a strong user base interested in keeping the conversation going.
Overall Rating: 9.6 out of 10