Zoosk Review: Lots of Real Dates Thanks to Smart Algorithms or a Waste of Time?
Zoosk boasts with advertising messages like “40,000,000 singles worldwide” and “3 million messages sent daily.” But how well does this dating app and dating site really work in Hong Kong?
Can you quickly find great matches and get dates on Zoosk? What are the pros and cons of Zoosk, and how can you get the best results from this dating app?
We put Zoosk to the test and tell you about our Zoosk experience in Hong Kong. In addition, you’ll learn lots of tips and tricks for more success with the Zoosk dating app.
Is Zoosk the best dating app in Hong Kong right now? Here you’ll find our latest recommendations.
1. Fast Dates or Frustration? The Chances of Success on Zoosk
The Zoosk dating app claims to be smarter than many other dating apps out there. For example, the Zoosk app relies on a smart matching concept to deliver better recommendations.
But does “smart” also mean success in terms of more dates?
We put this question to the test for our Zoosk review.
Dating Success with Zoosk: First Impressions
Although our two test subjects lived and searched for dates in a big city, they found relatively few members with a premium subscription on Zoosk.
Why is that a problem?
You can’t actually arrange dates with members who don’t have a paid subscription because they’re unable to read your messages. This means dating success with Zoosk depends largely on how many paid subscriptions there are.
When you purchase a premium subscription, you can opt for the Premium Messaging Upgrade for an additional fee. With this feature, you can reply to members even if they’re using the free version of Zoosk.
We break down the cost structure of Zoosk’s premium features in more detail below.
But first, here’s a look at the pros and cons of the Zoosk app we found during our test:
Pros and Cons of the Site at a Glance
- Profile can be easily created in just five minutes
- Broad search with many criteria
- The Zoosk app offers the full functionality of the site
- With the paid upgrade, there are no limits to messaging fun
- Cancelation of all subscriptions and upgrades is possible online with a few clicks
- Expensive compared to many other dating sites
- Fake profiles hard to distinguish from real profiles
- Many features cost extra despite a premium subscription
- Even with a premium subscription, you have to endure ads for the paid upgrades in the app, on the site and in the emails
Overall, our test subjects found the Zoosk app to be more user-friendly than the Zoosk website. So what exactly are the differences between the app and the site?
- Some content is hidden in the desktop version, and you have to search for it. In the app, everything is arranged a bit more clearly
- The profiles are much easier to view via app
No matter where you register, you can use the app and the Zoosk website with the same password. If in doubt, try both and decide for yourself which one you like better.
Is Zoosk the best dating app for you? These are the best alternatives in Hong Kong right now.
2. Use Zoosk for Free and Get Dates – Is That Possible?
The Zoosk app offers only very limited functionality when used for free.
In order to use Zoosk properly, you’ll generally have to opt for the standard premium subscription. There are three different subscription lengths to choose from:
- 6 months: HK$ 150 / month
- 3 months: HK$ 200 / month
- 1 month: HK$ 320 / month
Use Zoosk For Free – These Are Your Options
Below, we’ve compiled a brief overview of the accessible features.
With the free version, you can:
- Fully fill out your profile
- View other profiles, including pictures and profile texts
- See who’s looked at your profile
- Like other profiles by clicking on the heart
- See who’s liked you
What isn’t possible with a free Zoosk account?
- You can’t read your messages*
- You can’t chat or otherwise communicate with other members
- You can’t view the profiles of other users who’ve visited your profile in detail
*If a member has purchased the Premium Messaging Upgrade, members without a premium subscription can read and respond to their messages.
By purchasing a premium subscription, you can view all profile details and enjoy unlimited chat sessions with other members.
Is that all? Unfortunately, yes.
The Premium Subscription – That’s only one half of the story
What about the other features, like:
- View read receipts from other members
- Invisibly browse member profiles
- Undo accidental likes or dislikes
- Allow people with free subscriptions to read and respond to your messages
These special features cost extra with Zoosk. You can expect an average of about HK$ 80 per feature per month (+/- 10-20% depending on the feature).
Certain features can’t be used with either the premium version or through the upgrades. For these, you have to buy Zoosk coins.
You’re a little confused? Is that necessary?
If you want to use these additional features – we’re afraid so. However, whether such a confusing cost structure makes sense remains up for debate.
Which features are affected?
- If you want to send gifts to other members, you have to pay for them with coins.
- If you want to highlight your profile in the search results to get more attention, you also have to pay for this with coins.
How much do the coins cost?
- 180 coins cost approx. HK$ 160
- 480 coins cost approx. HK$ 380
- 1,800 coins cost approx. HK$ 1000
How many coins do you need?
That depends on what you’d like to do. Promoting your profile will cost you 150 coins. Gifts cost between 10 and 100 coins.
2.1 The Zoosk Hack – Get Dates on Zoosk Even with a Free Subscription
When using the Zoosk app, one thing quickly becomes apparent. Quite a few users like to get creative to avoid paying for a premium subscription while still flirting on Zoosk.
In our test, we discovered numerous unpaid profiles with hidden contact options in the profile text. These cryptic hints for email addresses usually look like this:
“You can find me in the big book* under [first name] [last name]” or the name and email address have been spelled like over the phone: “Tango Oscar Mike Papa Lima Oscar Victor Echo Kilo Golf Mike Alfa India Lima dotcom.”
*This means Facebook
Does that always work?
We don’t know. Maybe Zoosk will start applying text filters that will make bypassing the premium subscription much harder.
The danger with this?
If you announce your email address in this way, anyone who comes across your profile can write to you. Be careful. If you want to take this route, then use alternative email addresses. Never give out your personal email address.
Our Final Thoughts on the Costs of Zoosk
The Zoosk premium subscription isn’t cheap, and unfortunately Zoosk charges even more money for certain special features. Is this why Zoosk doesn’t have more premium members?
We suspect it is. Nevertheless, Zoosk offers a solid number of members overall.
What does that mean for you?
a) You try our hack to use Zoosk as a secondary and free dating site.
b) You buy a premium subscription with the Premium Messaging Upgrade and try to get the most out of Zoosk.
3. Only Perfect Matches Thanks to Smart Matchmaking? We Test the Zoosk Behavioral Matchmaking™ Algorithm
Each dating site uses its own methods to make suitable partner suggestions.
When it comes to matchmaking, Zoosk is very different from comparable dating apps and dating sites. That’s because the Zoosk dating app uses intelligent algorithms in an attempt to present you with better matches than many other apps.
What exactly does that mean for you if you use Zoosk?
First, we’ll explain the Zoosk matching system in comparison with other dating sites.
3.1 Matching Mechanisms of Various Dating Apps Compared: Tinder vs eHarmony vs Zoosk
Tinder Relies on Visual Stimuli
In addition to the filter function (location radius and age restrictions), Tinder’s members are primarily selected by their profile pictures. An overview of the member pool doesn’t exist. If you look at a profile, you have to decide immediately whether you want more contact with this member or not by either swiping to the left or right. Only then can you view the next profile.
eHarmony Relies on a Personality Test
On eHarmony, you can view the member pool and click on profiles at will. The partner suggestions are generated by eHarmony on the basis of the extensive questionnaire (personality test) that must be completed when you create your profile. The more similarities exist between two members, the higher the match points will be.
Zoosk Relies on Smart Algorithms: Zoosk Behavioral Matchmaking™
Zoosk Behavioral Matchmaking™ is a Zoosk software that learns from your own behavior to provide you with suitable partner suggestions. At least that’s what Zoosk claims.
How exactly does it work?
To enjoy the benefits of the smart algorithm, you have to use Zoosk’s SmartPick feature.
What does that mean, and how can it help you find matches? We’re here to explain!
The SmartPick Feature on Zoosk
The SmartPick feature displays profiles that Zoosk believes are a good fit with your preferences. Click through the suggestions and reject the suggested matches or give them a like.
Over time, the software should be able to understand your preferences better and make more accurate suggestions.
3.2 Our Zoosk Behavioral Matchmaking™ Experience
Our test subject clicked through the membership pool in a big city for three days. She was interested in athletic non-smokers aged 38 to 45 who lived within a radius of 30 km. She created a corresponding search filter and saved it.
If Zoosk’s software is indeed capable of learning, then apparently it takes a long time... How long? Good question.
Even after three days and several SmartPick runs, our test subject noticed no increase in the accuracy of possible matches. Smokers, older and younger men, men living 200 km away – Zoosk continued to suggest all of these to our candidate.
Did we do something wrong?
Maybe. Unfortunately, Zoosk itself offers only very limited instructions on how to assist the software in the learning process.
Since we can’t say how long it takes Zoosk Behavioral Matchmaking™ to learn from a user’s behavior, we recommend using the advanced search filter. This is effective and leaves little to be desired.
3.3 Search Filter: The Better Alternative to Behavioral Matchmaking™
In order to land a date and find your dream partner, we recommend using the good old search filter that’s also available on Zoosk.
When you click “Search” on the Zoosk website, a subtle search bar opens up above the displayed profiles.
Even more subtle is the blue link “Edit Search.” Go ahead and laugh, but it took us a full day to discover this link.
When you click on the link, an extensive search menu opens up.
We told you it left little to be desired, right? Well, we do have one suggestion for improvement:
Why doesn’t Zoosk differentiate between the intentions of its members? Casual sex, making friends or finding a partner for life – these questions aren’t asked by Zoosk, which is why they unfortunately can’t be filtered for.
Zoosk allows you to create several search filters and save them under different names.
Is Zoosk really the best dating app for you? These are the best alternatives to Zoosk in Hong Kong right now.
4. Is Zoosk Flooded with Fake Profiles?
Anyone who tries their luck at online dating soon realizes: Fake profiles are annoying!
Blurry profile pictures, poorly lit profile pictures, short profile texts and barely filled-out interests. Unfortunately, we found many of these – let’s say, underdeveloped – profiles on Zoosk.
When you read through the reviews of the Zoosk app, there are many complaints about Zoosk’s costs. The inability to contact members using the free version of the service is also criticized. So are the sometimes carelessly filled out profiles merely a consequence of the low expectations of Zoosk?
When talking about fake profiles, it’s important to clarify what exactly is meant.
What are fake profiles generally speaking?
The creators of fake profiles will try to gain your trust with the help of various tricks to get money, for example. You may be offered jobs or services or be told sad stories about distant relatives who need urgent financial assistance, just to name a few popular scams.
How can you recognize fake profiles on Zoosk? We’re here to explain!
4.1 Fake Profiles and Scammers – An Overview
- Multiple profiles created by one person to increase the chances of a date. (Not wanted, even forbidden on some sites.)
- Profiles created to spread malware. (Forbidden)
- Profiles promoting paid sex services. (Forbidden)
- Profiles promoting children’s photos. (Forbidden)
- Profiles used to access personal information, such as: telephone numbers, email addresses, pictures and home addresses. (Stay alert.)
- Profiles created with other fraudulent intentions. (Scammers.)
- Empty profiles that have neither a photo nor any other information. (Not wanted.)
While they do their best, dating site operators have a hard time trying to eliminate fake profiles and forbidden content. Automated filters help but can never deliver perfect results.
How does Zoosk determine if a real person is behind a profile?
We took a closer look at the process!
4.2 Telling Apart Real Profiles from Fake Ones
Zoosk offers its members four different options to verify their identity.
Option 1: Registration with a Facebook Profile
Anyone who uses their Facebook profile to sign up confirms they haven’t just existed since yesterday. Of course, you could create a Facebook profile in under five minutes. But scammers rarely make the effort.
Does Zoosk post on your Facebook wall? According to Zoosk Support, the answer is no.
Option 2: Registration with a Twitter Account
Again, Zoosk Support says you have nothing to worry about in this case. Your Zoosk subscription will not be announced on Twitter.
Option 3: Verify Your Phone Number
If you enter your phone number when registering for Zoosk, you’ll receive a code within a few seconds via text. Simply enter the code online to verify your phone number.
Option 4: Have Your Photos Verified (Only Possible via Smartphone)
If you use the Zoosk app, you can also have your photos verified in the app.
Not Easy to Spot – How to Find Out if Other Members Are Verified
You’re looking at the profile of a fellow member and would like to know if the profile is real?
But where can you find this information?
Turns out it’s hidden all the way at the end of the extended profile. Scroll down to the bottom of the Zoosk website, where you’ll find the “Verification” tab.
Zoosk Reviews Pictures and Texts –Not Everything Is Allowed
If you upload pictures to Zoosk, they’ll be reviewed and unlocked afterward. We tested this with a revealing photo and immediately received a rejection.
Even when you edit your profile text, you can expect some processing time before the new version is approved.
Does that mean Zoosk is safe as far as quality is concerned?
During our test phase, we discovered three profiles showing only children. We reported these profiles and they were immediately removed.
Simply Block Pushy Users? Not So Easy with Zoosk
Whether you’re dealing with a fake profile or not, you’ve likely had this experience on online dating sites:
You politely refuse a fellow user, but they don’t respect your choice. “Just give me a chance.” “You don’t even know me yet!” “A 20-year age difference is completely normal.” Such lines should sound familiar.
What’s the problem?
Once you end a conversation on Zoosk, the chat function apparently isn’t blocked for your counterpart. He or she can keep sending you messages.
What can you do?
In one case, a user was so pushy toward our test subject that only reporting him as a “spammer” helped. We hope that Zoosk will improve in this regard.
5. Zoosk Dating – Here’s How You Can Be Successful!
You’ve decided to give Zoosk a try and can’t wait for exciting dates? Then this chapter is for you. In this section, we get into more detail and highlight all the factors that are important so you can be successful on Zoosk.
Let’s dive right in!
You should already have done the following:
- You’ve created a Zoosk account,
- uploaded at least one photo
- and written a few meaningful sentences about you, your dream partner and what an ideal date would look like for you in each of the three text boxes.
If you haven’t already done so, be sure to add a few more of your interests.
5.1 Your Interests on Zoosk – Don’t Underestimate Them!
What would you think if you clicked on a profile and discovered that the person behind it shared both your hobbies and your taste in movies?
Sounds pretty promising, right?
That’s why you shouldn’t neglect this part of your profile.
Here’s how you can add your interests on the Zoosk website:
Scroll down to the bottom of your profile. In the “Interests” section, click on the small link “Add.” A search box appears where you can enter the names of artists, movies and sports you enjoy.
Can everything be found here?
No. Unfortunately, the database behind this feature doesn’t know everything. However, you should be able to find the big blockbusters as well as any well-known actors, bands and popular sports. Try it!
5.2 Two Ways to Get a Date
We can all agree people using a dating site want to be successful and not waste their time. On Zoosk, this is a bit more difficult because not many members have a premium subscription.
Still, Zoosk has a large community, and users were eager to make connections in our experience.
To succeed on Zoosk, you have to use certain tactics. And that’s exactly what we’ll cover next. Keep reading to find out how it works.
Two ways to land a date on Zoosk. You decide!
You have two options to be successful on Zoosk:
- You use the free version and give out as many likes as possible. If someone returns your like, the profile is added to your contact list. Unfortunately, the other way around (you want to return the like) isn’t possible with the free version. That’s why you always have to take the first step.
- You use the premium version and buy the Premium Messaging Upgrade for another 80 HK dollars. Now members with a free subscription can read and reply to your messages.
The first option makes more sense if you want to use Zoosk as a secondary dating site.
The second option is worth it if you’ve found multiple profiles on Zoosk that you find interesting.
5.3 Finding Profiles – Zoosk Offers Several Possibilities
You can discover profiles on Zoosk in many different ways. We explain the advantages and disadvantages of each.
We already touched on Zoosk’s search feature in one of the previous chapters. Based on our Zoosk experience, using the search will help you find the best matches.
Where did the profile texts go?
The profile texts on the Zoosk website are hidden behind an inconspicuous link. You can find it right below the picture where it says “Complete profile.” When you click on the link, the user’s profile text and interests are revealed. You also have to click this to see any verifications.
In the Zoosk app, the layout is a bit clearer.
When you view member profiles using the Carousel feature, you’re only shown pictures, similar to the way you are on Tinder. No texts, no interests, just pictures.
Unlike with Tinder, you don’t have to choose between “yes” and “no.” You can also say “maybe.” We particularly liked this option with Zoosk.
So where can you find all the rated profiles?
On the Zoosk website under the “Carousel” tab, you can also find the option “Connections.” Take a look!
What are the disadvantages of the Carousel search?
Your search settings don’t work here. Some of the members presented to our test subjects lived 200 km away. That’s annoying.
As you’ve probably guessed, Zoosk displays all members who are currently online in the “Online Now” category. But again, the search criteria can’t be applied. Too bad! Maybe Zoosk will eventually address this shortcoming.
As we explained earlier, the Behavioral Matchmaking™ algorithm is designed to get to know your preferences through your likes and dislikes with the SmartPick feature. But once again – and this is truly a shame – no search criteria can be applied.
5.4 Zoosk – Casual Sex, Friendships or Relationships – Who’s Looking for What on Zoosk?
Whether you’re looking for a one-night stand, a partner for life, or just want to meet new people – the crowd on Zoosk is mixed.
Based on our experience with Zoosk, the ratio is roughly balanced. However, the large number of unpaid subscriptions doesn’t allow for an exact assessment.
Can you filter based on relationship expectations on Zoosk?
No. As we mentioned earlier, you unfortunately can’t filter for relationship expectations on Zoosk.
So what can you do?
Do you have certain goals and only want to date people who think similarly? Then we advise you to state your wishes in your profile text. This will allow other members to better assess whether going on a date with you makes sense or not.
5.5 Our Experiences with the Zoosk Chat: Zoosk Members Are Chatty!
You like flirting with others via chat? You enjoy the carefree excitement of asking your chat partner questions and getting to know each other?
Then you’re not alone.
The good news:
Zoosk’s chat feature is well integrated, and Zoosk members are very chat-friendly in our experience.
What’s the catch?
Since many members without a premium subscription are on Zoosk, we recommend buying the Premium Messaging Upgrade. Only then can members without a premium subscription respond to you.
5.6 More Profile Views on Zoosk – Here’s How!
The more members see your profile, the higher the chance that the right person will be among them. That’s why the be-all and end-all of every dating site is: Get views!
How does this work on Zoosk? There are three answers, and we share them all!
a) Passive Advertising by Zoosk
On the one hand, Zoosk promotes member profiles through its Carousel, Online Now and SmartPick features, albeit in no particular order (as far as we can tell). You can rest assured yours will frequently be among them.
b) Active Advertising – Stay Online!
Most dating sites, including Zoosk, give preference to users who are online.
Because the chance of members getting in touch with each other is much higher in this case. So if you’re online, your profile is displayed more often.
You’ve already guessed how you can take advantage of this?
Exactly. Be online as much as possible!
Why not stay logged in while you’re cooking, watching TV or jogging?
You’ll see that your number of page views increases immediately – and with it, the number of people who message you. Give it a try!
If you check the site again after an hour and discover that someone wrote to you 30 minutes ago, respond honestly by saying something like this:
“Sorry I didn’t answer sooner, I was cooking dinner.”
Why do this?
First, it lets the other person know that you didn’t make him or her wait intentionally.
Second, it offers a good way to get the conversation started. Asking you what you cooked would be the obvious next question. ??
c) Super Send and Extras
Zoosk offers you two more ways to get noticed.
Where can you find them?
In the Zoosk app under the lightning bolt icon or under the heart icon on the Zoosk website.
When you buy coins to boost your profile, your profile picture gets an orange border and is also marked with a small rocket.
How does Super Send work?
Super Send is free for members with a premium subscription. You can select a message from the template catalog, and Zoosk will send the message to “singles in your area and age range.”
You’ll have to decide for yourself. Unfortunately, the template catalog contains very few templates, and sending a self-written message isn’t possible. We think that’s a shame since it would be a great opportunity to invite people on spontaneous dates.
What are the best alternatives to Zoosk in Hong Kong?