Mistakes Made On Match Profiles: Too Many Photos, Incomplete Bios, Headlines, Bad Usernames, Photo Captions. Reply For Free, Is It Worth Paying For Match.com

As messy, difficult, frustrating and vague dating is, online dating is even more challenging. Lack of proper etiquette, laziness, ease of setting up a profile, unclear reasons for signing up (lonely, play games, vanity, boredom etc.) has given online dating an unfair shake. With that said, Match.com the dinosaur of dating sites/apps has muddied the waters even more with a laundry list of questions and preferences. 


Match.com Review, Costs, Tips, & More: How To Get The Best Out Of Match.com

Match.com is owned by the Match Group which owns Hinge, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Tinder and more. Match Group is a publicly traded company.

The median age of users on Match according to Survey Monkey is much higher than those of other swipe based app only dating services.  These newer apps are largely swipe based mobile apps where Match’s original and main format is a desktop website.


Median Age Online Dating Apps

Median Age Online Dating Apps



On the spectrum of dating sites and apps you have two types of dating sites and apps: Easy set up, easy viewing and easy messaging (think Bumble, Tinder etc.). On the other side you have apps/sites that focus more so on profiles and less so on just photos: Match.com, Coffee Meets Bagel etc. Both have their pros and cons but Match definitely is one of the more confusing and error prone out there.  Depending on where you live, the gender ratio imbalance can be disheartening.


Green Dot, Circle, Yellow Circle, No Circle – Activity Status, Inactive Profiles: What Do Colored The Dots Mean On Match

Before spending extensive time on your profile and or even investing in a subscription, it is best to get a sense of the available people in your area as Match may not always be worth the time and effort. I recommend creating a skeleton profile with a spam email so you can browse the profiles, use the filters to see if Match is worth your time. General rule of thumb (assume at least half the profiles are inactive and of the active profiles, assume only 1/3 are paying profiles).

It costs money to read messages and send messages and oftentimes a high number of profiles are inactive. Casting a reasonable net based on age and location as well as lifestyle and then adjusting figures based on activity criteria below will give you a good idea of how many people are active.

With each profile there should be a green dot, green circle, yellow circle or no dot nor circle to signal the activity status of each person. The Activity Status is intended to highlight how active a profile is Match.com. A profile’s status can be updated when they log in to the Match site, or when they open email notifications from Match in their personal email account.

Solid Green Dot: Online now status (online within the last 45 minutes).

Empty Green Circle: Online recently between 46 minutes and 24 hours ago. Sometimes, you’ll see more specific information, like “Active 1 hour ago” or “Active 2 hours ago.”

Empty Yellow Circle: Recently active between 24 hours and 72 hours ago.

In some places, you’ll see more specific information, like “Active 1 hour ago”, “Active yesterday” or “Active 2 days ago.”

No Dot nor Circle: Inactive, no activity within 72 hours ago.

The no dot, no circle status is a rather vague measure as one cannot tell if a user has logged into the site this week or this decade. Proceed with caution.


How Do You Beomc More Successful on Match? Match.com Profile Bio, Headlines and Prompts Tips

No other app aside from eHarmony is so intrusive when it comes to bombarding you with questions. Is knowing someone’s favorite baseball team really that much of a deal-breaker? How many times do people state their body-types are athletic/toned or slender when they are actually more like average or curvy? What other app asks for income? Who uploads 22 photos to their online dating profile? (by the way, you only need 4–6 photos, advice on what to choose and what to avoid, read this). What is your sign? Who does that? Match.com.





For advice on how to craft your online dating profile, check out this guide.

There are some parts of your bio you should answer. Too many “I’ll tell you later” signals lack of effort or inability to open up about yourself. When it comes to the question “do you have children” you should answer yes or no — answering with “I’ll tell you later” is a bit odd and could turn away people from your profile. 

Match Profile: Match.com Questions & Answers (Tips and Advice)

Just because Match asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer it. Furthermore, online dating is meant to be treated as another avenue for meeting other people outside your day-to-day life. It is not meant to be treated like a food ordering app where you filter everything down to a T. I am not saying you shouldn’t be picky but treating dating sites like a shopping cart on Amazon will leave you frustrated and anxious.





With that said, it’s important to balance detail and brevity. Too skim of a profile can suggest you are not serious. Don’t be one of those people who list cliche, overused and cringe worthy lines in their bio like ‘Just Ask’. Photos are indeed the most important item in your profile but too many people self-sabotage their efforts by ignoring the bio and and answers section. These items provide hooks and conversation starters for those viewing your profile.

When it comes to the questions, you should not specify a trait unless you yourself are willing to divulge that on your profile. If you seek someone who makes $150k+, list your salary. If you want a non-smoker, list your status. If you are 65 and list you are looking for someone 27–32 don’t be surprised why no one responds to your messages. Don’t lie about your age and list the age you think you look like.

Lastly, if you list San Francisco as your city but you list you are looking for someone 15 miles within Los Angeles, one can assume you moved and have not updated your profile and/or you are looking to move.


Match Preferences vs. Deal-Breakers (Examples For Males & Females)

Online dating is not without its risks. There are many skeevy guys online (and women too). You should be cautious and on guard but there is a fine line between being careful and being oddly particular about whether someone is 6’1” or 6’2” or has auburn hair or brown hair.

Match.com provides a misleading sense of power over who one matches with and interacts with but it also does an uncanny job of turning one’s nice-to-haves into deal-breakers. Don’t waste your time going out on a date with someone who you absolutely despise and loathe but at the same time don’t dismiss a match who only has 31 of your 32 desired traits. ​


Match.com Profile Photos (Uploading, Changing Profile Pictures & More)

When it comes to photos, Match has the least restrictive criteria. Don’t upload anything smaller than 400×400 pixels — just because you are not blocked from using a thumbnail 100×100 pixel photo doesn’t mean you should.

Also don’t use photos that don’t have you in them. Don’t repeat photos in similar locations with the same outfit. Don’t use blurry photos nor ones with harsh shadows. People want to see what you look like. Make sure you are avoiding any cliche photos in your profile with this dating photo bingo card.

For help with dating app questions (i.e. how to select photos, which apps to use, when/how to messages matches etc.) check out my Frequently Asked Questions page or contact me directly here ​for a consultation. ​


How To Upload Photos To Match.com, How Do I Add A Photo To Match.com?

You can upload through the app/site or connect your Facebook account and upload photos through there.


How Do I Change My Profile Pic on Match?

Tap your profile photo and then tap the photo you want and select choose this one as the main picture. Not all photos are able to be used as main profile pics on Match.com. If they are too small, dark, blurry they will only be used as supplemental non-main photos.


Does Match Require A Photo? Do You Have To Have A Photo On Match.com?

No, but don’t expect to get any likes or matches or messages without at least 4-6 unique, good photos. Match won’t let you message nor start the conversation without a primary photo uploaded.



match.com.com no photo start the conversation

match.com.com no photo start the conversation



How Many Photos Can You Have On Match?

26 but only use 4-6 slots because you will inevitably add some self-sabotaging photos. “You are only as attractive as your worst photo.”


Match Photo Guidelines

Reasons for Photo Rejections:

Nudity, sheer or see-through clothing, sexuality
Drawings, caricatures, or other illustrations
Copyrighted images
Identifying information (ie, license plates, email or web addresses, visible street address numbers, etc.)
Illegal acts or violence
Minors alone in photos (without an adult included)
Guidelines for Primary photos:


Match Primary Photo Rules

Your primary photo must include a good, unobstructed view of your face that’s big enough for potential matches to see you clearly. There shouldn’t be any other people in the photo.
If a photo was taken from further away and shows more of your body, we’ll make a thumbnail that just shows your face.
Even if a photo has a clear view of your face, it might still be too small to use as a Primary photo.

Also keep in mind the following:

You must appear in the Primary photo.
Potentially offensive photos will not be posted.
Image files must be received in an approved format (eg, jpg, bmp, gif) and should be larger than 100kB and less than 5MB. (Please note, we convert all images to jpg to be viewed by all browsers.)

More details about Match.com photo guidelines, rules, cropping, editing and sizing here.


Match.com Topic Question List, Match Profile Prompts

Below is a list of prompts. Some will look familiar to what Hinge uses. Read this post on which prompts to avoid, which to use and how to answer the.

For Fun I Like To, My Favorite Place To Hang Out, These Are My Favorite Things, Right Now I Am Reading, Most Famous Person I Ever Met, My Favorite Family Tradition Is, Zombie Attack. Run, Fight or Join Them?, Best Scar Story Was When, My Beauty Pageant Talent Competition Would Be, The Worse Job I Ever Had Was, A Skill I Have & A Superpower I’d Want, Your Life Story In Three Sentences, I Got In The Most Trouble For, Three Things I Would Buy If I Won $800 At Karaoke, Song I Like To Sing In The Shower, A Secret A Pet Only Knows About Me, Best Halloween Costume, Craziest Travel Story, The Thing That Surprises People About Me, I’m Legitimately Bad At, I’m Weirdly Attracted To, If Living This Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right, I’ll Know I Find The One When, Song Or Movie I’m Embarrassed To Love, Most Spontaneous Thing I’ve Done, Never Have I Ever, One Thing I’ll Never Do Again, The Highlight Of My Day Is Usually, The Way To My Heart Is, One Things I’d Love To Know About You, Last Thing I Had To Google, Weirdest Gift I Have Received, Fashion Trend I WOuld Bring Back, After Work, You Can Find Me, Beach Or Mountains, Nightclub or Night At Home, I Wish More People Would Donate To, If I Had An Extra Hour In The Day I Would, Favorite Quality in a Person, I’m Most Grateful For, My Ideal Saturday Night, My Mother Would Describe Me As, All Time Must See Movie, My Pet Peeve, If I Could Eat Only One Meal For The Rest Of My Life, The Three Things That Make A Relationship Great, If I Could Teleport To Anywhere This Weekend, A Little-Known Fact About Me, The Last App I Downloaded (Besides This One!), Top Three Things On My Bucket List,  What Most People Don’t Realize At First, I’m Currently Obsessed With, My Biggest Regret, On A Saturday Afternoon You Will Find Me, My Ideal Fake Sick Day, The Scariest Thing I’ve Ever Done, The Quirkiest Thing About Me, Two Truths And A Lie About Me, In Five Year I Hope To Be, My Ideal First Date Starts And Ends With, My Favorite Subject in School, If I Made A Documentary, It Would Be About, One Thing I’d Like To Change About The World, One Thing I’m Working On Improving, If I Could Have Three Wishes, The Material Possessions I Would Save First, The Job I’d Do For No Money, Interests I Haven’t Pursued Yet, Something I Have Gotten Better At Recently, I’ll Get Up Early For, I’ll Stay Up Late For, Phone Call vs Texting… My Perspective, I’m Politically Passionate About,


Match.com Usernames vs. Real Names

I wrote about usernames for another site, Plenty of Fish but the idea is the same. Usernames can be used for Match.com login screens so use one that is easy to remember.


Match.com Summary, About Me, Bio & Interests

Match has done a disservice encouraging people to fill out this section of their bio. It is the most vague, generic aspect of online dating.




Who doesn’t like to travel? Who doesn’t like dining out every so often? These cliche interests offer little insight. It’s up to you to provide context. Do you like Michelin star restaurants or hole in the wall places? Do you like glamping or backpack camping? Do you like resorts or do you prefer to explore big cities and small rustic towns? Don’t fill out this section thinking you are set. Provide context, examples, insight to reveal more about who you are and what you seek.


Is Match.com Free? Match.com Cost Per Month – How Much is Match com? How Much Does Match Com Cost Monthly?

Even if you optimize your photos, bio and preferences on Match.com, there is no guarantee for success. The platform operates on a freemium business model where anyone can create a profile for free but it requires a paid subscription to access essential features like sending messages, reading messages. Of all the profiles on the site, I estimate about 10% of Match.com profiles to be either:

-inactive (have not deleted their account but should have),

-spammers (profiles created by using other people’s photos and information),

-skeleton profiles (those that created a profile without completing profile to stalk a person or evaluate the platform before investing time, energy),

-vanity profiles (those that created profiles that are seeking attention with no intention of meeting anyone or those that are lonely and are looking for a pen pal).



match.com cost, price per month subscriptions

match.com cost, price per month subscriptions



Not bad BUT there is a significant portion of users on the site you should not ignore – non-paid users. Many people who join do so with the intention to meet others but rather than paying for a subscription will wait to collect messages, likes, improved photos/profiles before deciding to upgrade. Others will upgrade periodically (for 1-3 months) and then take a break before upgrading again.

These non-paid users are unable to read/send messages but are able to send likes, winks and favorite profiles. These latter actions in my opinion mean little to nothing for the average person. I am an advocate of being direct with interest in sending messages (more on that here).

Match has evolved over the years and has adopted more of a gamification approach by providing matches or profiles to your homepage. A mere like of a photo is just that, don’t read more into it than that until you have additional indicators to suggest interest. Many people send accidental photo likes trying to close windows, make quick decisions without looking at profiles etc.


How Much is Match.com Per Month? What Does Match.com Cost Per Month?

Match.com costs anywhere from $16.99 per month to $34.99 per month depending if you sign up for monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual billing. Unlike other freemium dating apps, the site is useless unless you pay for it.


No Responses On Match, No Replies On Match.com, Response Rate Match.com

Not getting a response on Match is common as not everyone is a paid subscriber. To reply you either have to pay a subscription fee or hope someone buys the feature for you via Reply-For-Free.

Reply For Free: This feature allows free members to reply to paid subscriber emails. The paid subscriber pays the cost via an additional Add-On purchase.  Non-subscribers cannot reply to messages on match.com otherwise.


How To Spot A Fake Match Profile

Match.com does a poor job of verifying profiles upon registration. Be wary of newly created profiles, profiles with only 1-2 photos, empty bios or modeling photos. Reverse-image search photos when in doubt. You can possibly see if the person is real and a possible timestamp for when said photo was posted online.


Match.com Horoscope Compatibility Based On Zodiac Signs

Match allows users to input horoscope attributes to their profile. The idea here is that some folks either really believe in this stuff or at least are open or curious about it to engage in conversation and discussion. More on this here: https://www.match.com/cp.aspx?cpp=/cppp/magazine/article0.html&articleid=4585

The guide offers Aquarius, Cancer, Capricorn, Taurus, Gemini, Leo, Aries, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Pisces comp ability profiles and matches.


Never Pay Full Price For Subscriptions

I suggest before you spend time, effort and money on Match that you create a profile, browse profiles in your area (with realistic expectations, not too strict filters) and see if it is worth continuing before jumping right in paying for a service right off the bat (that is unless you are able to get a discount or free trial). Details on Match.com promotions, discounts and trials are available to all my clients.


Match.com 7 Day Free Trial Subscription and Info

Use at your own risk: https://www.match.com/cp/promo/free/terms.html


Match.com Free Trial, 3 Day Trial on Match



Match.com Free Weekend

Once or twice a year Match will offer a free weekend of communication. This usually happens in January but not guaranteed. With that said, it’s not a very effective offer as it takes time for users to send messages, reply etc. within the app and be comfortable enough to exchange contact info in such a short period of time.


Match.com Additional Photo Only

Match requires visible, clear headshot like photos for main profile photos but other photos have more flexibility. If photos are too dark, distant or pixelated users might receive this warning. For help with dating app photo questions including cropping, sizing, blurriness and more, read this post.


Match.com Private Mode, Undercover

Some people like this feature so that they can hide from people on the site except for matches giving them control over who can see their profile. If you are concerned about privacy or want to drastically reduce your chances of who can contact you including others who have private mode, then go for it. It’s a feature I do not recommend. Same goes for Undercover feature – sounds shady.


Match – This Profile Is Unavailable (Match.com Profile Unavailable)

Assume they blocked you, have hidden their profile or their profile was deleted (by them or by the company for violating terms of service). Don’t dwell on this, don’t overthink it. Just move on and focus on other people. This is more likely to happen with fresh accounts (created in the last 1-3 days) that have yet to be vetted, reported by other users for being bots, spammers.


Match.com Quick Search

Match.com quick search is basically a simple search query that allows one to search for profiles without any advanced filters using only age, radius, orientation, location, keywords, photos present and online now.


Match.com Full Site – How To Access Full Site On Mobile Phone (Match Com Full Site)

By default, Match.com will point you to their mobile page on a mobile device. If you want the full functionality of the site, you have to update your settings. Go to your browser settings and select ‘desktop site’ or just load Match on a desktop computer.


Match Missed Connections

Available on the app, Match notifies users that have crossed their paths. For those that value privacy and have had issues with stalkers, avoid the app (use desktop only) or use other dating apps instead.


Match.com Customer Service Phone Number



Does Match Have Fake Profiles?

Yes, there are a number of fake profiles on the site. Additionally not everyone is active nor a paid user so expect the total pool of users to be 1/2 half, and of that 1/2 paid.


Is Match Worth The Money? Is Match.com Worth It? Match.com Profile Tips

It is for some, not for most people. Self-awareness, realistic expectation, patience and a good profile are needed to improve chances for success.


Is Match Free Now? Can I Use Match For Free?

No, it’s not free but you can create a profile, send likes for free but you can’t send messages nor read messages that are sent to you.


Matched By Us: Matchmaking Feature

Match is currently testing a new feature of suggesting one user to you regardless if paid or not. Users can bypass the like and message this person directly. Just because you are interested in them doesn’t mean the interest is mutual especially if your introductory message is lame.

Personalized Online Dating Profile Critique

Strategy (App Choice + Timing + First Messages), Photo Critique, Bios + Prompts + Photo Captions, Wardrobe Feedback, Body Language, Smiles & More

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie Hernandez is a dating consultant & professional photographer based in San Francisco, servicing clients in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and beyond as featured in the NYTimes, SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle.

In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice, date planning, screening profiles, ID'ing red flags, offline techniques for meeting people organically, naturally. 

Dating App FAQ's  |  Online Dating Resource Guide  |  How To Be Successful With Dating Apps

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