Asia Friend Finder Review
Review of Asia Friend Finder
OverviewMost online dating sites are pretty similar, as they use the same basic features to accomplish the same basic goals. AsiaFriendFinder, though, really has its own way of doing things. The graphics, icons, buttons and so on are all more colorful and imaginative than their competitors’. But other differences are more than skin deep. This site presents members with a very different set of pros and cons when it comes to making the decision to subscribe…
On the one hand, the free membership is pretty useless. On the other, the Silver membership is a good value. But unlike most sites with three tiers of membership, here you have to go Gold for the full user-experience we associate with dating-site subscriptions.
For $107.82 and a one-year commitment, you can use all the premium features. The monthly rate works out to $5.99 because they give you six months free. If you can afford to date, you can afford that! If you prefer paying month-to-month, it’s $18.99 for Gold and $14.99 for Silver. Those are competitive prices.
Search is not the site’s strong suit. You must be a premium member to conduct “power searches.” And by “power searches” they mean what most sites call a standard search. Here, you can’t enter any kind of search criteria or order your search results based on geographical proximity to you, member status, last login, profiles with photos… Free members can search by distance only.
Silver members can search by race or screen out listing without photos, but they can’t search by body type or other common criteria. Those privileges are reserved for Gold members. It’s a little annoying to pay money and not be able to refine searches based on basic stuff like height, marital status, religion, smoking/drinking habits, etc. Gold members can also search by advanced criteria like “willing to relocate.”
Available add-ons include “highlights” to make your profile and emails stand out, for $9.99 a month, as well as something unusual they call “Standard Contacts.” It took some figuring out, but I think I can tell you what the heck that is. With this add-on, Standard (non-paying) members can now view your profile (except for your photos) and contact you as if they were subscribers themselves.
What’s the catch? They’ll never know you bought this service. It’s just that if they TRY to view your profile or contact you, the site won’t stop them. At $19.99 a month (or $8.99 per month with a full year’s commitment), this feature seems really overpriced.
Here, you can’t really window-shop before getting out your wallet. The site states that Standard members are allowed a limited number of profile views and email contacts per day. Except for ME, I guess. The site never let me, as a Standard member, view more than the smallest glimpse of anyone’s profile and one tiny thumbnail picture per profile. You have to be a premium member to write someone an email, too. I guess maybe Standard members can reply to a certain number of emails per day?
Good luck getting an answer to this or any other question you might have. There is no live chat or phone support for Standard members. Customer service comes solely through an online form. The site promises “Friendly 24/7 Phone Support” if you subscribe, so I guess they withhold the number to call until they’ve got your $.
Something Standard members CAN do is use the Instant Messenger. I was able to open video chat right from my web browser. Your conversation partners are limited to people who also have the application running. Whenever I tried it out, there were only a handful of women on. But if you’re corresponding with a subscriber, it’s really nice to know that you can jump over to IM or video chat free of charge.
Compared to other sites I’ve seen, this one is on the cutting edge when it comes to a/v features. Even Standard members can easily record an audio or video clip with their webcam and post it straight to their profiles. Of course, only premium members can actually watch or listen to these clips. They can also send audio files, which is like leaving a voicemail for other members.
Most sites limit you to a handful of photos. Not this one. I don’t know how they do it, but apparently AsiaFriendFinder has the bandwidth to support HUNDREDS, even thousands, of photos. There are members with well over 100 in their on-site albums. I saw somewhere that the max is 5000. Maybe the reason they can accommodate that many is because only subscribers can access the photos. I’m not a webmaster, so I couldn’t tell you.
The membership base fluctuate by tens of thousands, as I’ve seen the onscreen counter total as few as 3,506,348 and as many as 4,820,095. Maybe they’re constantly purging thousands of scammers. In any case, the site’s claim that it’s the “Largest Online Dating Site in Asia” is probably true. There are usually between 1000 and 3000 members online at any one time.
Here’s something that’s really good or really bad, depending on your gender. At least in the greater Los Angeles area (where this reviewer resides), the ratio of women seeking men versus men seeking women was better than 3 to 1 in favor of the dudes. A lot of ladies on this site! If you’re female, never fear—a lot of your competition might not be real.
Why do I say that? Well, I looked through Members Near Me and within the third page of results, there were dozens of members without photos, suspiciously generic, number-based screen names, and a headline that is just few words from a song or some cliché sentiment. In fact, less than 50 of the 120 Members Near Me had photos. It’s hard to say for sure when the site lets you see so little of people’s profiles, but proceed with caution when contacting people.
I have never seen more detailed profiles anywhere. Well, let me amend that statement to say they let me make my profile as incredibly detailed as I wanted, but I don’t know how many members take advantage (again, they won’t let me look at anyone’s profile). There are voluminous pages of questions to answer, many of which are fun, revealing and potentially humorous. Good ones include what you would do with three wishes, which superpower you most want to have, what kind of car are you, how do you bounce back from a bad day, and what was the most humbling moment of your life.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a quiz to determine your Personality Type. This asks more serious, psychological questions. Once you complete the test, you get a personality breakdown and are classified as one type or another. I’m an “Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiver (ENFP) personality commonly referred to as ‘The Social Philosopher.’” Cool. This comes with a little icon on my profile. I’m all for quick, shorthand ways of knowing if someone might be compatible with you or not, so this is another “value added” for the service.
The site has many other bells and whistles, bonus features and community elements (free to all). This review is already turning into a book, so I won’t detail all of them. Social networking is obviously a big influence on the site, though the technology is more mid-decade MySpace than 2012 Facebook. You can join or form a friends network, blog, and choose one of many “moods.” Again, think MySpace.
An odd little feature is the ability to use a 1990s-style graphics interface and create small, simple icons called “Bling.” You can borrow Bling from other profiles, give it away or receive it as a gift. The Bling’s creator gets a link to their profile wherever the icon is used.
There is a fairly sophisticated referral program to turn members into evangelists for the site. They make it easy to send out links and put banner ads on your own blog or website. Each month, AsiaFriendFinder awards a free month of Gold membership to the Top 5 recruiters. It looks like one or two referrals might be enough to make that list in any given month.
To reward referrals and other site-sanctioned behavior, a points system is in place. You get 100 points for posting a video introduction, 100 for each of the first five photos uploaded to your profile, and still more for totaling 20 photos. A whopping 1000 points are awarded for sending in your identification to ConfirmID, the site’s free profile-verification service. That’s good for two weeks of Silver or a two-week extension on an existing subscription. It’s smart of the site to encourage people to do the right thing for themselves and the community.
Free MembershipLimited access to the site features. You do get to use the chat rooms and read the content in the Groups or Magazine sections of the site.
Profiles— It’s fun filling out your profile—the site asks great questions. But when it comes to checking out people you want to meet, forget about it. All you get to see are thumbnail photos and their profile’s headline.
Searches— Search capability is limited to geography. You can “Browse,” however, which allows you to choose a region and click “women seeking men” or whoever it is you’re looking for. It’s a 1990s-level web design, but it works.
Matching— You’re notified of new members more often than compatible matches, but they’ll give you a few from time to time. Also, there is a five-star scale calculated by the site to show members’ compatibility with you. Remember that Standard members can’t review profiles in order to gauge the quality of matches, though.
Communication— Send smiley-face Flirts, reply to messages sent by subscribers, IM or video chat with willing members who are also online (but usually fewer than 10 people are).
Support— No live chat or customer-care line. There is an email form you can complete.
Paid MembershipThe free membership isn’t going to tell you much about potential dates, as only subscribers can peruse profiles in detail. The Silver membership is so cheap that it’s probably worth trying it for a month to see what you think. But don’t expect full access to all the site’s features. Many things, especially search parameters you take for granted on other sites, are limited to Gold members. Well, lah dee dah!
Profiles— Priority placement of your profile. Full access to others’ profiles, including audio or video clips. First look at new members.
If you’re already a Gold member, you can become a VIP member and gain “extra visibility” on the site. I believe they’re referring to the small VIP gallery that is separate from the other profiles. As a VIP, you’ll also be featured in every monthly “Cupid report,” which is basically an email listing new members. How exactly do Gold members get chosen to be VIPs? Who knows. I couldn’t find that information on the site.
Searches— Silver members can run what I’d call a basic search and Gold members have full access to the normal search criteria. But I’ve seen more advanced search engines. Doesn’t look like you can search by keyword or members’ answers to profile questions you consider important.
Matching— I can’t really gauge the quality of the automated matching system, because the site won’t let me look at anyone’s profile until I pay up. Some of my matches look cute (based on their thumbnail photos) and live in my state. But the vast majority live more than 200 miles away and have no photos.
Communication— Contact subscribers and free members via email, IM or video chat. Leave “voicemails.”
Support— They promise 24/7 phone support to subscribers.
Compare Before You Buy
Profile depth & detail
Ease of use
Number active members