An online date site needs to excel in two areas in order to attract and keep an audience: it needs to host a thriving, active community, and it must inspire users’ trust. Kiss.com fails on both fronts. On the surface, Kiss looks like a dating site worth frequenting, courtesy of an attractive interface that resembles a modern social network, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find that its issues are many and not easily dismissed.
The Setup Process and Mismatching
Let’s start with the positives. Kiss has the most entertaining profile setup processes of all the online dating sites that we’ve tested. New members are tasked with finishing Mad Libs-style incomplete sentences using drop-down boxes that reveal height, eye color, and other traits. After completing those sentences, Kiss users select cartoony icons that represent their religious outlooks, favorite activities, and interests. You can, of course, manually key in biographical information, too, as you would with the Editors’ Choice award-winning eHarmony and other online dating sites.
Kiss’ design is super-clean. You can search for people based on age, location, and other criteria, check your messages, or see favorites and people who’ve visited your profile. Kiss also displays Quick Matches (members who the site deems compatible), New Users (members who are fresh to the site), and an Activity Stream (recently edited profiles). Unfortunately, Kiss often displayed “matches” that were far outside of our criteria, such as people who live on the other side of the country.
Kiss’ profiles are also well designed, neither bombarded with Match.com-style notifications nor handicapped by Plenty of Fish’s poor design. Kiss’ profile pages aren’t as sexy as eHarmony’s profiles, but they’re generally better than competing offerings. In fact, Kiss looks very much like a social media site.
Kiss doesn’t offer messaging for free, but the service has no-cost, attention-grabbing features. You can send a member a Flirt (a pre-fabbed, ice-breaking question) to express your interest in another member. There’s also Kiss-O-Matic which sends a message blast to people who fall within your criteria to come check out your page. Kiss-O-Matic slowly recharges over time, or you can purchase a subscription to charge it faster. Unfortunately, we decided it was unwise to test the premium Kiss-O-Matic features. More on that in a bit.
Of the paid dating sites that we’ve reviewed, Kiss.com has the lowest single-month premium program ($24.95 per month). Kiss.com, naturally, slashes that price if you sign on for three or 12 month packages. The package includes unlimited communication with both featured and non-featured members, premium profile placement, priority access to new features, and no-questions-asked refund within 30 days.
The Big Empty
PCMag.com Commerce Editor, Kara Kamenec, also explored Kiss to make sure we had multiple perspectives. Her experience was less than stellar. Kara sent out 100 messages via Kiss-O-Matic, two flirts, and viewed 24 profiles. The number of responses that Kara received over 25 days? One profile view. That’s it. By comparison, Kara received thousands of responses from Match and Plenty of Fish users.
Additionally, Kiss was the only site that Kara didn’t upgrade to a premium plan, because of security concerns. When she attempted to make a payment to Kiss, Kara’s bank placed a fraud alert on her account. She also received phone calls, texts, and emails from the concerned financial institution. When Kara visited the Kiss homepage, and later the payment page using Google Chrome, the browser displayed an insecure site warning (I received the same warning, too).
To make matters worse, Kiss’ customer service is severely lacking. Kiss’ site didn’t list a company email or telephone number; there was just a “Contact Us” form. Kara tried searching for a direct contact route via Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter with no success. Though Kara was unable to make direct contact with an individual, she received a boilerplate response that stated that her credit card wasn’t charged, with no other explanation for what had happened. Our attempts to make contact with the company haven’t yielded any other explanation to date.
In testing, the only stable and useful feature of the site was its daily email service. These emails did not match me with those who I would consider within my preferences, but the emails did come in consistently once a day. Judging from the lack of response on the site overall, I would surmise that the security issues and lack of customer service have rendered this dating site inactive and inadequate.
You Give Love a Bad Name
Kiss.com, without a premium upgrade, is an inadequate service in the competitive online dating realm. Yet, upgrading was not possible due to on-site security issues. Ultimately, the Kiss user experience, though possessing a cartoonish, friendly interface, is frustrating and fruitless.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc