Zoosk was founded by Alex Mehr and Shayan Zadeh in the U.S. in 2007, but now has its headquarters in Germany. Owned by global dating company Spark Networks, Zoosk falls under the same umbrella as sites like Jdate, Christian Mingle, EliteSingles and more. Zoosk claims to be the “#1 grossing online dating app” in the Apple App Store.
One of Zoosk’s most unique features is SmartPick—an algorithm capable of learning users’ behaviors such as the kind of profiles they have liked or disliked to provide customized match recommendations.
How It Works
Zoosk is a pretty diverse dating site that accepts members of all races, religious backgrounds, sexual orientations, and ages above 18. It is available on desktop, the App Store and Google Play Store and it’s pretty quick and easy to sign up on any of the platforms.
At sign-up, you’re asked for some basic personal information such as your name, birthday, location, education level, height, ethnicity, body type and education level.
Once you answer all the questions, the platform instantly provides you with unlimited potential matches in your area. You can browse through these profiles for free but you won’t be able to send or read any actual messages until you upload at least one photo (you can upload up to 6) and pay for a subscription.
If you decide to subscribe, you will be able to send and receive unlimited messages and chats. You will also get daily match recommendations via SmartPick—an adaptive matching technology that gives you time-sensitive match recommendations based on the profiles you liked or didn’t like.
Another feature of this platform is Zoosk Live—a live streaming service available only on Zoosk’s mobile app. This feature allows you to stream videos and view other people’s streams.
Based on our research, Zoosk seems to be used mostly by younger people between the ages of 18 and 40, however, lots of older users are also available on this platform. That said, if you’re above 50, you might want to consider Zoosk Seniors, an option within the platform aimed at connecting older singles.
The cost of your Zoosk monthly subscription will depend on how many months you’re paying for in advance. In general, you’ll get greater discounts if you pay for more months at a time.
Zoosk offers only one membership option, so each paid subscriber has access to pretty much the same tools and features regardless of how many months you pay for. These include unlimited messaging, SmartPicks, incognito browsing mode and the ability to see who likes you.
But that’s not all—Zoosk also offers a subscription upgrade feature that allows you to gain extra functionality. This can be done by purchasing Zoosk coins—which are virtual coins that you can purchase apart from the membership—at an additional cost, which you can then use to unlock these features. These features include:
- Premium Messaging: This feature allows registered members without a paid subscription to respond to your messages without having to subscribe first.
- Hide and Seek: This allows you to tweak your visibility level between hide, seek or sneak. Choosing the “hide” option conceals your profile from everyone except those you message directly. “Seek” makes you visible to everyone and lets them know when you view them and “sneak” makes your profile visible but doesn’t allow people to know when you view their profiles.
- Boost: The boost feature allows your profile to be promoted on the app so that you can quickly get more views.
“Zoosk is similar to most other dating apps,” says Leanne Leonard, a Texas-based licensed marriage and family therapist at Mindpath Health. Leonard is a fan of several of Zoosk’s features such as the ability to hide your profile for a while, and block or report members sending you inappropriate content. “This is a definite perk in the dating app world,” she says.
That said, Leonard recommends being conscious of scammers on this platform. “People can create fake profiles or have different agendas that may not align with your goals,” she says. “It’s important to be cautious with the information you provide and how quickly you shift out of communication through Zoosk to personal cell phones or meeting in person,” she added.
It’s also a good idea to avoid making decisions simply based on a photo, advises Dr. Caleb Jacobson, a clinical psychologist, sex therapist and the host of the Sex Therapy Podcast. “We have all encountered people who look great in photos but not so great in person, so don’t let the photo be the selling point,” says Dr. Jacobson.
In addition, Leonard recommends writing out a concise list of what you are looking for and not looking for in a partner. “The most important section, in my opinion, is the profile summary,” she says. “This is where you can specify your goals and what you are looking for. Adding a quick note of who ‘shouldn’t apply’ is helpful to attempt to weed out unnecessary connections.”
Leonard also recommends being open-minded and maintaining realistic expectations. “For example, if your ideal mate is a never-married business person with no children, but someone with an ex-wife and children sparks your interest, take a risk and get to know the person,” she says.
“Another tip would be to get to know several people at once,” Leonard says. “It’s kind of like shopping, once someone pulls your focus in their direction, you will know when it’s time to disengage from others on the dating app and shift focus toward the one person.”
Leonard met her current partner on Zoosk and according to her, they have been living together happily for three years. “Online dating through Zoosk was one of the most fun experiences for me, especially after coming out of a divorce,” she says.
The Zoosk Couples tab at the bottom of the About page leads to a testimonial page where different couples share how they were able to find their partners on Zoosk. Diversity is evident on this page as most of the couples seem to be of different religious backgrounds, races, sexual orientations and countries.