Some dating sites are all about meeting someone for a long-term relationship; others are a little more casual in their orientation, focusing on meeting people who want to have a good time without necessarily settling down.
And then there's AdultFriendFinder.
I'm not saying AFF is vulgar, but as soon as you sign up you're greeted with a big red banner that proclaims, in reassuring capital letters, “GUARANTEE: YOU WILL GET LAID.” I like the sound of that; a site confident enough to guarantee I'll get fucked. Now all I want to know is whether my wallet and dignity are going to get fucked too.
The search engine will be familiar to you if you've used other NSA dating sites—as will the frustration of not actually being able to see anyone's profile. Apparently, step one to finding a fuck buddy is microtransactions; even if you don't buy a paid membership plan, you can buy the opportunity to see a single profile for a smaller amount; this option is for those of you who have decided that this photograph of a stranger's tits is the one for you and no other photo of a stranger's tits will do.
And, of course, as soon as you sign up you're bombarded with messages from other users who apparently just love blank grey silhouettes with completely empty profiles. I'm not trying to shame anyone's kink here, but that seems like an odd one. If you're more serious about using the site, you'll enter your gender, sexual preferences, sexual orientation, location, and your secret lifestyle.
OK, so you can't really do anything on AdultFriendFinder without a paid membership other than search (but not view profiles) and participate in a limited number of chat rooms. So far, pretty typical. But is a paid membership worth it? Well, in addition to that ironclad guarantee, a membership lets you send instant messages and get access to instant messaging, live cams, blogs, emails, forums and magazine articles.
AdultFriendFinder has developed some odd features over the years. For instance, the AdultFriendFinder advanced search allows seeing only the people you might be interested in, using their matching algorithm. The Finder blog, on the other hand, offers countless tips on how to make your profile captivating. So on the one hand the site wants to match you only to the people you'll want to see, while at the very same time it's offering you tools to spam people's searches with your profile. I'm not seeing a coherent strategy here.
More seriously, AdultFriendFinder needs to do a review of its database and scrutinize the number of inactive users and those profiles that seem fake. Or you could do that—hackers leaked the site's database earlier this year. Still, having too many profiles that are not functioning clutters the database. I imagine that the company isn't interested in cutting off potential paying users, and, practically, there is a function to let you search only users who have been online recently, so it's not a huge problem.
There are also... well, how can I put this delicately? Call me paranoid, but just judging by photographs, I suspect that one or two of the users on this site might be looking not so much for NSA dates as for new clients. Which is obviously completely fine, but we all might benefit from it being flagged as such.
As always, online dating is a game of numbers, and AdultFriendFinder, as one of the oldest and largest of these sites, has a definite numbers advantage. It's kind of like the Facebook of hookup sites; it's plastered with ads, its interface is fucking hideous and the signal-to-noise ratio is high, but everyone uses it.
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