The Unappealing Alternative


At first glance, for this kinky dating site review of alternativedatelink.com looks like an interesting prospect. A collared black-clad woman glares out from the homepage, flipping you the bird. Promises of anonymous emails, live one to one chat and free instant messaging with thousands of new members daily sounds like the (un)holy grail of kinky dating. But does the site stand up to road-testing by a true aficionado of the fetish scene?

Alternative Date Link Review: Unimpressive First Impressions


Well, I have to be honest - it's left me pretty unimpressed. The registration process is clunky at best. You have to complete your profile in full before you can search the site, so there’s no chance to see what you’re getting before you sign up. And for a supposedly ‘alternative’ dating site the whole experience is weirdly conservative. For starters, the only available gender options are male and female – there’s no mention of trans, CIS, or anything else. Things get worse from there with a raft of inane profile questions that would be irrelevant even on a vanilla site. Never mind which celebrity I most look like or whether I’d rather live in a beach house or a mountain cabin. This is supposed to be about kinky dating - ask me about my fetish, goddammit!

Alternative Date Link Review: Where's the Fetish?


Once you’ve answered the frankly baffling profile questions and got through to the main dashboard, the tiny profile pics and drab design give the site the overall look and feel of a dated dad-porn website from about 1999. There are a number of search options available, but this is where the non-Scene profile questions start to cause problems because the checkbox based 'detailed', 'quick', and 'personality' searches give no hint whatsoever of any kinky proclivities. Don’t get me wrong, the detailed search facility is quick and easy to use. It will serve you well if you have a particular urge to meet, say, a non-religious Native American management executive earning $100k who only drinks socially, has children and likes cats. However, anybody hoping to satisfy a specific sexual fetish will need to put in a lot more work. The only way to find exactly what you’re looking for is to do a keyword search – or multiple searches if you have more than one interest. A simple check-box list for Scene preferences would solve this, and it’s not as if the designers don’t know how to create them because they’ve done it for other much less relevant categories. Strike one - priorities, people!

kinky dating site review

Kinky Dating Site Review: Free for women, not so free for men


OK, so you’ve gone to the trouble of setting up your profile and running multiple searches, and you have a list of like-minded potential playmates to work through. Now, if you’re female you can go right ahead and start exploring, because you have subscription-free access to all the major functions of the site. If you’re a man, though, you get to run those searches and that’s it. Literally. You can’t even read a profile or view more than a basic profile picture, which in a lot of cases is either absent or very obviously fake anyway. As for the rest of the promised features, the live one-on-one chat facility is a paid service no different to any you’d find on a porn site. The free instant messaging is only actually free if you’re female - guys are bombarded by the usual chatbot popups and find themselves instantly bounced to the subscription page if they try to interact.

That’s strike two right there, because these subscriptions don’t come cheap. Annual membership is currently discounted to $99.44 from $358.32, while three months’ access will set you back $49.72 and an auto-renewing monthly account is $29.86. The reality is that the majority of people probably won’t want to commit to these sorts of fees, and it's most likely this that leads to the site’s next big problem: abandoned profiles.

Alternative Date Link Review: Where are all the 'real' people?


Although the homepage boasts of having thousands of new members signing up daily (and at first glance the catchment does seem to be pretty huge, with members all across North America and Europe), a look through the search results shows that the majority of accounts haven’t actually been used within the last 30 days. My theory is this: when men join and find they have no functionality, most abandon their profiles and only a tiny minority subscribe. Women join and have all the functionality but hardly any men to interact with because most of them haven’t paid up. The guys who do go to the expense of subscribing then have their kinky dating dreams shattered by the number of inactive women. Who by now have mostly abandoned their profiles because of the lack of men. It's a vicious circle - and that, my friends, is strike three. There’s no use having an ever-growing membership base if it mostly comprises people who visit once and never come back.

Alternative Date Link Review: But you can save it!


The only real positive on this website is the facility to save your searches and receive automated update emails. So at least once you’ve set all the keyword searches needed to cater to your kinks you can have new matches delivered to your inbox every week with no additional hassle – assuming, of course, that you’ve forked out the cash to be able to view them. For me, though, this (very) minor benefit doesn’t make alternativedatelink.com a site worth joining, let alone paying a subscription for. If it offered directly-searchable kink and fetish options and a lot more subscription-free activity, then maybe, but as it stands it’s really not worth the bother. The number of inactive members means that the odds of making a connection are slim even without the other drawbacks. If you’re after an online kinky dating experience where you actually stand a decent chance of meeting someone to play with, there are a million better sites out there. Go find one and have some fun.

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