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Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

A round-up of Prague’s on-line dating sites

Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

A round-up of Prague’s on-line dating sites


Published 06.02.2012
Last updated 02.04.2013

It’s a good time to be a single woman in the Czech Republic. According to the 2011 census, for the first time ever in Prague, single men outnumber married men by a sizable margin. But you needn’t fret if you’re a man—the social media explosion of the past few years has made it possible to connect with potential mates sans embarrassing barroom encounters. Since we posted our last review of Prague’s dating options, some new sites have sprung up making it easier than ever to hook up, hang out, or just say ahoj, while a number of older sites are retooling to fit today’s highly mobile, increasingly plugged-in user. To get a feel for them, we posed as a 25-year-old female English teacher who’s new to Prague and looking for a friendly introduction to Czech culture and Prague life.


BADOO.COM
Speed-dating disguised as Facebook

Badoo is an award-winning social networking site that boasts 130 million-plus users. Its founders claim that fifty percent of all conversations lead to off-line meet-ups. This makes sense given that we were bombarded with dozens of messages and invitations to chat, many of them spam, from random people within minutes of creating a profile. If you’re an expat, you’ve probably become accustomed to this fast-and-furious style of connecting with total strangers. Frankly, it made us uncomfortable. With no groups that allow you to find people with similar interests, the Badoo brand of lazy instant messaging led to a lot of lackluster opening lines including, “Do you like sex?” and the ubiquitous “hi there :-)”.

Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

Turn-ons

  • Available in multiple languages, it’s great for non-Czech speakers living in the Czech Republic
  • Superb functionality and graphic interface
  • Android and iPhone apps
  • Free (though you can activate “super powers” for 225 CZK/month)
  • No waiting for approval; simply set up an account, upload your photo, and create a profile


Turn-offs

  • No groups (seemed more like a personal blog with IM) or opportunities to build social networks
  • No video or music options
  • Picture-rating game and other dating-site features disguised as social network led to a lot of spam



SEZNAMKA.CZ

The creepy uncle of Czech dating sites

After the splashy Badoo experience, fifteen-year-old Seznamka felt a bit outdated especially when we were asked to supply our astronomical sign. Unlike Badoo, it requires a bit of a vetting process (your photos and ad must be first approved by admin) so at the very least you have time to brace yourself for the onslaught of gentlemen like “Licker1”, who invited us for a dip in his “hydromassage tub.” Without the instant gratification factor of IM-ing, we found that most responses to our ad were polite invitations in both English and Czech to continue corresponding via personal e-mail—though for every one of those there seemed to be a self-described “schizofrenic” lurking in the wings.

Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

Turn-ons

  • Special category for foreigners (Cizojazycné) that allows you to post/browse ads in English
  • Immediately compiles a list of potential mates whose criteria align with yours
  • Gay, lesbian and bisexual sections, as well as a variety of special interest groups
  • Free


Turn-offs

  • Czech-only user interface
  • Old-fashioned WAP capabilities and plain SMS dating ads instead of iPhone or Android apps
  • Inactive chat rooms
  • Frequent quality control required



ŠTĚSTÍ.CZ

Hello out there? (Crickets. Crickets.)

Having been bombarded with a mix of the eager (“Hi miss u are very pretty” on Badoo) and the way-too-eager (“Hi there. I study physics. I LOVE YOU” on Seznamka) the fellas over at Štěstí proved a little more difficult to interact with. This time we sent out shy-sounding messages in Czech to a handful of randomly selected suitors. We received no response. Which was surprising, considering that, like Seznamka, Štěstí is based on the set-up-a-profile-and-wait approach. Quite different from Seznamka, however, is a homepage that gives users the opportunity to window-shop, clicking through thumbnail photos of intriguing characters like “OldThyme” from Znojmo. Thumbnails show user’s age and location as well as indicate “TOP” profiles as voted on by other users, though from the looks of the individuals who received that assignation, the criteria is anyone’s guess.

Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

Turn-ons

  • “Zahraniční”, or “abroad”, category with English-language ads
  • Easy to use and manage profiles
  • iPhone mobile app
  • Interesting IQ-test feature lets you hone in on the cranially blessed
  • Gay-and-lesbian friendly


Turn-offs

  • Czech-language interface only; also, registration requires “Captcha” with Czech diacritics
  • Must pay 99 CZK via mobile to place your ad and participate in the full features of the site
  • No responses to our ad



LÍBÍMSETI.cz
Please put some clothes on, dear

Líbímseti was characterized by photos of young women seductively nibbling cotton candy or posing in bikinis. Atop exercise balls. This site is largely frequented by teenage girls—if you don’t believe me note that the website sponsored its own Miss High School competition in 2011—and as such is an appropriately awkward combo of the hyper-sexed (live masturbation cam) and totally innocent (a “pen-pals only” category). With its massive community of users and focus on casual meet-ups, discussions, forums, and chats, it’s more about entertainment than serious dating. We did, however, receive a handful of replies in English from less-than-lascivious men who seemed genuinely interested in a language exchange.

Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

Turn-ons

  • “Zahraniční”, or “abroad”, category with English-language ads
  • Huge selection of services beyond traditional dating site stuff
  • Mobile friendly via http://m.libimseti.cz
  • Gay-and-lesbian friendly
  • Free


Turn-offs

  • Czech-only user interface
  • Confusing home page
  • Incredibly tiny fonts
  • Not really a serious dating site; geared toward the (way) younger generation



LIDÉ.CZ

Bashy, virtual college dorm

Lidé, one of the most popular Czech dating sites around, is similar to Badoo and Libimseti for its social network leanings. Here you can discuss “Death/Doom Metal” with fellow heshers or, if you’re in the mood for love, participate in something saucier like the “No Undies Today” chatroom. There’s a YouTube-inspired video-posting page, an events calendar where you can find local happenings (paranormal activities hunt or pajama party at IKEA, anyone?), a high-school reunions section, and, of course, a dedicated dating page. Of all the Czech dating sites, this one was the easiest to use, despite the fact that it’s in Czech, thanks to its incredibly well-organized and straightforward interface.

Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

Turn-ons

  • Special category for foreigners (Cizojazyčné) that allows you to post/browse ads in English
  • Can upload up to 1,000 MB of photos (though we had difficulties uploading a photo)
  • Clean and straightforward user interface
  • Mobile friendly via http://m.lide.cz/
  • Free


Turn-offs

  • Czech-only user interface
  • Can only log in with a Seznam.cz or Email.cz address
  • Must wait 15 days after registering before you can actually place an ad (however, once you’ve activated your account you can search, chat, and send e-mails)
  • Must wait 15 days to vote on pictures and profiles



EXPATS.CZ
Home sweet home?

After my furtive look into the world of Czech dating it was refreshing to return to Expats.cz where what the Personals and Dating section of the Classified pages lacks in panache, it makes up for in, for the most part, decent dudes. And, no, I’m not just schilling for the site. Granted I came across a few desperate types (“WANTED: ANY WOMAN”) and wayward geeks (“I’m an IT guy. It doesn’t have to be disease”) but for the most part, responses to my own ad comprised a healthy microcosm of expat life from a broad swathe of nationalities (“I am an Indian guy with the full flavored spice”), including Czech.

Love in the Time of Chat Rooms

Turn-ons

  • English-language all the way
  • Array of categories including gay and lesbian
  • Not a lot of spam
  • Notifications sent to your e-mail
  • Free


Turn-offs

  • Photo attachments function is a little janky
  • Many of the men who responded to my ad had incomplete profile info
  • No chat capabilities


When I first moved to Prague, I went on a few dates courtesy of that social-networking dinosaur, Friendster. Then MySpace (what was it about MySpace that always felt mildly elicit?). Since then we’ve all transitioned to Facebook, which is a different beast altogether—though not expressly for dating, it certainly enables mixing and mingling even if it does effectively kill off the element of intrigue. The best thing that can be said about the sites mentioned here is that most of them hearken back to the slow getting-to-know-you that’s disappearing from our all-access, all-the-time world, while giving you a chance to survey the local dating pool (from a safe distance!) and try out your Czech. Still not convinced? Then let me introduce you to Anetka. And her exercise ball.

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Comment from: Published: 11:20:36 11.03.2012
What about "ja-ty.cz". It has English section, it's 300,- CZK/year. I received a lot of normal responses. Try that one. They call it "first serious czech dating site"