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Finding Love Online

With Valentine's Day around the corner, many single individuals may be turning to online dating sites in order to find love. But looking for someone to date can be as expensive as actually going out on one.

Subscribe to an online dating site and you can easily pay upwards of $40 per month, and that doesn't even include personalized coaching or other features that improve your odds of finding someone special. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com, offers some tips on how to get the best deal when you are looking for love.

First, be sure to check the site's traffic. Ignore dating-site boasts about their number of profiles. It's more important to know how many of those profiles are active. Use Compete.com to estimate monthly visitors. If you're paying for a subscription, even on niche sites, it should be getting at least 10,000 visitors.

Before you give over your credit card number, read site reviews. Better Business Bureau complaints about dating services are up 62% since 2005. Take the time to read consumer reviews about a site and review its Better Business Bureau record before signing up.

If you are going to be using the site for a little while, consider buying a package deal. A month-to-month membership is usually the most expensive option. If you opt into a three or six-month package, you could save about 50%. But also remember, you don't want to buy too big of a package, especially if you are successful in your search soon after you sign up.

Don't be afraid to wait for coupons and sales. Like any other purchase, online dating has sales and coupon codes. Chemistry.com is currently offering three months for the price of one, a $50 savings. Use coupon code "GEEK" at Match.com and save 25% off membership.

And finally, when you do find someone special, be careful to avoid sweetheart scams. Sadly, scammers prey on online daters, reeling them in with promises of love and then begging for cash to afford a plane ticket or other expenses. Sites do what they can to weed out such users, but don't ever give money to somebody you haven't met.

For other tips on getting deals on online dating website and other consumer information, please click here.
by Kelli Grant and Jenn Eaker