Chemistry.com is an interesting name for a dating site. Of course, there's the type of chemistry that develops between two people when they begin to hit it off, romantically speaking. But chemistry is also a field of science. While Chemistry.com doesn't claim to have any physicists working on their development team, this science-y aspect of the name reveals a deeper, more purposeful methodology to the way the site attempts to pair users. At first, this method may seem crazy and ridiculous, but much like Yoda's training of Luke, all becomes clear in the end.
Signing up for Chemistry.com starts with entering basic biographical data that you might enter on any dating site (physical characteristics, occupation, education level, etc.), including specific questions about your interests. Next, you'll be asked about the biographical information your ideal match would have -- and how important it is that they actually have it -- on a scale from Very Important to Not Important. The third step is to write a basic profile with a short headline and a response to "Tell us about yourself and who you're looking for." Now here is where things first got interesting--this response can be no longer than 2000 characters, which is actually surprisingly short. How is someone supposed to read this and then decide if they are interested in you? As soon as you finish the basic profile by adding a photo, Chemistry.com answers that question.
Rather than write a long description of yourself, Chemistry.com gives you a multiple choice test. Or to be specific, it gives you a really weird multiple choice test. Not to ruin all the surprise, but questions on the test include, "Which is larger, your index finger or your ring finger?" and "What do your doodles look like?" Perhaps the weirdest question (or the most awesome question) involved a cartoon image of wall and a person with his back to you, looking on the other side. The question was "Is there something interesting behind this wall?"
This is Chemistry.com's personality test.
Chemistry.com also doesn't have a search feature. You don't go on this site looking around at all the different users. That would defeat the whole point! Through the odd, but (hopefully) carefully researched personality test, Chemistry.com is able to compare you to its many other users, and then suggest matches to you. If you aren't interested, then it will suggest more matches the next day. By telling you what category they fell into based on their personality test, and how it compares to whatever category you fell into, you gain a sense of the person, and the written responses that users put into their profile are simply icing on the cake, rather than the primary basis to judge potential people.
On one hand, there is something a little scary about having an algorithm match you with other singles. Without the search feature, or the ability to see people other than your daily matches, you lose one of the most fun illusions of online dating--that you can easily choose from 100s of people to find your perfect match. On the other hand, Chemistry.com streamlines the process of actually assessing a personality from a person's written profile by having the personality test do it for you. And that alone is very appealing.
The Signup Process: 10 minutes to create the initial profile, plus how long it takes and individual user to write their headline and "Tell us about yourself and who you're looking for" section. Another 5-10 minutes for the personality test.
Match Quality: The entire foundation of the site is to generate good matches. It is very successful.
Cost: $39.99 per month, or $13.33 per month if you sign up for 3 months, or $20.99 per month if you sign up for 6 months.
Legitimacy: With the personality test, attention to curating the singles you see, and a uncluttered design, Chemistry.com is not a site trying to con anyone.
Overall Rating: 9.8 out of 10