The website www.lovemail.co.za has been around since 1999 and started out as the online personals for Junk Mail. Two years later they totally revamped the website and it became a fully functional online dating website with matchmaking technology and SMS capability built in.
Unlike other websites, Love Mail offers the users a choice between chatting via SMS or via the website. The website rated 71% in the Webagility analysis performed in July 2004. It was the highest ranked site, along with LoveFinda, narrowly beating market leader DatingBuzz, however, it still has a lot of room for improvement.
First off, the website doesn’t function properly when using a non-Internet Explorer type web browser e.g. Mozilla Firefox. And with Internet Explorer’s continued security flaws more and more people are starting to use other web browsers. A person can register using a cell phone by sending “chatmeup” to 33244 (cost = R1.50 per SMS).
You can also register on www.lovemail.co.za website which allows for more comprehensive searching and matching, while still giving you the option to search and flirt via SMS. One month will set you back R50 going up to R480 for 12 months (an average of R40 per month) and you get 20 SMS per month. One of the coolest features on Love Mail is ‘how hot?’ and this allows you to rate photos of men or women out of five. It can become addictive, to say the least.
After registration on the website you have to complete your profile. When filling out the profile some people may be annoyed with the request for their cell phone number. The verification code is sent to your cell, therefore this request is valid. It’s also a good way of preventing fraud and pranks. You can also choose whether or not you want your profile to be of an explicit nature. Again this is very different from other websites which are either ‘normal’ dating websites (match making), or a adult oriented websites for swingers and people looking for casual sex.
Love Mail also provides a good selection of free content which can be accessed without registering on the website. Everything from horoscopes, success stories, frequently asked questions, the ‘how hot?’ section, to how to ‘say I love you’ in 22 different languages. Once logged onto the website you can do quick search or a more comprehensive search. Although it’s easy to use, I found a problem with the detailed information in the profiles in the search results. There just wasn’t enough information to make an informed decision on whether this person could be a match.
Junk Mail, the owners of Love Mail, did not promote this service actively for several months during 2003 and 2004 and therefore many of the users are dormant. If they were to adopt a renewed marketing push is bound to bring more activity and more interesting users onto this website. There is room for improving the matchmaking technology and the ease with which users can search for matches. It is nice that you have the option of using SMS technology, but the ultimate goal is to use the website to get much more information that is not currently possible via cell phones. Things could change in the near future as the 3G (the next generation of cell phone technology) enabled handsets become more common, but for now websites and the PC rule supreme.