Designed for gay, lesbian and transsexual singles, Gay.com hosts more than three million member profiles and provides a community for singles seeking casual sex, dating, friendship and more. Going beyond the usual scope of a traditional dating site, the site includes a variety of news, videos and articles on a wide range of relevant topics, from fashion, to music, lifestyle and travel. New users can register at Gay.com for free. With this basic membership, once the user has provided a valid email address to ensure that they are genuine, they can take a peek at the swathe of options and features that Gay.com serves up to its members. If new users like what they see they can fill out their own profile, upload a photo or two and start getting involved. This is a great way of testing the water, but if you enjoy the free experience, then it’s well worth upgrading to a premium membership to get the most out of the site. For a very reasonable cost (charged monthly), users gain access to a host of smart tools that can completely change the way you go about using the site. An example is the benefit of being able to view full size member profile photos, and also the option to view their private galleries, which premium users can access with one click from the search results. The limit on the number of messages members can send and receive is also lifted, which is of obvious benefit to those who use the site a lot, and ensures that no promising conversations are truncated at the critical moment. Premium users are also notified about who’s been browsing their profile, and hence, showing an interest, a great little ego boost. Users can employ two methods to search the user database. The first is the ‘rapid search’ option, which returns results based on factors such as sex, location, and age. The second uses a few more criteria to return more specific results; these filters include interests, appearance, lifestyle etc. The search facility also allows members to specify the type of encounter they are looking for, e.g. casual, dating, romance etc. This is great for saving wasted time and ensuring that only member’s who are ‘on the same page’ so to speak, are brought together. Finally, users can also enter keywords which they think maybe relevant to their search, certain interests or niche activities for example. If you like some particular band or sports or something else besides, you can also use a keyword search to find people with the same interests. With free Basic membership users can view thumbnail pictures and have no access to any other members’ photos, while if you upgrade your account, you will gain one-click access to private pictures. Gay.com is a great site with a thriving community and many pro’s. If we do have a gripe, it could be said that the site design could use a little more refinement, something a little less busy and more purposeful would be of great benefit to the accessibility of the site.
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