I've read through a lot of the reviews on here and there seem to be a lot of people who don't like the site. While I can understand some of these gripes, here's the rub: Interpals is one of the best sites for penpals, epals, and online friends that you're going to find.
While sometimes the response rate can be less-than-spectacular, you can say that about most sites like this. Of course people are less likely to respond to you if there's no clear, obvious common ground between the two of you, or if half your message and/or profile is lamenting how nobody ever responds to you, or if you send a message that's only a few words long and your profile is basically blank.
While this might seem like I (and a lot of people who use Interpals) are basically raging narcissists who get off on being rude to people, you have to understand that the internet isn't always like places in the physical world. A lot more people will be trying to talk to you, so sometimes you just have to be a lot more selective about who you respond to, and you have to put a little bit of effort into making yourself stand out.
I mean, it's not too uncommon for me to get four or five messages from people I haven't spoken to before on a day when I've been on Interpals all day. This isn't a huge amount compared to the numbers other people get, but it's enough that you do have to make some decisions regarding who you respond to and who you don't. In my case, the people who just say "Hi, how are you?" and show no indication that they've read more than two or three words of my profile are the people who aren't getting a response.
I think there's a good chance that a lot of the people who want to complain about how Interpals is a haven for narcissists just aren't thinking about that aspect of things. Sometimes the case just is that you're going to have to decide between two people, and a lot of people are going to err on the side of responding to the person who sends a message that asks them a couple of questions about themselves and their interests rather than the person who just says hello.
I don't think that's indicative of people on the site generally being stuck up; it's indicative that people appreciate it when others put a bit of effort into getting to know them. It's not like people on the site are expecting a 2,000 word essay straight off the bat; most will be satisfied with a couple of lines about you and a couple of questions that you wanted to ask them based on their profile.
I think that's what a lot of the people here who are complaining about the bad response rate are failing to realise. You don't have to be writing long messages to people straight off the bat or resort to only saying hello--there a lot of middle ground between these two extremes, and that's what most people are hoping for.
Really, I think most people who complain about a bad response rate tend to be people who can't handle the fact that they're not always the kind of person people want to talk to, or they're people who don't realise that people online don't owe you their time.
There are some good, interesting people on Interpals who I've enjoyed talking to a great deal. While some of these conversations haven't lasted as long as I would have hoped, neither do some conversations I've had in real life; and neither do some of the friendships I've had in real life.
While as I said, the response rate may not always be as good as you hoped, that's true of a lot of places on the internet. Generally speaking, I've found that as long as you're willing to put some effort into your introductory message, you'll be able to find at least a few people who would like to be friends with you.
Interpals is an easy-to-use site that has a great mod team. While there have been obviously fake profiles that have been up for a surprisingly long time, the mod team will generally crack down on them fairly quickly once they've been reported. Usually the case is more that nobody's reported a problem rather than the mods are intentionally ignoring it.
Plus the mod team is just great in general, and rarely have I ever seen a mod team that's more even handed. Sometimes there have been cases where I've seen them make decisions I've disagreed with, but those tend to be the exception rather than the rule and I can usually at least see where they're coming from with the decision.
In terms of overall usability, Interpals is probably the easiest-to-use epal/pen pal website you're going to find, especially if you're like me and you don't want to pay to sign up. The site design is about as intuitive as you'd hope for. Plus, for the most part, Interpals doesn't really have the glaring on-site cultural issues that a lot of other sites of this nature tend to have.
Interpals is just overall a good site, and as I said, as long as you're okay with putting the effort into giving yourself a good introduction, you'll find some people who'll have a good conversation with you.