My 1st personal add was in a newspaper 23 years ago where I met my wife. I am a widower. I passed on her add twice, she answered my add. I proposed at the end of our 1st date. Never regretted it for 1 single second. They do work.
But you will only get out of it what you put into your profile. The more you put into your profile, the more careful you have to be. The sites have one purpose, separate you from your money. If you get a full subscription with all the frills, your experience will probably be a good one. If you try to use a "bargain" subscription, everything is geared to get you to upgrade. Be aware going in.
I have proof on the mercenary methods of Zoosk. Here is what just happened to me. They will sell you "coins" which you can use to buy "gifts, services, and upgrades". I had a balance in "coins" that would pay for "read receipts" (has a message been read or not). You can use "coins" to buy a single "read receipt" for 35 "coins" or $14.95 in "coins" for the upgrade. My first time on Zoosk, I had bought the $14.95 upgrade. This was my 2nd time on Zoosk and I had not bought the upgrade. According to the support tech, they were "upgrading their services" and because I had bought the upgrade my first time on Zoosk, I could use "coins" to buy anything else on the site EXCEPT the upgrade that I wanted. The only way I could get a read receipt was to pay cash for the $14.95 upgrade. It took me ten minutes of rephrasing the statement before the tech agreed that I was correct. My number of stars just went from 3 to 1. I expect to be treated fairly (yes I know that is a dream). This type of treatment REALLY gets me angry.
I have to be honest. I have discovered that most of the original problems I had with Zoosk were because I did not update my e-mail forwarder when my IP host moved me to a new server so I did not receive the contact e-mails Zoosk did send me. I have had others agree with me that if you try a bargain subscription, then everything revolved around upgrading. You have no positive way to know if someone you have tried to contact knows you exists (this was my fault). The help is circular. The "support" people restate the obvious. After going around in circles, it became quite obvious that the entire site was designed to prevent contact and to force you to spend more money. I must give them credit for policing their site. I get far fewer "ladies of the night" and scammers than I did on Match.com.
I would like to extend a strong caution to the women. From the stories I hear, the scammers and men cheating on their wives is much worse for you. BE CAREFUL. There are good men out there (like me) but the people working the scams and hookers are extremely sophisticated and, I believe, are doing psychological profiling to target individuals. I put a lot into my profile and it makes me an easy target. I have had 2 hookers admit that they had been coached on how to approach me. But if you are like me, this is the only way of meeting anyone, JUST BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL.