Overview of Disabled Buddies
Disabledbuddies.com is an online dating site created to bring people with disabilities together to flirt, chat, video chat, and date. I think this site does a good job of catering to a specific population without being ableist or exploitive, which is always something to consider when looking at a targeted site like this. Apart from the decent job they do with things like language, accessibility, and inclusion, they also have a site that looks great, is well organized and easy to use.
One of my favorite features is the Smart Match tech this site uses to make the search and site relevant for its users. They use your personal info (interests and preferences you provide the site in your profile), search history, and activity to learn more about what you like. They use this info to show you members you’ll be interested in. This is a newer technology some dating sites are using and I think it improves the dating experience quite a bit. If your searches or interests change, the program adjusts.
The biggest critique I have for this site is that it is not a fully free site – even if you buy a membership, you have to upgrade to a VIP membership to get full access to all the features. The site can sometimes get slow and show more regular members than new members at times. Offsetting that, there are always members Online Now to chat with.
Features and Activities
Disabledbuddies offers users a lot of ways to communicate, search, and play on the site. This is a bigger deal than it might seem – I don’t see a lot of sites getting both the tech and the social aspects right. It’s often one or the other, and sometimes neither.
- Home – This is your default landing page when you log in. It has all the features you’ll use regularly when you’re online. This is where you will see notifications, chat alerts, and access your dashboard for activities.
- Inbox – Your inbox will show a notification when you have a new message from the site or another member. It will also store the messages you’ve sent to other users for a certain period of time. The better membership packages offer longer storage for your chats, and the ability to interact with more people. The VIP membership lets you chat with anyone. I don’t like the different levels for communication and permissions. Some of them are confusing, but ultimately, the best deal with most perks is the VIP Upgrade if you want to message people on the site.
- New Members – See who’s new to the site.
- Your New Matches – These are matches that DisabledBuddies suggests for you based on your preferences, previous searches, and site activity.
- Browse – Look through members by category or view people you’ve interacted with. Choose from the buttons to see people who are:
- New – Shows new site members.
- Online – Shows members who are Online Now and have not hidden themselves. You can choose to remain Offline if you prefer to browse the site privately.
- Matches – Shows people the site suggests as Matches.
- VIP – Shows VIP Members. You can view these members, but can only interact with them if you have Upgraded to a VIP Membership, in addition to Paid Membership. If you aren’t a VIP Member, consider this section a teaser to try to get you to Upgrade.
- Admirers – People who have Liked your profile.
- Favorites – People you have Liked and who have Liked you in return.
- Visitors – Members who have visited your full Profile to learn more about you.
- Blocked – Use the Block feature for any member who is harassing you or making you uncomfortable (or any other reason, you may want to block people you know if you are dating discreetly). This is a feature I really appreciate, and I like that I don’t have to dig for it. While I love online dating, there are definitely people I don’t want to interact with more than once… or ever. If you change your mind, you can Unblock.
- Profile – See your profile info and edit it as you see fit. The information you give on your profile helps the site find matches for you. Even if you are just using the site to chat with someone or find a fast date, you should fill out all the info so your Matches and Searches are relevant. This is a great feature that too many members overlook.
- Chat – Chat or Video Chat with other members on the site. You can only do this if you have paid for a membership, and even then, you can only Chat with VIP Members if you are one yourself. This is where they nail you down for the membership because not being able to chat makes the site kind of useless.
- Inbox – This is where your messages are stored (see above for more detail).
- Flirt – This is a feature that suggests a potential flirt for you based on your preferences. The site keeps a tab on the Top Flirts of the Week. Those are the members who have interacted and Flirted the most.
The free membership on Disabled Buddies gives you access to the most basic features of the website, like search, browsing, and accepting incoming messages. If you want to use the better features of the site, you need to upgrade your membership. The structure for upgrading on this website is a little more complicated than some others I have used or reviewed.
If you plan to get a paid membership to the site, it is best to just suck it up and buy the VIP add-on as well. There are so many features on here that you can’t use if you don’t upgrade, so my suggestion is to either stay free and just browse the site or to upgrade to a full VIP Membership so that you’re getting the most for your money.
The six-month plan is the best deal, and even adding the VIP plan makes it less per month than the monthly recurring plan. It saves a substantial amount to pick the longer plans, but they are also billed on sign-up, so it is a higher upfront cost. If you have trouble making payments online and would like help, they have a phone number you can call.
There are 3 Premium Upgrade Options:
1-month membership at $39.99/month
- Add VIP $14.90/month = $54.89
- Total due at signup = $54.89
3-month membership at $29.99/month
- Add VIP $14.90/month = $44.89
- Total due at signup = $134.67
- Saves $10/month or $30 total
6-month membership at $24.99/month
- Add VIP $14.90/month = $39.89
- Total due at sign-up = $239.34
- Saves $15/month or $90 total
DisabledBuddies.com is a high-quality site. I have used and reviewed some websites for disabled dating in the past, and I found some of them to be less thought out, less inclusive, and a tad predatory. This site doesn’t feel like a scam. It isn’t glitchy or full of spam and links out to other sites. It functions more like a social media platform centered around messaging and chat. They have a good system for reviewing and validating profiles, good site security, and the members are active.
The winning features of this dating site are the Search Function and the Smart Match. The way they work together makes it easy to find people you’re interested in, which could be more specific on a site like this where you might be looking for someone with similar strengths or challenges.
My least favorite things about the site are the Membership Structure, as I think it could be simplified, and the lack of a Status Update feature. A lot of the new dating sites have Status Updates, and those lend a community feels to the site. You can get to know other members before checking out the profiles and interact through conversations and replies. I’d love to see them add that in the future.
Overall, DisabledBuddies.com is designed well, runs well, and is worth the money if you purchase the add-on. If the VIP add-on is not in your budget, I would highly suggest starting with a one-month membership to see if you like the site, even with the limited benefits.