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The Short Version: Some niche dating sites focus on superficial qualities like hair color or height, while others choose to emphasize personal attributes that hit a little closer to home. VeggieConnection.com is a dating site that caters to people with similar dietary habits, ethical standards, and lifestyles. The site unites vegetarians, vegans, fruitarians, and raw-foodists in a global network that’s currently over 50,000 members strong. It’s free to join the platform, search for date prospects, and send pre-written greetings and responses to anyone you like. The dating site encourages people to form deep connections, including romantic relationships and friendships, by effectively eliminating barriers like distance and cost. VeggieConnection’s affordable subscription plans, user-friendly search tools, and other unique features allow members to find compatible people and engage in conversations that lead to fruitful relationships.
A Silicon Valley entrepreneur has set his sights on the dating world and established a global platform for vegans and vegetarians of all ages. Ken has been a vegetarian for 38 years, so he understands the vegetarian community and its unique perspective on dating. When he was single, he often found himself more attracted to women who were also vegetarian. Not just because they liked to eat the same foods, but because they shared similar values, which made their conversations flow more easily and naturally.
He was in a relationship with a vegetarian woman (who’s now his wife) when he decided to build tools to help other vegetarian and vegan singles mingle with one another online. Ken had decades of experience as a web developer under his belt, and he believed the internet could bring veggie lovers together and foster long-lasting bonds.
In 2003, Ken founded VeggieConnection.com as a not-for-profit dating site geared toward vegetarian and vegan daters. Over the years, Ken has never taken a salary. He and his wife pour the profits from the site back into the site. Ken told us his main goal is to empower individual vegetarians to expand their social networks and improve their love lives.
“I would like to express my gratitude to VeggieConnection.com, which helped me find my significant other.” — A VeggieConnection.com member
Signing up to VeggieConnection is a relatively quick process. Simply input your email address, username, password, and location. Then you’ll fill in a basic profile that includes your gender, what you’re seeking (friendships and/or dating), your diet, birthday, appearance, relationship status, occupation, ethnicity, language, and other details.
You can spend as little or as much time as you want filling out open-ended sections titled My Diet, More about Me, and I’m Looking For. These sections will be approved by Ken before going live on the site. Next you can choose to enter search criteria for your ideal partner or friend in terms of gender, diet, age, height, body type, ethnicity, education, relationship status, religion, and other lifestyle factors. The site offers two columns, one for friends and the other for romantic partners, so you can narrow your search based on what type of relationship you’re interested in.
“I decided to create a site not just for dating but for friendship, too,” Ken said, “because it’s common for people in the vegetarian community to be isolated geographically.”
Once you’re a member, you can add up to 52 photos to your profile and edit it until every word is just right. Subscribed members can add up to six videos to their profiles, and these videos will only be seen by other subscribed members. Subscribed members can also let people know they’re legit by uploading documents (such as diplomas, military IDs, or driver’s licenses) to their credentials gallery, which can only be seen by members you give a Credentials Pass to.
You can conduct a quick search for compatible individuals on the site, filtering the search results by proximity, age, height, diet, religion, and other important factors. You can specify if you’re looking for a relationship or friends and broaden your search to include other countries if distance isn’t important to you. There’s even an option in the profile to mark “Willing to relocate” because this dating site encourages international connections.
It’s completely free to browse the site and look at profiles for as long as you want. You can even send pre-written greetings as an icebreaker. But, if you want to have a conversation on VeggieConnection.com, you’ll need to upgrade to a membership plan lasting one month, three months, or one year.
VeggieConnection offers two tiers of membership: Silver and Gold. Silver Membership allows members to send messages to Silver and Gold Members only, while Gold Membership allows members to send messages to everyone on the dating site, including free, Silver, and Gold Members. Free members may read and reply to messages sent from Gold Members. Both membership plans cap the number of messages members can send per day at 50.
Enrolling in a subscription package isn’t the only way to send messages on VeggieConnection, however. The dating site also has a token system which can be used to send T-mails. Each contact costs 50 tokens. Members can buy anywhere from 100 for $10 to 1,200 tokens for $72.
Ken said he makes a point to keep his subscription plans and token system reasonably priced so nothing stands between his users and a worthwhile connection. “I did this as a labor of love,” he said. “Profit is not a motivation for me.”
VeggieConnection.com has a lot of free perks for singles seeking love and friendship. You don’t have pay anything to create a profile, upload photos, search for dates, view profiles, favorite profiles, create lists, and see who’s viewed you. Those features are complimentary to let new members get a feel for the interface and the community.
Another useful (and free) feature is the pre-written greetings, which allow online daters to send out a test message and see how things go. Free members can answer back with a few scripted responses. If you see someone you like, you can use the pre-written greetings to find out if the feeling is mutual. That way, you don’t have to sign up on faith. You can confirm that you will have viable date prospects on VeggieConnection before upgrading to a paid plan.
The platform’s scripted responses are also great for breaking the ice in general — because not everyone knows what to say after “Hi” in their initial messages.
Members can use an express-interest greeting like “You’ve capture my attention” or “Care to chat?” or they can send a scripted request for the person to add photos, credentials, or update the profile. The pre-written greetings also include positive responses like “I have updated my profile!” and “You’ll hear from me with a real email as soon as I’m able to upgrade.” The dating site also has a few sorry-I’m-not-interested messages.
VeggieConnection feels more like a social network than a dating site. It has a discussion forum, polls, and blog posts to encourage site-wide discussions. The detailed profiles highlight an individual’s lifestyle, location, and interests, so you get a good feel for who the person is. As a reminder, you can leave yourself a private note about the person at the bottom of the profile — it’s called the Diary — so you’ll remember later if you’ve spoken before and what your impression of the person was.
From its scripted messages to its map-based searches, VeggieConnection has a lot of unique touches that make the online dating experience easier and more user-friendly.
“I’m an engineer at heart, so I’m always working on something,” Ken said. His recent project has been to make the dating site 100% mobile friendly, meaning members can use it from any mobile device without issue.
Since its founding in 2003, VeggieConnection.com has amassed an impressive following of over 50,000 members. It grew organically as singles joined the site and told their friends and family members about it. Today, people from all over the world come together on the dating site to build strong social and romantic connections.
Ken said a majority of members are from the US, the UK, and Australia, and his site makes geography almost a non-factor when it comes to building bonds with others. He’s seen Americans find love overseas and Australians travel to meet friends in other countries, and that international spirit is inspirational to him. He said he’s lost count of the number of relationships, marriages, and babies that have sprung as a result of the dating site.
One couple said they lived over 3,200 miles apart, but that didn’t stop them from falling for each other over the course of six months. “Despite the distance, we have now met four times,” the couple said in a testimonial, “and are planning to be together permanently in the near future.”
“It’s amazing. This couldn’t have happened 20 years ago,” Ken said. “The world’s gotten smaller, and people with similar interests are getting together from all over the world.”
“I would like to express my gratitude to VeggieConnection.com, which helped me find my significant other,” said one anonymous user. “We’ve been married three years now, and have a 1-year-old boy who is constantly making us happy.”
The hardest part of dating is finding someone who shares the same values and lifestyle that you do. Niche dating sites, like VeggieConnection.com, make it much easier for individuals to target the ideal qualities they’re looking for in a potential partner. VeggieConnection.com isn’t just a dating service, however, it’s a social tool that can bolster the social networks of vegetarians, vegans, and raw foodists around the world.
Thousands of people have joined VeggieConnection and found an active community where it’s easy to start a conversation, make friends, and maybe even find that special someone. You can sign up for free to see if this global network is for you.
“I met someone on this site about a week after updating my profile, and we have been inseparable ever since,” a VeggieConnection.com member said in a thank-you note to Ken. “This was only possible due to the focus of your site bringing like minded people together.”