I need a place to live for a new job and, at the moment, am in a bit of a dry spot. I don’t personally know anybody needing a roommate in the area, so I’m resorting to some of the typical methods. One of those is roommates.com.
When I signed up last night, putting in my preferences, I thought things were hunky-dory. I guess I missed the “upgrade account” button. It turns out to do anything useful, you need to pay. $6 for a 3-day trial, $20 for a month, and $30 for two months. Without paying, you can’t contact (or even get the contact info for) potential roommates, and can’t check the messages left to you by potential roommates. I hate to pay for something I could get free.
But the free is the local papers, entries along the lines of “M/F shr apt, priv BR/BA, W/D, no cats, $500+1/3util”. It tells me virtually nothing. I have to at least call, and really see the place and meet the people to decide. With roommates.com, this doesn’t look to be the case. To sign up, you fill out a pretty detailed bio, so you can see quite a bit of info about people right off the bat. You can upload pictures of yourself and your place, and many people do. Where 30 letters need to make due in the newspaper, roommates.com gives me 30 paragraphs.
So should I pay? What are some fellow dopers’ experiences with the service? Are the 40 or so listings I received for a 15 mile radius from the area I want a good number of active listings, or does roommates.com keep old ones up a while to look more impressive? Is this something worth using to get a place, or a rip-off?