Cougar Root is a relatively new (<2 years old) adult dating site whose primary purpose, as you may have guessed from its title, is to hook up men with Cougars. Unlike most of our other reviews, we have felt the need to be extremely critical with a number of areas of this site so if you don’t read any further then at least take this with away with you, we warned you.
Sign Up Process
There is zero cost involved so if you want to get started, head to CougarRoot.com to sign up. To join, all that is required is your sex, first name, date of birth and email. Unlike most sites, there is no requirement to fill out any of your profile or include a picture (although many sites don’t require pictures) to get started. With that basic information entered, you can begin searching for people.
If you do fill in your profile, which we highly suggest if you want any chance of scoring, initially you only complete a short bio that must first be approved by admin before adding more. Once it is approved you will have the chance to complete a very basic ‘tick and flick’ questionnaire that expands on your physical appearance, habits and interests.
You can choose to upload a photo at a later stage, which we highly recommend that to you do and use the maximum allowable 10 photos if you can. Uploading photos can be done via your computer, MMS or using webcam. Webcam photos will be time stamped. Alternately, you can send an actual photograph to the sites owner (whose address in England will be emailed to you shortly after joining)
We unfortunately can provide you with no solid statistics about ages, sexes, sexual orientations or the like as the several emails we have sent to their admin requesting this information have been completely ignored. In fact, the only time support has ever sent us an email was when we abandoned our upgrade cart and they sent us a message to remind us to complete payment.
We have put together a bit of a spreadsheet of the members in Melbourne and Sydney plus Geelong and Wollongong (the largest major regional townships) below to give you an idea of the user base and age distribution.
The best guesstimate we can muster is *888,251 members of which 51,697 are women and 836,554 are men. That equates to 94% males and 6% females. Great if you’re a women but men, you better bring something really, REALLY special to the table.
There is a good distribution of ages although, considering the nature of the website, the huge percentage of people who fall outside of the ‘cougar / cub’ generally accepted age brackets does kind of fly against the whole cougar concept. In fact, from our test areas we can see that in the capital cities, 43% of female users don’t even meet the absolute minimum age considered to be a cougar followed by 37% and 33% respectively in regional areas. And in the capital cities 60% of the males are older than the normally acceptable age for cubs followed by 64% in regional centres.
*Correct as of Aug 2013. We have arrived at these figures by expanding Cougar Root’s search function to cover Australia’s entire geographic region. We did the same for the ages and used two capital cities and two major regional centres to get a comparison of the geographic distribution and amount of members. Please refer to the table for our results.
As you can see from our table above, the majority of members will be in the capital cities with a reasonable showing in the major regional centres. To find out if there are members in your area, simply sign up for the free membership and do a search based on your location and see what turns up.
Cougar Root’s user base does appear to be very active. In fact, we received dozens of private messages to both our male and female profiles in the first day, even though we hadn’t filled in our profile or even added a picture. I think you can see where we are going with this.
One of the major issues we have with this site is that it is a ready-made dating site using a company known as White Label Dating. What they do, for a percentage of your generated revenue, is provide you with the website, technical support, marketing and management. They also provide, and this is where it turns dodgy, pre-populated members. These are members who have signed up to different sites also using the White Label Dating service who then get imported or shared into the membership database of Cougar Root without any idea that they are part of it. They are simply there to boost numbers and not take an active part in the site.
Firstly, If you are going to sign up to a paid membership which we personally don’t recommend, then make sure you use the discount code ‘ADULT25’ to at least get a 25% discount. You may want to read bit further before taking that plunge though.
As mentioned earlier, Cougar Root offers a free limited membership and a paid subscription.
Free membership includes:
Create / Edit profile
Advanced / Custom search
Create favourites list
Send unlimited winks
Receive winks, messages and favourite notifications (can’t read or respond to messages)
Use of Encounters (explained below)
A Paid subscription includes:
Send and receive private messages
See who has checked your profile
Create / Read dating diaries
Create / Watch video profiles
Use ‘Who’s Near Me’ search map
Astrological Birth Date report
Sun, Love and Passion Profile
Send Gifts (requires extra credits)
- Save 29%
- Save 45%
- Save 55%
Cougar Root is hands-down the most expensive cougar dating site we have come across. Whilst there are no limitations on the number of messages, winks, etc., the monthly cost still far outpaces other sites that do place certain limitations on services. Also, considering the lack of basic functionality that is almost considered standard (and often included for free) on other sites like instant messaging, video chat and private chat, the price is in no way justified.
Repeat billing is used and your credit card will be re-billed on the final day of the term of your current contract. You will be billed for the same period as your initial signup. Billing will appear on your statement as the fairly nondescript ‘Global Personals Ltd’.
Cancelling your account is a very simple process and simply requires you to click on the Contact Us link at the bottom of any page and selecting Delete My Account. This is one of the better sites we have seen for account deletion as many will make you jump through hoops to remove it.
There are no guarantees and no specific refund policy is in place however, their terms and conditions state that they will review any requests for refunds. You can talk to Cougar Root’s support staff between 0900 – 1730 via phone (international to England) on 0011 44 17 5327 1286 or via the contact us or support link on the site.
Aside from the previously listed features, Cougar Root also offers:
- Live Models – A service which is really just a link to a cam girls porn site and actually rings more alarm bells as to the type of site this is versus allaying any fears that this site might be a scam.
- Dating Diary – A public online diary that others can view to find out more about you.
- Encounters – Allows you to select whether you would like to meet someone or not and if they respond the same way to your profile picture, then you can get in touch. We aren’t quite sure of the point of this feature it seems to just be a different way of winking at someone.
- Astrology – Astrological stuff, horoscope, find out more about yourself and what your future holds, etc.
- ‘Who’s Near Me’ Search – Other members are overlaid onto a map and indicated by a numbered circle. You can get a visual idea of where people are and clicking on the numbers will bring up the profile of that person. Accuracy is down to suburb level only for obvious privacy and safety reasons.
- Gifts – Paid membership gives you access to these virtual gifts you can send to someone but you must purchase credits to actually send the gifts. The amount of credits you buy depends on the expense of the gift that you want to send. NOTE: Credits are automatically topped up once they run down so if you don’t wish to purchase more credits after an initial gift, make sure you cancel.
Cougar Root also offers two other ‘Bolt-On’ options to help your chances on the site. The first is Search VIP which highlights your photos in the listings to draw more attention to your profile and the second is Read Notification which alerts you when any messages you’ve sent have been read. Each of these Bolt-Ons are $4.99 per month and are also automatically re-billed.
Whilst offering some excellent features such as the Who’s Near Me Search, the other features such as Astrology and Encounters are just fluff and the Live Models feature is an outright con. In our opinion, if people wanted to view porn sites, not meet real women, they would go to a porn site. This, along with the on-site advertising to other cam sites, is purely another way for this site to squeeze money from you as every time you use this service, they receive a commission.
Ease Of Use
All of the Cougar Root features are easily accessed via the menu bar which is available through any page. The home page shows newest members, diary entries, photo updates, etc. and also has a quick search box. Along the base of each page is inbox which allows for easy access to latest messages, winks, profile views and the like.
When viewing others profiles you can send winks, messages or add to favourites and you can use the ‘Encounters’ feature as well.
This site uses the tried and true dodgy technique of sending you ‘private messages’ in the guise of other members in order to get you to sign up for a paid membership. This is even before you have completed a single scrap of your profile. Once you sign up to a paid membership you will find that you only receive generic or ‘canned’ responses from these people, if you receive anything back at all.
We didn’t encounter any third party spam and in their terms and conditions they state that they actively manage their database for these types. Any spammy or annoying profiles can be added to your ignore list and you can also report profiles directly from the profile view if you believe they are acting outside of the bounds of good taste or the like.
There are two support email we have come across, one accessible through the contact us page and the other is firstname.lastname@example.org, we have never received a response from either. Also, you don’t seem to be able to send them an email via their contact us page outside of the support hours.
As previously mentioned Cougar Root’s support hours are 0900 – 1730 and they can also contacted via phone (international to England) on 0011 44 17 5327 1286.
Cougar Root is a well organised, easy to use, money sucking machine that offers a fairly robust service but populates it with fake profiles, spammy administrative practices and the most expensive subscription service we have seen in any dating site.
Whilst females may find it pretty easy to pick up, all 50,000 of them (if these numbers can be trusted), men are going to find it hard to compete with the 800,000 odd other members attempting to attract the notice of those very few women.
We suggest avoiding this site altogether and, if you are looking for a good cougar site, then try out Cougar Life instead. The costs are significantly lower, they have a genuine *213,000 users and a Cougar to Cub ratio of 48% to 52%. You can check out our review here or visit CougarLife.com here.
*correct as of April 2013