PROS / It's very easy to make new friends using this service.
CONS / The dating aspect detracts from the site's professionalism.
VERDICT / Hi5 is still working out what it's trying to be. If you're looking for a half dating and half social network site, hi5 is for you.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top Social Networking Websites here.
Hi5 started its social networking service in 2003. It has shifted its focus over the years, starting with social networking, moving to gaming and finally becoming a dating social networking site. Hi5 is designed to help you make new friends. You can choose to see status updates from your group of friends or from everyone who uses it. Not only that, but you can filter the updates you see to be only from a certain gender, age range, country and city. This specific filtering gives you an advantage that few other social network sites have – you can see if there is anything fun or worthwhile to do locally.
There are a couple of ads on each page, but otherwise, it is a clean site. If anything, hi5 focuses on the Meet Me section of its site. You will always have a few rows of pictures of girls to rate. Meet Me is very similar to Hot or Not, where you are shown a picture based on the filters you put in place and you click on Yes or No, depending on whether you are interested. This feature is not surprising given that much of hi5's competition does the same, but for a decent social network to highlight this aspect takes some of its credibility away.
This social networking site has gone away from games and has a strong focus on a hi5 application called Pets. No, this has nothing to do with raising cats and dogs and feeding them. Instead, you buy people with your hi5 money and own friends and strangers. Keep in mind, you are bought and owned as well. This feature has nothing to do with actually having privileges to your profile. Essentially, each time you are bought, it raises your status and credibility. It's an unnecessary game, but is a good timewaster if you're looking for one.
You can customize your hi5 page with skins created by other users. However, once you choose a skin, you cannot customize it farther with HTML or CSS code. You can also use the simple profile editor that allows you to change background color, font types and sizes. The profile page allows you to post details about yourself such as your physical description, who you are looking to network with and where you are from.
There is a Privacy link at the top of every page where you can adjust a number of privacy settings, including who sees your profile, accepting comments, and message and photo settings. Hi5 allows you to be specific when setting your privacy options. Each major section of your profile can have its own privacy setting, such as friends only, all users, tagging photos and more.
Hi5 gives you great opportunities to make new friends in your local area and beyond. You can use this site as a digital black book of dating opportunities if that's what you're looking for, but its status updates, notifications and photo uploads make it one of the top social networking sites.