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eHarmony is an online dating website. It was launched on August 22, 2000, and is based in Los Angeles, California. The company is privately held. Large investors include Sequoia Capital and Technology Cross Ventures.[2]

eharmony.com
Eharmony new logo.jpg
Type of business Private
Founded August 22, 2000 (2000-08-22)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Key people Neil Clark Warren (Founder)
Greg Forgatch (Founder)
Grant Langston[disambiguation needed] (CEO)
Website www.eharmony.com
Alexa rank Negative increase 2,223 (August 2017)[1]
Launched August 22, 2000; 17 years ago (2000-08-22)
Previous eHarmony headquarters in the OneWest Bank building in downtown Pasadena

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
eHarmony's original logo, used until August 20, 2017.

eHarmony was founded by Neil Clark Warren, a psychologist and author of relationship advice books, along with Greg Forgatch, Warren's son-in-law. In the late 1990s, Warren said he decided to test his theory that certain characteristics can predict compatibility and lead to more satisfying relationships. After three years of research in collaboration with Galen Buckwalter, Warren developed a model of compatibility that is now the basis of the company's matching system.[3]

The service was financed with a $3 million investment from Fayez Sarofim & Co. and individual investors.[4] In 2004, eHarmony received the fourth largest venture capital infusion of that year from Sequoia Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures.[5] With its subscription model, the service has been profitable since then and reached a milestone in 2009 as it exceeded $1.0 billion in cumulative revenue.[6]

The service launched its matching service for singles in 2000.[7] Since then, the company has had about 33 million members,[8] and, as of 2008, about 15,000 people take the eHarmony questionnaire each day.[9] Harris Interactive said in 2010 that after finding a match on eHarmony, an average of 542 eHarmony members in the United States marry every day.[10] With 14 percent of the U.S. dating-services market, the company trails only IAC/InterActiveCorp, parent of Match.com, which has 24 percent, according to industry researcher IBISWorld.[11]

A recurring complaint by eharmony customers for years is the misuse of the website to incur auto-renewals from members. Members frequently discover that the website lacks a stable cancellation for membership or the auto-renewal subscription.[12]

During 2009–12, new memberships, retention rates and time spent on the site decreased. In July 2012, the 78-year-old eHarmony founder came out of retirement to become chief executive. Warren closed unprofitable international operations, switched advertisers, made changes to the board,[13] and bought back stock from Sequoia Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures.[11]

MethodologyEdit

No independent studies of eHarmony's methods or success rates have been published.

Prospective members complete a proprietary questionnaire about their characteristics, beliefs, values, emotional health and skills. Matching algorithms, which the company believes matches people's core traits and values to replicate the traits of happy couples, use these answers to match members with users the company believes will be compatible.[14] The software technology also evaluates users' behavioral data such as average time spent on the site.[15]

Buckwalter says that the compatibility system rests a lot on commonality, for their belief is that "Opposites attract, then they attack." [16]

Starting in January 2017, eHarmony users could see why they are considered compatible with a feature called "The Two Of You Together". They will be able to see the matches who score at an advanced level of compatibility and also why.[17]

Reception and analysisEdit

After answering a 258-question profile, some would-be customers are frustrated when they are not accepted for the matching process. About one in five people are rejected by the service for reasons including that the user is currently married or has been married more than four times, provides inconsistent answers in the profile, fails its "dysthymia scale", or is identified as possibly having "severe depression".[18] Users looking for a same-sex relationship will be matched on eHarmony's sister site, compatiblepartners.net.

Same-sex couplesEdit

When it began, eHarmony did not offer same-sex matches; it now offers them through a separate service, Compatible Partners.[19] Warren said that he had done extensive research on heterosexual marriage but did not know enough about homosexual relationships to do same-sex match-making, which he said "calls for some very careful thinking. Very careful research."[19] He also said that eHarmony promotes heterosexual marriage, adding that (at the time) same-sex marriage was illegal in most places, saying "We don't really want to participate in something that's illegal."[19] In another interview, Warren went into more detail on his own views, noting that "cities like San Francisco, Chicago or New York... they could shut [eHarmony] down so fast. We don't want to make enemies out of them. But at the same time, I take a real strong stand against same-sex marriage, anywhere that I can comment on it."[20]

eHarmony's lack of same-sex matching options prompted lawsuits claiming that eHarmony violated laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.[21] As part of the settlement of a New Jersey case,[22] eHarmony launched a partner website called Compatible Partners providing match-making "for men and women looking for a serious same-sex relationship".[23][24] Theodore B. Olson, an attorney for eHarmony, said that even though the company believed the complaint was "an unfair characterization of our business", it chose to settle because of the unpredictable nature of litigation.[25] In 2010, eHarmony settled a separate class-action lawsuit filed in California that alleged illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation. The company, which did not admit wrongdoing, agreed to allow access to both its gay and straight dating sites with a single subscription, to display its gay dating services more prominently and to establish a settlement fund to pay people who can show they were harmed by the company's policies.[26][27]

As of 2013, about 200,000 people had registered with Compatible Partners.[28] Michelle Garcia, writing in the LGBT-interest magazine, The Advocate, also said that, like eHarmony, Compatible Partners attracts high-quality customers. According to Garcia, "Because of the price tag and the emphasis on long-term relationships... Compatible Partners' users are seen as quite desirable." [28]

Matching paying members with non-paying membersEdit

After approval by the questionnaire, eHarmony begins to match members regardless of their subscription status. A member's list of matches does not indicate which members are paying or non-paying[29] but, as of March 1, 2012, it shows the last time the person logged on to eHarmony (non-mobile browsers only). In May 2015 recent user login activity was removed from the expanded profile view.

Security breachEdit

On June 6, 2012, eHarmony confirmed that its password database had been breached and a section of its user base had been affected.[30][31] Affected members were sent e-mails by the company requesting them to change their password immediately.[32]

Explaining successEdit

Satoshi Kanazawa said that part of the success of eHarmony can be explained by the high cost of entry in terms of the amount of time required to answer the initial questionnaire—over 18 hours, although other sources put the time to complete the relationship questionnaire at approximately one hour.[33][unreliable source?][34] Using Laurence Iannaccone's original idea that success of fundamentalist churches is explained by the high demands imposed on their members, Kanazawa hypothesizes that a similar self-selection mechanism is at work with eHarmony: "they select their members very carefully, and only admit those who are very committed (or desperate; if anyone who chooses to join eHarmony is truly desperate to get married, then it can potentially and partially explain why it produces such a high proportion of all marriages in the US)." Another factor suggested by Dan Ariely is the limited choice of partners offered, which may make the decision easier for some.[35][unreliable source?]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "eharmony.com Traffic Statistics". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  2. ^ Levy, Ari. "EHarmony Founder Breaks Up With Investors to Reboot". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  3. ^ "Who We Are". eHarmony. 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  4. ^ "History of eHarmony". Online Dating Magazine. 2008-09-16. 
  5. ^ Lee, D. (2004). "Matchmaker site lands $110 million". Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. December 22, 2004.
  6. ^ Geron, Tomio (2010-07-12). "The $100M Revenue Club: EHarmony Captures the Hearts of VCs". The Wall Street Journal's Venture Capital Dispatch. 
  7. ^ "History of eHarmony". Online Dating Magazine. 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  8. ^ "Dating Site Marks 10 Years With Ad Campaign". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  9. ^ Kirkpatrick, David (2007-09-14). "eHarmony does what tech ought to do". CNN. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  10. ^ "eHarmony Celebrates 10 Years of Online Relationships | Fox Business Video". Video.foxbusiness.com. 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  11. ^ a b "eHarmony founder breaks up with investors in company reboot". Delawareonline.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  12. ^ "eHarmony Consumer Complaints and Reviews". Retrieved 2017-08-22. 
  13. ^ "EHarmony founder has his heart set on reviving the dating site". Los Angeles Times. 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  14. ^ Georgina Prodhan (2008-10-07). "Brits value sex and in-laws, Web dating company finds". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  15. ^ Jessica Shambora (September 23, 2010). "eHarmony's algorithm of love". Fortune. Retrieved February 5, 2011. 
  16. ^ Canning, Andrea (2008-02-13). "A Look Inside the eHarmony Love Lab – ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  17. ^ "eHarmony's New CEO Grant Langston Shares His New Vision". OnlinePersonalsWatch.com. 2016-12-23. Retrieved 2016-12-26. 
  18. ^ Farhi, Paul (2007-05-13). "They Met Online, but Definitely Didn't Click". The Washington Post. pp. D01. Retrieved 2007-05-13. 
  19. ^ a b c Kornblum, Janet. "eHarmony: Heart and soul", USA Today, May 18, 2005
  20. ^ "Interview with Neil Clark Warren". Focus on the Family. Archived from the original on 2004-02-25. Retrieved 2004-03-03. 
  21. ^ Egelko, Bob (2007-06-01). "EHarmony sued for excluding same-sex matches". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  22. ^ Miller, Joshua Rhett. "eHarmony to Provide Gay Dating Service after Lawsuit", Fox News, November 20, 2008
  23. ^ "How to surf the Web for a mate: eHarmony founder". CNBC. Retrieved 2015-09-17. 
  24. ^ "Gay Dating for Relationship-Minded Gay & Lesbian Singles". Compatible Partners. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  25. ^ "eHarmony agrees to provide same-sex matches". MSNBC. 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  26. ^ Rachel Gordon (January 27, 2010). "EHarmony settles lawsuit over gay matchmaking". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  27. ^ Associated Press (January 27, 2010). "eHarmony Settles Gay Discrimination Suit". CBS News. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  28. ^ a b Garcia, Michelle (2010-03-31). "The Online Dating Game". Advocate.com. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  29. ^ eHarmony? More like tone deaf 08.11.04 Joel Keller blacktable.com
  30. ^ Mills, Elinor (6 June 2012). "eHarmony member passwords compromised". CNET. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  31. ^ CBS News: eHarmony suffers password breach on heels of LinkedIn
  32. ^ "Update on Compromised Passwords". eHarmony blog. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  33. ^ "eHarmony's New Mobile Relationship Questionnaire". Dating Sites Reviews. eSilverStrike Consulting Inc. Retrieved 2013-08-20. 
  34. ^ Dillon, Tim (2005-02-13). "Love growing strong on Web". USA TODAY. Gannett Co. Inc. Retrieved 2013-08-20. 
  35. ^ Kanazawa, Satoshi (April 24, 2011). "Why Is eHarmony So Successful?". The Scientific Fundamentalist. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 

External linksEdit