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Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007

eHarmony “Rejects” Find Better Loving Through Chemistry

By The Grok
December 4th, 2007

Chemistry.com adMaybe you’ve seen the ads where the girl asks if it’s because she forgot to send her brother a birthday card, or the guy looks at a girlie mag to gauge his reaction and then proclaims, “Nope, still gay.” Bam goes the rubber stamp as eHarmony rejects two more of those one million poor souls looking for love in all the wrong places. A reassuring voice closes the ads, explaining that all us not-wanna-be singles can “come as you are” to Chemistry.com.

REJECTED! Ooof. How do you feel about being rejected?

I had one of those hey-what-am-I-chopped-liver experiences with eHarmony, too. They didn’t exactly send me a Dear John letter or stamp ‘Rejected’ across my torso, but they also didn’t find me any matches, which left me musing how there can be millions of people signed up with this service, and I don’t match up with a single one.

Money I paid. Months I waited. Then those harmonious match-makers told me they were going to suspend my account due to inactivity.

I shot them back a letter. “Give me a match, just one frigging match – even Outer Mongolia is looking good today – and I’ll show you activity!” They kept me on for another month, then dropped me again. I finally bagged eHarmony and wondered whether the planets were inauspiciously aligned for finding love that year. Or whether I was, indeed, chopped liver.

Talk about your failed relationships!

When you consider starting a new relationship, what do you worry about deep down? I’m worrying about…

  • whether we’ll be able to understand and respect each other
  • whether you are going to be able to acknowledge and accept who I am
  • whether you really possess the attributes I’m looking for
  • whether I’m going to put all this time into something and wind up with nothing

Most of all, I worry about putting myself on the line and then getting dealt with badly. Rejected. Abandoned. Betrayed. These are the terrible consequences we all fear in any relationship.

This doesn’t apply solely to romance-based relationships; it applies to almost all the relationships in our lives, including customer/business relationships. Businesses usually begin this relationship through their marketing messages.

eHarmony advertising focuses on the relationship you’ll have when you meet Mr or Ms Right. In The Black Table, Joel Keller writes,

But those ads… those freakin’ ads! Commercial after commercial of deliriously blissful men and women embracing, kissing, and smiling longingly at each other. Testimonials up the wazoo that show how wonderful and strong the matches are between people who have signed up. It’s all so lovey-dovey and sweet that my butt clenches involuntarily while listening to them.


(If video doesn’t load, click here.)

But eHarmony seems to gloss over the part detailing how you and they are going to work together to make this happen, over the relationship they will develop with you. And this is the marketing piece that is crucial to their customers’ felt needs. As Joel Keller explains it,

Many people who have used eHarmony, … which matches people using a psychological survey that measures, in their words, “29 dimensions of compatibility,” haven’t been so lucky. Some have been matched up with people that took the survey but never signed up and paid for the service. Others have been deemed to be compatible with people that weren’t looking for a commitment or a person with whom they had little in common. Still others have been connected to people that they wouldn’t even be attracted to in the dark.

This is a failed relationship!

It’s all about the felt need

When it comes to matchmaking, people want to find friendship, maybe love, maybe a permanent relationship, maybe merely the opportunity for casual flings. But before they start to address that felt need, they have to deal with the felt needs of their deepest fears: rejection, abandonment and betrayal. This is hardly confined to potential matches; it applies equally to the matchmakers themselves.

Chemistry.com gets it. They address this need first: We do not believe you are chopped liver. Then, through their online entity, they go about growing their relationship with you.

[Note: Compare Chemistry’s home page with eHarmony’s home page. The primary call to action on both sites is getting the customer to supply information and get started. But which of these home pages offers clear, intuitive ways to learn about the business itself? Big tabs on Chemistry, plus some forums and articles. Tiny links buried in the No Man’s Land of screen real estate on eHarmony. This should be a big relationship red flag!]

At the end of the day, you are in the business of creating relationships. And if you want those relationships to grow beyond the carrot of promise you dangle before the eyes of your audience, then you have to work at it. My mother always told me, “You want to learn who a person really is? Pay a lot less attention to what they say and a lot more attention to what they do.” Warm-fuzzy language may capture attention, but it’s dependable action that cements relationships.

Sadly for eHarmony, there’s a fair chunk of blog-space given over to what they do, and it isn’t positive. Let’s face it. Divorce is almost always an exercise in smearing lots of bad blood all over the shop. You so don’t want to go there with your customers!

Dig deep into the concerns your customers bring to the table when they consider doing business with you. Identify their deepest concerns when they are deciding if you are the business for them.

Will you really understand their needs in the relationship they hope to develop with you?
Are you really going to accept them for who they are and speak to that, not only in your sales process but also their buying process?

Will you deliver on your promise to value them and go the distance on their behalf?

Address these issues in your marketing messages. And remember, your marketing messages are only simpering smiles if you can’t treat your customers honestly in the follow-through!

Add Your Comments

Comments (19)

  1. The continued bashing of eHarmony by industry and marketing “experts” just cracks me up. I’m sorry, but if Chemistry is so wonderful, and eHarmony such crap, why is eHarmony.com making $200 Million a year (http://money.cnn.com/2007/09/14/magazines/fortune/fastforward_eharmony.fortune/index.htm) and growing, while Match.com is showing steady erosion of domestic market share over the past 2 years, and Chemistry.com doesn’t appear to be profitable at ALL?

    Last I heard, the NAD didn’t think much of Chemistry’s claims to be “scientific”… or even to provide a service based on matching. So, what is it that’s so great about Chemistry.com again? The loopy columnists that no one reads? The matching system derived from the inane ramblings of the world’s most self-aggrandizing anthropologist?

    You’re right (if woefully incomplete) about what defines a relationship for both good and ill, but you seem to have lost the forest for the trees when it comes to eHarmony. Their ads may make YOU butt itch, but they have been HUGELY effective. A minority of users may post lengthy blogs about how it DIDN’T work for them, but for what must be considered a critical mass of users, eHarmony has been HUGELY successful.

    Chemistry and PerfectMatch and True may hope to base their advertising on a “chip away at the leader” strategy, and may pick up some of the “rejects” in that way… but the real opportunity lays in waiting for eHarmony and the day when they can figure out how to capitalize on their eager user base in a way which leaves less people “disenfranchised” by a system that appears to stil have some very rough edges.

  2. On last check of domain ownership Chemistry.com is owned Match.com. Interesting, hmmm???

  3. As a recent divorcee entering date-dom, I surveyed my single friends who used online services. My massive N

  4. Some statistics:

    Divorced white male, lives in Seattle, 35 years old at time of experience. Yes, identifying information, but in any realistic analysis of a dating site you have to take demographics into account.

    I’ve used both Chemistry and eHarmony – I subscribed to eHarmony at the same time a relative bought me a Chemistry subscription, so I used them at about the same time period, with similar profiles. I used both of them for six months, starting around May of this year.

    I’d generally get 4-5 dates (that’s meeting in person, people) a month on eHarmony, and I met 4 people TOTAL on Chemistry. I’d say something like 98% of the people I got matched up with on Chemistry NEVER RESPONDED to me at all. We’re not talking about “closed” – we’re talking about no response at all from any of them of any sort whatsoever indicating any kind of activity on the part of the account. eHarmony was MUCH more productive in meeting people, and while the people I did actually meet up with on Chemistry were very good matches, they also complained of a total lack of activity on the site as well. I recently met someone through eHarmony, and we’re exploring where it goes.

    Maybe I’m not the target demographic for Chemistry, but it sure didn’t work for me.

  5. Well, Thane, speaking of target demographics, a comparison between the two sites is kind of academic if your demographic is NOT WELCOME on eHarmony.

  6. what up eharmony, they couldn’t match anything, all my matches where either low income compared to my high income
    no one with 100 miles near me, live third major city in my province, majority match 1000 miles away
    two contacts last only two emails

  7. I think that when looking at this article it’s important to consider how companies can offer a free, value added service to consumers. Eg, Facebook offers a huge service, free, but they are supoprted by advertising.

    By the same token, my own online dating website for australias takes the same principle. Free webcam, chat etc, supported by google adsense. http://www.1stdate.com.au

  8. (Actually had this pre-typed. XD Which is sad, because that means one too many sites bash eHarmony, and I’m sitting here reading it..For some reason.)

    There is a reason for the rejections, all of them (fact is, rejection happens in life PERIOD. Doesn’t mean you’re hopeless, or the dating site is ‘not right’ on the spot.)

    Understand that the creator of eHarmony, Neil Clark Warren, is a ‘grandfatherly moral’ if not traditional faithful believer. His background, or religion, is Christianity (Okay, that right away should explain why he doesn’t promote gays and lesbians, but the reason lies with his lack of experience in that field. Yes, aiding homosexual relationships differ from that of heterosexuals.)

    It has nothing to do with religion. He has faithfully left that out, thankfully for a more peaceful outcome to the audience of the world. (Members of eHarmony range from atheist to wiccans.) So that assumption is out the window.

    Warren’s goal is to match those with an intent of marriage. Marriage is actually the point in general of the site, from what I interpret of his words. For that reason, I understand why those under 21 aren’t allowed on the site (It just makes sense, right?) Especially when dealing with a creator who’s more traditional and desires your relationship to be meaningful. Age plays a part. If it didn’t, you’d have a bunch of 16 year olds legally drinking (of course, we have those, but it isn’t legal here).

    Warren also intends to run a project for not matching members who intend to marry, but to IMPROVE marriages as a whole.

    Being rejected from eHarmony doesn’t mean they’re saying you won’t find your soul-mate. Both a moral-backbone from its creator, and an excellent business proposal on the market (eHarmony is the 4th largest dating service on the internet), the site is not without its targeted audience and purpose.

    So please, you’re not any ‘lesser’ of a person able to find love than those who are accepted. Don’t feel bad, or hold a grudge for this web site. :D Just try to be more understanding of how this old friendly-face man think and believes.

    Don’t believe me?

    He tells it all here.

    http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2005-05-18-eharmony_x.htm

  9. I think it’s better to be rejected by real people, not the system.

  10. From Grokdotcom: eHarmony “Rejects” Find Better Loving Through Chemistry…

    The Grok (Lisa Davis) writes a very insightful review of our favourite site, covering customer relationships (hint, hint!), her trip in eHarmonyLand, and following through.
    When it comes to matchmaking, people want to find friendship, maybe love, maybe…

  11. of 320 matches in the past 6 months, none have been attractive or intresting to me. eharmony needs to add physical attractiveness. this is getting old.

  12. e-Harmony sucks. 6 mos. 2 dates. One I bought my own coffee and the other I bought his lunch. I’m an idiot. I was hoping to recoup my paid fee by getting a few free meals out of it at the very least. My picture is quite flattering but my age ( 57 ) is a turn off for men under 70.

  13. I’m an idiot. I was hoping to recoup my paid fee by getting a few free meals out of it at the very least,, covering customer relationships (hint, hint!), her trip in eHarmonyLand,

  14. I appreciate your insights and the good information you have shared here. All points are significantly important for me and your article have helped me a great deal.coupons

  15. eharmony is like any other site for some it works and for others it don’t-different strokes for different folks you know?

  16. they love to take your money though. with the hidden auto renewal. Even when i found a match from their site they wouldn’t give me my money back. i WAS ABSOLUTLY LIVID. I mean the whole point was to find ” the love of my life” right?

  17. thank, this post can make me feel is up…

  18. I’ve never agreed with the personality matching tools. Why would you want to let an automated system decide first off if you’re eligible to date and then who you’re allowed to talk too. Good luck to all the eHarmony rejects, don’t forget to try out free online dating too!

  19. I refuse to use pay-to-join relationship sites. Regardless of how effective they are at getting you dates, a few things come into play;

    * If you have to pay for it, it’s beneficial to them if you keep your membership. Finding ‘the one’ means lost money
    * Going on dates means little to nothing. That is step on in a 100-step road. How many marriages resulted and lasted over 5 years?
    * I have a serious issue with a site that ‘does the work for me’. Have we as a society gotten so lazy that we don’t even want to work at relationships? The divorce rate says yes.

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