Thursday, September 13, 2012

eHarmony – Online Dating at Retirement



It is clear that the new technology of the modern world has brought multiple new possibilities to the dating game. Online dating, once thought to be complicated and unreliable, appropriate for technically-savvy teenagers, is now a totally applicable and acceptable way to meet a compatible partner for the older singles as well.

It has evolved into a professional, complex, personality driven business which must adhere to business ethics and high codes of standards. Recent statistics show that nearly 20 percent of all couples who marry in 2010 will have met through an online dating service.

Today we will review one of the biggest players in this marketing niche, eHarmony, who is considered as one of the promising choices on the Web due to the huge customer base, and thus – wide opportunities to find your match.

eHarmony claims to apply a smart scientific approach in helping people to find not only good matches and potential mates, but also soul mates, and friends with similar interests.

On average, 90 eHarmony members get married every day, and the site is filled with testimonials from happy couples who found love at eHarmony, including couples over 50.
A study conducted in 2010 by eHarmony.com confirmed that the Internet is the most popular way for people over 50 to meet and marry.


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Overview

The service has been founded about 12 years ago, in 2000 by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist and author of books about creating healthy relationships that last. Acknowledging the fact that matching two people is a challenging task, eHarmony was the first online dating site to use certain psychological and scientific approach in order to assess a potential couple’s compatibility and to match them with higher probability of success.

According to eHarmony, its mission is “to empower people with the knowledge and inspiration needed to grow and strengthen their most important relationships for a lifetime of happiness.” They say that using research to help people find their “soul mates” works, citing “recent research presented at the American Psychological Society, which found that eHarmony married couples are significantly happier than couples married for a similar length of time who met by other means.”

With 15 million registered members from all 50 U.S. states and 200 countries, and members of every race and religion, eHarmony claims to be building a relationship site that “serves a world community.”

eHarmony is also unusual in that its membership reportedly includes about twice as many women as men, flipping the more typical ratio found on other dating sites.

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How Much Does it Cost?

It doesn’t cost anything to fill out the eHarmony questionnaire, receive your Free Personality Profile, and be matched up with prospective partners. You only pay when and if you want to communicate with one or more of your matches. eHarmony offers several subscription scales to choose from:
• Basic (3 months) – $44.95 per month ($134.85 total)
• Total Connect (3 months) – $45.95 per month ($137.85 total)
• Basic (6 months) – $33.95 per month ($203.70 total)
• Total Connect (6 months) – $34.95 per month ($209.70 total)
• Basic (12 months) – $23.95 per month ($287.40 total)
• Total Connect (12 months) – $26.95 per month ($323.40 total)
With all options, the subscription is auto-renewed and charged to your credit card at each new billing period until you cancel your membership.

eHarmony costs more than most other online dating services, but the company defends its price by saying that it is a unique relationship service that helps people find their soul mates and “fall in love for all the right reasons.” According to eHarmony, comparing their prices to those of other online dating sites is an “apples and oranges” comparison.

How Safe is eHarmony?

eHarmony protects the anonymity of its members until they are ready to share personal information with someone they want to know better. The Guided Communication option offers an added layer of protection, allowing you to get to know a match pretty well before every revealing your identity.

eHarmony also offers a page with common sense safety tips for online dating and a special email address where members can report any concerns they have about a match or another member’s conduct.

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Potential Advantages of eHarmony

  • The system eHarmony uses to assess personality and preferences and to match couples based on compatibility was the first among online dating services, and there is growing evidence that the system does help many people find their “soul mates.”
  • The soul-searching questionnaire tends to weed out men who are looking for a one-night stand and favors men who are self-aware and willing to explore their feelings, so women are more likely to encounter men who are serious about relationships and equipped to sustain one.
  • The site offers a good solution for those who are serious about marriage or a long-term relationship.
  • Because women outnumber men 2:1 on eHarmony, men have a better chance of making a good match because there’s less competition.
  • For people who are already married or part of a couple, there is eHarmony Marriage, an online service that helps couples prepare for marriage, tune up their marriage, or work on specific problems and issues in a private program.
  • An interactive Advice section offers dating, relationship and lifestyle guidance and advice to eHarmony members and encourages members to contribute comments.
  • eHarmony has a big geographical coverage, providing online dating services to its members in 150 countries since the year 2000. It is considered to be #1 Trusted Relationship Services Provider in the USA.
  • eHarmony provides a nice iPhone Application that makes dating even more convenient. Create a profile and chat with singles while you’re out to dinner, at a ballgame, or even at work. The iPhone Application is simple to install and use.

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Potential Drawbacks of eHarmony

  • Although eHarmony offers four price plans, there doesn’t seem to be any clear refund policy for members who decide to resign before the subscription runs out.
  • eHarmony is relatively expensive service, so it may hit hard your budget, if your mate search will not result in immediate success.
  • Remember that only subscribers can communicate with each other. So if you join eHarmony to communicate with some of the matches on your list, you may not be able to contact them because they haven’t opted to pay.
  • While it only takes one person to make a great match for you, the ratio of women to men could limit women’s match opportunities in some geographical areas or age groups.
  • eHarmony presents matches based on the profile you create - you can't perform your own searches.
  • eHarmony matches heterosexual couples only. (Following a threatened lawsuit, eHarmony launched Compatible Partners, a separate online dating site for gays and lesbians.)
  • Some eHarmony subscribers are complaining that they feel discriminated against by their appearance when they were not allowed to meet members who were not in their "category."

Recommendations

  1. The basic plan is fine, but the Total Connect option offers additional valuable features. And it costs very little more. Increase your chances of meeting someone by signing up for the Total Connect plan.
  2. You only receive a limited amount of anonymous calls you can send with the Total Connect plan. Many members just wing it when making a call. Don’t do that. Plan it out beforehand. Writing a script to refer to (not read directly from) will make your message sound better.
  3. Failing to answer personality questions honesty will cost you dearly. You don’t get to see every member’s profile on eHarmony – only those that answer similarly to your answers.


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