This sounds like another of my dating advice posts, but it’s definitely not. It’s about the usability of a dating website that claims to be one of the best on the planet.
I’m paying for eHarmony right now. Call it an experiment as I don’t really expect to find much there. Making a new friend would be great. The price was low enough that I figured I’d give it a try, though I’m more likely to find my soul make on an airplane. 🙂 I was matched with someone on eHarmony in late 2009, and we’ve become good friends. I figured maybe I can find another good friend.
I am in month 2 of a 3-month paid commitment. eHarmony is sending me nearly zero matches. The ones they do send, I “archive” immediately because although the men on eHarmony write the shortest profiles on all of internet dating, I can still tell these guys aren’t matches to me. I attempted to write to one guy, but he tended to take about a week to write me back every time I sent something in eHarmony’s scripted communication process. I figured anybody taking that much time to reply is either not interested in eHarmony, me, or both, so I archived him. It’s not like I was that excited about him.
So I emailed to ask if I can cancel because clearly, they can’t find me anybody the last roughly 6 weeks, and if they can’t find anybody, why am I paying. Their response was basically too bad, you committed to 3 months at $X/month, and you’ll see that through. But we looked at your profile and settings, and here are some things we suggest you change:
* Widen the radius for potential matches. I have it set to 60 miles. That means in Bay Area traffic, I’d be willing to drive 1-2 hours to meet somebody. They suggested I go wider with that. They didn’t say how wide. One might think that I could find a FEW eHarmony matches in the entire Bay Area. Just matches! Not soul mates. Just people I’d like to meet who would want to meet me.
I had tried that a few weeks ago. Put in something like 3000 miles. It sent me New Yorkers, Alaskans, and all sorts of people from across the country. And zero of them were a potential match. All archived immediately. Not sure radius is the problem here. I set it back to 60 miles.
* Be more flexible in what you want. eHarmony has a few screens that ask me for qualities I’m looking for, and how important those qualities are (you get a sliding bar to show how important). When I didn’t have the bar slid all the way to 100%, I got all KINDS of things. If I marked it 6 out of 7 in importance that someone be educated, I got uneducated people… because hey, I’m flexible! I got tired of getting people who didn’t match what I wanted (eHarmony calls them Flex Matches to clue you into them being not quite what you wanted), so I set all the sliders to full blast. I can’t think of a good reason to move those sliders, and spend all my time archiving wrong people.
* Be more patient. They suggested that I wait TWO WEEKS each time I go to communicate with somebody because work, family, and vacations can delay people (that’s how they put it). I think about the times I HAVE connected with people on dating websites, and none of them took two weeks to get back to me. They all got back to me within 24 hours each time one of us wrote to the other. It’s a brave new world. I think with all of our phones, tablets, and easy internet access, especially here in the Bay Area, it doesn’t make sense to wait 2 weeks each time a guy has something to say.
Here Is What I Wish They’d Say
I wish they’d say, “You know what? You’re right. Our average client gets piles of matches each day. I can see that you have tried changing your standards. You tried being less flexible, and you tried being more flexible. I also see a history of you writing into customer service, and being unhappy with your experience here. It looks like we are not the right dating site for you. Sure, we match X people each day, and take responsibility for Y marriages each year, but we won’t be the right website for everybody. You won’t get a refund, but we won’t charge you for next month. We’d like to give it to you free to give you a chance to become a happy eHarmony customer in the holiday season. Maybe you’ll find a date for Valentine’s Day!”
It’s not about the money. I think I’m paying them like $15 per month. This is not about $15. It’s about my experience on this website, and my experience with support, which I tend to find just bizarre. The canned responses are really out there. When eHarmony staff allow themselves to break out of the canned responses, they seem like nice people who understand why I’m so frustrated. They should also know the canned responses make me frustrated.