eHarmony announced a new partnership on the AOL Personals channel where it will share it’s online dating advice to readers of AOL Personals. AOL singles will also be able to register for eHarmony’s relationship service directly competing on a page shared with AOL’s long time partner Match.com.
The page looks to be co-sponsored by the two websites. My experience with this in the past doing business development partnerships in the dating vertical is that both sites will hurt in this relationship having to split the traffic and the consumers will get very confused as to what service they belong to.
I can understand AOL trying to diversify their revenue in the online dating/personals section of their business but this is a dangerous move especially since the Match.com brand is so integrated into Love.com which AOL owns and operates. Match.com should get aggressive in pushing eHarmony out of this partnership and making it exclusive again.
eHarmony must have sold the deal to the AOL execs as ‘casual dating’ versus ‘serious relationships’ but the truth is that people don’t really see any real difference in the two sites as Match.com owns and operates their own serious relationship site Chemistry.com that they could have easily integrated into this deal.
Serious relationships sites are categorized by the simple fact that they have “Personality Tests” in there sign-up process to filter or weed out “casual” daters. This is funny when you think that sites like Plenty of Fish even have personality tests and they are one of the largest casual dating sites online. I guess POF is a serious-casual dating site then right?
Here is a quote from the CEO from eHarmony, Greg Waldorf: “We’ve always regarded matching services like eHarmony as distinct from more casual dating sites,”
EHarmony claims to be comfortable charging for its services while others offer free dating sites because the company is in the business of finding partners, not dates. Some 236 people eHarmony users are said to get married on average every day, according to a Harris Interactive study. That statistic is still very hard for me to accept or understand how they got those numbers confirmed.
I wonder if eHarmony will ever launch Gayharmony or Jharmony websites.