Wednesday, December 26, 2007 eHarmony is so 1952 and Gays should not be Rejects

Little Love Among Matchmakers

THE world of Internet dating can be a cold, unforgiving place, particularly when it comes to the fight for customers.

The online dating service plans to unleash a new campaign that seeks to depict its older and larger competitor,, as out of touch with mainstream American values. The ads, which will appear in weekly newspapers and magazines starting Monday, attack eHarmony for refusing to match people of the same gender and for the evangelical Christian beliefs of its founder, Dr. Neil Clark Warren.

It is not the first time that has hit on this theme. In April, the service ran a set of ads called “Rejected by eHarmony” featuring people who were turned away from eHarmony for being gay, not happy enough or simply unmatchable by its system. spent $20 million on that campaign, and the company plans to increase the budget for this new effort.

Although has 3.7 million registered users, in contrast to eHarmony’s 17 million, the “Rejected by eHarmony” campaign may be working. Since it was introduced, has experienced an 80 percent growth rate, said Mandy Ginsburg, general manager of She said that enrollments by gays and lesbians have risen 200 percent since the “Rejected” campaign started, and that 10 percent of’s members are seeking a same-sex match., an offshoot of, both of which are owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, follows eHarmony’s practice of putting users through an in-depth personality test to generate potential matches. Other online dating sites, like and Yahoo Personals, allow users to post pictures and profiles of themselves to make connections.

eHarmony, which is based in Pasadena, Calif., and was founded in 2000 by Dr. Warren, a clinical psychologist, has long been criticized for its practice of turning away applicants who are gay or lesbian, married or serially divorced. Dr. Warren, a former seminary student who has had several books published by Focus on the Family, an evangelical Christian group, has publicly voiced his belief that premarital sex can increase the likelihood of one’s marrying the wrong person.

Jodi Petrie, an eHarmony spokeswoman, said that eHarmony took no position on premarital sex and had no affiliation with any religion. As for its reason for not offering services to gays or lesbians, she said: “EHarmony’s matching system is based on psychological data collected from heterosexual married couples, and we have not offered a service for those seeking same-sex matches. Nothing precludes us from offering a same-sex service in the future, but it’s not a service we offer now.” does not judge or enforce any moral code on its members.

Full story at NYTimes

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