Friday, April 25, 2008

Ranting on eHarmony's retractions

Okay, folks. I'm overdue for a political rant...

As eagle-eyed eHarmony watchers will know (and as eHarmony Blog did an excellent job of documenting), the official eHarmony advice site recently published a couple of articles that raised the ire of it's religious right readers.

The first? "Navigating the one-night stand". eHarmony pulled this one quickly after it was published, but, if you want to read it, eHarmony blog cached it here.

The second described fashion tips for when a woman stays the night. Which eHarmony edited to make more palatable to it's conservative religious readers.

When you consider the fact that eHarmony's first publicity blitz focused on word-of-mouth from the Christian right... there was an outrage among this readership when these articles were published. To the point where eHarmony published it's first apology and retraction to it's readers.

I understand eHarmony's position. They hate to lose customers and the good word-of-mouth among the Christian right.

But, I hope they they keep focusing on why they're successful.

It isn't because of a Christian right affiliation. There are plenty of dating websites that affiliate themselves with the Christian right. And, despite this community's activism, doctrinarian right-wing Christians aren't THAT large of an audience. And, frankly, if they have a service that only caters to the religious right - I'm leaving. And, my guess is, so will most of it's membership.

People come to the service because of their core promise. That, when you use their service, you meet people who are "more compatible" than you'll meet elsewhere.

In fact, until this point, it seemed that eHarmony was making progress toward making it's service a little less agenda-oriented. I actually liked the fact that they deemphasized marriage. People became friendlier. Meeting became more casual. Granted, people on eHarmony are probably looking for someone they'd like to marry... but people didn't feel the pressure on the first date that the other person had to be "the one".

Frankly, I hope this trend continues.

As for the articles? Well, I'm not from the religious right. But I didn't object to the articles for moral reasons. I just thought they were stupid.

If someone's looking for a one-night stand, they don't fill out 300 question personality questionnaires, pay $60 a month, and go through a long process of guided communication to get a one-night stand. It's just the wrong audience.

And, frankly, if someone wants a one-night stand, they don't need the advice that eHarmony gave. People aren't looking for advice on etiquette after the one-night stand. Or fashion tips. People who have one-night stands have already figured this stuff out.

Now, as for how to get someone to agree to a one-night stand... that's a topic that a lot of people don't understand.

But one that I won't cover. Not for moral reasons. It's because, frankly, it's outside of this website's mission.

And if you need advice on that, there are a lot of pick-up-artist websites that can help you.

Rant over. Back to the usual on Monday.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I agree that the advice column is pretty sketchy, but for a slightly diffent reason. I think that eHarmony's big selling point is that it is a way to meet "compatible" people that if you play your cards right, you may be happy with in a long-term relationship. However, I don't think advice on "one-night stands" fit this model of what they are selling.