SAP INFO & MERCURY NEWS -- Dec 22 -- Matchmaking Internet site eHarmony has landed a $110 million investment from two Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Sequoia Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures, scoring one of the biggest funding deals of the year. Analysts said the total market for Internet personals is estimated to be about $450 million a year, making it the largest category of paid online content. But growth rates are slowing. Spending for online personals grew at 4% in Q2 of 2004, compared with 60% in Q2 2003 and 376% in Q2 2002, according to the Online Publishers Association and ComScore Networks. EHarmony said it has almost 5.8 million registered users and is profitable. Its sales in November were up 264% from the same month a year ago. Analysts said eHarmony would likely use a big chunk of its funding to continue its advertising blitz, including regular spots on radio and television. "These guys are spending every penny they can to brand themselves,'' said Nate Elliott, an analyst from Jupiter Research. "It's helped them go from nowhere to near the top of the pile in a short amount of time.'' SAP INFO
Mark Brooks: This helps validate eHarmonys approach. The future is in helping people find great matches. "Who to marry," is the most important decision we make in our lifetimes. Most people get it wrong. We need help! True and PerfectMatch are the other top online dating companies branding on personality profiling.