OPW -- Sep 21 -- I signed up for eHarmony, Sexsearch, TRUE, Yahoo Personals, American Singles and Match in November 2005. I ran an experiment starting in July 2006. What would happen if I cancelled the card instead of cancelling with the service? Would they cancel the service automatically, email me for my new card number, or transfer the charges to the new card. Here's the results three months later.
American Singles - cancelled, no more charges
eHarmony - cancelled, no more charges
Match - cancelled, no more charges
Sexsearch - cancelled, no more charges
TRUE - cancelled, no more charges
Yahoo Personals - carried on charging the new card
(Yahoo also continued charging for Overture. Google Adwords cancelled out)
I called in to Yahoo Personals to see how lenient their refund policy was. They cancelled the membership but were rigid on their refund policy, despite the card number change. August and September charges were not refunded. Interesting. So, how lenient should your membership refund policy be?
Membership to my little Silicon Valley social club, Ace Club, is $19.95 a month with a 90 day no quibble money back guarantee. 1 in 200 takes me up on refund within the 90 day period. Short refund policies and long refund policies work best. So, 3 to 7 day trials and 90 day money back guarantees. The people who request refunds within the 90 day period should provide you with good feedback/service improvement information for your service. If they're not happy, you need to know why. A 90 day money back guarantee will open up that feedback channel. Listen intently. The keys to the future profitability of your internet dating service are within that feedback.
I've heard some internet dating services have considered going free. No need. Just try a 90 day refund policy. Your conversion numbers will be favorable. Your long term return rates will be favorable. Just find a way to track them. See what happens ;-) Your comments please. - Mark Brooks