eHarmony Launches Gay Matchmaking Service - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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Patrick H. Perrine

Research has suggested that the LGBT population can be one of the most loyal demographics when catered to by an otherwise “non-gay” business. But, when the opposite happens or we feel patronized, we become mobilized and vocal about any such marginalization. By eHarmony.com choosing to avoid, or simply not acknowledging, the differences between gay and straight daters on their new site they are essentially homogenizing distinctively different populations of people, which can be (and definitely will be by some) perceived as being offensive.

Niche products, as Mark stated, are those that "serve it specifically". I think the disclaimer on Compatible Partners says it all:

"The Company's patented Compatibility Matching System was developed on the basis of research involving married heterosexual couples. The Company has not conducted similar research on same-sex relationships."

While I believe their methodology to be sound for heterosexual daters, their disclaimer won’t simply “make it work”, just as our matching system on www.myPartner.com would be flawed for lesbian or straight daters. myPartner.com's matching system was designed by gay men, for gay men, and addresses areas of importance to the gay dater in a way that eHarmony’s does not (ex: gender roles, past relationship experiences, sexual preferences, relationship dynamics and partner roles, comfort with one’s own sexuality and how it manifests in their ability to establish a relationship, etc).

Partner selection is not a one size fits all! We launched myPartner.com almost two years ago because so many gay men were looking for a comprehensive service similar to that of eHarmony's. One that catered to them specifically. While eHarmony is one of the elephants in the room, patronizing the community with a "gay" branded copy of itself will most likely not win the gay and lesbian population over.

Glenn Millar

Seems to me that eHarmony only launched Compatible Partners because they were ordered to by the courts. eHarmony has long been known for having a certain set of morals with homosexuality not being part of that set of morals. I don't believe eHarmony has any interest in making this site succeed. In fact, I believe they want it to fail so they can go back to the courts and say, "See we tried and it failed. Our system is not designed for Gays." And then they can go back exclusively to their core business.

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