People typically meet others in the real world through various ways. People can meet in public spaces including schools and church or they can be connected through family and friends. Moreover, people can meet online through channels such as EHarmony or be connected by professional matchmakers. People prefer meeting online as opposed to finding their partners in the real world given the change in preference over partners as ‘search goods’ to ‘experienced goods’.
Online platforms offer the filter over the preferred qualities an individual is interested in. moreover, their families and friends, owing to the increasing success of finding the preferred match using the online platforms, compel a considerable number of subscribers to such online platforms. There are various benefits of using an online platform to find a suitable partner. First, an individual can access multiple profiles as partners and sieve through for their most preferred partner (Piskorski, et al. 3). Second, the use of online platforms offers personality testing and matching services using algorithms such as the one adopted by EHarmony (Piskorski, et al. 4). For example, the guided personality segment for e-harmony is made up of 436 questions that gauge the compatibility of partners. In this light, most suitable individuals are paired together. The higher the compatibility rate, the invariably lower the rate of separation in the future holding all other factors constant.
The on-line personals market is structurally attractive in that its companies can adjust their portfolios to match the needs of their customers. Online personals offer the individual shelter from the social stigma of seeking love on an online platform. However, the convoluted use of online platforms for quick hook-ups jeopardized the image of the online personals market. Changes in social acceptability and stigma around people using an online platform to seek love revamped the general image.
EHarmony has a competitive advantage over other online matchmaking platforms in that even in the drop of the number of people visiting the site. The company had an increase in the number of new subscribers unlike their competitors (Piskorski, et al. 7). The use of an online platform to find a suitable partner using the integration of the personal profile and the matching algorithm increases the probability of finding the right partner. The use of guided communication allows individuals to access their choice.
Citing the competitive advantage each matchmaking company has in the market; different companies bring different values in the industry. For example, Yahoo, True and Personals and Match were paid to Do It Yourself websites offered background-screening regulations that somewhat protected the user from meeting with felons and other unsavory characters. Other dislikes include those of men who initially preferred not to be set up by women that are smarter than they are.
Sites such as Singles Nest and Plenty of Fish, Craigslist are Free- Do-It-Yourself sites that encourage people to sieve through different portfolios regardless of their fears and limitations. In this light, these sites offered individuals the capacity to engage in their fetishes. For example, as opposed to sites such as Yahoo that were limiting, users on Plenty of Fish can see the entire profiles of people and choose what they prefer (Piskorski, et al. 9). The power of choice lies in the hands of the customers. These sites expand the customer base and offer wider coverage for individuals that may not have had money to sustain the high subscription rate.
The Niche sites such as Black Singles, Christian Mingle offered the opportunity for exclusive communities that may have initially felt the free market limited their opportunity to find a partner. The niche sites aid in focusing the target market to a preferred race, faith, affiliation, sexual orientation, demographic and geographic preference (Piskorski, et al. 10). Singling out the preferences also limited the time the user spent in narrowing down their preferred match. Online social networks offered a much-detailed portfolio where the individual seeking love goes through people’s profile and sends direct messages (Piskorski, et al. 10). However, the use of online social networks is limited in terms of how early individuals can state their real intentions. Moreover, the online site is open to fraudulent accounts of people hiding their real identities. The user is vulnerable to whatever choice that presents itself.
The competitive threat to EHarmony is relatively serious. For example, companies such as Singles Nest, Black Singles offer invariably lower competition as compared to other sites such as Match. Match offers a significant threat to EHarmony that it uses a similar algorithmic technique as EHarmony called Chemistry. Moreover, both companies have spent a significant amount of investment in advertising for their products on the market. Both companies target sustainable growth. Given the four options, EHarmony is much better of using the second option of broadening the customer base to include casual daters (Piskorski, et al. 12). In this light, the company maintains its originality while still defending its superiority of Match. Moreover, the third option does not guarantee that the opportunity for new business will be sustainable. The transition into more niche including weddings and eldercare may not be as inviting as it is limiting. EHarmony should adopt the second option over the fourth option given that despite venturing into new geographical regions, the market trends are invariably different. As mentioned before, the US market is unique in both its culture and attitudes towards marriage. Countries such as China may hold much more convectional views of marriage, divorce and search for love via online media. In retrospect, the fourth option may not be forthcoming.
Piskorski, Mikolaj Jan, Hanna Halaburda, and Troy Smith. EHarmony, 2008.