Looking to settle down harmoniously? eharmony.com (doing business as eHarmony) is an online service that attempts to match singles looking for long-term relationships. It focuses on helping clients find their "soul mate" through its patented its "Compatibility Matching System," which involves users completing a detailed questionnaire emphasizing compatibility and communication. eHarmony counts about 30 million registered users. The company has operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the US, as well as throughout Europe. It also publishes a network of wedding planning and parenting websites. eHarmony was founded in 2000 by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, an evangelical Christian and clinical psychologist.
eHarmony has the second biggest piece of the online dating pie in the US, behind Match.com's more generalized (and less expensive) service. The company has managed to find success in the crowded space by differentiating itself from its rivals. Unlike social networking sites and other Internet personal services, eHarmony emphasizes privacy, has an "elongated" communication process, and charges higher subscription fees on average. The strategy has resulted in the service's popularity among older, wealthier, and more serious daters.
A key part of the company's strategy is its aggressive marketing efforts. When eHarmony is successful, satisfied customers leave the service along with their subscription dollars. This translates to a business model that requires constant advertising in order to recruit new members. Marking the company's 10 year anniversary, in 2010 it launched an ad campaign called ''Love Begins Here.'' The campaign featured television spots directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris. eHarmony spent some $30 million in online and offline advertising for the campaign through 2010.
The company has also been expanding beyond its flagship matching service in order to attract a wider audience. Offshoot brands eHarmony Weddings publishes websites such as Project Wedding and Weddingbee, while eHarmony Parenting publishes JustMommies. In addition, the company operates eHarmony Labs, a relationship research facility, and eHarmony Advice, a relationship advice site. Its Compatible Partners service for same-sex couples was launched after a discrimination claim in 2009 resulted in a settlement between eHarmony and the New Jersey attorney general requiring the firm to cater to gay and lesbian singles.
In 2011 Greg Waldorf, a founding investor and long time board member, resigned from the company. He was appointed CEO in 2006 after Dr. Warren stepped down from the position. Dr. Warren is no longer active in the daily management of eHarmony, but remains the company's chairman.
The venture-backed company includes shareholders such as Technology Crossover Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Fayez Sarofim & Co., in addition to its founders and employees. – less