It’s no secret that eHarmony and Match.com are old rivals in the online dating space. Match.com has been building its empire through its parent company IAC, which has bought several successful dating sites and apps, including Tinder. eHarmony has remained focused on its technology and matching success, and has expanded to include matchmaking services for VIP clients who are willing to pay. In December, eHarmony plans to launch a new career-matching site as well.
Now it seems despite the different directions the companies are going, they still remain fierce competitors, especially when it comes to marketing and attracting new users. eHarmony recently ran a “#1” campaign, citing its success in making more long-term matches than any other online dating website. The problem is, without concrete numbers from all sites, it’s a little tough to prove. At least, according to the National Advertising Division (NAD), an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. The unit is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
This week, the National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that eHarmony discontinue using certain “#1” advertising claims for the company’s dating website, including “#1 Most Marriages,” “#1 Most Enduring Marriages,” and “#1 Most Satisfying Marriages.” It seems that Match.com was the first to ask the regulators to look into the matter.
NAD reviewed claims made by eHarmony in broadcast, print and Internet advertising, following a challenge by Match.com, LLC. Match claims that this is advertising is misleading, as the numbers of marriages produced by both sites is extremely close. Also, eHarmony didn’t take into consideration Match’s entire network of sites co-branded under different names. This makes Match.com’s numbers much larger, and perhaps greater than eHarmony’s.
NAD concluded that, although the number of marriages that should have been attributed to Match could not be pinpointed, the actual difference between the number of individuals within the sample who met their spouse on eHarmony versus Match.com was even smaller than reported by eHarmony’s survey, or possibly favored Match.
In addition, eHarmony claimed its study was independent, although its co-authors included a former director of eHarmony Laboratories and a scientific advisor to eHarmony. When NAD informed the company of their findings, eHarmony agreed it would no longer describe the study as “independent.”
eHarmony, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “respectfully disagrees with much of NAD’s analysis of our specific advertising claims. However, because eHarmony values the NAD process and appreciates the NAD’s efforts, we will take NAD’s recommendations into consideration in our future advertising.”