eHarmony Talks with Wall Street Journal about its Challenges and Triumphs

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eHarmony has weathered more than a few storms in its fourteen-year history, and has recently shared its trials and tribulations with The Wall Street Journal. The company has redefined itself as a “matchmaking site” as opposed to an online dating site, putting the emphasis back into long-term relationships.

The strategy seems to have worked – according to figures revealed by eHarmony founder Neil Clark Warren and COO Armen Avedissian, the company has more subscribers than ever before – 778,000 – and they make up to 15 million matches per day. But this is after the company almost collapsed. In 2012, after a few ousted CEOs and some advice from a board member, Dr. Warren made the decision to take back the reigns of the company and get it back on track. He came out of retirement at 78 years old to reclaim his spot as CEO and turn the company around – about the time when Tinder hit the market.

Before Warren took over, eHarmony was struggling to figure out its market, delving into new technology instead of focusing on its branding, leaving it vulnerable to the explosion of new dating sites and apps that came along. As Dr. Warren told the Wall Street Journal, “I think under CEO Greg Waldorf, users started seeing us more like the other dating sites Match and Zoosk, when we’re really a social science site. We were never meant to be a dating site. We were meant to be a matchmaking site. I think our leadership lost sight of that, too. We want good technology, but what we’re really, really interested in is long-term relationships.”

For its rebranding campaign, Dr. Warren returned to the television commercials, emphasizing the long-term matchmaking aspect of the technology. The company has also focused on its mobile app, something that has become a necessity for traditional dating sites since Tinder hit the market. When asked about Tinder, Dr. Warren emphasized that the app is actually helping bring more awareness and acceptance of online dating as a whole, which has been good for all online dating sites. According to Warren, eHarmony’s marketshare has stayed even despite the competition – Tinder claims to match about 22 million people a day.

Not to mention, Tinder’s reputation for being a hook-up app has helped differentiate more “serious” dating websites like eHarmony.

Warren told The Wall Street Journal: “People who are eHarmony customers probably aren’t going to be lured away by Tinder. We’re a serious bunch when it comes to matching for long-term relationships. We’re really not interested in short-term relationships.”

Tinder hasn’t been the only thorn in eHarmony’s side. The company came under fire when it didn’t include gay and lesbian relationships in their matching services – only creating “Compatible Partners” after a high-profile lawsuit. And now, eHarmony plans to launch a whole new matchmaking service called “Elevated Careers” – which will match job candidates with potential employers, based on factors like company culture and personality profiles in addition to skill sets. The new service will be available in June.

For more on this matchmaking service you can read our review of eHarmony.