The Future Of eHarmony

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The online dating industry is booming, but there's a dark cloud lurking on the horizon. For users, a successful stint of online dating ends in meeting a match and no longer needing a dating site. But for the dating sites themselves, business success means retaining customers and keeping them coming back for more. Clearly, there's a conflict of interest. Houston, we have a problem.

eHarmony may have the answer. While some dating sites are developing products for couples in order to remain relevant in users' lives, eHarmony is taking a very different approach.

With 565,000 marriages under its belt so far, eHarmony now plans to expand from the marriage market to the job market. eHarmony vice president Grant Langston says the company will launch a service to match employers with job seekers in the U.S. in June, followed shortly afterwards by a launch in Canada.

"We've seen indicators that 60 to 65 per cent of people are unhappy with their jobs, whether or not they are actively searching for new ones," Langston says. Expanding into the job market is a natural progression for eHarmony, he believes, given the company's extensive research into habits, desires, and personality types.

The typical hiring process is driven by employers, who ask a series of questions and evaluate potential employees' skills to assess suitability for the position. eHarmony's approach to hiring will look a little different: employers and employees will complete extensive questionnaires focused on culture to determine whether they're a good match for each other.

"When employers post a job on eHarmony, job seekers in the database will be matched to that job and both parties will be notified," reports. "They can review each others' profile and communicate online before meeting face-to-face."

Research agrees that the eHarmony approach to job hunting might be more effective. In December of last year, an issue of the American Sociological Review reported on a study of the recruiting practices of over a hundred professional service firms that found that applicants and employers with similarities in experiences, hobbies, and personal appearance made the best matches.

Langston is confident that the idea has a future, but acknowledges that there may be a few bumps along the way. eHarmony plans to allow for a year to iron out the kinks in the new service, and hasn't ruled out purchasing an online job board that can be combined with existing matching services. To date, there is no word on who will pay for the service or how much it will cost.

eHarmony offers Free Communication May 23 to 27

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eHarmony's free communication weekend in May is happening right now for the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It is running from today, Thursday May 23rd to the end of day on Monday May 27th (Happy Memorial Day!!! 😊).

During this free event eHarmony allows users not only to use the guided communication process for free but to send and receive email messages as well. This makes it an ideal time to try out this dating service to see if it is the right fit for you. All you need to do is become an eHarmony member by creating an account and answering the profile questions. This process will take you about 30 to 45 minutes to complete. Remember to answer the questions truthfully since eHarmony uses their complex matching algorithm to send you matches based on your answers. There is no cost to become a member of eHarmony or communicate during this FCW event. Features not included are photos, secure call (calling members through the site from your phone) and skipping the guided communication process to go to straight to mail.

To find out more about this dating site and to read user comments about the service you can take a look at our in-depth review of eHarmony. There last free communication weekend happened in April (see Story).

For singles in the UK (who also have a Holiday weekend) you can read our review to find out more information, as the site is a bit different from its North American cousin. Infographic: First Dates Across America

General News
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A friend is about to embark on a journey to a brave new world. After years of serial monogamy, she is determined to enjoy singlehood. She's got a lot to look forward to...flirting in the park, first dates in coffee shops, late nights spent with good-looking strangers in bars...but she's nervous.

It's been a long time since she had a first date, and she isn't sure what she's in for., on the other hand, knows exactly what she's in for. The site's latest infographic takes a look at first dates across America, checking in on what makes singles tick during that all-important first meeting.

Who went on the most first dates in 2012? That depends on how you're counting:

  • By city, singles in Denver, CO (47%) came in first place.
  • By gadget, singles with iPhones and tablets (45%) went on the most dates in 2012.
  • By occupation, single journalists got their date on more than singles in any other profession (45%).

You might think most people are meeting at bars and nightclubs, but the reality is that few are finding their mates during nights on the town.

  • Most people (22%) meet their dates through friends.
  • A close second - 20% - find dates through online dating sites.
  • Only 7% meet first dates at bars and clubs.

Singles are getting bolder these days. The Three Day Rule is becoming a thing of the past. 75% of single men and 50% of single women say they follow up with a date within 3 days. The bravest singles reside in Chicago and New York - 52% of singles in those cities say they initiated their last first date. Los Angeles came in second, with a close 51%.

Unsurprisingly, first dates in the 21st century are different than the first dates of yore. Now, 48% of women say they research a man before their first date and 47% expect to know his employment status by the time the first date is done. Ideas of what is and isn't appropriate on a first date have also evolved over time:

  • 86% of singles find it appropriate to hold hands on the first date.
  • 73% of singles find it appropriate to kiss on the first date.
  • 66% of singles find it appropriate to cuddle on the first date.
  • 22% of singles find it appropriate to have sex on the first date.

After the date, the majority of singles prefer to communicate over the phone (61%). Other popular methods of post-date communication are "In person" (15%) and "Text" (14%). Social networking sites may be all the rage right now, but only 1% think they're a good way to communicate after a date.

See the full size infographic here.

Is Online Dating Too Easy?

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The 21st century is all about simplicity. The easier and more automated we can make an experience, the more we seem to love it. And the shorter, the better. Does anyone even blog anymore? Now it's all about 140 character Tweets, Tumblr-style microblogging, and 6 second Vine videos.

It was only a matter of time before our short attention spans took their toll on online dating. More and more singles are turning to mobile dating instead, which offers an even more simplified experience than online dating sites. New dating apps are launching all the time, causing some to worry: Is online dating becoming too easy?

First there was Grindr, the uber-popular dating app for gay men that currently claims over six million users worldwide. The premise behind Grindr isn't complicated: Why spend waste time at bars or filling out dating profiles when you can quickly and conveniently browse the pictures of singles nearby?

Then came Blendr, a similar app that attempted to recreate the Grindr experience (but with more of a focus on friendship and shared interests) for hetero couples. Blendr merged with Badoo, but still failed to achieve the success of its predecessor. Grindr works - Blendr doesn't quite.

In the wake of Blendr came Tinder, one of the newest additions to the mobile market. Tinder picked up where previous mobile apps left off, requiring members to sign in using their Facebook accounts to reduce instances of fake profiles and catfishing. Tinder users are then sent profile pics to respond to (swipe left if you're interested, swipe right if you're not), and are only allowed to contact each other if both members mutually indicate interest.

Those three apps are far from alone in the mobile dating world. There is the scandalous and infamous Bang With Friends. There's TrintMe, which claims to reveal your friends true intentions. There's also WouldLove2 and EmbarrassNot, the latter of which breaks all your acquaintances down into one of four basic categories:

  • I'd like to go on a date with this person
  • I'd like an Advanced relationship with this person
  • I'd like to start a family with this person
  • I'd like to break up with this person

Sure, it's all convenient. But is it too convenient? Transparency online doesn't seem to correlate to equal transparency and courage in in-person interactions. Through the filter of technology, we often present ourselves in ways we wouldn't offline. We feel safe - safe from rejection, safe to say cruel things we wouldn't otherwise, safe to act in ways we wouldn't dare act in person.

Studies have shown that people value things less when they're too easy. Other studies have shown that being presented with too many choices overwhelms us, making us choose nothing at all. If mobile dating gives us too many options too easily, we may be just as single after the app as we were before it.

My First Online Dating Lessons

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I was not an early adopter when it comes to online dating. I was one of the skeptics, guilty of thinking there was nothing online dating could do for me that I couldn't do for myself. "I like meeting people," I thought, "so why not just meet them in person? What is so special about online dating?"

Then I finally took the plunge. Everyone else was doing it, so why not me? I joined OkCupid and, instantly, I was hooked. Everything I'd read and heard about online dating suddenly made sense. I could almost hear an actual "click" as the pieces fell into place.

Seeing all the tips and tricks I'd been told over the years in action felt like finally becoming fluent in a foreign language. Suddenly there was a whole new world for me to explore, and I understood it! Every lesson I'd learned was helpful, but a few stood out right away:

  1. Spelling and grammar definitely do matter. Seeing a profile riddled with errors is an instant turn-off. The same goes for messages. Run a spellcheck program if you don't like reading over your writing yourself. Oh, and save the netspeak for your text messages. Pretty please. Kthnxbai.
  2. Yes, the picture is important. I rarely looked twice at profiles that didn't include at least one picture. In fact, even a single picture seemed odd - why not two or three? What is there to hide? And won't I find out anyway, when we eventually meet in person?
  3. One-word messages just don't cut it. Two-word messages don't work either. Has anyone ever gone on a date that began solely with a "Hi" or "Ur hot?" I doubt it. No one wants to read a novel-sized message, but it needs to be long enough to establish that you have actually read the profile.
  4. Don't be a downer. I can't tell you how many messages and profiles begin with "I'm really bad at writing these things" or "I'm here because I'm lonely." Those things may be true, but they aren't going to get your profile noticed. Focus on the good. Sell yourself the way a marketer would sell a product.
  5. It pays to be honest. Sure, you could lie to try to make yourself appealing to as many people as possible, but what's the point? The more you let your personality shine, the more you'll attract people you're actually compatible with. Don't be afraid to scare somebody off.

What other lessons does online dating have in store for me? I can't wait to find out...

And The City With The Most Online Dating Liars Is…

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Amongst the Catfish-induced hysteria that has become such a cultural phenomenon, some are attempting to shed light on the actual likelihood of being scammed online. What's Your Price may not sound like the most reliable or scientific of sources (ok, it definitely doesn't), but they are the latest to join the conversation on online dating honesty.

What's Your Price's recent study found that - surprise! - people do lie on the their profiles. But (and this may actually be a surprise to some of you), they rarely lie about anything major. Women tend to lie about their weight; men tend to lie about their height, income, and marital status.

When you break it down by city, the biggest online dating liars reside in Washington, D.C. - there's definitely a joke about lying politicians in the somewhere, but I'll leave it to you to fill in the blank. Following in the footsteps of D.C. are Atlanta and New York, while the opposite end of the spectrum is occupied by Houston, Phoenix, Boston, Charlotte, and Minneapolis.

Research has shown that around 81% of online daters misrepresent some part of their identity on their profiles. It sounds like a lot, but when you think about it, just as many people stretch the truth when you meet them in person. It's the curse of the dating game in general, not the curse of the online dating game specifically.

The majority of online dating lies are small, because anything larger would quickly be caught upon meeting in person for the first time, and relatively harmless. In fact, some researchers even think those little lies could be beneficial for your mental health and dating prospects.

A 2009 study found that some little white lies - like exaggerating your college GPA - can lead to genuinely improved performance. They become self-fulfilling prophecies. In other words: there's a scientific basis for 'fake it 'til you make it.'

"Exaggerators tend to be more confident and have higher goals for achievement," said Richard Gramzow, a psychologist at the University of Southampton in England and one of the study's co-authors. "Positive biases about the self can be beneficial."

Liars also tend to be happier than other people, and are viewed as friendlier and more amiable than their more truthful counterparts. A few fibs may also be key to standing out in the over-saturated online dating market.

So should you lie in your online dating profile?

Who knows?

But will you do it?

Most likely.