by Mike Masnick

eHarmony's Patented Matching Algorithms Can't Find It A CEO Match

from the must-be-a-bug dept

eHarmony is the popular online dating service that's well known for claims of being much more "scientific" in how they match up people. They expect potential subscribers to go through a long profile questionnaire, and even claim to hold a patent on matching people who are likely to have a successful relationship (no, seriously). However, it would appear that the system doesn't work so well when it comes to matching CEOs to their own company. SiliconBeat is reporting that the company is on its third CEO since the beginning of the year (which wasn't that long ago...). The last CEO, who was appointed in January turned out to be "not a good fit," according to the new CEO (who is only temporary, while they look for a permanent one -- meaning they'll likely have a fourth CEO within a year). Well, at least we know one area that eHarmony probably shouldn't expand its business into...

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Scott, May 10th, 2006 @ 5:36am

    hardly a dating site

    I wouldn't call eharmony a dating site.
    I think its more of a "i want to get married" site.

    even after filling out their long profile you are not allowed to even look at photos of someone until after you have communicated with them... their thought being is you should get to know the person first before seeing if they look attractive to you or not.

    I think okcupid is a much better system (and free) their matching system is fun and addicting (you take quizzes written by other users) and there are plenty of photos, blogs and profiles to browse

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Shaun, May 10th, 2006 @ 6:08am

    I had a thought about how to improve the patent system, but it might not work as it could be hard to judge. My idea is that the length of time a patent is valid for depends on how novel it is. This would mean WORKING cold fusion would get you something like 20-30 years but 1-click shopping would get you a month. This could help deal with the obviousness test issues to some extent but the major problem is how to judje the novilty of the patent. (I can allready see the lawsuits and bribery allegations)

    As I said quite possibly completely impractical but more ideas floating around about what could be done to fix the patent problem can't hurt.

    I havn't actually looked at their patent so this could be wrong but I would think it would tend towards the month end of the scale ............ next thing you know you will be getting sued for introducing a friend to someone you think they might like.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    John, May 10th, 2006 @ 7:09am

    Re: hardly a dating site

    You are absolutely right. It's not a "dating" website and it is a "I want to get married" site. And I think that's great. There're tons of "dating" sites out there, but few that'll help you find a compatible spouse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Steve, May 10th, 2006 @ 7:34am


    Coincidental and vaguely humorous... yes. Relevant to their business, probably not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Kristi, May 10th, 2006 @ 7:38am

    I wonder...

    I would like to know what made the CEO "not a good fit"?
    Was it values? He/She didn't want to follow company protocol? What?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Zairgit, May 10th, 2006 @ 8:05am


    Great title for the article

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    JerseyRich, May 10th, 2006 @ 8:24am

    I signed up for this one site that promised to get me laid by horny housewives. The email landed in my junk mail folder but I figured, what the heck, I can try it, right?

    But so far, I have yet to get with even ONE MILF. Am I ugly or what?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Bobby Tilton, May 10th, 2006 @ 9:45am

    eHarmony....only if you're a good Christian

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Wonder why all these comments are blank?, May 10th, 2006 @ 9:47am

    Time to Fix the Comment Script

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Mike (profile), May 10th, 2006 @ 9:57am


    Hey everyone,

    Sorry, we were making a backend change and accidentally screwed up the comment code. It should be working again.

    Very sorry for the inconvenience...


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Piece of Crap, May 10th, 2006 @ 11:19am

    The damn site matched me with my wife!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    agodel, May 10th, 2006 @ 11:44am was the best dating site I found in silicon valley, gave me matches in canada and phillipines, eharmony found me some serious poundage and yahoo was full of call girls pretending to be looking but for a fee. For some reason certain dating sites work better in certain areas, just gotta find one that works and is popular enough that you don't get 5 year old profiles of people who have already gotten married and have kids.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Doc, May 10th, 2006 @ 11:51am


    eHarmony is rediculous. It's ties to 'Focus on the Family' books make it rediculous garbage. Yeah, certain people will think it does something special for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    MOE, May 10th, 2006 @ 12:00pm


    Imagine that!!! Like others commented the site centers around finding a long-term commited relationship... I ended up married!!!!!!! The profile questionnaire was the first clue that it wasn't just a casual dating site. There are many of them out there, my question is how do you get your profile off many of those!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    anonymous coward, May 10th, 2006 @ 12:14pm

    people paying to get married? that's llike paying someone to get kicked in the balls! idiots!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Apennismightier, May 10th, 2006 @ 12:51pm

    Anyone who subscribes to that site is throwing money away that could be much better spent on booze to drown your sorrows in or a face lift or whatever is keeping you from finding someone else to be with like a normal human being.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    japanese girls, May 10th, 2006 @ 12:59pm

    Eharmony isn't that bad

    Hey, there are some lonely people out there I guess. I liked EHarmony, but yeah the questionaire takes forever and you cannot even see the person. In fact I gave up my first time trying to fill it out because it took forever. Personally, I am a big fan of finding out what they look like. Here is a site you can try if you want to try to compete for your girl, or watch girls compete for you. It is mainly for girls and guys in hawaii and japan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. E-Harmony is just another site trying to use a gimmick to sell theirs over others. The truth is, according to research by Barbara Fasolo and others at Max Planck Institute, which sites are best relates to research on consumer choice. We aren't prepared to deal with too much choice (when presented with it, we choose badly and are unhappy with our choices). This means that sites like, which has a search engine allowing members to narrow down their choices, are better than sites that don't.

    Because I write a syndicated advice column, I was given a free trial of E-Harmony early on. I couldn't have been more poorly matched than if I'd picked the people at random out of the phone book with my eyes closed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Bobby Tilton, May 10th, 2006 @ 2:58pm

    Need I say more?

    As someone already said, "Focus on the Famliy," don't know what it is, go google it.

    If you are atheist, homosexual, married but legally seperated, divorced 3 time or more, or suffer from depression, you are AUTOMATICALLY removed from the match database.....but they don't tell you that you are of course.

    eHarmony is really just a weak dating site that has narrowed it's client base to primariliy white christians(80%).

    A bunch of bigots trying to make sure they match up those in the demographic that THEY deem to be "family orientated." (or, bigots trying to make sure there will be more bigots bred)

    Also, on the "survey" you take it is LOADED and I mean CHOCKED full of religious and faith based questions.

    Questions like:

    “My personal religious beliefs are important to me”
    “My faith affects my life”
    “My beliefs make me a better person”

    Sign up for the trial month and take the waste-of-time button clicker for yourself.

    I might not have a degree in psychology, but some of the questions they ask are VERY shallow and really have no business being on a personality test.

    But then what do you expect from someone who is a prostlyzing funamentalist christian?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    aaron, May 11th, 2006 @ 2:55am

    Re: Need I say more?

    It's amazing to me how a rather humorous brief about eHarmony's CEO struggles degenerated into an anti-christian rant. Nicely done, Bobby. Definitely (not) feeling the love in your post there. For people who have a faith that makes a difference in their life, those questions are very relevant as they seek out a compatible partner.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    JazzE, May 14th, 2006 @ 1:09am

    Good grief.

    Well put aaron, and to take it a step further, I would think most people for whom religious faith is not an important aspect of their lives (myself), or those who find it offensive (Bobby), would prefer not to be paired with someone who does have strong religious beliefs.

    So, Bobby, you tried the site and quickly realized you don't like eharmony or its candidate pool. Well, there you go. It's not for you. Sounds to me like the site is working the way it was intended.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    RAVEN ROULETTE, Jun 16th, 2006 @ 9:58pm



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    UnKnown, Jul 5th, 2006 @ 10:17am

    E Harmony

    It's said to find out the man that I've been married to over 20yr.'s. lied and put his profile on here. He lied to me and to all that read his profile and more. I wish that you had more way's to find out if the ppl are telling the truth or lieing. There is a lot of sick married ppl. out there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Sara, Jul 22nd, 2006 @ 7:28am

    Re: Need I say more?

    Dear Bobby T.

    I totally agree with you!

    After I took the time to fill out Eharmony survey they told me they could not find me a match! There must have been other happy, successful people in there that did not go to church. Or was it that I am white and check marked that I would date other races?

    Instead of owning a internet dating service, the bigot/evangelist that owns this site should own a segregated country club instead.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Daniel Benedetti, Jul 30th, 2006 @ 3:51am


    please unsubscribe me

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Donna, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 4:26pm

    Hi. Probably sth. I should say...well, am not a christian at all, an Asian living in Singapore, matched with more than 100 people during the last two months since registration -- althought those questionaires almost had driven me crazy...

    Do they tend to do that on purpose? I meant, try to get your truest part by making you tired? I don't know.

    But anyhow, I feel that site is more suitable for people who are aware about thier own philosophy and values instead of casual dates seekers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    michael jay, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:37am


    It worked for us and I recommend it to everyone who is seriously looking for a relationship! Actually, whether you see someone up front or not is controlled by the person registering. You are right, its about serious relationships and not casual dating. I think the profile is great! It weeds out the players and, I think, tends to draw out more of the truth that not. Though, of course, so many live in blockage of Truth that they don't even know themselves.

    My wife and I have been together for 5 years and the matching process has worked beautifully for us. Yes, even the "religious" questions (non traditional Christian) matched us well. So well that the presence of conflict in our 5 years together has been almost non existent.

    Sounds like the name callers (bigot) etc. are pretty bigoted! How shocking. How politically correct and controlled. What ever happened to liberty? I get to choose what I like and you get to hate who you like? Have at it friend! Take care and perhaps consider the old adage, "Hating another is like taking a poison and hoping THEY will die!" We each suffer and die from our own self administered poisons. I think it was said many centuries ago, "As you sow, you reap." "Measure and it will be measured unto you." "As a wo(man) thinkest in their heart."

    You are held in a Blessing,

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Michelle, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 10:59pm


    My personality profile I did with this made me out to be "The most caring loving person, that was intelligent and willing to listen to others, blah blah.. that would be great for anyone" but it says "Sorry 1 in 5 people we cannot find matches for. and you're one of those 5, so we can't help you." and this is outrageous I made myself out to be the perfect house wife, so there goes your "Find a wife" website.. It's crap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Michelle, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 11:01pm

    Lemme just add this:

    "We are so convinced of the importance of creating compatible matches to help people establish happy, lasting relationships that we sometimes choose not to provide service rather than risk an uncertain match."

    Hah. Because it's a free "find e-match" service right now? I'm hurt, I hope they're happy. What if that "uncertain match" is actually the love of my life! They screwed me! /hurt

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Loser, Sep 16th, 2008 @ 7:12am

    I am a loser!!

    eharmony cannot find a match for me, because I am a loser!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.