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Match.com, Online Dating

Why marketing people shouldn't do dating statistics

Richard Speigal

by Richard Speigal
Geek Boy
Wednesday, 23rd February 2011

In the spirit of poking fun at the big boys of dating, we couldn't help but notice the two market leaders make some pretty huge claims. On a quiet day, Geek Boy decided to get out his super laser proton particle accelerating calculus machine (it's a calculator to you) and check out the figures.

Match.com was the easiest target with a nice big home page highlighting the huge numbers of happy couples who leave them every day. The figures are from an Ipsos poll in 2009 - about as useful as a chocolate teapot in 2011 - and we can't help but wonder which marketing genius decided to roll with them for so long?

In Q4 2009 they were reporting 1.4 million paid subscribers. And buried in the data only 17% of the 344,000 people who cancelled their subscriptions that year reported leaving as a result of finding someone.

A quick work out on a matchbox (sorry) means 1,399,840 or 99.99% of members finish every day unpaired. Now I'm sure they'll argue many more could be winking, dating or just plain perving but it's a poor use of figures. It also confirms the theory that marketing people are just frustrated scientists who were too dumb to do a science degree.

Hey you don't even have to do the maths - a website that claims millions of members shouldn't be using any kind of figure in the low hundreds. Poor show.

There is hope. eHarmony goes even further with some stunningly huge figures - but rather better presented. Right now they reckon 542 people get married every day as a result of their website. (Note to marketing newbies: 542 is a bigger number than 271 marriages - always use the BIG number.) Marriage is also a much bigger word than "couples". Match executives take note.

We did delve into this figure but amazingly it seems to stack up: 4.77% of US marriages are down to eHarmony. Without access to some seriously hefty US government data it's difficult to disprove (although I'd love to see someone have another go). You can get the full summary on the eHarmony website.

Again the data is from 2009. What's happened since then?! Maybe we should blame the bankers. Again.

Until the situation changes, it's eHarmony 1 - 0 Match.com.

Meanwhile we've been disappointed to see that Dating Trail is turning into ComeAndKickEHarmony.co.uk so we'd like to make a plea to the 5% of deliriously happy eHarmony daters to come on down and leave a review (we really need it!)

topic tags: eharmony, marriage, match.com, online dating, statistics

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about the author

Richard Speigal

Richard is the technical brains behind Dating Trail and prefers conversations in binary to real human contact. However he does know some strange things about dating; albeit not from experience (he's asexual like an amoeba) but rather from crunching numbers and peering into databases. He's nerdy but sometimes interesting and blogs on geek stuff at www.webunknown.co.uk

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