Attack Ads Strike Dating Agency

May 14, 2007 02:44 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
eHarmony cries foul as a rival's commercials advertise that the agency rejected one million lonely hearts. Almost a third of those applicants were married, protests eHarmony.

30 Second Summary

The legal counsel for eHarmony has asked that NBC and People magazine drop the advertisements.

The ads feature bemused and abject people pondering their failed eHarmony applications. "I am a good person," insists one cast-off from the dating agency. At the end of the TV commercials, the words “Rejected by eHarmony” are stamped across the applicants' features.

eHarmony has signed up 13 million people since its inception in 2000, in an industry with a yearly turnover of $500 million. is a fast-growing year-old startup that has already attracted 2 million customers.

The older agency doesn’t deny rejecting one million people. What it objects to, it says, is that by not explaining the reasons for rejection, the ads can imply that racial or ethnic prejudices are at work.

Applicants to eHarmony complete a 258-question form that includes a psychometric test designed to diagnose “severe depression.” As well as depressives, gay people and anyone under 60 who has been married more than twice are also ineligible.

However, the biggest cause of rejection is marital status. Around 30% of all the eHarmony rejects are married.



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